The Beachcomber

LBI’s Lighthouse Film Festival Has Diverse Lineup 

By RACHAEL BOSLEY | May 24, 2017

Surfing in the Gaza Strip, community building in North Philadelphia, sex trafficking in Europe, and oyster farming in Barnegat Bay are among the subjects that will take center stage at the 9th annual Lighthouse International Film Festival, which will give movie lovers plenty to look at June 8-11 on Long Beach Island. The festival will screen more than 80 dramas, comedies, documentaries and short films from around the world, and several filmmakers will be on hand for Q&As, panels and festival parties.

New this year is a short-film program showcasing virtual reality, an immersive, 360-degree format that the viewer watches with an individual headset. Festival programmers were still refining the selection of VR shorts at press time, but according to LIFF Managing Director Christine Rooney, the program will be presented continuously June 9-11. VR headsets will need to be reserved in advance, so keep checking the festival website,, for details.

The festival will also present two panel discussions, “New Jersey Filmmaking” (June 9) and “How to Cast a Hit” (June 10). The latter will feature three of the industry’s top casting directors: Paul Schnee (whose credits include the Best Picture winner “Spotlight”), Allison Estrin (Showtime’s “Billions”) and Henry Russell Bergstein (Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle”).

Movies will be screened in three venues: the LBI Foundation of Arts and Sciences,  Loveladies; Surf City Firehouse; and the LBI Museum, Beach Haven.

Parties, panels and other opportunities to mingle with the filmmakers will be hosted by Joe Pop’s Shore Bar, Ship Bottom; daddy O,  Brant Beach; Ship Bottom Brewery, Beach Haven; and The Arlington, Ship Bottom.

Admission to all screenings, events and parties is included in the LIFF all-access pass, which costs $125. (Pass holders also receive priority seating.) Single tickets for screenings are $12 each. Passes and single tickets must be purchased online at

Following are some highlights from this year’s program:

June 8: “King of Peking” – Set in Beijing at the dawn of the DVD era, “King of Peking” follows a father and son, Big Wong and Little Wong, who travel the country projecting movies in rural areas. When Little Wong’s mother demands more spousal support, Big Wong hatches a plan to make bootleg DVDs. Written and directed by Sam Voutas, who will attend. LBI Foundation, 7 p.m.

June 9: “Person to Person” – Starring Michael Cera, this comedy follows a record collector hustling for a big score, a teenager coping with her best friend’s new relationship, and a rookie reporter trying to solve a murder. Written and directed by Dustin Guy Defa. LBI Foundation, 12 p.m.

“Santoalla” – This documentary chronicles a Dutch woman’s attempt to solve her husband’s mysterious disappearance in the Spanish village of Santoalla. Directed by Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer. Surf City Firehouse, 6 p.m.

“Fits and Starts” – When David, a struggling author, and his wife, a literary phenomenon, are invited to an artists’ salon in Connecticut, awkwardness and hilarity ensue. Written and directed by Laura Terruso, who will attend. LBI Foundation, 6 p.m.

“The Crest” – In this documentary, two descendants of an Irish king travel to an island he once ruled to check out the waves. Directed by Mark Covino, who will attend. LBI Museum, 6 p.m.

“Dina” – Winner of a Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, this documentary chronicles a romance between two autistic adults. Directed by Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles. LBI Foundation, 8:15 p.m.

June 10: “One October” – This documentary offers a portrait of New York City and its residents on the eve of President Obama’s 2008 election. Directed by Rachel Shuman, who will attend. LBI Foundation, 11 a.m.

“Brave New Jersey” – A comedy starring Tony Hale (“Veep”) set in 1938 in a small N.J. town on the night Orson Welles broadcast his infamous “War of the Worlds” radio program. Directed by Jody Lambert, who will attend. LBI Foundation, 1:15 p.m.

“The Oyster Farmers” – The plight of the oyster in Barnegat Bay is the subject of this locally produced documentary, directed by Corinne Ruff and Angela Anderson, who will both attend. LBI Foundation, 3:30 p.m.

“Quest” – Almost a decade in the making, this documentary follows a family in North Philadelphia whose music studio becomes a sanctuary for kids in the neighborhood. Directed by Jonathan Olshefski, who will attend. LBI Foundation, 5:45 p.m.

“Swim Team” – Three members of the Jersey Hammerheads, a swim team comprising autistic teens, are the focus of this documentary. Directed by Lara Stolman, who will attend. Surf City Firehouse, 8 p.m.

“Gaza Surf Club” – Three residents of the war-torn Gaza Strip find solace in surfing in this unique documentary, directed by Philip Gnadt and Mickey Yamine. Surf City Firehouse, 10 p.m.

“The Road Movie” – A bizarre mosaic of footage shot exclusively with dashboard-mounted cameras in Russian automobiles. Directed by Dmitrii Kalashnikov. LBI Foundation, 10 p.m.

June 11: “Woven” – An Ethiopian woman searches for clues in her brother’s death in New York City. Directed by Nagwa Ibrahim and Salome Mulugeta. Producer/actor Ryan Spahn will attend. LBI Foundation, 11 a.m.

“Gold Star” – A Juilliard dropout decides to become her father’s caretaker after he suffers a debilitating stroke. Directed by Victoria Negri, who will attend. Surf City Firehouse, 1:30 p.m.

“Missing in Europe” – A cyber-security expert uses every tool at her disposal to track down her daughter, who disappears while studying abroad in Serbia. Directed by Tamar Halpern, who will attend. LBI Foundation, 4 p.m.

Visit for schedule updates and more information.






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