Long Beach Film Festival Finds a Home


After Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, the fledgling Long Beach International Film Festival, which had just finished its inaugural year, threatened to collapse before ever fully taking off. A prospective screening site had been destroyed, and without a proper venue the festival could not attract filmmakers and sponsors.

“We sat down and said there’s no way we can do this. We have no theater, we have no money,” said Ingrid Dodd, a founder of the festival.

Yet through a fortuitous alliance, the revitalized festival will have its first full season from July 30 through Aug. 4, screening more than 40 films, including features, documentaries, shorts and some student films. The opening-night feature, “The Wisdom to Know the Difference,” was written and directed by Daniel Baldwin, who grew up in Massapequa. He and his brother William star in it. “It’s just so Long Island,” Ms. Dodd said of opening with a “Baldwin brothers” movie.The festival started small in 2012. Ms. Dodd, whose background is in sports and entertainment public relations, and Craig Weintraub, a filmmaker and actor, produced a free night of short films, screened on the beach. They were pursuing an agreement with a local movie theater to expand programming for 2013 when the storm destroyed the movie house.

Other commercial theaters, Ms. Dodd said, were not interested or were too costly.

Aided by a $20,000 grant from Nassau County, the founders organized a small program in 2013. But the festival’s future looked doubtful.