The Gold Coast Film Festival brings entertainment from coast to coast

Kathryn Pizzuti, Staff Writer

Thousands of film festivals occur annually, but what makes the Gold Coast International Film Festival special is that it is held on our home turf.  The festival is an event that occurs every year in the Town of North Hempstead, also called the “Gold Coast”.

The Gold Coast Arts Center, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts, produces the film festival year after year in order to showcase Long Island’s talented filmmakers and educate the public with an insider’s’ view of the film industry.

This festival allows filmmakers to present their work during screenings, and it also includes workshops, parties, and a gala.  In addition, many members of the film community attend the festival, giving attendees a chance to speak with some educated people in the field.  Public officials, students, and visitors attend the festival to get the inside scoop on the film industry.

Why is the festival held on Long Island?  The “Gold Coast” was the home to hundreds of wealthy people during the early 20th century, as was brought to public light in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

It has served as inspiration to many movie stars, directors, producers, composers, and entrepreneurs, making it the perfect site for a film festival.  Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock,  Joan Crawford, as well as many more influential people in the film industry have been drawn to not only the wealth of the area, but also the beautiful landscape.

Our very own Port Washington is a site of the event each year.  This year, the Port Washington Public Library, Bow Tie Cinemas, and Soundview Cinemas were all venues for the festival.  Other towns that presented other works by filmmakers included Roslyn, Manhasset, Great Neck, and Brookville.

This year, the sixth annual Gold Coast Film Festival was held from Nov. 10 through Nov. 15.  The films that were showcased at the festival were of many different genres.  There were family films, comedies, documentaries, and even sports films.

Many famous actors were featured in these films, including James Franco, Mel Brooks, and Christina Applegate.   25 feature-length films and 40 short films were screened, including Crafted, Landfill Harmonic, Gold Balls, When I Live My Life Over Again, The Vanished Elephant, Listen to Me Marlon, and perhaps the most highly anticipated of them all, The Benefactor, starring Divergent’s Theo James and Twilight’s Dakota Fanning.

“I love Theo James, and I was excited when I found out that he starred in a film that was shown during the Gold Coast International Film Festival,” said junior Saige Gitlin.

Something that sets the Gold Coast Film Festival apart from other events is the opportunity it gives to children to showcase their short films and documentaries.  Each year, students ranging from grades kindergarten through twelfth grade can submit a film that they have created to be judged by filmmaking professionals.  This provides an excellent opportunity for kids who are thinking about pursuing a career in the film industry.

“I think it is really cool that kids our age can submit their own films to be viewed by experts.  That is an amazing experience, and it can teach someone that is interested in the field a lot,” said junior Maddy Wiener.

Despite the prestigiousness of the festival, it surprisingly is not well known around Port Washington.  People believe that it should be better publicized, especially within Schreiber and Weber.  Students who may be interested in entering the Student Filmmaking Contest, watching the films, attending galas, or speaking with experts in the film industry may not know about the event.

“Our schools should better inform students about this opportunity, especially the film classes,” said junior Lucy Hurt.

Overall, the festival was successful this year, attracting many fans of the film industry and future filmmakers.