Long Beach film festival benefits a good cause


The 7th annual Long Beach International Film Festival returned to Long Beach Aug. 1 to 4, featuring film premieres, fundraisers and culinary events that celebrated film and food.

“The Film Festival has become a staple here in Long Beach,” said City Council President Anthony Eramo. “We’re very excited to continuously host it. Everyone looks forward to it and it’s just another great night that we all share here in Long Beach.”

The festival — a production of the nonprofit organization Long Beach Film Institute — showcased a variety of films from 14 countries, including feature-length narratives, documentaries, shorts and animated movies from both professional and amateur filmmakers.

The annual “Taste on the Beach” event was held on Aug. 3 at the Allegria Hotel, a culinary event that showcases samples from more than 40 Long Island restaurants, including Long Beach locals like Pammy Cake Creations and Acai Beach Bowls.

“This is my first year here. It’s been going really well — we’ve gotten really great feedback,” said Pammy Cake Creations owner Pam Kreutzberg, whose business is located in the West End at 966 W. Beech St. “And we’re in town, so it was great to be here with everybody.”

“Taste on the Beach is great because everybody gets to try great food made by chefs, but, at the same time, it’s great for the restaurants too, because they’re exposing their brand to people who might not have ever heard of them before, or, if they have, they get to try a sample of one of their best dishes,” said Craig Weintraub, founder of the festival.

While the movie industry generates millions of dollars for the Nassau County, the festival attracts thousands of people, including out-of-towners, to local businesses, County Executive Laura Curran said at a news conference last week.

“Every year more and more people come out to the events we have,” Weintraub said. “We’re always trying to find new ways to entertain, to spread the arts and to raise funds for those in need. We love watching it grow every year as the community becomes so much more receptive to it.”

A portion of the festival’s proceeds will benefit Cohen Children’s Medical Center and the Long Beach Soup Kitchen, Weintraub said.

“It’s a great symbiotic relationship: Soup kitchen, the chefs and food,” said Rob Blau, founder of the Long Beach Soup Kitchen. “This has been a great event for us. As the guests have been walking in, individuals have been donating a lot of money, so that’s really nice.”

At the end of the festival, Weintraub presented Blau with a check for $2,000.

The events kicked off last week with a screening of a film called “Change in the Air,” directed by Lynbrook native Dianne Dreyer at the newly renovated Regal Lynbrook 13 & RPX, at 321 Merrick Road in Lynbrook. On Aug. 2, guests attended “Chefs & Shorts,” an event that serves dinner and drinks inspired by short films at the Allegria.