2019 LIFF Will Feature a Dance Concert and Screening of a 30-Year-Old Classic

By RICK MELLERUP | May 29, 2019

Surf City —

The Lighthouse International Film Festival is adding a couple of new twists in 2019.

The LIFF, like most film festivals, always attempts to have directors, producers, screenwriters, actors or subjects of documentaries participate in a Q&A following the screening of their films.

One of this year’s films, the 29-minute documentary “To Make a Long Story Short,” directed by Sal Del Giudice and Jeff Sternberger, tells the story of one of the Shore’s most popular party bands, Shorty Long & the Jersey Horns, and the band’s leader, the diminutive and wheelchair-bound Richard “Shorty Long” Tisch. Sure, Tisch and Co. can answer questions after the film’s world premier. But, even better, they could let their music speak for them, and that’s exactly what they will do on Friday, June 7.

The action will start when Beach Haven’s newest restaurant/bar/club, Bird and Betty’s, formerly The Ketch, will open its doors to moviegoers at 9 p.m. After a short introduction at 10 p.m. the film will be screened and, yes, it will be followed by a Q&A. But then, at about 11, the band will take the stage and is expected to play until 12:30 a.m.

You must be 21 years of age or older to attend and folks are warned to arrive prior to the 10 p.m. screening because nobody will be seated during the screening. Tickets for the screening and concert are $20 and may be purchased online at lighthousefilmfestival.org. The festival’s all-access passes will be accepted if there is available space.

Also new this year, on Saturday, June 8 at 2:30 p.m. at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in Loveladies, the LIFF will screen a classic 30-year-old movie, director Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July.”

The movie received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture (losing to “Driving Miss Daisy”) and won two, for Best Director and Best Film Editing. It was also successful at the box office, becoming the 10th highest-grossing film of 1989, earning $161 million on a $17.8 million investment. Many critics believed it included Tom Cruise’s finest performance.

The movie was based on a book of the same name by Ron Kovic, who wrote the screenplay with Stone. Kovic had served two tours in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine. In his second tour in 1968 he was left paralyzed from the chest down after being shot twice. He eventually became a prominent peace activist and is best known for his 1976 memoir.

The film remains relevant, as explained by Stephen Marche in a July 4, 2014 Esquire article:

The most upsetting feature of watching “Born on the Fourth of July” twenty-five years later is how contemporary it seems. Young, idealistic men enter foreign wars for patriotic reasons, have their bodies destroyed, and return to a mixed response from the country that sent them – adulation in the form of widespread parades and incredibly lousy treatment in Veterans Affairs hospitals. Sound familiar? The VA hospital in “Born on the Fourth of July” is the most harrowing part of the entire film – rats openly walking the halls, patients abandoned for hours in their own filth, doctors scarce and uncaring. The latest scandal at the VA hospitals happened just a month ago. Even after America learned the dangers of small foreign wars in Vietnam, apparently America has to learn them all again, over and over again.

The LIFF screening of the movie is expected to be followed by a Q&A with actor Jerry Levine, who played Steve Boyer, a high school friend of Kovic in the movie, who told him, “It could be dangerous over there ... You could get yourself killed – did you ever think about that?”

Tickets for the screening are $12 and may be purchased online at lighthousefilmfestival.org.

— Rick Mellerup


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