“It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
That quote, from the 2006 film “Rocky Balboa,” was used to characterize the Long Beach community’s strength in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when actor Burt Young, who played the iconic character of Paulie in the “Rocky” movies, and UFC champion Chris Weidman addressed the crowd gathered on National Boulevard beach last week for the 2013 Long Beach International Film Festival.
Approximately 3,000 people turned out to the Aug. 22 event, which celebrated the art of storytelling through shorts, fiction and documentary films on the boardwalk and beach outside of the Allegria Hotel.
Young, a Port Washington resident, referenced Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky quote by showing a clip of the film. He and Weidman, of Baldwin, presented an award to the City of Long Beach for its perseverance after the storm. They were among a handful of celebrities who turned out for the event, including musician and Long Beach resident Joan Jett, Baldwin native Dee Snider, of Twisted Sister, and singer Daniel Rodriguez. A number of officials were on hand as well, including City Manager Jack Schnirman and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, whose Nassau County Film Commission is aimed at attracting the film industry to the area. The county helped fund the festival this year through a grant.
“The show must go on, that was our big motto,” said Ingrid Dodd, who co-founded the event with filmmaker Craig Weintraub. “We wanted to relay the fact that we couldn’t ask people who were decimated to sponsor a film festival; who cares about a film festival when you don’t have a house? But at the same time, people really rallied around it … we can help bring awareness to Long Beach.”
The event showcased more than 50 films from around the world, and featured red carpet festivities on the new boardwalk, as well as music by Mike Krum and Joe Horowitz; the “Shorts on the Beach” film series, a filmmaker awards ceremony, and an after party at the Allegria.
Dodd said that the festival has grown since the first event was held last year.