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Cannes? Sundance? Nope, Long Beach

City's annual International Film Festival is biggest yet, with entries from near and far

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For four days last week, the Long Beach International Film Festival brought Hollywood style and filmmakers from around the world to Long Island for the event’s biggest incarnation to date.

Festival co-founders Ingrid Dodd and Craig Weintraub have expanded the event each year since it made its debut two months before Hurricane Sandy. With the town’s only movie theater all but destroyed and so much of the surrounding area damaged by the storm, the fate of the festival was in jeopardy.

But it not only survived, but thrived. Now in its fourth year, it has grown spectacularly, branching out into Rockville Centre as well as it continues to screen critically acclaimed independent and feature-length studio films, as well as documentaries, shorts and animated entries that competed for a series of jury prizes, festival honors and audience awards. More than 500 submissions were narrowed down to 83 films that were screened Sept. 24-27. Organizers said that ticket sales doubled the 2014 total.

The event also featured an array of special events, including red-carpet premieres, filmmaker Q&As, industry seminars and musical performances.

“This festival is not just about the glitz and glam,” Weintraub said. “It’s about bringing to light amazing films and partnering with the local community to enjoy and enlighten.” Dodd added that the LBIFF is for everyone to enjoy, not just the Hollywood elite.

Filmmakers traveled to Long Beach from not only California and New Mexico but also Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain and Italy.

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