2009-07-31 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

RAA To Host First Annual Film Festival

When the lights go down at Fort Tilden on Saturday, August 1 at 7 p.m., the curtain will go up on the Rockaway Artists Alliance first ever film festival. Showing in the sTudio 7 Gallery (T-7), the evening will feature short films, running from seven to 30 minutes, directed, produced and written by filmmakers from Rockaway and beyond. Admission is absolutely free, as is parking. Popcorn and beverages will be for sale.

"This is an exciting development for us," said a Rockaway Artists Alliance spokesman. "We've really pushed the boundaries in the past few years, folding in music, the performing arts, and a writers group. And now we've added film!"

From documentary to comedy to music video and drama and even a proposed pilot for the Food Network, the films themselves will run the gamut. Filmmaker Vincent Biscione, for instance, will not only showcase his own talents but also those of singer/songwriter Michael Benedetto in "Left Behind Again" and the provocative "Down The Drain."

As a successful cartoonist, painter and graphic artist Robert Sarnoff has had his work commissioned by the United States Postal Service. His films have won awards and have appeared on MSG Network, and will also be shown at the RAA Film Festival. Viewers will look forward to his short and personal film "The Romeows."

Similarly, the talents of festival filmmakers Adam Taylor, Kevin Raman, George Daratany, Lenny Burkhardt, Dustin Bowman and others all extend in numerous directions. Having honed their skills through commercial television, website production, music videos and film schools, they now ably write, produce, direct and at times even star in their own efforts. The results explore a wide range of subjects, styles and techniques.

All together it looks like the Rockaway Artists Alliance 1st Film Festival is off to a good start. The RAA invites all to come down and take a look and be a part of something brand new and growing.

RAA also hosts a yearround Thursday Open Mike Music Night both in T-7 and on its outdoor stage. Starting at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday, musicians, poets, writers, actors, comedians and performers of all kinds may sign up to go on. The show, which starts at 8 p.m., offers an ever changing line-up as well as variety and surprises. Admission is free.

Both RAA's Film Festival and musical events have been successful in large part due to the talent and drive of RAA Board Member Tom Burke.

On August 15 the RAA will also be hosting Music on The Boards, a day of music presented along the Rockaway Boardwalk. An evening music event, presented by RAA and Brooklyn Brewery, will be held in Tribute Park also in the Rockaways.

For information on these and other RAA music and art events please contact 718-474-0861, e-mail rockart116@aol.- com or visit www.rockawayartistsalliance. org. A complete listing of exhibitions, events and news can be found at the RAA website. Regular gallery hours are Saturday 12-4p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m. and by appointment. Open to all, the RAA meets regularly in sTudio 6 on the second Monday of each month.

RAA works in partnership with the National Park Service at Gateway National Recreation Area and in part is supported by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, JP Morgan Chase, The Independence Community Foundation and Brooklyn Brewery.

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