Jacqueline Schrage is a senior at Connetquot High School 

 

By Jacqueline Schrage
Greene Team Correspondent
 
Alan Inkles would have loved to see his son play in a competitive soccer tournament, but something got in the way.

“I missed the championship this week,” he said during a press conference with Greene Team journalists “But I had to be out here.”

As director of the Stony Brook Film Festival, Inkles spent six to seven nights in his basement for four months this spring previewing about 800 films -- and missing the soccer game is part of the job. Contacting filmmakers, traveling to film festivals, and looking through ads took up much of his time throughout the year.

The 14th annual film festival, which took place from July 23 to Aug.1, was no different. It’s the product of hundreds of hours of preparation.

“It’s time consuming, but it’s what I love to do,” he said.

For this festival, Inkles chose 37 films. Inkles spent his nights, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., trying to watch all the films. He admitted, however, that he only got to watch about half the films all the way through.

“If a program tells you they watch every minute of every film that comes in, they’re just not telling you the truth,” Inkles said.

A former actor, Inkles has been in show business since he was six years old. He majored in theatre and art at UCLA and after graduation, auditioned for many different roles.

“I was a theatre actor,” he said. “I graduated high school and went up to UCLA. I wanted to be a big movie star at 18 years old.”

One of his most memorable roles was that of Peter in the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank.” In a scene that required him to stroke an imaginary cat, Inkles said he realized he had lost his passion for acting.

“As an actor you have to be in character,” he said. “I’m thinking about the bills I haven’t paid.”

Inkles then created an international theatre festival after coming to work and study at Stony Brook University. But when money to support the festival got scarce, government support decreased and immigration for the actors became more difficult, he said he decided to do something different. That’s when the film festival was born.

“Twenty-five years ago we all went to the movies and saw one movie,” he said. “I thought it’d be unique to have a big screen, the way I used to watch movies and have a big experience where 1,000 people would come in and see a movie at one time.”

The biggest reward for Inkles is making the audience happy.

“When you sit and watch these movies and watch people applaud, and scream, and yell, and clap for five minutes and give standing ovations, it’s all worthwhile,” he said, even missing that soccer game. “You find the time because the payoff is there.”
 

 
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