Roosevelt Islander Online: First There Was Sundance,Then Tribeca And Now 2nd Annual Roosevelt Island Film Festival Taking Place June 23 To 26 At Main Street Theatre, Get Your Tickets Now For Movies, Red Carpet Opening, Info Panels And Awards Ceremony

Roosevelt Island movie lovers are in for a real treat this week – our very own Roosevelt Island Film Festival. The Second Annual Roosevelt Island Film Festival will take place Thursday June 23 thru Sunday June 26 at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance (548 Main Street).

According to this Roosevelt Island Film Festival press release: 

2nd Annual ROOSEVELT ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL makes its return to the Main Street Theater. 

President/Founders Toni Vitale and long-time resident Daniel Jordano announce a terrific lineup for the 2nd Annual ROOSEVELT ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL June 23-26th at the Main St. Theater and Dance Alliance.


THE ROOSEVELT ISLAND FILM FESTIVAL  is dedicated to the discovery and development of independent American and International filmmakers. The festival seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film, and introduce audiences to new exceptional works in Feature Films and Short Films in addition to special categories such as Female Filmmaker, Emerging NYC Filmmakers, Comedy, and Foreign Language Films. 

This year’s selections include local films as well as  international offerings from Spain, Germany, France, England and Nigeria. 

“This year’s mixture of films is unique. Quality artistic films with a mixture of genres by Female filmmakers, New York, and Foreign filmmakers. It takes you on a cinematic ride. says Toni Vitale. “We have several films about aging artists and their struggles, and about non-traditional love and its challenges. We were surprised as themes were revealed this year”,  said Daniel Jordano. There is “Frankie” about the coming out of a transgender and “Now You See Us” about the struggle of aging actresses, one among many comedies this year.

“We expanded the festival by a day for our second year and I’m glad we did because we needed to make room for so many excellent films.” said Toni. “We are also pleased that two films in the festival are actually helmed by Island residents,” said Daniel.  

“Aaron with 2As”  about an actor plagued by self doubt, was directed by Island House resident, Michael Goldburg and “Removal” about an immigrant struggle with the system was produced and directed by Island couple, Shu-Ying Chung and James Rosenthal

There is also the addition of two no cost discussion panels this year with accomplished filmmakers. “Making the Most of Your Short Film” Saturday at 2pm and “The Future of Indie Filmmaking” Sunday at 2pm.

There will be a Red Carpet Opening Ceremony on Thursday with a lineup including “A Bird Flew In” starring Jeff Fahey and Derek Jacobi. The festival culminates in the awards ceremony at The Sanctuary, 851 Main St. on Sunday evening where they will bestow the GOLDEN TRAM to the best in festival, followed by an outdoor closing party, with Roosevelt Island’s own hip hop legend, Drew Carter,  or “Grandmaster Dee” of Whodini on the turntables. 

Go to for Tickets  and use the promo code – indiefilms – for 30% off the ticket price, or visit for the full schedule. 

I spoke with Roosevelt Island Film Festival Founders Tony Vitale and Daniel Jordano during the June 11 Roosevelt Island Day. They described how the RI Festival began and what to expect this year.

Also, Roosevelt Island resident Michael Goldburg is the Director of one of the films being shown at the RI Film Festival.

Mr Goldburg reports:

As a filmmaker and recent transfer to Roosevelt Island in 2020 from Brooklyn, I was looking to get more involved in the cultural affairs of the Island and ended up submitting and then winning Best Comedy Short for my film, SURE-FIRE, at last year’s inaugural Roosevelt Island Film Festival. I then hit it off with the founders of the festival, Toni Vitale and Daniel Jordano, who asked me to be on the Board of Directors and I jumped at the chance. Fast forward to this year when the producer of my most recent film, a short comedy-drama called AARON WITH TWO A’S which I directed and co-wrote, submitted the film to this year’s festival and was accepted. It’s a funny, inspiring film about Aaron, played by Steve Lichtenstein (TV’s “Bull”), who starts his second career at age 65 as an actor and has to learn to get out of his own head. Anyone going through a career or life transition (or crisis!) will likely relate. AARON screens on Saturday, June 25 at 3:15pm in Shorts Block 5. Here’s the trailer for the film:

AARON WITH TWO A’S – Official Trailer © 2022 Baby Boo Boo Productions. All Rights Reserved. from Michael Goldburg on Vimeo.

I’m also moderating two FREE panels at the festival: “Making the Most of Your Short Film” on Saturday June 25 at 2pm and “The Future of Indie Filmmaking” on Sunday June 26 at 2pm. Having graduated from the MFA film program at NYU and then gone on to screen my work extensively at festivals and been immersed in the New York City independent film scene, I’ve met a lot of incredibly talented people, and it’s a pleasure to host such an esteemed, award-winning group of filmmakers on the panel who have screened their work at major festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, and Toronto and have them share their wide-ranging experience and expertise. Panelists include Amos Poe, considered by many to be one of the “fathers” of modern American independent film, and Dallas Brennan, a Gotham Award and Independent Spirit Award-nominated writer/producer.

Click here for tickets and more info on the June 23-26 Roosevelt Island Film Festival.


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