Buildup to 2019 Lighthouse International Film Festival Starts Feb. 15

The buildup to the 2019 Lighthouse International Film Festival, which is set to run from June 6 through June 9 on LBI, is about to begin.

The Arlington in Ship Bottom ill be the scene of the action on Friday evening, Feb. 15 when the French film “Back to Burgundy” will be screened.

The feature, directed by Cedric Klapisch, tells the story of three siblings reuniting to save the family vineyard in the face of a $500,000 (438,035 euros) inheritance tax.

Jean, the family’s black sheep, has been abroad for a decade when he suddenly returns to Burgundy to reconnect with his dying father. Meanwhile, his strong-willed sister, Juliette, is surely resentful that her father so easily welcomes Jean back. After all, she’s been struggling to keep the vineyard afloat since her father fell ill while Jean has been absent, shades of the prodigal son.

There’s a third sibling in this tale, however. Jeremie, the youngest of the family, recently married into one of the famous wine region’s most prestigious wine families. Hmm, could he be thinking of selling the vineyard to his father-in-law?

The film follows the trio through four seasons and two harvests, watching Jean, Juliette and Jeremie as they reinvent their relationship, learning to trust in each other to preserve the land that ties them together.

“Back to Burgundy” may be set in France, and may have French actors speaking their home language (don’t worry, the 113-minute feature is subtitled), but it has a universal theme. One can easily imagine a family in Wisconsin – or Vermont or upstate New York or Ohio – arguing if keeping the family dairy farm running is worth the tremendous effort when a developer has offered good money to buy it so he can build hundreds of look-alike homes or condos. Of course, wine is sexier than dairy.

The screening, appropriately enough, will be accompanied by a wine tasting. Tickets for this LIFF fundraiser are $40 and early online purchases, at, are encouraged.

Indeed, reviews indicate the evening will appeal to wine lovers and Francophiles just as much as film fans.

“‘Back to Burgundy,’ a lushly photographed family drama set in the famous French wine region, dwells, pleasantly, on the winemaking process, as the capable ensemble cast navigates domestic tensions,” wrote Pat Padua in the Washington Post.

The buildup to June’s film festival will continue at 7 p.m. on Saturday, March 9 at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences with the screening of “The Providers,” a documentary about three healthcare providers in rural New Mexico that is set against the backdrop of a physician shortage and the opioid epidemic. Tickets are $5 and may be purchased in advance online at

France will return to the spotlight on Thursday, April 18 when French chef Francis Pons creates a Parisian menu with a curated wine pairing at a LIFF fundraiser at Francis’ Restaurant in Surf City in an event called “An Evening in Paris.” The final event in the run-up to this year’s festival will be held back at the Long Beach Island Foundation on Saturday, April 27 when the official kick-off party will be held at a yet to be determined time. The festival lineup will be announced during an evening that will also feature films, food, music and an auction. Keep following The SandPaper for more information about the latter events as they approach.

So, bon appetit, whether you’re hungry for movies or food and wine.

— Rick Mellerup

Reposted from The Sandpaper