After thousands strolled the boardwalk and sat in the sand for a seaside showing of international films, founders of the Long Beach International Film Festival are already planning another event for 2014.
"We are absolutely planning on a third festival next year," said LBIFF cofounder Ingrid Dodd. "Right now we're working with Long Beach on grants from New York State to keep this going."
An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the second annual event on the boardwalk outside the Allegria Hotel Thursday night.
"It was so packed but the boardwalk kept flowing," said Dodd, adding, "When Dee Snider showed up, it was a mob scene!"
With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy still on their minds, festival founders agreed that this year, it was about the fighters of Long Beach.
"Instead of honoring the celebrities, we were honoring the citizens," said Dodd of the festival's "the show must go on" attitude.
The show included 10 foreign short films, free food, prizes, and celebrity appearances from musicians Dee Snider and Daniel Rodriguez, mixed martial artist Chris Weideman, and Rocky star Burt Young.
Young and Weideman put an emphasis on the fighting spirit filling the festival, a spirit Dodd said they wanted to hit home.
"We wanted to show that it's not how hard you're hit," said Dodd. "It's about fighting to get back up."
The Long Beach "fighters" and festival goers got the star treatment as they posed for pictures on a red carpet before finding a good viewing spot. Curled up with free popcorn in the sand or leaning against the brand new railings of the boardwalk, thousands stayed through the foggy night to watch the short films. Each lasting about 10 minutes, the short films ranged from witty cartoons to foreign tearjerkers, all created by up and coming filmmakers from around the world.
Portions of the proceeds from sales on the boardwalk and donations will be sent to help devastated families of Long Beach.