Tim Blake Nelson's movie version of his own play, The Grey Zone, will open the seventh annual Stony Brook Film Festival in Long Island. The festival runs July 17-27.
Nelson was primarily known as a stage actor when MCC Theatre produced The Grey Zone, a dark World War II drama about the members of the 12th Sonderkommando unit at Auschwitz. The unit included Jews who were allowed by the Nazis to kill their own. In secret, however, they planned a revolt. Among the characters are a Jewish doctor who performs medical experiments on prisoners and a traumatized young woman he tries to help.
The Grey Zone was critically hailed and became one of MCC's bigger hits. Since then, Nelson has written more plays and directed a couple films ("Eye of God," "O"). His role in the Coen Brothers' "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" made his a viable film actor.
The film of The Grey Zone stars Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Steve Buscemi, David Arquette, Natasha Lyonne, Frank Whaley, Annabeth Gish, Jean Stapleton and Daniel Benzali.
—By Robert Simonson