By Nick Christophers
It is without question an exciting time for independent film makers worldwide who have found a platform to expose their talents. Independent film festivals are flourishing all around the New York area some large and some small. But the message is loud and clear that they are becoming a force in their own right.
For one week the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE) has brought to center stage some amazing talent that left a mark on the film circuit. Films like “Playing Dirty”, “Prom Mom” and “Hungry” strong projects that represented not only the diversity but the pure talent at LIIFE. We caught up with one of the founders of LIIFE, Debra Markowitz. She along with Henry and Anne Stampfel put LIIFE on the map.
“We are in our 21st year as we started in multiple venues and settled her in at the Bellmore Theatre which has been great. LIIFE is what we consider a film community. This year we have 147 shorts, features along with webisodes and music videos. Not to mention the amazing panelists and award recipients like Danny Aiello and Kevin Browne.”
Besides the great film projects the film-makers, actors and guests enjoyed the film-makers lounge that offered them the opportunity to network and share ideas. It was conveniently located next to the theatre. So far since the festival opened on July 13th the feedback has been nothing put positive.
“This is a wonderful festival, well organized with terrific films. We meet great film-makers from around the globe like Elias Plagianos who was on the Directors panel. The both of us travel to many festivals and this one was special,” Tom and Jillie Simon (Hungry).
The closing ceremony was set for July 19, 2018 where awards were presented to film-makers and honorees. Danny Aiello received a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Kevin Browne who has been a supporter of the Festival since the beginning. He was given the Friend of the Foundation Award and Chris Roach (Kevin Can Wait) received the Rising Star Award.
It was great to see Long Island becoming a haven for many film festivals where most of them were either in Manhattan or other boroughs. The only wrinkle in the festival as Debra put it is; “If we had more sponsors to come on board we can make this even more spectacular. We do this on our own for our love of film as volunteers.”
It is very special that folks like Debra come along to support festivals such as this. To keep updated on the festival and for next year’s edition visit their website.
Categories: Things to do in New York City
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