The festival, now firmly established as a major summer event in the region, runs through July 17. It is highly regarded both among film industry insiders and the movie-watching public as a vital showcase for independent filmmakers, representing all genres of movie making from around the world. Its international appeal also has a distinctly local flavor: 37 of the 158 films being screened are produced by filmmakers from Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
This year’s slate of films is especially strong, according to Debra Markowitz, director of Nassau County’s Film Office, a result of LIIFE being honored by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the “25 coolest film festivals in the world.”
“That was such a great honor for us,” says Markowitz, who is also executive director of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation, which presents the Long Island International Film Expo. “And as a result, we were swamped with movies this year. We ended up with 500 selections to choose from. It really is pretty impressive for our film festival.”
Many of these entries have a Long Island connection, highlighting the region’s continuing appeal. “The state of our film industry is great,” Markowitz says. “So many shows [and films] want to film here. The list keeps growing.”
“What makes LIIFE such an important film festival is not only that we bring short and feature-length independent films to the public, but also that LIIFE has evolved into a network for the growing film community. Filmmakers come from all over, returning year after year, meeting old friends and finding new contacts, and to take advantage of our many panels. They are greeted warmly and find other filmmakers with whom to develop projects. Many lasting connections are made every year. “