By R. J. NICHOLAS
LIIFE is currently celebrating it’s 20th year in existence in Bellmore Long Island, NY between July 12 – 20, 2017. Each year LIIFE attracts short and feature-length independent films from around the world, spotlighting films made on Long Island and concluding with a star-studded award celebration happening this evening, July 20th at 5:00PM.
Director of the Nassau County Film Office, Debra Markowitz presides over the Nassau County Film Commission, now known as the Nassau County Film Advisory Board, and chairs as its Executive Director. Ms. Markowitz is also the Vice President of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation, Long Island’s most established and largest not-for-profit agency dedicated to the support and promotion of independent filmmaking. Under her directorship, the Foundation spawned the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE.)
The independent films that screened at this expo the past week were powerful and thought provoking while the cinematography, editing and sound quality of each film was superb. You didn’t realize you were attending an independent film festival until the hosts invited the filmmakers up for a Question and Answer session. Actresses Trish Appello & Danielle Nicolette Najarian brought the stage to LIIFE this week with their upbeat introductions of each film block and their comedic, fun loving personalities that united the audience and filmmakers during the conclusion of each event.
The panels that were held throughout the day in the filmmakers lounge next door were extremely informative and highly educational. They empowered beginning filmmakers and even re-energized the most experienced of Hollywood professionals that were in attendance. Filmmakers were interviewed throughout the day in the filmmakers lounge headed by Director of Photography, John Marean, red carpet host and actress, Danielle Nicolette Najarian and LIIFE’s resident interviewer, Kyra. The filmmakers lounge also housed the opening night gala, a filmmakers breakfast Sunday morning and a beer and wine bar that was open and available to filmmakers throughout the week.
Ms. Markowitz has steadily increased production of movies, television programs and commercials that are shot in Nassau County, logging over 650 production days and over $80M in positive economic impact. Under her auspices, Nassau County currently ranks #2 in New York State for the amount of documented production days, second only to New York City.
Debra Markowitz is also a freelance writer and novelist. The third book in her trilogy (following Naked in the Rain and Sarah and Caleb), Karmic Wind is set for release in 2013. For a complete list of her work, please visit her site, www.debramarkowitz.com.
Ms. Markowitz’s name can be found on the Long Island Press’ Power List, 50 Long Islanders Who Control Our Lives (2003 and 2012); Beverly Fortune’s 52 (2006); as the recipient of the prestigious George M. Estabrook Alumni Award for Distinguished Service (Hofstra University, 2011) and the 2012 Long Island Arts Council honoree as its Outstanding Advocate for the Arts.
Ms. Markowitz has acted as Casting Director, consultant, writer and producer on movie, television and commercial projects individually and with CastingKarma. She is one woman who has surely changed the quality of life for the film industry in Long Island, NY and is also doing a fine job conquering and mastering this experience we all like to call… LIIFE.
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