Long Island International Film Expo: Chatting with Debbie

August 22, 2014

A real film family– Expo director Debra Markowitz makes lifelong friends at The Long Island International Film Expo.

debra markowitz, long island international film expo, summer film festival, bell more movies

Photo courtesy of Debra Markowitz.

Part of the Audience Awards’ “Top 10 Must See Summer Film Festivals,” The Long Island International Film Expo is a collaborative independent film festival that happens every summer in Long Island. It is a gathering place for filmmaker, film connoisseurs and directors from around the world.  At the Long Island Film Expo, visitors feel like they are a part of a creative family. It is a fruitful expo, bringing creative people together and hosting discussions regarding “distribution, scriptwriting, and legal music.” In an interview with executive director Debbie Markowitz, I found out more about the expo’s featured films and 17-year history. 

Q: When did the Long Island International Film Expo begin?

A: The Long Island International Film Expo, or LIIFE, began when we were approached by the Long Island Film Foundation 17 years ago. It was so successful the first year that it’s been growing by leaps and bounds.

Q: What is the most exciting aspect of the Expo?

A: What I love is coming across a film that is amazing. There are filmmakers who make another film just so they can come back. One Filipino filmmaker who usually comes every year throws up her arms when she enters our office and shouts, “I’m home.” LIIFE is a real film community. Filmmakers from all around the world stay for a week and collaborate with other people. Filmmakers find other filmmakers to work with, and celebrities and filmmakers find one another.

Q: Which films should we keep our eye on this year?

A: Historian was the opening film and mainstream drama. Then there was Cigarette Soup, which was made by a local filmmaker about soldiers who are embedded in a bunker. We had 158 films, 121 of which were shorts.  We closed with a selection of shorts.

Q: What’s your favorite part of working with the Long Island Film Expo?

A: My favorite part of the job is getting to meet people that I’ve never met before, including filmmakers whose films I have seen. It’s great to get to meet them and we often become lifelong friends.

To learn more about the Long Island International Film Expo, go here.


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