The inaugural three-day The New York Long Island Film Festival debuted Nov. 7 at Seaford Cinemas.
The newest film festival on LI was the brainchild of Gerry Ferretti and Katie Schrader, his friend and co-star of his first indie film, The Mark. The festival drew filmmakers from New York, Long Island, and beyond seeking out New York as a market to showcase their films.
The mission of the new film fest is being open to everyone regardless of budget, sex, color, genre, race, sexual orientation, what kind of software it was edited on or what camera was used. The only criteria is that filmmakers be passionate, take their craft seriously, do their best with the resources they had, and tell a compelling and interesting story.
The goal was also to create an opportunity for filmmakers who might not be able to get into the increasing number of festivals, especially as the larger ones cater more to films with “star power.”
One by one, as the word got out, NYLIFF started receiving shorts, feature films, student films, music videos, screenplays from Long Island, New York, out of state, and even numerous other countries. As films came in, the judges watched many films, taking great strides to evaluate each fairly and honestly, with an open mind and staying true to the core principles of NYLIFF. As a filmmaker, Gerry knew how deflating it can be to receive a rejection from a festival and now we was on the other side of it.
“This was the only part of creating NYLIFF I had not anticipated,” Ferretti said. “I did not look forward to informing filmmakers that their film could not get into our festival.”
Even adding to the schedule, they had to turn away dozens of filmmakers. At the end of the process, the settled on five blocks of 38 films, with a wide range of shorts and feature films, music videos, and documentaries, with the furthest entry coming from New Zealand.
Filmmakers came to attend NYLIFF from as far as California. The first day of the festival was a near sellout. The final night’s block was a completely sold out show. The after party was held at Runyon’s restaurant across the street.
As the winners proudly accepted their scrolls, everyone could feel that they were part of something that had made a difference in people’s lives. Filmmaker John Piazza, who created a short comedy called Participant, indicated that after a number of setbacks, he had considered getting out of the business. But being accepted into NYLIFF helped him to reconsider.
And if NYLIFF can be instrumental in doing that, then they have surely succeeded in their goal, the organizers said.
NYLIFF is accepting submissions for 2020 starting on Nov. 15, 2019. Submissions can be made by logging onto FilmFreeway.com and searching NYLIFF or The New York Long Island Film Festival. They can be reached by contacting Gerry Ferretti at [email protected] or [email protected] or by visiting nyliff.com.