The second-annual New York Long Island Film Festival hit the Lindenhurst Moose Lodge in front of a live sold-out crowd last weekend.
As the festival dates approached and with movie theaters in New York remaining closed, festival creator and Director Gerry Ferretti refused to follow the trend as one by one film festivals went virtual, drive-in or shut down completely. Ferretti was committed to giving the filmmakers and their teams the opportunity to show their films, receive feedback and audience reaction and network with other creative minds and talents.
“We felt the frustrations of the filmmaker and the performers in getting their work seen in 2020 and wanted to do something to change that and once Gerry commits to something nothing will change his mind,” program Director, film judge and actress Katie Schrader said.
Once the Moose Lodge location was arranged the goal was to create a movie theater that wasn’t a movie theater and would not be restricted by the movie theater rules.
“We will essentially follow restaurant and catering protocol to a ‘T’ and, oh yeah, show movies,” Ferretti said.
Following all New York State social distancing guidelines and requiring face masks, the festival moved forward. A brand new 3600 lumen projector and screen was purchased and tickets went up for sale. With only a few short weeks to get the word out no one knew what to expect, but by three days before the event NYLIFF was completely sold out.
In what was a first for 2020 during the pandemic, NYLIFF screened more than 30 films in front of a live and enthusiastic audience “just like films were intended to be shown when the filmmakers created them,” said Ferretti.
With chairs spaced out six feet apart the audiences came and went for the various three-to-six film blocks throughout the days and nights.
“This is a fantastic festival…so happy to be a part of it,” said Stray Dogs actor Skyler Pinkerton who traveled from California to Lindenhurst specifically for the festival.
Patrick Devaney, director of Identity Check said, “Our film has been accepted into 26 festivals in 2020, yet NYLIFF was the first opportunity we had to show it in front of a live audience!”
Committed to a diverse platform and billing itself as the “festival for everyone,” NYLIFF continued to be open to all genres, budgets and subject matter. Returning filmmaker Phil Snyder may have said it best.
“The folks at NYLIFF not only pulled this off under adversity,” he said, “but the team proved for a second year in a row much they care about the filmmakers and their work.”
Daryl Denner, director of Unspoken said the folks at NYLIFF “made me feel like a part of a family and not just some stranger.”
For more scene & seen event photos visit longislandpress.com/category/scene-seen