Gerry Ferretti and Katie Schader’s New York Long Island Film Festival (NYLIFF) filled the Lindenhurst Moose Lodge to capacity on Saturday, Oct. 22 for its closing night.
The festival presented 87 films in total over the three days and closed with the much-anticipated premiere of the first episode of Ferretti’s dramedy series, The Fontanas. The line to get in was out the door and the lodge was standing room only.
“NYLIFF is like no other film festival I have attended. And I attend many,” said Maria Filippone, co-winner of the Best Actress award for her film Every Good Piece. “It’s like a family here. Gerry, Katie, Paul Laudicano, and Donna Morales make the filmmakers feel special.”
From its first year in 2019 to 2022, NYLIFF has tripled in size in both films submitted and people in attendance. Filmmakers and their families, casts, and crews travelled from all over Long Island, out of state, and even one filmmaker from India to attend the event.
Ferretti and Schrader created NYLIFF with the central vision of bringing people together, helping filmmakers and their teams further their careers through networking and collaboration, and exchanging ideas with other like-minded people.
“It’s not really about the awards and the laurels,” Ferretti said. “It is about meeting the right people, to help develop and improve your next project, connect with others and elevate your career to the next level.”
Numerous returning filmmakers were in attendance as well as countless new ones, many emerging from a 2-year Covid layoff from the business with a new and positive outlook.
“After making my new film, I knew I wanted to return to NYLIFF,” said John Piazza, creator of the award-winning film STOP.
All the filmmakers discussed their craft during the breaks between blocks of films, and the vibe in the room was one of true celebration.
“We are always sad to see it end,” said Connecticut’s Nick Rapuano, winner of numerous awards for his film Sandstone, including Best Feature.
Jim Morrison, director of Rent-A-Neighbor, added, “Gerry and Katie and the team truly care about every aspect of the festival. We will definitely be back.”
With official photographer Ed Shin and red carpet interviewer Lilo Grunwald on hand, the festival atmosphere continued until after the awards presentation. More than 200 people attended the closing night of films and awards ceremony. Filmmakers of all ages praised the day’s events, including the Casual Crew, a team of college student filmmakers who have attended since the beginning.
Everywhere in the room people chatted, laughed and supported one another. “That is what it’s all about,” said Ferretti.
Submissions for NYLIFF 2023 are open. To submit your film please visit www.filmfreeway.com/nyliff.