Running July 7-14, 2011, the Long Island International Film Expo returns for its 14th year, showing over 115 films made up by a large number of documentary and foreign films. From the official press release:

The Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE) will hold its 14th annual installment at the historic Bellmore Movies from July 7-14, 2011. Showing over 115 films from around the world, one thing has been noticed by the selection committee: “Eleven documentaries were released theatrically last year, more than any other year to date, and even our programming lends to the fact that this is the year of the documentary,” said Nassau County Film Office Director Debra Markowitz.

While critically acclaimed short and feature-length, student and animated films will be shown, the abundance of documentaries and foreign films will take the lead this year.

Of particular note, the Irish/Bosnian film, As If I Am Not There, will be the official opening night feature on Friday, July 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm. Although a feature film and not a documentary, this film realistically portrays the atrocities that occurred during the Bosnian/Serbian war. As If I Am Not There opened at the Toronto Film Festival and has won many awards at major film festivals worldwide. LIIFE is proud to have it as part of its programming.

Documentaries to be screened cover subjects including how a community comes together to honor their wounded warriors; how Burmese citizens suffer adverse conditions in their native home; how a family has to collect cans to survive after the father becomes unemployed; and how a high school football team from Dearborn, Michigan prepares for its big crosstown rivalry game during the last ten days of Ramadan. A psychologist shows how he uses trauma techniques to treat survivors of hurricane Katrina. Another documentary follows two MMA fighters in their training and daily lives, while another documents the commemorating of mass graves in Poland many years after the Holocaust. Long Island Uncovered is a documentary film that takes an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at the private lives of Long Island’s top tribute/cover band musicians. From the mid-life crisis based King of the Hamptons with cameos by Alec Baldwin, Billy Joel and others, to the history of John Muir, the founder of the New York parks system, there truly is something for everyone.

Inspirational films abound with Defining Beauty: Ms. Wheelchair America and Composed, a documentary that follows brilliant musician Chris Errera, a working composer about to release his first album. Trained in classical piano since the age of four, his day job is teaching autistic children music composition and theory. Chris was born with diastrophic dwarfism and stands at only 4’6”. Fighting an already uphill battle, he lost the use of his legs and lower body in 2000 to spinal stenosis. Chris is a man with a goal, passion, and a love for music and plans to perform for both the opening and closing night parties at the LIIFE.

Amongst the short and feature-length foreign, student, animated and every other film imaginable, LIIFE even presents a horror block for those interested in that genre. Butch Patrick (Eddie from the Munsters) is planning to make an appearance to support the short horror film in which he plays a role.

Besides the many Long Island, New York and USA films, films can been seen from France, Venezuela, South Korea, Singapore, Israel, Italy, Australia, Canada, Palestinian Territories, London, Burma, Thailand, Ireland, Macedonia Syria and Sweden.

Lily of the Feast is a short film produced by Nassau County’s Michael Ricigliano, Jr. and directed by Federico Castellucio (Furio from the Sopranos), starring Paul Sorvino and Tony Lo Bianco. Federico, Tony and Michael plan to be on hand for a Q&A after the film.

Jesse, a feature film directed by Suffolk’s Fred Carpenter features Armand Assante, William Forsythe and Eric Roberts.

While aiming to entertain, LIIFE also prides itself on educating. Panels on script writing, film distribution and a filmmakers’ breakfast panel happen during the weekend. There is also an opening night buffet and tech award ceremony on Friday night.

At the closing party and awards ceremony, actor Ed Burns will accept a Creative Achievement Award from the not-for-profit 501(c)3 group the Long Island Film-TV Foundation. County Executive Edward Mangano will accept a Benefactor of the Arts Award as well. More celebrities and notables will be on hand to present awards to the winning films and filmmakers, their names to be confirmed as we get closer to opening night. As always, celebrities appear schedule permitting, and people drop in and out leading up to the actual event. Film festival winners are chosen by a combination of judges’ votes and audience ballots.

The schedule for the Long Island International Film Expo and ticket information can be seen at Or call 516 571-3168 or 516 783-3199.

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