liife.jpgWhile New York City is unquestionably the moviemaking hub of the East Coast, over the years the neighboring community of Long Island has become a destination for indie moviemakers in its own right. Several high-profile festivals take place on the skinny stretch of land throughout the year, and the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE) is an event that exemplifies the area’s growing film culture. With panels on everything from screenwriting to the legal issues surrounding music usage, and prizes that include free editing time and gear rentals, LIIFE is geared toward growing the local moviemaking community, and bringing the international film world to the most populated island in the U.S.

One of LIIFE’s greatest features is its ability to draw the attendance and support of the moviemaking community, with actors (and L.I. natives) Steve Buscemi and Steve Guttenberg as advisors to the festival, and gala parties attended by the likes of Edie Falco, Billy Baldwin and Danny Aiello. Festival director Debra Markowitz notes the diversity of the movies and moviemakers as a part of what makes the Expo unique: “For some filmmakers, they are on their tenth film. And then there’s the lawyer, singer, accountant, teacher or local power utility employee who just has to make a film—and sometimes, you can’t tell the difference.”

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Sound Off: What are your favorite Long Island-based films? Your favorite Long Island moviemakers? Talk back in the comments section!