Monday, July 19, 2010

Purgatory Comics Wins Best LI Feature, Nomination for Best Feature

Last night was the 2010 Long Island International Film Expo closing ceremony and party. It was a big day for Purgatory Comics and we've got a lot to go over, so let's get started!

You're going to see a lot of familiar friends in this post. Recall Todd Giglio, writer and director of Drawing with Chalk. He took home the Best 1st Feature Film Award at the ceremony.

Sean King, who played the zombie in Purgatory Comics (I don't think a lot of people know that), stopped by to check out the ceremony. Here he is with Drew and I at the pre-party.

My new friend, assistant director and tie-knot-fixer Jim Cook.

And of course Leo Fiorica, who we met in the last blog entry when his film screened in the same film block as Purgatory Comics.

Brian O'Halloran (Clerks) showed up to cohost the ceremony, to my complete surprise. I first met Brian when I interviewed him for my old web series back in 2003, and then again at the Clerks 2 premiere at the IFC theater. If you're around Holmdel New Jersey, you can see him perform in the Crucible on select days from July 22-25th.

Here's Peter Greene (The Mask) who presented at the ceremony.

The beautiful acoustic music of Gathering Time opened the show.

Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling opened with a set of jokes, and then began presenting the awards.

Here's where things get crazy. We already knew about the 3 awards Purgatory Comics had won, but it turns out we were also nominated for 2 others! And one of those was Best Long Island Feature. Another nominee in that category worth mentioning is a film called A Little Help, starring Jenna Fischer (the Office) and Chris O'Donnell (NCIS).

Needless to say I was shocked to win. I tried to deliver a decent acceptance speech but I was quite overwhelmed. I thanked my family, LIFTF, fellow filmmakers who helped make Purgatory Comics happen, my girlfriend, and of course the cast and crew.

Here I am returning to my seat, glowing because I won a trophy but also a little starstruck because many celebrities shook my hand on the way back to my seat, including Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull).

I returned to the stage to accept Angela's Best Actress in a Film Award, and I made a joke that if any actresses in the audience want to work with me in the future, I'll get them an award too. A little later Brian did a bit about how I thanked my girlfriend earlier, and then was propositioning the other girls in the audience. When I returned to the stage to accept Jonathan's Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Feature, he came back with some playful jokes and it led to some great banter.

But later I got to tell him how much it meant to me to share a stage with him. There's no doubt that Clerks is a source of inspiration for Purgatory Comics, so to receive an award and be onstage with Brian was a very poetic moment in my life. Here he is with me and Stevan Mena (Malevolence).

Here's what made my night, maybe even more than the awards I won. We were nominated for Best Feature, and the company we were in were some quality, high-end productions. Stevan's prequel Bereavement won the award, and I can't wait to see it.

Folks in the New York area will no doubt recognize Jill Nicolini, an anchor for WPIX, actress, and media personality.

I got to do a lot of interviews through the course of the evening. Hopefully I'll be able to post some here in the future. In most talks, I mentioned what a struggle it was to make the film, and how grateful filmmakers are to have the support of an organization like LIFTF.

Here's J.Mullee, a screenwriter who won the writing competition. Thank God she didn't shoot the film yet or I would've had some serious competition!

Here's actor Drew Henriksen and I trying to look tough. I look startled. Which is why I don't do much acting.

And here's Michael Arbouet, the award-winning cinematographer of Last Day of Summer.

Cheryl Martin returned for stage duties and interviewing again, and also to tease me about a great idea she has for a script she's going to write (but not tell me what the idea is).

Here's Cheryl interviewing 4 winners at once. I had already put my trophy in the car so I held my DVD.

And here's me getting one last post-ceremony interview.

It was an amazing night of acknowledgment, networking, and overall fun. LIFTF puts on a hell of a film festival that exceeded my expectations as well as many of the other filmmakers there. It felt great to be in my "element" too and make some new friends, and it definitely motivated me to get started on a new project. So here's one more public thank you to Debra Markowitz, LIFTF, and everyone else who made the festival happen.

One last note, I do have pics from the panel I was in the day before. I'll post them soon, but come on . . . the news in this post just couldn't wait.

UPDATE: Here is a complete list of winners.

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