Last night was the closing ceremony of the 2015 Long Island International Film Expo. Some awards were announced a couple of weeks ago so we already knew that Hannah Jane McMurray won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Halina.
What we didn't know, however, was if we were nominated in any other categories. But it turns out we had a nomination in Best Long Island Film, a category which includes both short and feature length productions! And in a category that held 7 amazing nominations, Halina won!
This is the same award that Purgatory Comics won 5 years ago.
It goes without saying that it is a tremendous honor to win these awards. From the ceremony, you can tell that this festival has grown exponentially in the last 5 years, and the competition has become much more fierce as more talented filmmakers from around the world are discovering LIIFE. So this is a huge win for both Halina and Warm Milk Productions, and hopefully only the beginning.
Onto some pictures! Here's some Halina/The Burden of Choice crew on the red carpet before the ceremony, including Marc, Peter and Rob and myself.
Here's a picture I grabbed from the ceremony of the hilarious host Dot Com (as seen on 30 Rock).
After the show! Peter demanded I do the multiple trophy pose and I complied.
Here's Elias Plagianos (winner of the Best Director award) weirding out Mara (1st AD from The Burden of Choice) and DP Marc. Elias and I also wound up doing festival and panel rounds back in 2010, so it was really cool to have crossed paths again and receive recognition together again.
The Lifetime Achievement Award this year went to John Amos. Now, many people know him from Good Times, or Roots, or Die Hard 2 . . . but I know him most as Cleo McDowell in my all-time favorite comedy movie Coming to America. Meeting him and getting this picture was a tremendous honor.
Festival wins are always exhilarating. But as someone who's been a Long Islander his entire life, a win from this festival means much more for me. This is recognition from my home; my community. These are the people that, like me, come from New York and also like me, have a burning passion to tell stories. Last night was a night I will always be incredibly thankful for.
Here is the complete list of winners.