Best Director award-winner Stan Schofield and cast of Parting Words celebrate their award. Pictured are Stan Schofield, who also won for Best Director, Joe Narcisco, Kevin Kash, Nicholas Giordano and Long Island Film Festival Executive Director Francis J. Leik. Photo by Debbie Yale

Long Island Film Festival's Best of Fest Anniversary Tour culminated on Friday, Feb. 27 with a the screening of the festival's best picture, Parting Words. The presentation of 15 filmmaker awards, three LIFF Spirit Awards and a networking after-party crowned the exciting 25th edition of the festival.

In all, 18 awards were presented to filmmakers, actors, composers and independent film supporters before a packed audience. The festival was hosted at Perspective Studios in the City of Glen Cove.

City of Glen Cove Mayor Ralph V. Suozzi, New York State Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, Nassau County Presiding Officer Diane Yatauro and comedian Sal Richards all participated in the event. Richards was said to have the audience in stitches when he scooped up a handful of award trophies sitting on a tray next to the podium and started to walk off the stage. He was the subject of the documentary Mr. Laughs: A Look Behind The Curtain, which received Best Documentary Award.

Mayor Suozzi said, "As an avid supporter of the arts and a former amateur filmmaker, I welcomed the opportunity to give my support to the Long Island Film Festival. This was a wonderful opportunity for our community to experience the work of the newest participants in the industry. Over the years, Glen Cove has been the site of several movie filmings including Sabrina, North by Northwest, Annie Hall and Batman Forever among others. I am pleased that the LIFF chose to honor local Glen Covers as both Carla Santella and Jeannine DiMenna have contributed so much to promoting the arts locally. I extend special appreciation to Francis Leik for his enthusiasm and for all that he has done to organize and promote this event. I look forward to welcoming the Long Island Film Festival back to Glen Cove next year."

According to the festival planners, this year's festival attendees were treated to a true peoples' indie film festival. There was a diverse program of features, shorts, documentaries, avant garde, animation and educational panels highlighting some of Long Island's gifted and promising talent.

The festival also featured a special evening at the cozy Creative Arts Studio in Sea Cliff with a line up of 10 short subject film screenings.

The LIFF Spirit Awards were presented to Glen Cove's own Carla Santella, executive editor of The Boulevard magazine, Jeannine DiMenna, chef of Page One Restaurant in Glen Cove, and Dylan Skolnick, co-director of the Cinema Arts Center in Huntington.

Carla Santella said "The arts have always been an important part of my life and I thank Francis Leik and the Long Island Film Festival for honoring me with the LIFF Spirit Award. In a perfect world, a film of the event would be repeated nine times a day all week long on The Million Dollar Movie, but I'm content with the memory in my mind and the trophy on my mantel."

Assemblyman Lavine added, "I congratulate the Long Island Film Festival's work in keeping independent films and filmmakers flourishing and was happy to participate in the festival this year. The closing night awards ceremony was particularly gratifying as I was on hand to see two longtime friends honored with LIFF Spirit awards."

The festival now heads out to Perspective Studios in Santa Monica, California to finish the last leg of its Montauk to Manhattan to Hollywood tour on May 29 - 30.

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