From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry ( ann-parry.com )
July 22, 2017
Wednesday afternoon I visited the Filmmaker’s Lounge and Bellmore Movies theater, where the Long Island International Film Expo was in full swing. LIIFE was celebrating its 20th Anniversary!
After capturing photos and a short video of MAGGIE WAGNER, the vivacious actor who plays Mom in the short film MOM, I spoke with TRISH APPELLO, the festival Coordinator and Secretary of the non-profit LITV/Film Foundation, which, along with the Nassau County Film Commission, presents the Festival.
When Appello told me about the feature documentary Where Have You Been, Lou DiMaggio? – the last filmed being screened that last night of the festival – I decided to return after dinner to catch it.
“MARIAM’S DAY OFF”
That night I arrived in time to first watch Mariam’s Day Off, a foreign film by Director ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, who filmed it in Armenia.
I found the placid-on-the-surface story about a young prostitute who ends up spending a day with an artist and his family at his art studio so emotionally compelling and poignant that it wasn’t until about half way into the short film (0:44:22 min) that I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s in black and white!”
- Click Slideshow link at end to see more photos of LIIFE 2017
“WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, LOU DiMAGGIO?”
The next and final screening was the documentary Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio? – a feature film (75 min) directed by BRAD KUHLMAN about comedian LOU DiMAGGIO considering returning to comedy after being away from the stage for 20 years.
For more than one reason, I was glad Appello had enthusiastically recommended seeing Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio?
For starters, it was fun to see so many of DiMaggio’s fellow comedians – including Joy Behar, Richard Belzer, Rebecca Corry, Larry David, Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, Howie Mandel, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld.
And though perhaps painful, it certainly wasn’t boring to see Lou DiMaggio bomb, seemingly in slow motion, when he performed at Upright Citizens Brigade, a NYC comedy school. Later, in stark, happy contrast, we saw a WOW performance DiMaggio give after he both prepared for it and heeded advice to use his own life in his comedy.
And perhaps what made the strongest impression on me in Where Have You Gone, Lou DiMaggio? was cautionary advice DiMaggio’s fellow comedian gave him about returning to stand up comedy. In a way, it reminded me of advice my late mom, Mary Ann, a professional opera singer when she was single, gave her children and voice students:
“The world has more outstanding singers than it can afford to support. And the difference between the best and next best in a major competition or audition can be imperceptible even to an expert – so luck will play a big part in the career each has. — Pursue a living in the arts only if you’re absolutely driven to AND you can handle the competition and pressure.”
Mom – who was Seriously talented, sparkling and gorgeous – turned down an offer to be “sponsored” for the Arthur Godfrey Show when she was in her 20s. She would explain it was because the family of her (future-ex) fiancé Jimmy Hopkins wouldn’t like a daughter-in-law to be in show business. But many decades later, Mom told me she finally admitted to herself she was happy for the excuse and really passed on the offer because she didn’t want to deal with that sort of pressure.
For the Q&A, eight filmmakers associated with the films screened that night participated. After hearing the candid, detailed answers to the audience’s thought-provoking questions, I wished I’d arrived in time to watch all the films.
Watch the following video of comedian Lou DiMaggio at Q&A to find out these answers:
- Why didn’t DiMaggio need a mic to answer the audience question?
- What did DiMaggio find was the biggest obstacle, for himself, to making the movie?
- What did DiMaggio’s say when he saw the movie the first time?
Video Above: Lou DiMaggio answers Q&A question at LIIFE 2017. [The Q&A did not take place aboard a ship on stormy seas, despite appearances to contrary.]
I was unable to attend LIIFE’s 20th Anniversary Awards Ceremony the next night, July 20th, but I smiled a big smile when I learned soon after that Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio? won the Best Documentary Feature award!