Tag Archives: New York State Film Office

LIIFE 2017 Long Island International Film Expo

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
July 22, 2017

“Laugh about it, Shout about it….”

Wednesday afternoon I visited the Filmmaker’s Lounge and the 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.


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.

“Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes….”

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!”

Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. Director and writer ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN speaks during a Q&A at the Long Island International Film Expo LIIFE 2017. (© 2017 Ann Parry)

Bellmore, NY, USA. 19th July 2017. ARSHAK AMIRBEKYAN, Director of “Mariam’s Day Off” short film, speaks at LIIFE 2017. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)


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 Lou DiMaggio’s stand up comedy sets on his road to comeback were certainly memorable, and for wildly different reasons.

“We’d like to help you learn to help yourself….”

And what likely 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 – for it reminded me, in a way, of advice my late mom, an opera singer, gave her voice students, including my talented younger brother:

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.

When choosing if you’ll pursue a living in the arts, follow that path only if you’re absolutely driven to AND you can handle the competition and pressure.

Bellmore, New York, USA. 19th July 2017. L-R, HENRY STAMPFEL, BRAD KUHLMAN, LOU DiMAGGIO, TRISH APPELLO, woman, and ANNE STAMPFEL pose during final Screening Night of Long Island International Film Expo 2017 at Bellmore Movies. The last film screened was the feature documentary

Bellmore, NY, USA. 19th July 2017. L-R, HENRY STAMPFEL, BRAD KUHLMAN, LOU DiMAGGIO, TRISH APPELLO, MARIA PUSATERI, and ANNE STAMPFEL pose during final Screening Night of Long Island International Film Expo 2017 at Bellmore Movies. (© 2017 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)


“We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files….”

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.

  • View VIDEO of comedian Lou DiMaggio at the Q&A to hear behind-the-scenes info, including what the biggest obstacle was he faced making the documentary:

VIDEO above: Lou DiMaggio answers Q&A question at LIIFE 2017. [Q&A did not take place aboard a ship on stormy seas, despite appearances to contrary.] 

“And here’s to you….”

The next night at the Long Island International Film Expo Awards Ceremony, LIIFE celebrated its 20th Anniversary and 2017 winners, including the Best Documentary Feature:  “Where Have You Gone Lou DiMaggio?”

“Wo, wo, wo….”


Actor KEVIN JAMES autographs copies of front cover of script after taping of first episode of Kevin Can Wait, at Gold Coast Studios, Long Uskand, New York, 2016.

‘Kevin Can Wait’ Here on Long Island

From LONG ISLAND – by Ann Parry (ann-parry.com)
August 20, 2016

Last night my daughter Sue and I saw Episode 1 of Kevin Can Wait being filmed at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage. This new CBS sitcom, starring actor KEVIN JAMES, is the first prime-time network series originating from a Long Island studio – hello, Hollywood East!

Bethpage, New York, USA. August 19, 2016. Actor KEVIN JAMES (middle of low railing) the star of the CBS new comedy series

Bethpage, NY, USA. August 19, 2016. After filming’s done, actor KEVIN JAMES (low center by railing), star of CBS sitcom “Kevin Can Wait” set to premiere Sept. 19, 2016, autographs copies of 1st episode script cover. (© 2016 Ann Parry/Ann-Parry.com)


First we saw the pilot, which gave background to the episode being filmed that night. It introduced us to the Gable family: father Kevin, a newly retired police officer; mother Donna, a school nurse; and their children Kendra, Sara, and Jack.

We also met Kevin’s brother Kyle (played by James’s real life brother GARY VALENTINE), Kendra’s fiancé Chale (who looks like… no, I’ll leave that as a surprise), and Kevin’s three friends who are fellow retired police officers.

BTW from LI:   The Gable family lives in the south shore town of Massapequa, so they’d have to move just a few miles west to be the Gables of Merrick Gables, a 1920s development of Spanish stucco houses near my home.


Long Island’s JOEY KOLA was the warm up comedian. Over the course of the night, Joey identified dozens of cast and crew … had us sing along to songs the DJ played … shared anecdotes that were probably at least partly true… did fast and furious impressions (mostly of Long Islanders, of course)… and introduced countless audience members who were fellow comedians, notable Long Islanders, media personalities, and relatives of cast and crew.


The first scene filmed was the first scene of the episode, and there were several partial and whole retakes (that I found riveting) – of this scene and scenes in general – in order to tweak dialogue and action, and film from different viewpoints. As Director ANDY FICKMAN – who made some genuinely funny comments when cameras weren’t filming – explained to the audience, the sitcom studio filming is done in chronological order – except that night the last two scenes were reversed so Mary-Charles Jones, a minor, would finish her last scene before 11 PM.

I especially liked how Kevin Gable – the eponymous character played by star Kevin James, a gifted everyman physical comedian – didn’t always have to be the one getting the Big Laugh, so his character had the chance to convey emotion, doubt, conflicted feelings – you know, things real people feel while living life without a laugh track, let alone a live studio audience.

And I hope to see more of Chale, who stood out as a unique, engaging character.

BTW from LI:  “Chale” has a range of meanings throughout the world: Perhaps the village Chale in the Isle of Wight, England, is relevant. Also, “Chale” means “strong” and “manly” in Spanish, which might be something to think about.

Bethpage, New York, USA. August 19, 2016. Ann holds printed sheet with PRIORITY TICKETS to be in audience during taping of CBS new comedy series

Bethpage, NY, USA. August 19, 2016. Ann holds tickets to filming of CBS sitcom ‘Kevin Can Wait’ at Gold Coast Studios. (© 2016 Sue M)

When Executive Producer ROCK REUBEN took questions from the audience, he stated that KCW will be free of references to a certain infamous Massapequa resident from the early 1990s.

BTW from LI:  Wouldn’t it be fun if Kevin Can Wait has Kevin bumping into, or even hanging with, Long Island natives Alec Baldwin, Ray Romano,  Jerry Seinfeld – say, at All American Hamburger?

UPDATE Ray Romano guest-starred on KCW Oct. 23, 2016


Cameras weren’t allowed, but cell phones were, though they couldn’t be on/out during filming.

Media, including People magazine and Newsday, were there to cover the night, and though I wished now and then I were covering it with my Nikon D4, it was a nice change to be sitting there with my daughter and fellow audience members, simply enjoying the show – you know, things people do while living life without a pro DSLR and Press badge.


The long evening of filming was so much fun it sped by. If you’re in the Long Island area and interested in free tickets to a future filming of Kevin Can Wait at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, visit 1iota.com. And don’t forget to eat dinner before you go to the studio.

So, okay, maybe it’s partly because I’m from Long Island, plus there’s a retired police officer in our family, but I enjoyed watching the pilot and filming of the first episode of Kevin Can Wait, and can’t wait to see its premiere on Monday, September 19, 8:30 PM (EST) on CBS.


Cast includes:

  • Kevin James as Kevin Gable
  • Erinn Hayes as wife Donna
  • Taylor Spreitler as daughter Kendra
  • Ryan Cartwright as Kendra’s fiancé Chale
  • Mary-Charles Jones as younger daughter Sara
  • James DiGiacomo as son Jack
  • Gary Valentine as Kevin’s brother Kyle
  • Christopher Brian Roach as Mott
  • Leonard Earl Howze as Goody
  • Lenny Venito as Duffy

Episode 1 “Kevin and Donna’s Book Club”

  • Writer: Heather Flanders
  • Director: Andy Fickman

Executive Producers: Kevin James, Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben,  Jess Sussman

UPDATE   9/2016: During Z100’s Elvis Duran Morning Show, Sue spoke with Kevin James about how much she enjoyed being in audience for taping of “Kevin Can Wait” at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, NY

UPDATE    5/12/2018: CBS confirms cancellation of “Kevin Can Wait” after two seasons

“Kevin Can Wait”:  GALLERY

FREE SHOW TICKETS  at 1iota.com