RWO's September 2020 Edition

Page 218



Overcoming COVID19, thriving and succeeding Debra Markowitz serves as the Director of the Nassau County Film Office. During the four administrations she served in her her 32-year tenure, Ms. Markowitz has steadily increased production of movies, television programs and commercials that are shot in Nassau County, logging over 1000 production days and over $150M in positive economic impact per year. Ms. Markowitz also serves as Vice President of the Long Island Film/TV Foundation, Long Island’s most established and largest not-for-profit agency dedicated to the support and promotion of Independent filmmaking. Under her directorship, the Foundation spawned the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE). Heading into its 23rd year, LIIFE enjoys enormous popularity, attracting short and featurelength independent films from around the world, spotlighting films made on Long Island and concluding with a star-studded award celebration. The Foundation also runs the Scared for Your LIIFE short horror festival. An enthusiastic filmmaker herself, Ms. Markowitz, an award-winning writer and director, has acted as Casting Director, consultant, writer, director, actor and producer on movie, television and commercial projects. Her projects include My Cross to Bear (Producer/Casting Director), which screened at the prestigious Academy Award qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival, Chosen (Director/Producer/ Casting Director) which screened at the Academy Award Qualifying, LA Shorts ,Living with the Dead (Executive Producer/ 218


Casting Director), BIRR (Casting Director/ Producer/Actor),as well as many others. Her personal projects which she wrote, directed, cast and produced include awardwinning short films, The Last Taxi Driver (starring Robert Clohessy from Blue Bloods), Leaving (starring Sal Rendino of Blindspot) and By Blood (featuring Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling) which are all available for viewing on Amazon Prime and have screened on DirecTV. She has two award-winning films on the festival circuit (The Choice and The Waiting Room), one about to hit the festival circuit (Gem and the Photo Op), three films in post (feature film, The Only Woman in the World, pilot, Couple of Guys, short film, Confidant (starring Eddie McGee from 911), and short film, Living Like Kings. She is in pre-production on short film, Just Look Into My Eyes (starring AbigailHawk from Blue Bloods, and Lukas Hassel from Limitless). Debra teaches actors workshops as both director and casting director at the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts and has been a judge on the LaGuardia Arts panel for potential incoming drama students and the Locust Valley High School Student Film Festival. Debra was also a past recipient of the Town of Hempstead’s Woman of Distinction Award. Ms. Markowitz is a proud member of New York Women in Film & Television and Women in Media, is an ex-officio member of the New York Production Alliance and is a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International. She is also a member of the LaGuardia Performing Arts High School Drama and Technical Theater Advisory Board (the FAME high school), a former member of the Discover Long Island Tourism Board and a member of the Westfield International Film Festival.

Debra is also a freelance writer and novelist. You can find her name on the Long Island Press’ Power List, 50 Long Islanders Who Control Our Lives (2006 and 2012); Beverly Fortune’s, Fortune 52 (2006); as the recipient of the prestigious George M. Estabrook Alumni Award for Distinguished Service (Hofstra University, 2011) and the 2012 Long Island Arts Council honoree as its Outstanding Advocate for the Arts. Debra was one of the originators behind The Master Shift Global Meditation event, which now has over two million followers on Facebook. An avid yoga practitioner and a Reiki healer, Debra lives in Merrick with her husband, and co-manager of Intention Films and Media, John Marean and their faithful rescue dog, Gracie. Debra thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me about your career and your accomplishments. You are a very well acclaimed producer/writer/director/novelist and an inspiration to all women. But let’s start from the very beginning. What inspired you to step into this line of business, the entertainment, and start writing and directing? I always knew that I wanted to be a writer, and wrote my first book when I was six years old. It was never published, but I always felt that I was a writer in my heart. I wrote a few awful feature screenplays, but never did anything with them. I wrote the first novel in my Karmic trilogy, Naked in the Rain, in 2001, and I loved the feedback I got. I know the other two novels in the trilogy (Sarah and Caleb and then Karmic Wind) were written better, but the story still stands. About eight years ago I started casting and producing for others, but then I wrote a little zombie comedy called The Last Taxi

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