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Long Island film expo opens in Bellmore

From left: Nick Cornish, Adam Storke, John Lavelle

From left: Nick Cornish, Adam Storke, John Lavelle (kneeling) and David Lansbury star in "Broadway's Finest" directed by Stephen Marro. Photo Credit: Arrested Development Productions

Sick of seeing the same Manhattan landmarks destroyed by aliens and superheroes? The Long Island International Film Expo has the antidote.

The Nassau County Film Office's 15th annual expo, which starts Thursday at Bellmore Movies, offers so many movies shot east of New York City that viewers stand a good chance of seeing their hometown on-screen -- and perhaps even a neighbor or two. In addition to narratives, documentaries and shorts, you'll see several music videos, which have become so popular that the expo this year instituted a separate award for the genre, to be presented by "American Idol" alum Robbie Rosen of Merrick. The schedule also includes panel discussions, an opening-night reception and an awards ceremony.

Huntington policeman writes an arresting screenplay

A lot of policemen think they have a screenplay in them. Sgt. Michael Lovaglio of Huntington is among the few who actually wrote one.

"The Night Never Sleeps," screening Friday at 9:30 p.m. at the Long Island International Film Expo, marks Lovaglio's screenwriting debut after nearly 30 years in the New York State Park Police, covering territory from the Bronx to Manhattan to Jones Beach.

Directed by Shirley-based auteur Fred Carpenter, "The Night Never Sleeps" stars Port Washington actor Dan Brennan and Robert Clohessy (HBO's "Oz") as detectives in Queens investigating the gang-related death of a fellow officer. The cast includes Eric Roberts as a sleazy pimp, Armand Assante as an Internal Affairs inspector, Lindenhurst's Russ Camarda as a psychotic gang enforcer and, in a small part, Lovaglio.

"You know, I never did this before," says Lovaglio, 56, a self-described film nut who only recently found the courage to start writing. His first efforts drew glimmers of interest, but Carpenter was the first filmmaker willing to dive into production. Lovaglio spent a month last summer whittling down his ambitious script to meet Carpenter's down-to-earth budget (most of the police officers in the film are real cops Lovaglio knows from New York City and Long Island), then spent several weeks in late autumn working on set with actors and rewriting scenes as needed.

"For me to actually write something, that's a major thing," says Lovaglio. "Police work was easy compared to trying to write this."

Below are some feature-film highlights. Each film is part of a block that includes several shorts; a typical block runs about two hours. All blocks begin at noon or later.

Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island

(Thursday at noon)

The expo's warm-up day begins with this documentary about an endangered species: local residences designed by superstar architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Edward Durell Stone and Marcel Breuer.

Purification

(Thursday night at 7:45)

This supernatural thriller, about a wealthy New York real estate investor with a dark past, was filmed all over Long Island by Bellmore director-producer Joseph Ciminera.

Ordinary Joe

(Friday at 3:30 p.m.)

A documentary from Roslyn filmmaker Carlo Gennarelli about Joe Sciacca, a roofer and Vietnam War veteran from Smithtown, who makes annual trips to Vietnam as a do-it-yourself charity worker.

Broadway's Finest

(Friday at 7 p.m.)

The official opening-night film, from Long Beach writer-director Stephen Marro, has already picked up several regional festival prizes, including two pre-announced technical awards from the expo (for editing and original score). It's a comedy about three writers who research their latest play by posing as undercover cops.

Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald

(Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

Liev Schreiber narrates this documentary about four men -- one from Great Neck -- who visit the Buchenwald concentration camp where they were imprisoned as boys.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

(Wednesday at noon)

A coming-of-age drama about a 12-year-old boy searching Manhattan for the keys needed to open a box that belonged to his dead father; Mira Sorvino and Joe Pantoliano co-star. It's part of a kid-friendly block of films that includes four shorts.

Blood, Sweat and Gears

(Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.)

The expo's final feature is a documentary about custom motorcycle builder Billy Lane, who tours the country tricking out bikes in a live show before thousands of fans.

WHAT Long Island International Film Expo

WHEN | WHERE Today through next Thursday at Bellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Ave.

TICKETS Individual screening blocks are $10; passes $25-$65; the closing-night awards ceremony is $55.

INFO 516-783-3199; liifilmexpo.org

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