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Gold Coast International Film Festival gets marketing boost from state funding

Ed Burns attended a preview of his new

Ed Burns attended a preview of his new movie, Fitzgerald Family Christmas, as part of the Gold Coast Film Festival. (Oct. 25, 2012) Photo Credit: Amanda Voisard

The Gold Coast International Film Festival will boost its marketing efforts after receiving $75,000 from New York State, officials said.

The weeklong film festival, presented in the fall in theaters across the North Shore, has gained in popularity since debuting in 2011. And as more films are produced in Nassau County, the festival draws attention to the North Shore as a prime location for filming, industry professionals have said.

Marketing is "the one area where we have always been pushing a rock uphill," said Regina Gil, founder and executive director of the Gold Coast Arts Center on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck.

"In order to get the word out, you have to spend a lot of money, including taking out ads," she said.

The state funds are designated only for marketing and will be used to buy print advertisements and upgrade the festival's website, Gil said, noting that the group may hire consultants.

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in an emailed statement that the festival "underscores the town's commitment to using film and art as a vehicle to boost the local economy."

The center, known as the Great Neck Arts Center since its founding in 1995, was renamed this year. North Hempstead in 2013 authorized acquiring the center's building and debt payments of as much as $850,000, including the building's mortgage. Town officials later in 2013 approved a $150,000 payment for the center's arts programming, town officials said.

Caroline Sorokoff, director of the Gold Coast International Film Festival and associate director of the Gold Coast Arts Center, said in an interview that the festival has seen larger audiences in recent years. Gil said documentaries, in particular, are attracting more viewers at screenings.

"Now, we have more people than ever buying tickets to multiple films," Sorokoff said.

Films screened in 2014 at locations such as Roslyn, Great Neck, Port Washington and Manhasset.

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