Founding Director: Christopher Cooke
President: Thomas Santorelli and Executive Director
Vice President and Director of Communications: Johnny Calabro
Richard Vetere: Screenplay Competition
Christopher Kent: Screener
Maja Wampuszyc: Global Woman Filmmaker Outreach
Carlos “Guebin” Molina: Global Latin Filmmaker Outreach
Artistic Director: Joel Martin
Christopher Cooke- Founding Director
The Long Island Film Festival was founded in 1983 by Christopher Cooke during his tenure as Director of the Suffolk County Film Commission on Long Island, New York. The festival was the first of its kind and has showcased hundreds of independently produced feature length and short films. The festivals alumni include Hal Hartley THE UNBELIVABE TRUTH, Mathew Harrison RHYTHM THIEF, Tamara Jenkins SLUMS OF BERVERLY HILLS, Christopher Grimm GOYBAND, Fred Carpenter MURDRED INNOCENCE, Kimberly Pierce BOYS DON’T CRY,Bill Plympton I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON, Kevin Jordan BROOKLYN LOBSTER, Larry Fessenden HABIT, Eric Mendelsohn JUDY BERLIN, Scott Saunders THE TECHNICAL WRITER, Joe Sikorski THE RETURN OF THE KING?, Alexandra Brodsky BITTER SWEET PLACE, Signe Baumane VETERINARIAN, Stan Schofield COST OF LIVING, Karl Nussbaum OPTIC CROSS, Laura Corella ELECTION DAY and Paul and Menno De Nooijer EXIT. These films, among scores of others, went on to win awards at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto FilmFestival, Cannes Film Festival, the Hampton’s Film Festival and many more. Before working as Director of the Suffolk Film Commission and Office of Cultural Affairs, Cooke appeared as an actor in100 stage productions Off-Broadway in NYC and in Regional Theatres such as the Asolo State Theatre, Commonwealth Stage Company and the Hyde Park Playhouse.
In television he has appeared in Dreamwork’s television production SPIN CITYwith Michael J. Fox, SARDINESS with Peter Boyle and soap operas ALL MY CHILDREN and AS THE WORLD TURNS.
Mr.Cooke appeared in over a dozen films including Hal Hartley’s features THE UNBELIEVABLE TRUTH, TRUST and SIMPLE MEN, Mathew Harrison’s SPARE ME and Sundance winner RHYTHM THIEF, Scott Saunder’s THE HEADHUNTER’S SISTER, Fred Carpenter’s HBO film SMALL KILL and the international award winning Dutch film EXIT produced and directed by Paul and Menno de Nooijer. Mr. Cooke also acted as producer and “on-camera” host for PBS affiliate Channel 21’s production of OFF-HOLLYWOOD with Jeffrey Lyons, and CINEMA a Cablevision production produced by Larry Davidson.
Recently Cooke has acted as an adjudicator for several film festivals including the Palm Beach Woman’s Film Festival and “Digifest” held in Florence, Italy.
Thomas Santorelli-President, Executive Director
Thomas Santorelli has enjoyed a wide variety of work in the media as an award winning filmmaker, musician, composer, historian of early American cinema, writer, radio producer, and recording engineer and technician. He is also Executive Director of the Long Island Film Festival.
He studied classical guitar under the scholarship of Russian born composer Alexander Bellow and composition and orchestration under film composer and conductor, Freddy Edmonds Jr. a.k.a. Marc Fredericks. Santorelli has composed music for solo classical guitar and for guitar and orchestra. He has written music for numerous radio and television commercials that have aired on the YES NETWORK, TBS, A&E and NEWS 12 as well as radio stations WHLI and KJOY and at Citifield Park in Central Islip, New York.
Santorelli got his in the start in the media on radio as Associate Producer of news director and host for The Joel Martin Show on WBAB rock radio. He has also written and produced many segments of ALL THINGS CONSIDERED for NPR
Santorelli was an award winning filmmaker before studing film history of early American cinema. In 2006, he was hired as historian and consultant for the renovation of the Vitagraph studio located at 94 Fourth Avenue, Bay Shore, Long Island. He assisted in preserving the building which is the only one that exists from early American cinema.
His expertise in the recording studio has earned him work as an audio archivist, preserving numerous audio interviews with Vitagraph stars and directors conducted in the early 1970’s before their passing by internationally known English film historian and author, Anthony Slide. These digitally preserved interviews are located at the archives of the University of Southern California, Motion Picture and Television Library. Tom has also preserved numerous interviews with silent film stars Jetta Goudal, Lois Wilson, Carmel Myers, William Bakewell, Esther Walston, and Priscilla Bonnet from the series, THE SILENT STARS SPEAK, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Los Angeles, sponsored by the ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES in Hollywood. A portion of these archived interviews was used as research materials in Emily W. Leider’s book, DARK LOVER: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF RUDOLPH VALENTINO, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Thomas Santorelli was also an historical source and cited in the such books as, CRUSADER NATION: THE UNITED STATES IN PEACE AND THE GREAT WAR by David Traxel and published by Knopf, THE HAUNTING OF THE PRESIDENTS: A PARANORMAL HISTORY OF THE US PRESIDENCY, by Joel Martin (Signet), and THE HAUNTING OF AMERICA: FROM THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS TO HARRY HOUDINI by William J. Birnes (Macmillan)
Santorelli Historical Media, Inc. has acquired well over 5,000 photos and films starting from the silent era, archival film footage, historic documents, magazines and a reference library. As recording engineer and studio technician, Tom has worked for some of the biggest musicians and artists in the music industry. In the genres of rock, jazz, and classical music. Tom has worked for Harry Nilsson, Richie Cannata, Doug Stegmeyer (Billy Joel), Aldo Nova, Rebbie Jackson, David Lebolt (David Bowie, Billy Joel), The Scorpions, Isley Brothers, Claudio Arrau, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge, Johnny Farina (Santo and Johnny), Blue Oyster Cult, The Cars, Cameo, Flo and Eddie, Ornette Coleman, Dee Snyder, Joe Franco (Good Rats, Twisted Sister, Widowmaker), Lou Reed, Debbie Gibson, Taylor Dayne, Joe Cocker, Roger Waters (Pink Floyd), Phil Ramone, Sting, and most recently Michael Feinstein.
Christopher Kent – Screener
Writer, Director and former competitive skateboarder, Chris Kent entered the world of film and television through the art department, utilizing a background in graphic design and advertising design as well as a love of film as a motivating factor. He soon began working with a prominent music video director, collaborating on the concepts as Producer, Art Director, and sometimes Director, taking ideas from their initial inception, through production, creating videos for bands such as Michelle Branch, Breathe Carolina, Kid Rock, We Came As Romans, The Honorary Title and dozens more.
Collaborating with an Emmy Award winning Creative Director, Chris wrote and directed The Greater Good, a short film for Canon Camera’s The Story Behind The Still film contest which achieved national acclaim as a finalist.
In 2013 Chris Kent wrote and directed the short film, Chamomile, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that May.
Johnny Calabro – Vice President, Director of Communications
Johnny Calabro caught the broadcasting bug at an early age while growing up in Brooklyn and listening to radio stations like 77 WABC and the WMCA Good Guys. No one in Johnny’s family was surprised at his decision to have a career in radio.
As a teenager, Johnny created and operated several legendary underground radio stations such as WCPR, WFAT, and WHOT Brooklyn, making Long Island the hub of pirate radio activity in the United States. The CBS Television Network aired the story of WFAT on the show, “No Holds Barred.”
Johnny’s life story was turned into a script, and “Pump Up The Volume” became the Hollywood version of Johnny’s exploits of broadcasting to the US from a bedroom in Coney Island while being hounded by the FCC.
In 1986, Johnny sailed and anchored Long Island’s historic radio ship “Radio New York International” off of Long Beach and began broadcasting to the world on 5 frequencies, much to the chagrin of the familiar FCC agents who now pursued Johnny on the high seas. This adventure led to a regular show on WNYG, Babylon, called “The Pirates” and with that, Johnny was out of the ‘underground’ and in legitimate broadcasting.
Producing and engineering several nationally syndicated radio shows from Premiere Radio and The Jones Radio Network led Johnny to the ABC Radio Networks in New York and to ABC News. Johnny produced, edited, and engineered national broadcasts and was a Master Control Operator for 15 years (and never violated a single FCC regulation!)
Richard Vetere: Richard Vetere Screenplay Competition
- In 2013 The New Perspectives Theater in NYC produced his ten-minute plays in Richard Vetere Explains the World: Ten Minutes at a Time. His stage play This Living Hand was given a reading by the New Group in Oct. 2014.
- In 2012 his musical 100 Years Into the Heart was a semi-finalist at the O’Neil Theater and his play This Living Hand was a semi-finalist at the O’Neil Theater Conference in 2013.
- Vetere was an artist-in-residence at the Culture Project as part of IMPACT 2012 in July where he wrote the first draft of the first act of his play Square One and it was presented at the 45 Bleecker Street Theater.
- His play Last Day had its world premiere in July 2011 at Gloucester Stage where Boston’s The Edge wrote “It is a cleverly written play with taut, realistic dialogue.” The Boston Globe wrote “It’s a play with rapid-fire dialogue as in Mamet’s world.”
- His play Caravaggio, translated into Italian, had its Italian world premiere in Rome, Porto Ercole and Capri in July 2011.
- His Off-Broadway plays include Gangster Apparel, which had its world premiere at The Old Red Lion in London in 1995; One Shot, One Kill at Primary Stages in 2002 about the training of a Marine sniper which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the New Yorker wrote “Vetere’s dialogue hurtles forward – bracing, revealing, sometimes funny, frequently sobering and always in sharp focus; the critically acclaimed Machiavelli at the Arclight Theater in 2006; Caravaggio at the award winning Silk Road in Chicago in 2006 which the Chicago Tribune writes “Lucid and complex dissection of such issues as religion, realism, art and romanticism…the play is fascinating.” He was a guest of the Chicago Humanities Festival that year.
- His stage plays have been seen around the world including workshops of Ersatz with Annette Benning and Brendan Frazier at the Geffen Theater in LA and with Mark Ruffalo at MTC in NYC when it was under option by Chase Mishken; Gangster Apparel James in Melbourne; Cleveland Public Theater; The Engagement at the George Street Playhouse; The Vows of Penelope Corelli at Penguin Rep; Painting X’s On the Moon at Naked Angels; Four One Acts at the Kings Head in London to name a few and his A Coupla of Bimbos Sittin’ Around Talkin’ is produced in high schools around the country. His first play Rockaway Boulevard was first seen at the Actors Studio in 1978 and since has been produced all over with white, black and Latino actors most recently in 2005 on Theater Row.
- He has also been produced by EST Hale the Hero!; New York Theater Workshop at Vassar Local Politics; HERE Gangster Apparel; Penguin Rep The Vows of Penelope Corelli to name a few theaters; Cleveland Public Theater Gangster Apparel.
- His children’s play Bird Brain was just published by Dramatic Publishing.
- Over a dozen of his plays are published by Dramatic Publishing and his one acts An Epic Story of Love and Sex Told in Ten Minutes: Chapter One and Meatball Hero and The Kids Menu were picked as the best short plays of the year in 2009, 2010 and 2011 included in the Anthology of the Best One Acts by Smith & Kraus. He was also commissioned to write a one-act play for the Actors Theater of Louisville.
- His published books of poetry are Memories of Human Hands and A Dream of Angels and his new book of poetry The Other Colors In A Snow Storm published in 2012 by Bordighera Press.
- MUSICAL THEATER:
- In 2013 Mr. Vetere was commissioned by the Spirit of Broadway to write the book to a musical titled Benedict Arnold by the Spirit of Broadway with Bill Squire doing lyrics and Jeff Lodin doing music. The play opened to rave reviews in 2014.
- In 2005 Mr. Vetere won the Spirit of Broadway’s Best Book and Best Musical award for his original musical 100 Years Into the Heart with music by Jeff Lodin and lyrics by Bill Squire. It has been seen in festivals in NYC and across the country. It was just optioned for Off-Broadway.
- In 2004 Mr. Vetere was commissioned to write the book about Mario Lanza titled Lanza for the deceased Pierre Cosset, the recently passed Phil Ramone and Sonny Grosso.
- His new novel The Writers Afterlife, was published in 2014 March 12th by Three Rooms Press to a rave review by Publishers Weekly. The Third Miracle in 1999 published in hardcover by Carol & Graf and trade paper back by Simon & Schuster. His novel about Caravaggio’s roommate Mario Minniti, Baroque, was published in 2010 by Bordighera Press. Mr. Vetere’s new novel Champagne and Cocaine will be released by Three Rooms Press in 2015. Mr. Vetere was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in fiction in 2014.
- In 2015 Three Rooms Press will release his new novel Champagne and Cocaine.
- GRANTS AND AWARDS FOR PLAYWRIGHTING AND POETRY:
- A Mary Roberts Rinehart Grant for playwrighting: Cultural Foundation Grant/C.E.T.A Grant three years running for poetry and Mr. Vetere was a guest of the Chicago Humanities Festival for his stage play In 2002 he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize by Primary Stages for his play One Shot, One Kill. He was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Dellaventura.
- He is a member of Poets & Writers, NY Playwright’s Lab, Author’s Guild and Dramatist Guild. He is also a mentor for the Screenwriting Latino Festival sponsored by Sundance Films in Oaxaca, Mexico.
- ACTING AND DIRECTING:
- Vetere has one of the male lead roles in The Limbo Room with Melissa Leo directed by Debra Eisenstaedt and he is also in Jane Ainebinder’s movie Nail Polish. Mr. Vetere directed Maria Micheles’ play Around the Night Park at Theater for the New City in 2010 and is directing Begonya Plaza’s play Teresa’s Ecstasy at INTAR in May and he directed the world premiere of Katalina Mastcheau’s play The Model at Incubator Space in NYC in 2011. In 2013 he is starring in Vino Veritas by James Minniera at the Brooklyn Winery on N 8th Street in Wiliamsburg, the same street he was baptized on.
- He holds a master’s in Comparative English Literature from Columbia University and teaches screenwriting at Queens College and teaches both playwrighting and screenwriting in the master’s program at NYU in recent years. This year he is on the masters degree panel for theses scripts for NYU.
- He taught playwrighting at Lang College at the New School, and he has taught screenwriting at Montclair State.
- In 2006 Stony Brook University and its Special Collections Division which includes the largest collection of Yeats’ poetry, created the Richard Vetere archives which are displayed in the Frank Melville Library.
- Vetere is a born and raised New Yorker.