Indie Film Scene

All things Indie films in Central Florida and beyond.

Film Commissioner Debra Markowitz becomes Award Winning Filmmaker

unnamedFor Debra Markowitz, a childhood imagination led to a lifelong career in Film. Taking on the role of Director, Markowitz would enlist all the neighborhood kids and act out making movies as a child. Then twenty-nine years ago, Debra Markowitz launched the Nassau County Film Commission Office. Little did she know at the time, it would further lead her to become an award winning filmmaker. She was approached to help with casting on a film about five years ago, that led to another, which ultimately led her to producing.

Markowitz made her Directorial debut with The Last Taxi Driver. She thought that was going to be her one and only time Directing, but a dream she had gave her an idea for a script to make her own movie, Leaving. Markowitz hasn’t stopped, and other people are hiring her to write and direct their films too. Her films have received awards for Best Director, Best Comedy, Best Actor and more.

Surrounding herself with highly skilled filmmakers, including her Director of Photography Marc Riou, Markowitz continues to perfect her craft. Together Riou and Markowitz have worked as a tightly knit team to bring her visions to the screen. She believes for anyone who wants to make films, that you should keep learning and growing. Call upon your talented filmmaking peers to ask for feedback, and take what resonates with you to make your films better.

One of her greatest achievements occurred while creating a film for a 72 hours film challenge. The script was pulled together in two hours, and the talent on the short The Waiting Room brought their A game to the table. It all came together beautifully.

“I don’t have a specific genre I like most. Perhaps it’s drama. I love working with deep roles for actors and then seeing them bring their best. I’m in awe of great actors, the genre itself doesn’t matter, as long as the actors have a lot to play with, and we get to see their characters unfold”.

You can see Markowitz’s work Leaving on Vimeo on Demand at The Last Taxi Driver and By Blood will be available when they complete their festival rounds. Her films Chosen (Debra directed, but Chosen was written by Shari Umansky) and The Waiting Room are just now entering the festival circuit. Based on her track record, they are sure to pick up some additional awards for this talented writer and filmmaker.

If you’d like to meet the filmmaker, Markowitz is holding a fundraiser for the pilot of her web series, Couple of Guys, on May 15 at the historic Bellmore Movies –, She also has plans to complete the shorts Date with a Narcissist and Brothers by years end. She is always working. One of Markowitz’s challenges is that she never stops. She could spend twenty four hours a day writing and creating her stories. This makes for the time to uplug even more important.

“I want to write stories that touch, educate and/or entertain people. Paying my bills while doing it is the icing on the cake. Writing is what I was put here to do. Tell stories that people learn from. So far, so good. I have so many stories it’s hard when I want to write them all at once. For me my biggest challenge is focus as I want to do everything all at once. Motivation has never been an issue for me”.

Markowitz is also the Co-Founder of the Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE), and it’s now in its twentieth year. Learn more about this filmmaker by following the links below


Directors reel:


My Directing Projects (I also produce and cast for other filmmakers)


The Last Taxi Driver (writer.director,producer, casting director)



Leaving (writer, director, producer, casting director)



By Blood (writer, director, producer, casting director)



Chosen (director, producer, casting director. Writer is Shari Goldstein Umansky)



The Waiting Room (writer, director, producer, casting director) This was part of a 72 Hour Challenge for the AGR Artists Group


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