The realistic exploration of the struggles American soldiers face while serving in combat in the new independent war movie, ‘Cigarette Soup,’ was rewarded with the Best Feature Film award at this summer’s 17th Annual Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE). The expo celebrated independent movies, actors and filmmakers during its Closing Night Party and Awards Ceremony at the Bellmore Movies, during which the action film won its award. The ceremony, which honored the 158 films from Long Island and around the world that played during LIIFE from July 9-17, was hosted by ‘Clerks’ actor Brian O’Halloran.
‘Cigarette Soup’ had its Long Island Premiere on Saturday, July 12 at LIIFE. Damian Voerg, who made his feature film writing and directorial debuts with the drama, expressed his gratitude for the movie being accepted into the expo. “Deb Markowitz (the director of LIIFE and Nassau County Film Office) has such a great festival there, and to be a part of it is really an honor. The fact that it’s local for me hits home even more,” the scribe-helmer explained.
Set at the height of the war in Afghanistan in 2006, ‘Cigarette Soup’ follows a young aspiring journalist, Sam Grady (Joshua Wills), who gets the opportunity of a lifetime when he is embedded with a small band of American soldiers. After a surprise attack, they become separated from their unit and find themselves trapped in an insurgent bunker, as they’re surrounded on all sides by the enemy. During their time together, Sam is able to interview these brave soldiers, including Skinner (Joseph Perrino), Julian ‘Monti’ Montgomery (Tobias Truvillion), Luis ‘Crook’ (Perez Elijah Moreland), Dillon ‘Butch’ Moore (Jonathan Sale) and Mason ‘Lennie’ Mills (Shahn Christian Andersen). The group is also forced to contend with an apparent suicide bomber, Zarmina (Dina Shihabi), surprisingly enters their bunker. In the process, the group members discover who they are, where they come from and their reasons for being there.