Film Reviews

Couple of Guys – Pilot

“The pilot episode of COUPLE OF GUYS is a breath of fresh air for the LGBTQ+ romantic and coming out genres because the narrative shifts from the usual younger protagonists to men that most gay men can relate to – a little more mature, more established but not necessarily more experienced. The lack of representation for older gay men onscreen and in the film festival circuit makes the promise of a whole series about them an exciting proposition. Our ImageOut audience here in Rochester loved the story of Jon and Richard and we cannot wait to see how their story plays out. Bring it on!”

Michael Gamilla
Programming Director
ImageOut: Rochester LGBT Film Festival

The Waiting Room

Congratulations on your Film “The Waiting Room.” I caught a brief piece of it in preview at the Festival but watching it finally tonight it seemed as effortlessly written as it is adorable to watch with a fragile balance of sweet and surreal pathos played by all. It is really lovely film Debra and thank you for sending it. I am still in awe of the selflessness of Actors and their commitment to  your Film is where it should be… completely with you.
– Armand Assante

Streaming Movies Right  – 2019 (excerpt)

“An original idea delivered with a mix of drama and comedy, this thought-provoking short deftly explores love and loss.

Debra Markowitz’s unique short about an awkward situation in the afterlife is a light-hearted treatment of potentially dramatic material, brought to life by a solid cast.

Given the heavy themes of the afterlife, love, and moving on after the death of a spouse, it is remarkable that Markowitz and her very capable cast manage to find so much levity in the situation.”

Take 2 Indie Review – 2019 (excerpt)

“This filmmaker tackles a certain question head on for those of us who have had more than one marriage. 

Markowitz not only asks the question – she brilliantly allows Janet to answer it – by her need to have Tim make a choice between her and Ann.  Perhaps Markowitz realizes she’s answering that question for all of us.

Lovely cinematography (Marc Riou) and score (Eros Cartechini)  add to this story – along with a simplistic, yet effective, set design.”

Vegas Valley News – April 2018 (excerpt)

“Debra Markowitz serves as both stage director and screenwriter for this moving and melancholy motion picture. Markowitz utilizes her unique and uncanny ability to hear, and then help, spiritual beings to bring their wise words to the screen. She regularly and routinely casts actors who embody and enmesh their entire selves into her short films of fun and fantasy.”​

One Film Fan – July 2017 (excerpt)

“For writer/director/co-producer Debra Markowitz, this 12-minute short film isn’t some random excuse to utilize the concept/existence of Heaven as a cliché or overwrought mockery of the afterlife, but rather a dramatic and lightly comedic approach to illustrating just how petty we can be as people, frankly, even after death apparently.”

Actress Obsession – June 2017 (excerpt)

“Thanks to the polished direction of Debra [Markowitz] where she accentuates The Waiting Room with heartrending and opportune moments of humor, viewers will gravitate towards this tale of human relations set beyond death.”​ – June 2017 (excerpt)

​”Overall, this was a fun little title with a side order of serious. Or maybe the other way around. Either way you slice it, “The Waiting Room” was a quick and easy adventure into the world of indie film. Easily earning every star I have presented it. I can’t say I’m surprised I liked this title so much. This “Debra Markowitz” woman is quickly getting a reputation, in my mind at least, of presenting top notch stuff. Need I say more? This is one to watch for.”

Sonic Cinema – June 2017 (excerpt)
“We’ve seen quite a few films dealing with the afterlife over the years, but I’m hard pressed to think of one I’ve enjoyed more.” Roxanne Alese – February 2017

The Waiting Room​, written and directed by Debra Debbie Markowitz. Existentialism. One of the most controversial subjects. How differently we all perceive its meaning. In the short, which was shot in one night (quite impressive), Debra Markowitz, with her indelible style of filmmaking, once again hits us straight in the heart and mind. Through the exceptional acting ability of the cast and the creativity of the direction, the audience will question the meaning of human existence and value, interpersonal relationships, and death. There are brief moments of humor and moments of the unexpected. Ms. Markowitz has this amazing talent for showing human emotion in a subtle and realistic manner. The set of The Waiting Room is minimal. She chooses to have her characters create the dimensions for us. Free will. We all have it. Here, it is sensitively played with much heart-wrenching emotion. A phenomenal cast with superb dialogue and exceptional writing. Filmmaker Debra Markowitz has that unique ability to make her audience feel, and more importantly… think! An important and unforgettable short. I can, without hesitation, know the audience will be thinking of this film and its impact for a long time. Although this short is powerful, it is delivered to the audience in an ethereal manner. A definite winner!” – Roxanne Alese, Film Critic (Licensed in New York and California)


One Film Fan – July 2017 (excerpt)

Chosen is one of those efforts that has a heavy impact in a very short amount of runtime, which is another aspect of well-conceived short film that this reviewer personally loves, as it reflects the ability of a filmmaker to make valid points and its narrative’s morals concisely but with no loss of both entertainment value or quality.

​Sonic Cinema – June 2017 (excerpt)

​​”This is a thoughtful, simple look on a big subject, and Markowitz makes every minute of the film’s 14 minutes count. It will be awfully difficult not to be moved by what she has to say.” Roxanne Alese – ​February 2017

Chosen written by Shari Goldstein Umansky and directed by Debra Debbie Markowitz. A simplistic, generic setting. Two actors reciting dialogue. Has the trademark of a stage play. It could easily be formatted for the stage in a small theater. It is not a play, though. It is a short film that doesn’t need anything but the proficient dialogue written by the most creative mind of one of the best writers in the Independent Film Industry. With the assistance of the award winning, multi-talented director, Debra Markowitz, the audience witnesses a masterpiece. The magnitude of the acting ability of the two leading characters is a journey of sheer brilliance. Shari Goldstein Umansky has created characters that are real and will bring the audience into natural association. A young street drug addict, played by Arash Mokhtar, gives an astonishing performance. One of the best I’ve seen in many years. Cathy Moriarity’s delivery of dialogue leaves the audience mesmerized with her unyielding talent. The connection between these actors is an experience of pure perfection. Debra Markowitz is responsible for the casting. She certainly has tremendous insight on the collaboration of actors. The story is unique and unusual, which seems to be the style of the worldly writer. I refuse to give any further details pertaining to the story. This is a film that must be seen. I have just viewed the most talented union of artists. A team made from heaven. I’m left with a disturbing, but uplifting thought. When someone attempts suicide, and fails, it’s not because they didn’t prepare their death properly. The reason is they are meant to do something of importance here on earth. And that is what this film represents. I highly recommend this piece of artistic achievement on every level. It receives 5 stars, which I’ve never given to any film I’ve ever reviewed.” – ​​Roxanne Alese, Film Critic (Licensed in New York and California)

By Blood

One Film Fan – July 2017 (excerpt)

“Executed with a taut, slowly building tension that brings about a pull-no-punches confrontation and gut-punch finale, writer/director/co-producer Debra Markowitz’s 12-minute short drama certainly makes its point decidedly clear, thematically exploring the notions of poor choices, the ramifications of them, and the damaging potency some secrets carry, all done in the name of love.” Roxanne Alese, Film Critic – June 2017

“Excellent story line and casting of the two brothers. Realistic material written and performed exceptionally well. The build up to the ending was thrilling. Quite intense. Dialogue was extremely well written, and the timing of the actor’s delivery of dialogue was close to perfect. Enjoyed the performances and the totally realistic dialogue and storyline. Brava to Debra Markowitz on her directing.”

Forest City Short Film Review – February 1, 2016 (excerpt)

“Markowitz and company have really hit a home run here. By Blood is emotional, breathtaking in its simplicity and yet some of the dialogue resonates so deeply (“I think that’s what happens when you’re happy”). To this reviewer’s eyes and ears, this is the best and most completely realized short from Intention Films yet. ” – Nicholas La Salla

Sonic Cinema* – February 11, 2016 (excerpt)

“Markowitz gets terrific work out of Halsey and Camarda as they follow the ebb and flow of the changing dynamics between Jimmy and Vincent as the feelings on display get rawer and rawer as they head to what feels like an inevitable climax. It’s a powerful, intimate drama about love lost in more ways than one. It doesn’t let go, just like the resentments of two brothers who have hurt each other over the years in ways they only understand when it’s too late.” – Brian Skutle

*SPOILER ALERT: Review includes pertinent plot details. Search for and read at your own risk.


One Film Fan – July 2017 (excerpt)
“[…] Leaving is a finely crafted, 9-minute short film escape that deftly plays upon so many of the emotions we’ve all faced in some form when it comes to being apart from those we cherish and hugely miss when they’re not present.”Cindy Mich – Film Reviewer – June 2017

“I have now screened three of this gal’s films. [Leaving] is the one that I treasure most out of them all. Every moment matters in terms of its higher meaning. I watched it four times, cried each time. It will melt your heart and make you cognizant of how the love in life is both precious and pertinent. Avalanche of applause to its filmmaker Debra Markowitz, as well as lead actor Molly Ryman. She was just a bunch of breathtaking. Loved the powerful presence of Sal Rendino. Last but not least, Joseph Halsey as the loving yet somewhat lost husband. Please support the work of these fine folks.”

Forest City Short Film Review – April 10, 2015 (excerpt)

​“Writer/director Debra Markowitz (The Last Taxi Driver) has been making a name for herself by finding new life in genre conventions. Leaving is a prime example of that — it’s a meditation on the nature of grief and what it means to die, from both the perspective of those that are gone and their family members.” – Nicholas La Salla – April 2015 (excerpt)

​”The excellent performances and quality of work are the icing that pulls Leaving well past the average mark. Here we have an entertaining 10 minutes that if nothing else, may just briefly make you realize how fleeting life can be.”

The Last Taxi Driver

One Film Fan – July 2017 (excerpt)

“In total,  The Last Taxi Driver presents that clever take on the whole idea of zombies and those few humans who’ve currently weathered the storm, but then infuses it with additionally savvy, dare I say biting, wit with a shrewd finale that should perhaps teach us all a little bit more about not just doing everything possible to avoid the zombie apocalypse, but about human nature as well.”

Forest City Short Film Review – April 9, 2015 (excerpt)​

“The zombie genre has been done to death (pun intended) several times over, and innovative directions for such a story are getting harder and harder to find. That being said, The Last Taxi Driver, writer Debra Markowitz’s directorial debut, manages to find a humorous niche in the ever expanding canon of undead mischief tales. The film’s production values are stellar throughout, and the acting is solid, particularly from Clohessy.” – Nicholas La Salla –  April 16, 2015 (excerpt)
“What separates [The Last Taxi Driver​] from the pack is the unique humor and quality of the production. No details were overlooked. The acting, even from the supporting cast was great! The writing was sharp, funny and The Last Taxi Driver generally presents a great idea!”