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NYCIFF 2011: Interview with The Last Gamble Filmmaker Joe E. Goodavage

By Maria Esteves – August 10, 2011

Turning life experiences about addiction into films to encourage others, Joe E. Goodavage (JEG) is an award-winning filmmaker defined by his passion to give people the opportunity to be their very best on the set. In 1996, Goodavage began his career in the film industry. In 2008, Goodavage became co-owner of Last Gamble Productions, LLC, in New York. He produced and directed over 75 commercials; his television shows The Sports Edge and Performing Arts Weekly aired on Manhattan’s Time Warner Cable. His award-winning screenplays and independent feature films include, Undertaker’s Dozen, Blood and Honor, and Retribution.
Director Goodavage latest movie The Last Gamble about his life experience with addiction whose ensemble cast (Steven Bauer, Nick Mancuso, John Savage, producer Phil Malandrino) share the journey of addiction.

The Last Gamble premieres as the opening night film at the Second Annual 2011 New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF), on Thursday, August 18, 6:00 pm, at the Hudson Theatre. Presented by Roberto Rizzo, 2011 NYCIFF Opening Night Red Carpet Gala is surely Broadway’s star-studded black tie event not to miss. I had the honor and privilege of interviewing award-winning filmmaker Joe E. Goodavage in New York on Friday, August 5, 2011.

ME: What inspired the making of the film The Last Gamble?

JEG: The inspiration was simply my notepad writings about the pain I endured in my journey with addiction. As time went on, my notes became a script; the script became a trailer, and then a feature film. Everything that you see in the film is something I endured.

ME: What is The Last Gamble about?

JEG: A compulsive gambler’s downward spiral as he crosses path with a psychiatrist that leads them to hatch a daring plan that will alter and change their lives forever. Cast and crew members Steven Bauer (Scare Face), Nick Mancuso (Under Seige), John Savage (Deer Hunter), and producer Phil Malandrino signed on because they have journeyed with the disease of addiction.

ME: What was April Digiorgio’s involvement with The Last Gamble?

JEG: April DiGiorgio came on board as assistant to the director. She appears in the trailer as a screaming girl. She was involved with the editing and production that earned her the associate producer credit. Magically we fell in love on the set.

ME: How long did it take to make the film?

JEG: It took approximately three years to complete the film. We began filming in 2008 in the inner cities of New York and New Jersey stopping periodically and ended in 2011.
ME: What was the budget for the film?

JEG: The budget was $300,000.

ME: Where will The Last Gamble premiere?

JEG: The Last Gamble will premiere as the opening night film at the 2011 New York City International Film Festival Red Carpet Gala on Thursday, August 18, at the Hudson Theatre. Tickets can be purchased by calling or online at

ME: Any interest from film distributors?

JEG: Yes, several distributors are attending the NYCIFF 2011 Opening Night Red Carpet Gala.

ME: Where and what year were you born?

JEG: I was born April 20, 1967 in Philadelphia, P.A.

ME: Where and what did you studied?

JEG: I attended West Virginia University on a football scholarship and majored in Mass Communications and Journalism.

ME: Were you raised with a spiritual upbringing?

JEG: I am not a practicing religious man.

ME: At what point in your life you became interested in the film industry?

JEG: In 1996, I became interested in the film industry. As a great salesman, many people told me repeatedly that I would be a great actor.

ME: What films have you directed?

JEG: In 2003, I directed “The Undertaker’s Dozen,” in 2004 “Blood and Honor,” and in 2006, “Retribution.“

ME: What awards have you been honored?

JEG: I received Best Director awards for ”Retribution” at the 2006 New York International Independent Film & Video Festival and “Undertaker’s Dozen” at the 2005 Los Vegas International Film Festival. “Blood and Honor” received Best Drama and Best Director awards at the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival.

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