best feature 2002 - Interview with the Assassin

JANUARY 2003 NEWSLETTER

best doc 2002 - Spellbound

A LITTLE WOODSTOCK IN SUNDANCE - EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM - PROGRAMMER ON THE MOVESOLDIER'S GIRL
PIECES OF APRIL - A FOREIGN AFFAIR - MILK & HONEY - MARK GEARY - KUDOS - HOT DOCS - LOCAL VELOCITY
DOWN TO THE BONE - I CALL MYSELF PERSIAN ADAPTATION - CONFESSIONS - ABOUT SCHMIDT -
GRAMMY NODS - EVELYN & BENEDICT - THE MERCY SEAT - SPONSOR NEWS

A LITTLE WOODSTOCK IN SUNDANCE

WFF executive director Meira Blaustein and media relations rep. Ilene Marder will be available for contact at the Sundance Film Festival. To contact Meira or Ilene, call the Yarrow Hotel at (435) 649-7000.

Other Woodsock reps to look for in Park City include WFF's programmer Ryan Werner, Judy Arthur (advisory board member and co-programmer of WFF's newly launched Exposure), Libby McInerny (WFF's panels co-curator), and Alexandra Berger (co-programmer of WFF's newly launched Exposure).


CONTEST: name all the folks in the photo and win a limited edition Bill Plympton print

EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM

Our "early bird entry special" nests January 15th. All early entries will be discounted $5.

The "Fiercely Independent" Woodstock Film Festival, which will be held September 21-24, 2003 in Woodstock NY celebrates new voices of independent filmmakers with great films, seminars, workshops, concerts, parties and good people. Early Bird deadline: April 15. Final deadline: June 15 2003. Awards are presented for  Best Feature,  Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Student Film,  Best Cinematography (The Haskell Wexler Award), and Best Animation (Awarded by Bill Plympton) Entry fees ranges from $25 - $50. For additional info visit the WFF 2003 entry form.


Ryan Werner at the 2002 WFF

WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAMMER ON THE MOVE

The WFF is proud to announce that Ryan Werner, who programmed the competitive categories for features and documentaries at the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival will once again program in 2003.

As you may have heard, Ryan recently joined Palm Pictures as the new Head of Theatrical Distribution after serving as V. P of Magnolia Pictures. As part of his new job, he will be spearheading marketing, distribution and publicity. Read the Full Story @ indieWIRE.com)

SOLDIER'S GIRL

Academy award winning screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (a member of the WFF advisory board) co-produced and penned "Soldier's Girl," which will unveil in Sundance. The film, which is directed by Frank Pierson is based on the true and tragic story of a young soldier beaten to death for falling in love with a transgendered nightclub performer.

PIECES OF APRIL

Executive producer John Sloss (a WFF advisory board member) and producer Gary Winick hope to repeat last years Sundance successes ("Tadpole", "Personal Velocity") with "Pieces of April" directed by Peter Hedges, who scripted "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". Starring Katie Holmes ("Dawson's Creek"), Patricia Clarkson ("Far from Heaven"), Alison Pill and Oliver Platt, the digitally shot pix examines the preparations for one family's Thanksgiving dinner--one you wouldn't wish on your own worst enemy.


Tim Blake Nelson as Jake in
"A Foreign Affair"

A FOREIGN AFFAIR

Catch Tim Blake Nelson (director of The Grey Zone) and David Arquette in Helmut Schleppi's "A Foreign Affair" -- a film about two selfish and clueless mamma's boys from the Midwest looking for traditional housewives in St. Petersburg, Russia. The film premieres at Sundance. Check out their great website at "A Foreign Affair".



Amy Gossels with bass-phenom
Joey Arkenstat at 2002 WFF

MILK & HONEY

Producer,  casting director,  Amy Gossels will be in Sundance to support Joe Maggio's new feature "Milk & Honey",  which she worked on. This follow up to "Virgil Bliss" (Slamdance 2001)  sports a superb script and ensemble. Clint Jordan, Kirsten Russell, Dudley Findlay, Jr., Anthony Howard, Greg Amici and Eleanor Hutchins are remarkable in this "utterly clever exploration of intersecting lives, lost loves, missed opportunities, and the devilish part fate plays in this game called life".

MARK GEARY

Also appearing in Sundance on January 17 at Phat Tire, will be sonaBLAST recording artist Mark Geary. His new album will be out on 14th February 2003. A new video and new t-shirts will soon be available from www.sonablast.com. Geary premiered his 33 1/3 Grand Street at the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival.


Denis Quaid & Julianne Moore in "Far from Heaven"
KUDOS heaped on films from 2002 WFF program

"Far from Heaven", Todd Haynes' exquisitely designed and performed melodrama (which U.S. premiered in Woodstock) has been racking up awards and nominations across the country from the IFP independent Spirit Award, Chicago Films Critics Association, NY Film Critics Circle Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, Seattle Film Critics and the Golden Globes. Standout categories include  including nods Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score by part time Woodstock resident Elmer Bernstein. Can Oscar be far behind?

best doc 2002 - Spellbound
"Spellbound"
HOT DOCS

Jeff Blitz's irresistible and enthralling "Spellbound" is also getting some major Oscar buzz. The documentary about eight teens striving to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee spent the better part of 2002 winning awards at film festival, including best documentary at the 2002 WFF.

Another big award winner in  2002 is Paul Justman's "Standing in the Shadows of Motown" (which also U.S. premiered at the WFF). This tribute to the Funk Brothers-- the band that gave Motown its sound was named best Non-Fiction Film by the National Society of Film Critics Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle award. Other kudos include a Grammy award nomination.


Parker Posey in "Personal Velocity"
LOCAL VELOCITY

Other 2002 highlights include 2002 WFF's opening night film "Personal Velocity", which made several top ten movie lists including The New York Times. "Personal Velocity" was produced in New York's Hudson Valley.

Over the past year, production has been steady in the Hudson Valley/Catskill area with three production slated for January/February including "Russian Winter" by Jack Harris, and Brian Gange's "Shoot the Kitty", starring Billy Kay (L.I.E.) and Bill Sage (High Art) and

For more info about shooting in the Woodstock area, contact the Woodstock Film Commission.


Tatum O'neal in "The Technical Writer"
DOWN TO THE BONE

Susan Leber is currently producing "Down to the Bone" in the Woodstock / Kingston, New York region. The script, which won the Screenwriting Prize at the Nantucket Film Festival and was work shopped at the Sundance Lab tells the story of a woman struggling to balance the needs of her family with her own needs, fears and desires. The Director Debra Granik's short "Snake Feed" (also shot in Ulster County) won the Sundance Jury Prize in 1998. Producer Susan Leber's first film "Margarita Happy Hour" premiered at Sundance and played the Woodstock Film Festival in 2001. Co-producer Anne Rosellini was a programmer at the Seattle film Festival and was director of Acquisitions at Atom Films.

Susan's most recent project "The Technical Writer" directed by Scott Saunders and starring Michael Harris, Tatum O’Neal and William Forsythe is in competition at Sundance 2003.


Tanaz Eshaghian
I CALL MYSELF PERSIAN

In other Woodstock news, Tanaz Eshaghian (who has had films in all three Woodstock Film Festivals) and co-director Sara Nodjoumi  screened "I Call Myself Persian, Iranians in America" (which also premiered in Woodstock)  as part of the MOMA Documentary Fortnight Series in December 2002. Framed by the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, and the World Trade Center attacks in 2001, the short doc reveals how Iranians living in the U.S. are often stereotyped, held responsible for anti-American activity, and become victims of bias attacks. The film is available through Third World Newsreel.


Nicolas Cage is both Charlie and
Donald Kaufman in "Adaptation
ADAPTATION

"Adaptation" which was executive produced by WFF Advisory Board member and part time  resident Peter Saraf, has also been reaping awards and nominations. This brilliant film about screenwriters and orchid thieves was directed by Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich"), and written by Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind). See it!

CONFESSIONS

Speaking of "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind", the film which has been getting rave reviews, was cast by casting director extraordinaire and WFF advisory board member, Ellen Chenoweth, and Aldo Tirelli. The film stars Sam Rockwell as game show host/CIA hitman Chuck Barris. Co-stars Drew Barrymore, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Rutger Hauer, and Fred Savage. Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Chuck Barris make cameos.

Chenoweth is currently at work on the Coen Brother's "Intolerable Cruelty" (starring George Clooney, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Rush and Bill Bob Thornton) and recently finished Mike Newell's "Mona Lisa Smile" with Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst and Julia Stiles.

ABOUT SCHMIDT

Part time Ulster county resident Jim Taylor  is also reaping accolades and the Golden Globe for best screenplay  for "About Schmidt," which stars Jack Nicholson as an retired insurance clerk with no job, no wife, and no family. Desperate to find something meaningful in his thoroughly unimpressive life, he sets out on a journey of self-discovery.

Taylor who has partnered with director/co-writer Alexander Payne on "Election," Citizen Ruth," and "About Schmidt"  is preparing to make his directing debut in 2003.


 

GRAMMY® NODS

Local musicians and WFF alumni are also making waves with GRAMMY® nods. David Bowie's is up for Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Slow Burn" from the album "Heathen," which was recorded locally at Allaire Studios. Peter Gabriel is also nominated for Male Rock Vocal Performance for "The Barry Williams Show," from the album "UP". Both "Heathen" and "UP" feature Woodstock's bass superstar Tony Levin.

Tony Levin's "Apollo" from "Pieces of the Sun" is nominated for Rock Instrumental Performance. The live rendition can be heard on Levin's newly released "Double Espresso," which captures the magic of the Tony Levin Band  in concert. TLB Band members include Tony Levin, Larry Fast and Woodstock's own Jesse Gress and Jerry Marotta.  Gov't Mule, which performed at the 2002 WFF is also nominated for Rock Instrumental Performance for Sco-Mule from "The Deep End Vol.1". The instrumental "Sco-Mule," originally written for Gov't Mule's live collaborations with jazz guitarist John Scofield, was recorded in the studio for the first time, with help from Scofield, Medeski Martin & Wood bassist Chris Wood and keyboardist Bernie Worrell (P-Funk, Golden Palominos).

The 45th GRAMMY® Awards will be held on Feb. 23 in NYC, and will be broadcast on CBS from 8-11:30 (ET/PT).

EVELYN & BENEDICT


Advisory board member and part time Ulster County resident Aidan Quinn can currently be seen in two films.

Quinn co-stars with Stephen Rea and Alan Bates in "Evelyn" as the crack pro-bono legal team that fight to reunite a single, unemployed father (Pierce Brosnan) with his children. The film is directed by Bruce Beresford ("Breaker Morant", "Tender Mercies")

Monday, January 13 at 8pm on A&E, Quinn stars in "Benedict Arnold, A Question of Honor". This A&E original movie tells the story of the fall and rise of Benedict Arnold. Arnold's marriage to a loyalist woman causes huge controversy, forcing him to reexamine where his allegiances lie. One of the key figures in the Revolution, and perhaps one of its most infamous figures, Arnold must decide whether he loves his wife enough to defect. A compelling drama unfolds under the skillful direction of Mikael Salomon ("Band of Brothers").

THE MERCY SEAT

Another part time Hudson Valley resident making waves on Broadway is Liev Schreiber who presented the 2002 Honorable Maverick Award to Tim Robbins and spoke brilliantly about the effects of the 9/11 attacks on his career and the entertainment business as a whole during the actor's dialogue at the 2001 WFF.

Schreiber can currently be seen opposite Sigourney Weaver in Neil LaBute's "The Mercy Seat" at New York's Acorn Theater. LaBute's play, which is set the day after the 9/11 attacks, grapples with the relationship between a woman (Weaver) and her young lover (Schreiber).

Reviews have been glorious. Curtain up wrote: "...this is largely Schreiber's show. His Ben is a dazzling addition to his stage resume -- as the understated, charismatic adulterer in Betrayal and as a sexually and class conflicted Iago. As he proved himself an ideal Shakespearean villain, so he seems born to probe the nooks and crannies of LaBute's anti-hero. No matter where he stands or sits on the Acorn Theater's wide set, he commands your undivided attention so that you note every flicker that crosses his face, every shift of color, every restless movement of hands and shoulders. Whether speaking cryptically or delivering a near monologue length speech, he does so with authority and naturalness -- and he almost persuades you to like him." 

 
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