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Contact: Angela DeMarta, Deputy Press Director, angela@woodstockfilmfestival.com or 845-679-4265


Woodstock, NY (September, 2014)The Woodstock Film Festival is pleased to announce that Grammy® award-winning South African jazz legend HUGH MASEKELA, whose music is featured in the film A Snake Gives Birth to A Snake, will participate in several events at the 15th Annual Woodstock FIlm Festival, October 15-19, 2014.

Michael Lessac's feature documentary A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake will make its U.S. Premiere on October 17 at the Woodstock Playhouse and October 18 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. Filmmaker Michael Lessac and Hugh Masekela will take part in a Q&A following the screenings. Lessac and Masekela will also be featured on the panel,  Music as the Unifying Force, presented by BMI on October 17 at the Kleinert James Art Center in Woodstock.

A Snake Gives Birth to A Snake documents a diverse group of South African actors touring the war-torn regions of Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia to share their country's experiment with reconciliation. As they ignite a dialogue among people with raw memories of atrocity, the actors find they must once again confront their homeland's violent past, and question their own capacity for healing and forgiveness. The film features never-before-heard original music by Hugh Masekela.

In commenting about Mr. Masekela's role in the film, director Michael Lessac said, "This film for me is as much about music as it is about struggle. Hugh's music kept us all alive with hope. His uncompromising spirit and genius gave us joy and courage. His music powered us and gave us a place to rest our heads. To have the US premiere of this film at the Woodstock Film Festival is a huge honor for us all."

Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice who remains deeply connected at home, even as his international career continues to thrive. He was born in the town of Witbank, South Africa in 1939. He first picked up a horn at age 14 and is still blowing strong at 75. He spent much of his life in exile, during which time he released over 40 albums (and was featured on countless more) and worked with legends like Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillespie, The Byrds, Miles Davis, Abdullah Ibrahim, Paul Simon and the late Miriam Makeba. Masekela has been honored in numerous ways, such as winning a Grammy Award, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at WOMEX and having March 18th proclaimed ‘Hugh Masekela Day’ in the US Virgin Islands.

His eclectic musical style is pervaded by jazz and mbaqanga combined with a gravelly voice, stirringly smooth horn sound and an ever-present concern for his home country and continent. Masekela is now based in Johannesburg, South Africa, while continuing a lively international tour schedule. He recently started his own label: House of Masekela under which he released his latest album ‘Playing @ Work’.

Hugh Masekela
Hugh Masekela, photo by Brett Rubin
Click photo to download hi-resolution file

A Snake Gives Birth to a SnakeThe cemetery at the Srebrenica-Potočari Memorial and Cemetery
to Genocide Victims in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

A Snake Gives Birth to a SnakeFana Mokoena & Bongani Gumede, performing 
Truth in Translation, July 2006

Click to download hi-resolution file

A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake will screen on Friday, October 17, 5pm at the Woodstock Playhouse in Woodstock, and on Sunday, October 19, 12pm at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. Tickets are available to purchase ONLINE or at the Box Office at 13 Rock City Road in Woodstock, NY.

In addition to the film, Hugh Masekela along with director Michael Lessac, will participate in a special panel with BMI's Doreen Ringer-Ross, the panel Music as the Unifying Force on Friday, October 17, 3pm at the Kleinart James Art Center in Woodstock.

The 15th Anniversary of the Woodstock FIlm Festival takes place October 15-19 in Woodstock, NY, and in the neighboring towns of Kingston, Saugerties, Rhinebeck and Rosendale. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements, upcoming festival events and full festival lineup by following WFF on social media or at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.

Michael Lessac
Michael Lessac, photo by Charlie-Craighead
Click to download hi-resolution file


Director, producer Michael Lessac wrote and directed the feature film House of Cards starring Tommy Lee Jones and Kathleen Turner. He has directed sixteen pilots and over 200 television episodes, among them Taxi, Newhart, Grace Under Fire, The Drew Carey Show, Just Shoot Me, and Everybody Loves Raymond.

For the stage, Mr. Lessac has directed at the National Theatre of Yugoslavia, The Guthrie Theatre, The Denver Theatre Center, The Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, The Hartman Stage and The Public Theatre in New York City. He was also founder and artistic director of the Colonnades Theatre Lab in New York, where he produced and directed over thirty productions with a company of established actors, playwrights, and composers. He is founder and artistic director of Global Arts Corps, which seeks to develop new theatre pieces around the world highlighting the struggle for justice, basic human dignity, and the possibility of perceptual change. The Truth in Translation project was the first major production of those efforts. He is currently developing productions in Northern Ireland, Cambodia and Bosnia for both the stage and film.

Before life in theatre and film, Lessac was a singer songwriter and had an album out on Columbia Records called Sleep Faster, We Need the Pillow produced by John Hammond. Lessac also holds a doctorate in developmental psychology.


About the Woodstock Film Festival:
Hailed by Indiewire as "A true American Maverick Among Fests" and praised by actor Ethan Hawke as "among the finest of a dying breed: a festival that isn't trying to sell you anything, but simply and beautifully celebrating the art & craft of filmmaking," the Woodstock Film Festival premieres exceptional films, hosts the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry, presents A-list concerts, panels and parties, and creates stimulating, innovative programming year-round.

The Woodstock Film Festival is a non-profit, 501c3 organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning and diversity.

The Woodstock Film Festival will celebrate its 15th Annual Festival October 15-19, 2014, with an extraordinary line-up of fiercely independent films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock, NY and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties



P.O Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498 - (845) 679-4265
info@woodstockfilmfestival.com - www.woodstockfilmfestival.com