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Woodstock Film Festival & Hudson Valley Programmers Group
YEAR ROUND EVENTS

2013
Making of Life of Pi Event, Street Journeys

2012
Dear Governor Cuomo, Francine, Inside The Perfect Circle: The Odyssey of Joel Thome,
For Ellen, Why Stop Now, Dolphin Boy, Coming Up Roses,
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, Poetry of Resilience

2011
More To Live For, Rhymes With Banana, My So Called Enemy, Salvation Boulevard

2010
Battle of The Sexes, Portrait of the Cuban-American Artist as a Young New York Filmmaker
Holy Rollers
, Mighty Uke, Smash His Camera, 12TH & Delaware,
FUTURESTATES
, The Dry Land, GASLAND
, Saint Misbehavin'

2009
The Cake Eaters, Bill Plympton College Tour, The Answer Man, Man on Wire,
Swimming to Cambodia,
The Farm: 10 Down, Adam, Taking Woodstock, Against The Current

2008
Body of War, The Cake Eaters, The Wrecking Crew, All About Food, Racing Daylight, Air Guitar Nation,
The Orange Thief
, State of Fear, Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony, Human Footprint,
FLOW: For Love Of Water
, Soho House Benefit: Human Footprint,
My Generation
, A Movie & A Concert, When We Were Kings, The Agronomist

2007
Crazy Sexy Cancer, The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela, The Mitch Show,
Human Footprint
, Gracie, Racing Daylight, Before the Music Dies

2006
Little Miss Sunshine, The Last Western, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?,
The Thing About My Folks,Our Brand is Crisis, The Painted Veil, The Illusionist,
Crossing Arizona,
An Unreasonable Man, Boxers and Ballerinas

2005
Mad Hot Ballroom, Liberia: The Love of Liberty Brought Us Here, The Ballad of Jack & Rose,
V-Day:Until the Violence Stops,
Parallel Lines
, The American Ruling Class, Murderball, Best of the Lab 2005, Messengers,

2004
Into the Fire,Garbage, Gangsters and Greed, Forbidden Wedding, Medium Cool,
Down to the Bone
,
Farmingville, Avoid Eye Contact, The Weather Underground,
Alternative Explorations of Films that Matter
, Shorts By Women,

Legal Filmmaker Workshop,Harsh Beauty, Occupation: Dreamland,Playing for Change, Racing Daylight

 

2012

DEAR GOVERNOR CUOMO

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group presented the WFF 2012 Opening Night Documentary Dear Governor Cuomo at various locations throughout the Hudson Valley. Beginning November 13 at Sullivan County Community College's Seelig Theater and ending December 7 at WAMC's Performing Arts Studio: The Linda in Albany.

The goal of the extremely varied participants, many of whom had never met before this night, was to explain in clear terms the threats of fracking and to motivate people to rise up against the practice using song. The cord that bound them all was that they were first and foremost New Yorkers.

The film that resulted from the night, bringing a unique blend of The Last Waltz and An Inconvenient Truth, was written and directed by Jon Bowermaster and filmed under the direction of Academy Award winning documentary film maker Alex Gibney. The stars of the night included actors Mark Ruffalo and Melissa Leo, environmental biologist Sandra Steingraber and a long list of musicians that included Natalie Merchant, Joan Osborne, Dan Zanes, the Felice Brothers, Citizen Cope, Medeski Martin & Wood, the Horse Flies, and many more.

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FRANCINE

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group presented the critically acclaimed local film Francine, October 10 and 11, during the Woodstock Film Festival. October 10th's event took place at the Downing Film Center in Newburgh, NY and the second screening was held at the Rosendale Theatre.

Academy Award© winner Melissa Leo gives a fierce and restrained performance as Francine, a woman struggling to find her place in a downtrodden lakeside town after leaving behind a life in prison. Taking a series of jobs working with animals, Francine turns away others and instead seeks intimacy in the most unlikely of places. Gritty, elliptical, and voyeuristic, Francine is a portrait of a near-silent misfit and her fragile first steps in an unfamiliar world.

Directors Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky founded Pigeon Projects in 2005 as a means of producing their uncompromising fiction and non-fiction films. Living comfortably at the margins of documentary and narrative cinema, works created by Pigeon Projects forgo conventional storytelling methods in order to accommodate stark imagery, elusive characters and a deadpan realism. Together, Cassidy and Shatzky have shown their films at the Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and Rotterdam film festivals. Their films have also shown at MoMA, the National Gallery of Art, Lincoln Center and the Institute of Contemporary Art. 

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INSIDE THE PERFECT CIRCLE: THE ODYSSEY OF JOEL THOME

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group presented the award-winning documentary August 11th at the Rosendale Theatre and August 12th at Upstate Films in Woodstock.

An intiguing music documentary about world-traveled composer and conductor Joel Thome, Inside The Perfect Circle provides a close personal look at Thome's career and philosophy. He collaborated extensively with Frank Zappa arranging the rock icon's music for symphony orchestra and rock band. He was awarded a Grammy for his work with Zappa and guitarist Steve Vai, and was also nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. After suffering a debilitating stroke in 1998, Joel lost the use of his left arm and was forced to undergo years of recovery.

Using music as a resource for healing, he was able to resume composing and returned to the stage to perform his graphically notated mandala scores. The performance was featured at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City in September 2009. The journey of Joel Thome is an unusual story of dedication, love, and unquestionable genius; the story of a composer who constantly strived to break the mold and explore uncharted territories in music and in life.

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FOR ELLEN

The Woodstock Film Festival held an exclusive screening of For Ellen, starring Paul Dano on August 18 at Upstate Films in Woodstock. Dano as well as Director So Yong Kim were in attendance for a Q&A after the film.

Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano) has wanted nothing more than to “make it,” having flirted with fame but never crossed over into true success.  In the midst of a low period in his life, he agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva- “Revenge,” “How To Make It In America”) in order to see money from the sale of their home, only to discover that by signing the papers, he will forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (newcomer Shaylena Mandigo). With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone, INTO THE WILD) that represents an era of his life that he might be ready to graduate from, Joby negotiates a visit with his daughter to explore whether he is able to walk away from his child, and whether it might be too late for reconciliation.

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WHY STOP NOW

For the inaugural Byrdcliffe Festival of the Arts, the Woodstock Film Festival presented the Sundance hit from local filmmaker Phil Dorling, Why Stop Now. The special screening took place on July 14 at Upstate Films in Woodstock.

The film was written and directed by Woodstock native Phil Dorling and Academy Award nominee and Woodstock Film Festival founding member of the Advisory Board Ron Nyswaner. The comedy follows Eli Smith, a young man on the verge of entering a prestigious music program (Eisenberg).  His talents are constantly hindered by is mother’s (Leo) self-implosions.  Eli must get his mother to go to rehab and prepare for his big audition, but things don’t go as planned.  He must enlist the help of his mother’s drug dealer (Morgan) to help him carry out his plans. Events spin out of control as the mismatched team has to navigate one twist and turn after another to hilarious effect.

The feature is loosely based on Dorling’s short film Predisposed, which was screened at the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival.  The film is presented courtesy of IFC Films. There will be a Q&A after the screening with Dorling and select members of the cast and crew. 

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DOLPHIN BOY

The Woodstock Film Festival took two outstanding 2011 official selections across the pond in June 2012 for i-D magazine's movie nights. Directors Yonatan Nir and Dani Menkin were in attendance for the screening along with executive director Meira Blaustein.

Seventeen-year-old Morad, an Israeli Arab, sustained a brutal beating. Severely traumatized and in a constant state of agitation, the boy can no longer speak. When conventional therapy fails, his psychiatrist suggests a novel approach, dolphin therapy, as a last-ditch attempt to reconnect the boy with reality. “They took his soul,” his father laments, and the devastated parents sell nearly all their possessions to give Morad a chance at recovery. Filmed over a four-year period, superb underwater cinematography documents this astonishing tale of transformation and love between species. No ordinary tale of swimming with the dolphins, we watch as Morad faces painful choices if he chooses to reconnect with the world of humans. Will he have the strength to face his attackers in court? Is he too damaged to feel human love? This extraordinary film inspires as it explores parental sacrifice, trust and human-animal bonding.

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COMING UP ROSES

The second 2011 Official Selection that was brought to i-D's movie night was Coming Up Roses, which screened on June 12. Director Lisa Albright's feature stars Bernadette Peters and Rachel Brosnahan.

Bernadette Peters is transfixing as the domineering Diane, a woman with enormous problems and a titanic personality to match. She shuttles her teenage daughter Alice (in a terrific performance by Rachel Brosnahan), across small-town America, confronting bad neighborhoods, money woes, failed love affairs and depression. Larger-than-life Diane pins her hopes on wrong man after wrong man, until one promising suitor enters her life. But is this really their salvation? A disturbing yet tender portrait of a theatrical mother and her impressionable daughter as they desperately cling to shreds of hope and dreams of a better life. A story about the power of imagination and the menacing reality of insatiable need.

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PEACE, LOVE & MISUNDERSTANDING

As part of Woodstock Film Festival's annual SoHo House benefit event, the 2011 Opening Night Film, Peace, Love & Misunderstanding on May 8 in NYC.

Hosted by Stephen Hays of 120db and courtesy of IFC Films, the picture was produced by local production company and WFF sponsor BCDF and was filmed in Woodstock and around the Hudson Valley in the summer of 2010 with help from the Hudson Valley Film Commission. PLM stars Academy Award winner Jane Fonda and Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener as well as up and coming star Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Gossip Girl's Chace Crawford. Keener plays an uptight NY City lawyer who takes her two spirited teenagers to her hippie mother’s farmhouse in the countryside for a family vacation. What was meant to be a weekend getaway quickly turns into a summer adventure of romance, music, family secrets, and self-discovery.  

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POETRY OF RESILIENCE

The Woodstock Film Festival presented the winner of the 2011 Diane Seligman Award for Best Short Doc at 92Y Tribeca in NYC May 9, 2012.

War, genocide and oppression: unfathomable tragedies affect so many and paint a dark portrait of the human condition. And yet, out of atrocity, the beauty of poetry can flow, as those who lived it attempt to make sense of it all. Through the poems and words of six extraordinary artists and a unique visual style, comes director Katja Esson’s deeply contemplative examination of the ever-present questions of violence, society and the reality of being an artist and survivor. Put best by poet Li-Young Lee: "I wish I could say the human spirit is resilient; some days I don’t think so." Shot on location from Hiroshima to Rwanda, we are given an intimate look into the language of the soul and the creative process behind it. And in the end, we come a little closer to understanding the madness of war and how art will flourish in spite of every obstacle. 

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2011

MORE TO LIVE FOR

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group presented the award-winning documentary throughout the Hudson Valley December 8, 9 and 10, 2011. Filmmaker Noah Hutton, son of actor Timothy Hutton, was in attendance for the screenings.

What if you had the chance to save a life, would you do it? You may find the answer from three extraordinary men. Each suffers from leukemia and their lives depend on finding the perfect bone marrow match. Nigerian born Seun Adelbiy might be mistaken for a human torpedo as he trains for the U.S.A. Olympic Skeleton Competition, but the road ahead for this 26-year-old Yale law school graduate is much tougher than high-speed turns around an icy track. World-class tenor saxophonist and 15-time Grammy-award winner Michael Brecker defeated substance abuse to be the consummate musician, family man and role model. James Chippendale, successful entrepreneur, finds in leukemia a life altering challenge, morphing from a life of parties to founder of the Love Hope Strength Foundation. This is accomplished film making and essential viewing that just might save a life!

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RHYMES WITH BANANA

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group presented the locally shot Rhymes With Banana as a special sneak preview to high school audiences in 2011. The film, starring GIRLS' Zosia Mamet, Jee Young Han, Paul Iacono and Jaleel White, later become a sold-out success at WFF 2012.

When two best friends’ dreams of becoming actors in NYC seem to be going nowhere, they decide to take things to the edge and push them right over. Z and G, two wanna-be actresses who can’t catch a break, cope with failure by escaping into an eclectic world of their own making. From emergency preparation drills to people-watching on the stoop of their Brooklyn apartment in Slankets, they march to the strum of their own ukulele. When Ted moves in next door, his sophistication and connections to celebrities lead Z and G to conclude that he must be a talent agent. Lacking other professional options, they decide to take the only reasonable course of action: kidnap him, hold him hostage, and demand acting careers as ransom.

Directed by Joseph Muszynski and Peter Hutchings, this satirical take on a buddy comedy defies conventional standards and takes hilarity to a new level.

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MY SO-CALLED ENEMY

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group presented the award-winning and 2011 WFF Official Selection, My So-Called Enemy June 12, 13 and 14 at the venues of Upstate Films Rhinebeck, WFF Film Center and Spectrum 8 in Albany.

In July 2002, 22 Palestinian, Israeli and Palestinian Israeli teenage girls traveled to the United States to participate in a women's leadership program called Building Bridges for Peace. My So-Called Enemy is the story of 6 of the girls and how the transformative experience of knowing their "enemies" as human beings meets with the realities of their lives at home in the Middle East over the next seven years.

Through the coming-of-age narratives of Building Bridges participants Adi, Gal, Hanin, Inas, Rawan and Rezan, we see how creating relationships across personal, political and physical borders is a first step towards resolving conflict. By watching My So-Called Enemycommunities will see the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through a human lens--and the possibillity and hope that come from listening to each other's stories. The girls are the experts in My So-Called Enemy--and their voices need to be heard, especially because they are young women.

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SALVATION BOULEVARD

The Woodstock Film Festival presented a special screening of Slavation Boulevard July 13, 2011 at Upstate Films in Woodstock. Director George Ratliff was in attendance for the screening. A special book signing by renowned author and Woodstocker, Larry Beinhart took place after the film at the adjacent VARGA gallery.

Based on the hit book by renowned Author and Woodstock Resident Larry Beinhart, Salvation Boulevard is the story of Pastor Dan (Pierce Brosnan), a charismatic preacher who has captivated a city with his charm. Ex-deadhead and recovering hippie Carl (Greg Kinnear) is one of the loyal sheep in his flock. When Dan finds himself in a compromising situation, Carl is called into service in a most unconventional way. The mega-church is cast into shadow, and a hellish storm begins brewing that could jeopardize its entire existence. The road to hell—in this case, Salvation Boulevard—is paved with good intentions—gone hysterically wrong.

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2010
GASLAND

The Woodstock Film Festival proudly presented GASLAND - winner of the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. A Q&A with director Josh Fox and Congressman Maurice Hinchey followed the screening. It screened July 17, 7:30pm at the Harry Simon Auditorium at Onteora High School, Boiceville NY.

An important and timely exposé, GASLAND, revealed the practices of the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history. Developed by Halliburton, “Hydraulic Fracturing,” or "fracking," has swept across the United States, opening up new territory in 34 states to extensive drilling, including the Marcellus Shale, a vast formation that underlies most of New York and Pennsylvania, as well as the New York watershed and the Catskills/Poconos.

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THE DRY LAND

The Woodstock Film Festival presented THE DRY LAND on July 10, 8:00pm at The Rosendale Theater in Rosendale NY.

America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) who executive produced and stars in the film was in attendance to participate in a Q&A following the screening along with director Ryan Piers Williams, Academy Award® nominated actor Melissa Leo (Frozen River) and emerging star Ryan O'Nan. Also in attendancewas film editor, Sabine Hoffman (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee) and Academy Award® nominated producer Heather Rae (Frozen River).

The Dry Land also featured WFF alumni Jason Ritter (Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll) and Wilmer Valderrama from The '70s Show..

The Dry Land, which was nominated for a 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, delivers a sensitive portrayal of James - an Iraq war veteran who after returning stateside cannot reconcile his traumatic experience abroad with the home life he once cherished.

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FUTURESTATES

What will become of America in five, 25, or even 50 years from today? FUTURESTATES is a series of groundbreaking digital shorts exploring possible future scenarios through the lens of today’s global realities.

On Wednesday, June 30, 7:30PM at the 92Y Tribeca, the Woodstock Film Festival and 92Y Tribeca were proud to present five innovative short films, created by visionary independent filmmakers (including WFF alumni Tze Chun), that comment on our contemporary world by depicting a series of dystopian never-never lands of the near future.

A Q&A session with the filmmakers followed the screening.

Comprising part of the FUTURESTATES digital short film program (created by ITVS and made possible by CPB), each eye-opening short demonstrates intelligent, perceptive and beautiful filmmaking as well as the politically conscious and ethnically diverse artistry WFF is known for and 92Y Tribecca embraces.

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12TH & DELAWARE

Saturday, June 26 at 3pm, at Upstate Films at Tinker Street, the Hudson Valley Programmers Group in conjunction with the Woodstock Film Festival presented 12TH & DELAWARE by Loki Films and Academy Award® nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. A Q&A with Grady followed the screening. The screening was presented courtesy of HBO Films.

On an unassuming corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, it's easy to miss the insidious truth that's raging. But on each side of 12th and Delaware, soldiers stand locked in passionate battle. On one side of the street is an abortion clinic. On the other, a pro-life outfit often mistaken for the clinic it seeks to shut down.

Using skillful cinéma vérité observation that allowed us to draw our own conclusions, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, the directors of JESUS CAMP, expose the molten core of America's most intractable conflict. As the pro-life volunteers paint a terrifying portrait of abortion to their clients, across the street, the staff members at the clinic fear for their doctors' lives and fiercely protect the right of their clients to choose. Shot in the same year when abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church, the film makes these fears palpable. Meanwhile, women in need become pawns in a vicious ideological war with no end in sight.

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SMASH HIS CAMERA

The Woodstock Film Festival hosted one of this year's top independent documentaries with an exclusive one-night only screening of SMASH HIS CAMERA on June 4, 8pm at the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock, NY

A cocktail hour for reserved seat ticket holders preceded the event. A Q&A with director Leon Gast and subject Ron Galella followed the screening. A reception with food catered by Touché Restaurant followed.

The highly touted Smash His Camera, was directed by Woodstock's own Academy Award® winner Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) and edited by Woodstock's award-winning editor Doug Abel. The film, which documents the notorious life of pioneer paparazzo Ron Galella garnered Gast the Best Director award at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

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MIGHTY UKE

The Woodstock Film Festival and the Onteora Central School District co presented a special screening of MIGHTY UKE and performance by renowned ukulele virtuoso James Hill, plus local ukelele ensemble We Can Lele, was held on Monday, May 17, 7pm, at the new Harry Simon Auditorium at ONTEORA HIGH SCHOOL in Boiceville.

“We’re very pleased to present this wonderful film, in the spirit of our continued cooperation with the Woodstock Film Festival and their Youth Career Day,” said Onteora teacher and media lab coordinator David Nelson-Epstein. “The ukelele is dear to our hearts at Onteora; our much-loved student Killian Mansfield, who passed away last summer, gave us the gift of his ukelele playing on his amazing CD, SOMEWHERE ELSE. We’re also thrilled that directors of this wonderful film will be on hand for this screening, which will benefit future local filmmakers who are learning the craft at the Onteora.”

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HOLY ROLLERS

The Woodstock Film Festival presented a special screening of 2010 Sundance official selection HOLY ROLLERS on Thursday, May 6, 7pm, at SOHO HOUSE, NYC, with host Stephen Hays of 120dBFilms. Special guests included producer, actor Danny A. Abeckaser, and tohers. The screening was presented courtesy of First Independent Pictures.

A Q&A and reception followed the screening with complimentary cocktails from Ciroc Vodka, wine and hors d'oeuvres. Event and gift bag sponsors included 120 dB Films, Ciroc Vodka, Mary Giuliani Catering & Events, Hachette Book Group & Heeb Magazine

 

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PORTRAIT OF THE CUBAN-AMERICAN ARTIST AS A YOUNG NEW YORK FILMMAKER

As part of an upcoming Hudson Valley Programmers Group tour, the Woodstock Film Festival and 92YTribeca co-presented a program of shorts by and conversation with filmmaker Hugo Perez, Wednesday, April 14 at 7:30pm, at the 92YTribeca, 200 Hudson St, NYC.

A Woodstock Film Festival Alum, Hugo Perez is a filmmaker and writer whose work often focuses on his Cuban heritage. April 14th was the premier of his latest short Seed (which shot in the Hudson Valley.) Along with other short films, Hugo candidly shared his experiences producing documentaries in Cuba, making the transition from non-fiction to fiction filmmaking and his experiences as a Latino filmmaker who has been described as a ‘Latino Almodovar.’ The screening followed with a conversation and Q&A.

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Battle of the Sexes

It's a war that's been going on for eons - the Battle of the Sexes: Animated!
The Woodstock Film Festival and the IFC Center presented Battle of the Sexes! Monday, April 12 at 9pm, at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street, NYC.

Screening were followed by an exclusive Q&A with select animators and programmers.

Famed animators and Woodstock Film Festival Animation Programmers Bill Plympton and Signe Baumane were squared off toe-to-toe by showing the funniest, sexiest animated cartoons in a 5-round match to discover which gender makes the hottest cartoons!

And get this - the audience was able to decide the winner! Yes! The paying public ended this age - old controversy, once and for all declaring the winner!

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2009
THE CAKE EATERS took the Cake

The Hudson Valley Programmes Group held three sold out screenings of Mary Stuart Masterson's THE CAKE EATERS, March 16, 21,22, and April 4th. Buoyed by great reviews, the film enjoyed additional theatrical screenings throughout the country.

THE CAKE EATERS: Award-winning actress Mary Stuart Masterson makes her feature directorial debut with this quirky, small town drama that explores the lives of two interconnected families as they confront old ghosts and discover love in the face of devastating loss. Award-winning and critically acclaimed, and produced in New York's Hudson Valley, “The Cake Eaters” is intricately woven and powerfully poignant, featuring a standout performance by Kristen Stewart and a brilliant ensemble cast including Aaron Stanford, Bruce Dern, Elizabeth Ashley, Talia Balsam, Jesse L. Martin and Melissa Leo.

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PLYMPTON DELIGHTS and INSPIRES

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group recently wrapped up an exciting screening and lecture series with Oscar® nominated animator Bill Plympton, April 20-23. Plympton appeared at Marist College, SUNY New Paltz, Bard College and Onteora High School, sharing some of his favorite films and inspiring students and community members with his stories and advice. These events were free and open to the general public, giving many people the opportunity to see incredible independent animated shorts such as Guide Dog, Shuteye Hotel, Horn Dog, Santa Claus - the Fascist Years, and even a sneak peek of his newest animated feature Idiots and Angels.

Plympton's lectures and Q&A sessions were both hilarious and inspirational. He outlined the "Plympton Dogma", three rules that he applies to his filmmaking process. Try to make the film: 1. Short. 2. Cheap. and 3. Funny. (rules that he jokingly stated "also describe my girlfriends"). He answered questions about his drawing process, the ups and downs of the independent film world, and anything else that the audience was curious about. His approachability was one of the biggest highlights, especially at the end of the event when he patiently drew his lovably pitiful dog character on a postcard for each person in the crowd. During this time, some people took the opportunity to ask him questions about their own work. One high school student at the Marist event even got Plympton to look through her sketchbook and give her personal feedback, which he enthusiastically did.

Plympton is recognized as one of America's foremost illustrators, cartoonists and animators. His highly successful films have appeared with frenzied frequency at film festivals, on television and online.

HVPG events are underwritten in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and adminsitered by the Woodstock Film Festival.

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THE ANSWER MAN

April 27, 2009, the Woodstock Film Festival presented, along with 120dbFilms, a special screening of THE ANSWER MAN at Soho House, NYC, with special guest Lauren Graham.

From first-time director John Hindman comes THE ANSWER MAN, a romantic comedy starring Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham and Lou Taylor Pucci. Arien Faber (Daniels) is the reclusive author of 'Me and God,' a book that has redefined spirtuality for an entire generation and has been translated into over 100 languages. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of his still wildly popular book, Arlen continues to be sought after as the man who has all the answers. Arlen's life collides with Elizabeth (Graham), a singe mom raising her seven year-old son, and Kris (Pucci), a young man fresh out of rehab who is searching for meaning. Both Elizabeth and Kris are hopeful that Arlen has the answers, but the truth is, he hasn't got a clue. The film also stars Kat Dennings and Oliva Thirlby.

Tickets sold out quickly with the exclusive Q&A with special guest Lauren Graham and reception that followed the screening.
The evening also featured complimentary cocktails from Ciroc Vodka and hors d'oeuvres in the white room of the Soho House.

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MAN ON WIRE

The Oscar®-winning documentary, MAN ON WIRE was presented by the Woodstock Film Festival at Woodstock’s Tinker Street Cinema for a special matinee screening May 2nd, 2009 at 3pm. The film will be followed by an intimate Q&A with high wire legend Philippe Petit; presented by and benefiting the 10th Anniversary of The Woodstock Film Festival.

On August 7th 1974, Philippe Petit, stepped out on a steel cable illegally rigged between New York’s Twin Towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour of performing on the high wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail for the spectacular event that became known as “the artistic crime of the century.” Based on Petit’s book To Reach the Clouds (newly released in paperback and re-titled Man on Wire), the film provides a rare glimpse into this audacious high-wire world with still photographs, stunning footage and reenactments. With interviews shot in the Catskill Region of upstate New York, Petit relives his WTC adventure, “To me, it's really so simple, that life should be lived on the edge. You have to exercise rebellion. To refuse to taper yourself to the rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge. Then you will live your life on the tightrope.”

Up against The Betrayal (Nerakhoon), which screened at the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival, and other noted documentaries like Werner Herzog’s Antarctica film Encounters at the End of the World, MAN ON WIRE took home the 2009 Academy Award® for “Best Documentary Feature,” an award also won in previous years by films like An Inconvenient Truth and March of the Penguins.

In addition to walking the high wire, Philippe writes, draws, gives lectures and workshops, performs close-up magic and street-juggling, practices lock-picking and 18th-Century timber framing, plays chess, studies French wines and was once seen bullfighting in Peru. Philippe is a born multi-talented artist absolutely engaged his audience in an inspiring and quite entertaining Q&A.

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SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA

Jonathan Demme's spellbinding documentary was co-presented by the Woodstock Film Festival and Stranger Than Fiction at the IFC Center on Tuesday May 12, 2009 in Manhattan. The film will was followed by a Q&A with Academy-Award® winning director Jonathan Demme and a reception.

In SWIMMING TO CAMBODIA, Demme captures the urgency, terror, humor and brilliance of single performer Spalding Gray, who stays seated behind a table at New York's Soho Performing Garage in 1987 for an intense monologue. Gray uses his experiences in Thailand filming the 1984 Academy Award winning film The Killing Fields as a springboard for all sorts of hilarious, moving digressions, notably a concise and bone-chilling history of Cambodia, and the mass murders brought about by Pol-Pot in the 1970's. There's also Gray's quest for "the perfect moment," a spiritual pursuit that involves drugs, detailed descriptions of the Bangkok brothels, and the apprehension involved in trying to memorize lines for the film. Fellow performance artist Laurie Anderson composed the background music, which along with the ingenious lighting and ambient sound effects perfectly accents Gray's delivery. Demme has crafted a brilliant film of a brilliant performer, infusing the proceedings with a real magnetic urgency, making it hard to look away even for an instant.

Co-sponsored by CÎROC Vodka.

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THE FARM: 10 DOWN

THE FARM: 10 DOWN had its NY Premiere at the 92YTribeca on Wednesday July 8th, 2009, presented by the Woodstock Film Festival. The sold out event had people sitting on the floor in the front and on the sidelines of the theater as a captivated audience watched the lives of four inmates in the maximum security Angola prison unfold before them.

The screening was followed by a lengthy and in-depth Q&A session with filmmaker Jonathan Stack and former inmate Bishop Tanniehill, moderated by WFF's co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. Bishop, a devout Christian and skilled preacher who recently walked out a free man after 50 years in prison, shared a passionate and captivating sermon with the audience. His wife, who he met soon after leaving prison, sat in the audience and was as moved as everyone else in the room. Jonathan answered the audiences' various questions, providing his unique insight into a private world that most of us know very little about.

Following the packed screening, guests and filmmakers mingled and carried their conversations to the 92Y bar. The event was resounding success. Our thanks to the good folks at the 92YTribeca for hosting us - we look forward to holding more events there throughout the year and beyond! Also, much thanks to all the talented people at Highest Common Denominator Media Group, the production company behind THE FARM: 10 DOWN. Keep up the good work.

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ADAM

The Woodstock Film Festival presented a special sneak preview of Fox Searchlight's upcoming release ADAM on Saturday July 11, 2009 at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck NY. ADAM, which debuted and won the Alfred Sloan Award at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, is the second directorial effort by writer, director Max Mayer. The film opens at select theaters on July 29.

The film focuses on ADAM, a brilliant but lonely and awkward young man with Asperger's Syndrome who develops a relationship with his beautiful young upstairs neighbor, Beth. Adam and Beth's ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating.

The audience sat captivated throughout the screening, laughing at all the right places and sighing and sniffling at others. As the credits rolled and Max Mayer approached the front for Q&A, the audience welcomed him with warm applause. During the Q&A, moderated by Woodstock Film Festival's co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein, Mayer spoke about a variety of issues, from his initial interest in the unique attraction that can be a part of some with Asperger's Syndrome to the process of working with the talented Hugh Dancy (Adam) as they both delved deeper and deeper into Adam's complex and challenging character. Mayer, a seasoned theater director discussed the difference between directing for theater and film, making comparison between shooting takes for film to theater rehearsals. Mayer and the audience discussed teenagers with Asperger's, astronomy, family, and love, among other things. All in all, everyone loved the film and enjoyed meeting its filmmaker.

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TAKING WOODSTOCK TAKES WOODSTOCK!

On Saturday August 8th, 2009 (one week prior to the 40th Anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Concert), the Woodstock Film Festival presented a special sneak preview of Ang Lee's TAKING WOODSTOCK with special guests Ang Lee, James Schamus and Michael Lang at the Tinker Street Cinema. Based on the memoirs of Elliot Tiber, the comedy stars Demetri Martin as Elliot, who inadvertently played a role in making 1969’s Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the famed happening it was.

Director Ang Lee, writer/producer and Focus Features CEO James Schamus and Michael Lang - the promoter of the 1969 Wodstock Concert (he is portrayed in the film by Jonathan Groff) thoroughy enjoyed the sold out event. You could tell this was Woodstock when Michael Lang's character stepped off the helicopter for the first time and the whole house erupted in loud applause... Laughter and applause continued to accompany the film throughout the screening as audience members watched with obvious enjoyment.

During the Q&A following the screening, Meira Blaustein, co-founder and executive director of WFF, recalled that nearly a year ago James Schamus attended the Woodstock Film Festival to receive the honorary Trailblazer Award. Ang Lee, who was on the tail end of production for Taking Woodstock at the time, came down from location to the festival to present the award to Schamus. Michael Lang attended the Awards as well and the three were seated together. Fast forward 10 months later and the three were back in Woodstock, sitting together on stage and giving their behind the scenes insight on the making of TAKING WOODSTOCK.

At one point during the Q&A, Schamus confessed that he was nervous before showing the film to Lang for the first time, to which Lang responded quickly that he couldn't have been as nervous as he was! Discussing the preparation for the production, Lee and his ADs created a "Hippie Camp" for the hundreds of extras, designed to teach them '60's hippie mannerism. "Young people today are quite different than their counterparts of the '60s," Lee said, describing how he issued a "hippie guide" to get actors into the spirit. He also had to be certain the actors were "the right body type," since young people today "tend to be thinner" than those in the '60s. Asked why the concert was named Woodstock even though it had to be moved from Woodstock to Walkill and from Walkill to Bethel, Lang replied that it would have been terrible if it became known as "the Walkill generation...", adding that the event was inspired by and named after the "Woodstock Nation."

Following the Q&A, many went on to Oriole 9 restaurant for a reception where Lang, Lee and Schamus continued to converse with attendees while mingling with the likes of Philippe Petit (Man on Wire), Leon Gast (When We Were Kings), Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia, The Painted Veil) and more.

We thank Focus Features for their generous participation and Oriole 9 for the gracious hospitality. TAKING WOODSTOCK will hit theaters August 26th.

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AGAINST THE CURRENT

AGAINST THE CURRENT was filmed on location along the Hudson River, which is named after Henry Hudson, a British explorer, who first headed upstream 400 years ago. 2009 marks the quadricentennial anniversary of Henry Hudson. The Hudson River Valley premiere of the film, which follows the story of a man exploring his world by swimming the entire length of the Hudson River -- all 150 miles, from Troy, NY to Manhattan opened October 1, 2009 during the Woodstock Film Festival. From there, the film continued to screen up and down the Hudson with screenings in Rhinebeck, Albany, Peekskill, NYC, and more.

A "road" movie on water, AGAINST THE CURRENT is the story of a man (Joseph Fiennes as Paul) that swims the length of the lower Hudson River from Troy to the Verazzanno Bridge. Filmed in the fall, Against the Current is a testament to the beauty of the region this time of year, and many of the riverside communities that hosted the film during production had the opportunity to attend screenings. The run will ended at the lower tip of Manhattan with a screening presented by the Hudson Valley Programmers Group and the Woodstock Film Festival at the 92YTribeca, mere blocks from New York Harbor, where the river meets the ocean and Paul’s journey comes to an end.

Both tragic and funny, AGAINST THE CURRENT is a compelling and uncompromising exploration of sorrow and loss, one's right to determine one’s own fate, and the limits and responsibilities of friendship.

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2008

2008 WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL
YEAR ROUND PROGRAMMING STARTS WITH A BANG

The Woodstock Film Festival announced the launch of its 2008 Year Round Screening Program with Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro’s new award winning Iraq war documentary BODY OF WAR, to screen Saturday January 12 at Tinker Street Cinema at 2pm.

BODY OF WAR is an intimate and transformational feature documentary about the true face of war today. Meet Tomas Young, 25 years old, paralyzed from a bullet to his spine after serving in Iraq for less than a week. BODY OF WAR is his coming home story as he evolves into a new person, dealing with his disability and finding his own unique and passionate voice against the war. It is a nakedly honest portrayal of what it is like inside the body, heart and soul of this extraordinary and heroic young man.

The film is produced and directed by Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro (TROOP 1500). Two original songs were written for the film by musician Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam fame. Two Woodstock filmmakers were very involved in the project.

Phil Donahue, Ellen Spiro and Congressman Maurice Hinchey to appear at WFF screening of BODY OF WAR. Other special guests include Woodstockers DeeDee Halleck who acted as the film’s consultant and Bernadine Colish, the film editor. The film was recently named to the short list for Best Documentary by the Oscars.

A special reception hosted by Oriole 9 at the restaurant will follow the screening and Q&A.


DINNER & A MOVIE, January 31 at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

THE CAKE EATERS
"Coming of Age" is not the exclusive domain of the young, as evidenced in Mary Stuart Masterson's sensitive story of the intertwining lives and loves portrayed in The Cake Eaters. Young and old learn lessons of love and acceptance. Steeped in longing and sensuality, the sun beats down on young Georgia Kaminski as she leans against a car, her rag-doll body afflicted with Friedreich's Ataxia, a neurological disorder. This moment, midway through this wise and gentle character study set in a sleepy, Hudson Valley farming community, encapsulates the inner lives and secret passions connecting the Kimbrough and Kaminski families. Beagle Kimbrough, the nurturing younger son of newly widowed Easy (Bruce Dern), finds himself displaced by the reappearance of his brother Guy, who returns after a three-year absence and a failed career in music. Guy has a glimpse of what his life might have been had he stayed and married the woman he loved. Easy comes to terms with a secret he no longer wishes to hide, and Beagle leaves boyhood behind and earns the respect of his father. Performances by Kristen Stewart as Georgia and Aaron Stanford as Beagle are particularly noteworthy. (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E.)

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DINNER & A MOVIE, February 7 at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

THE WRECKING CREW
February 7 features a sneak preview of Denny Tedesco's work in progress THE WRECKING CREW. In recalling the golden years of the L.A. recording studio scene, Denny Tedesco tells the story of the A-listers who performed on thousands of records, film and television soundtracks that comprised a virtual soundtrack of '60s popular culture. Tommy Tedesco (who died in 1997) and Howard Roberts (who died in 1992) were among the legendary players in the Crew who supplied the music for the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, the Monkees, Sonny & Cher, the Mamas and the Papas, Frank and Nancy Sinatra, and dozens of other pop icons. See trailer online.

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DINNER & A MOVIE, February 14 at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

SHORT FILMS -- ALL ABOUT FOOD

Thursday nights throughout the winter months, Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant in Woodstock will present DINNER & A MOVIE in conjunction with the Woodstock Film Festival. Movies start at 7:00 pm. Delicious tapas, dinner and movie meals will be available. See Oriole 9 for details.

 

DINNER & A MOVIE, February 21 at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

RACING DAYLIGHT: is the story of Sadie Stokes (Melissa Leo) who has returned to the family farm to care for her catatonic Grandma (Leclanche Durand). There have always been Stokes in Cedarsville, but Sadie and Grandma are the last. When Harry (David Strathairn), a deceased Civil War soldier beckons Sadie from a mirror, Sadie begins to take on the character of her ancestor Anna, and a rich history of love and mystery unfolds.

This magical love story of hope and forgiveness is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Hudson River Valley and the historically rich Shawangunks.

The screening was introduced by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill. A post screening Q&A with principal cast and crew was hosted by US Weekly Film & DVD critic Thelma Adams.

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DINNER & A MOVIE, March 6 at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

AIR GUITAR NATION
Some might think of air guitar as a goofy game for shut-ins and frat boys, but they would be wrong. Dead wrong. For some of the stars in this rocking, rolling, pulsating-with-energy documentary, it's the purest art form, one with absolutely no desire for monetary gain. With sincere passions and tongue-in-cheek humor, this film shows that this honored pastime is also just a damn good time. The film incorporates interviews with the rockers about technique, pyrotechnics, and the many walks of life from which they hail, but the core of "Air Guitar Nation" is the performances, the gut-busting documentation of America embracing with fervor, scissor kicks, and mind blowing facial contortions a competition long dominated by European artists. Specifically, the film follows the battle between the Hello Kitty breast plate donning C-Diddy and underdog Bjorn Turoque from regional competitions to the climactic international finals in Oulu, Finland. If you are the proud owner of an air guitar, we encourage that you bring it with you. (Farihah Zaman)

 

 

airguiatar


DINNER & A MOVIE, March 13 at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

THE ORANGE THIEF
Indelible characters populate the world of "The Orange Thief" a cocky, irrepressible and penniless young man who dreams only of owning a piece of his beloved Sicilian land. And it is here, in Sicily, where we meet the fiery and sensual Rosalba whose songs melt the the heart of the murderous "Turrido, the Smooth Blade" philosopher and brute, imprisoned for life. Here characters carry with them their dreams, be it the salesman who wanders the countryside selling socks and dispensing wisdom, the tourist whose shirt holds strange secrets, or the gentle prison guard singing sweetly to himself.

This is a world infused with magic realism. Utterly delightful, imaginative and bold, this gem of a film features live music and singing integral to the narrative and impossible to forget. The making of the film is nearly as remarkable as the film itself. A seamless collaboration between three filmmakers using untrained but abundantly talented actors, this is a wildly original and truly independent endeavor. (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E)

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STATE OF FEAR with Pamela Yates

How can an open society address demands for security without compromising democracy? State of Fear dramatizes the human and societal costs a democracy faces when it embarks on a "war" against terror, a "war" potentially without end, all too easily exploited by unscrupulous leaders seeking personal political gain. The film follows events in Peru, yet it serves a as cautionary tale for a nation.

For 25 years, Pamela Yates and Skylight Pictures have been committed to producing artistic, challenging and socially relevant independent documentary films on issues of human rights and the quest for justice. Through the use of film and digital technologies, Yates seeks to engage, educate and increase understanding of human rights amongst the public at large and policy makers, contributing to informed decisions on issues of social change and the public good.

For more info, visit Skylight Pictures

Tuesday, March 25, 7pm at the Sanctuary for Independent Media
Wednesday, March 26, 7pm at the Boiceville Inn
For details, see www.hvpg.org

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DINNER & A MOVIE, March 27th at Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant

AMANDLA! REVOLUTION IN FOUR PART HARMONY

AMANDLA! explores the crucial role played by black South African freedom songs in the long struggle against apartheid. Music is woven throughout the documentary, a double award winner at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, as the film illustrates how freedom songs changed and evolved in step with the fight for liberation. World-renowned musicians, including trumpeter Hugh Masekela, singer Miriam Makeba, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and guitarist Vusi Mahlasela, offer their candid personal recollections along the way. In the South African language Xhosa, amandla means “power,” and the film lives up to its title.

 

amandla


HVFC Presents: HUMAN FOOTPRINT

Come out to support the HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION at a special preview and reception for National Geographic's groundbreaking documentary HUMAN FOOTPRINT–a preserve our planet presenttion. The screening is scheduled for Thursday, April 10, 8pm at the Bearsville Theater. For tickets, visit www.woodstockfilmfestival.com/cart/humanfootprint.php

Tickets benefit the HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION – a 501 (C)(3) organization that creates sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production in the region.

In 2007, the Hudson Valley Film Commission worked diligently to convince producers to film the highly anticipated American version of HUMAN FOOTPRINT in the Hudson Valley by referring locations, ideas and key crewmembers to UK based Touch Productions. They reacted swiftly by hiring local production crew and cast members. In addition to many location shoots throughout Ulster and Dutchess Counties, Touch used Tech City in Kingston for administrative offices, storage, workshop space, and shooting stages. The end result is National Geographic's groundbreaking HUMAN FOOTPRINT and major economic development for the region.

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FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER with Irena Salina

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group Presented FLOW: For Love of Water throughtout the Hudson Valley, April 15-17.

FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER, a new film by Irena Salina, highlights the local intimacies of an emerging global catastrophe: African plumbers reconnect shantytown water pipes under cover of darkness to ensure a community's survival; a Californian scientist forces awareness of shockingly toxic public water sources; a ‘Big Water’ CEO argues privatization is the wave of the future; a “Water Guru” in India sparks new community water initiatives in hundreds of villages; a Canadian author uncovers the corporate profiteering that drives global water business.

With an unflinching focus on politics, pollution and human rights, FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER ensures that the precarious relationship between humanity and water can no longer be ignored. While specifics of locality and issue may differ, the message is the same; water, and our future as a species, is quickly drying up. Armed with a thirst for survival, people around the world are fighting for their birthright; unless we instigate change, we face a world in which only those that can pay for their water will survive. FLOW: For Love of Water, is a catalyst for people everywhere: the time has come to turn the tide and we can't wait any longer. For more info, visit FLOW

"Critically important!" Variety

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"Lively & engaging!" - LA Times


SOHO HOUSE BENEFIT FOR WFF & HVFC: HUMAN FOOTPRINT

On Apil 17, Stephen Hays of 120dB Films will host a benefit for the Woodstock Film Festival and Hudson Valley Film Commission at SOHO HOUSE, NY.

The evening will feature complimentary wine from City Winery, hors d'oeuvres in the white room, and a gift bag with wonderful items from Ceres Press, Docurama, Edun, Organic Nectars and others. A special 60 minute screening in the cinema will follow featuring National Geographic Channels's groundbreaking HUMAN FOOTPRINT, which was produced in New York State thanks to the efforts of the Hudson Valley Film Commission.

Special auction items for the event include:
A two night mid-week stay in the Imperial Suite at the Emerson Resort and Spa. Stay includes dinner for two at the Phoenix Restaurant and a Spa Voucher.

New York Token Cuff Links mounted in sterling silver findings from eco-artware.com

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A MOVIE & A CONCERT: Presented by the Bearsville Theater and Co-Sponsored by the Woodstock Film Festival, Saturday, May 17th at 7:30pm

Kasim Sulton (Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Meat Loaf) performed with special guest, guitar player extraordinaire, Jesse Gress (Todd Rundgren, Tony Levin Band) and long time band mate, Doug Kennedy at the Bearsville Theater with rave reviews.

A special screening of the new Meat Loaf documentary movie IN SEARCH OF PARADISE followed the concert. Produced and directed by Bruce David Klein, this intimate and highly-entertaining theatrical feature documentary, which premiered in NYC in March 2008, reveals surprising sides of actor, performer, and multi-platinum rock icon Meat Loaf whose fertile creative mind are in constant flux . It contains concert footage and band interviews.

In addition to living and getting married in Woodstock, Meat Loaf’s 1977 history-breaking release Bat Out Of Hell was produced in town by Todd Rundgren.

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MY GENERATION SELLS OUT THE HOUSE

May 13: Woodstock Film Festival's co-presentation with the STRANGER THAN FICTION documentary film series at the IFC Center in NYC started on a high note Tuesday night with the sold out screening of MY GENERATION. Two-time Academy-Award® winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple crafted a masterful tapestry of different generations, spanning from the Woodstock music concert of 1969, through those of 1994 (in Saugerties, NY) and 1999 (in Rome, NY). And with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock 69 fast approaching, the relevance of the film, which focuses on the similarities and differences between generations, is more timely now than ever. The film had not screened in public since 2000, and judging from the reaction of the audience members who packed the house, it was as seminal today as it was then.

Following the screening, the audience was treated to a fabulous Q&A with director Barbara Kopple, concert producer Michael Lang, and one of the concerts top staff members Lee Blumer. The Q&A was hosted by Woodstock Film Festival co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. The audience got a rare insight into the challenges faced by concert planners and attendees, and a birds eye perspective from those who created it. Read more details about the Q&A from the Film Panel Notetaker.

Raphaela Niehausen who represented STRANGER THAN FICTION in the absence of founder and programmer Thom Powers (away at the Cannes Film Festival) helped with crowd control as the lively conversation spilled out into the street and over to La Lanterna where the after party, sponsored by CIROC Vodka, went on late into the night. All in all it was a fabulous event.

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Courtesy of The Film Panel Notetaker

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WHEN WE WERE KINGS

Tuesday, May 20th, marked the second screening of the Woodstock Film Festival’s co-presentation with the Stranger Than Fiction Documentary Film Series at the IFC Center in NYC.

When We Were Kings, the Academy Award winning film by director Leon Gast, has not been screened in public in New York State for close to 10 years. When We Were Kings documents the famous 1974 heavyweight championship between titleholder George Forman and underdog Muhammad Ali.

The audience that filled the screening room was mixed; some were in their twenties and had never seen the film, others were older and saw it years ago. Yet everyone was mesmerized by the charismatic Ali and his ability to charm and wow. Laughter filled the room in all the right places, with gasps at other times. And as the credits began to roll the applause thundered.

Filmmaker Leon Gast, executive producer David Sonenberg and editor Jeffrey Levy-Hinte got on stage for a Q&A that could have lasted forever. One of the first questions was to Leon, inquiring what took the film so long – the film was shot in 1974 but wasn’t finished until 1996. Leon explained some of the legal issues that kept the film in the can for all those years, and both he and David Sonenberg touched on some of the hurdles they had to overcome. Levy-Hinte discussed some of his thoughts about editing the concurrent music festival and the process of the dramatic build up towards the fight.

Following the Q&A everyone moved on to La Lanterna where complimentary vodka was served courtesy of Woodstock Film Festival sponsor Ciroc Vodka, was flowing and the food was delicious. The audience mingled late into the night with film folks such as Barbara Kopple, Godfrey Cheshire, Hugo Perez, Kit Carson, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, and of course Leon Gast, Meira Blaustein of the Woodstock Film Festival, and Thom Powers of Stranger Than Fiction.

All in all it was a great follow up to the Woodstock & Stranger Than Fiction screening of My Generation the previous Tuesday, and a great preview of the screening yet to come: The Agronomist by Jonathan Demme on Tuesday May 27th. Jonathan Demme, producer Peter Saraf, executive producer Daniel Wolff, and widow of the film subject Michelle Montas will be there for a fascinating Q&A. It will be a wonderful conclusion to a great series. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Photo courtesty of The Film Panel Notetaker

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Photo Courtesy of Mike Burke

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THE AGRONOMIST

Tuesday May 27th was the final installment in a three part screening series co-presented by the Woodstock Film Festival and Stranger Than Fiction at the IFC Center.

The series ended on a high note with a sold out screening of Jonathan Demme's THE AGRONOMIST. The award-winning documentary is about outspoken freedom rights activist and Radio Haiti owner and journalist Jean Dominique who was assassinated April 3, 2000 on his way to his radio station. The film documents the amazing work Dominique and his wife Michel Montas pursued, as well as the political history of Haiti in the 20th century.

As the credits came to an end, Woodstock Film Festival co-founder and executive director, Meira Blaustein brought director Jonathan Demme, Michel Montas, film producer Peter Saraf and film executive producer Daniel Wolf on stage to a long standing ovation. The very graceful Montas, clearly taken by the strong emotional response, thanked the audience.

The Q&A session began with Demme discussing his involvement with Haiti and Dominique and the length of the filmmaking process. Montas talked about her continued work in Haiti. The Q&A took a turn with a surprise guest appearance by actor/activist Danny Glover, which generated a new round of applause. Glover talked about his long term interest in Haitian politics and his passion for pursuit of fairness and peace throughout the world.

Producers Peter Saraf and Daniel Wolff elaborated about the guerrilla style of filmmaking used for THE AGRONOMIST, rounding up a long, informative and passionate Q&A session that generated another standing ovation at the end.

Audience members lingered in the lobby and on the street, talking to all the participants, and then again at La Lanterna, where the after party, sponsored by Woodstock Film Festival's sponsor Ciroc Vodka was held. There audience members had the opportunity to continue talking to Demme, Glover, and everyone else late into the night.

With such a moving and inspiring film as THE AGRONOMIST, an amazing Q&A session and a fabulous after party where everyone gushed about the film and the filmmakers, the night ended on an inspiring note.

The Woodstock Film Festival would like to thank Thom Powers and Stranger Than Fiction for inviting us to take part in this series. It was a blast and we look forward to doing it again sometime in the future. Stay tuned!

agronomist

 

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2007

In conjunction with WAMC Northeast Public Radio and Independents on the Air the Woodstock Film Festival presents
CRAZY SEXY CANCER, directed by Kris Carr

Friday, June 29, 8pm
at The Linda, 339 Central Avenue, Albany, NY

An irreverent and uplifting documentary about a young woman looking for a cure and finding her life. Weeks after she was diagnosed, filmmaker Kris Carr began documenting her story. Taking a seemingly tragic situation and turning it into a creative expression, Kris shares her wild journey with exuberance, humor and sass.

Director's Bio:
Kris is an award-winning actress, a photographer, and writer from Woodstock, NY. This is her first feature length documentary after working in shorts and the theater. Her advice-from-the-trenches "Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips" book, a practical (and funny) survival guide with insights of other young women with cancer, will be published this fall under the new skirt! imprint of The Globe Pequot Press.


LEGAL WORKSHOP

The Woodstock Film Festival, The Hudson Valley Film Commission and Seven21 Media Center will present a seminar on LEGAL ISSUES FOR FILMMAKERS by Jackie Borock, Esq. on June 13, 2007, 7 pm, at Seven21 Media Center, 721 Broadway, Kingston, NY 12401.

Jackie Borock, an experienced arts and entertainment attorney who recently relocated to the Hudson Valley, will provide some insight into the legal issues which arise for filmmakers, and help protect them from the potential problems that can arise with respect to copyrights, clearances and contracts. Ms. Borock is the former Director of Legal and Business Affairs at TLA Entertainment, Inc. in Philadelphia, an international multi-media distributor. She has represented dozens of writers, filmmakers, performers and artists, and is also the director of an award-winning documentary, A JOYFUL NOISE. Come join us for an informative evening!

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Jackie Borock with Ira Schrek
at 2006 WFF Entertainment Law Panel

The Woodstock Film Festival Film Series sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, presents a special screening of CONFRONTED BY THE DEATH OF HIS STEPFATHER.

Director Thomas Allen Harris embarks on a journey of reconciliation with the man who raised him as a son but whom he could never call “father.”  B. Pule Leinaeng ("Lee") was an ANC foot soldier, who sacrificed his life for the freedom of his country.  As part of the first wave of South African exiles, Lee and his eleven comrades left their home in Bloemfontein in 1960 to broadcast to the world the brutality of the apartheid system and to raise support for the African National Congress (“ANC”) and its leaders, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo. Drawing upon the memories of the surviving disciples and their families, young South African actors portray the harrowing events of the exodus and exile and in so doing, forge their own reconciliation between the generations.

Saturday, June 9, 1:00pm
at the Shadowland Theater
157 Canal Street (get directions)
Ellenville, NY 12428
(845) 647-5511

Running Time: 73 Minutes
The screening will be introduced by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill.
Post screening Q&A with Director Thomas Allen Harris will follow.

Admission is FREE for the public.
Tickets are limited and will be available first come first served. Reservations are no longer available for this event.

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The Hudson Valley Programmers Group and Woodstock Film Festival Film Series sponsored Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, presents a special film/performance mashup THE MITCH SHOW

"Mr. Rose is a rare and wonderful talent," pronounces The New York Times, the heaviest newspaper in the world. And all this… can be yours! FOR FREE!

it's THE MITCH SHOW featuring Mitchel Rose

Sunday, June 3, 7:30pm (doors open)
at the Bearsville Theater
291 Tinker Street (get directions)
(Route 212, Woodstock, NY 12498)

The Mitch Show is more than just a retrospective of offbeat comic short films spanning the oeuvre of the artiste. It's a film/performance mashup. Not only does Mitchell present his hilarious, innovative films, but he also leads several comic audience-participation performance pieces. The result is pure cineformatainment.

As can be plainly discovered on MitchellRose.com, Mr. Rose is the former housemate of Paris Hilton. Let the art begin.

THE MITCH SHOW will also be presented (click on links for details)
June 1, 8pm at the Linda in Albany, NY
June 2, 8pm at Lady Washington Firehouse in Poughkeepsie, NY

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The New York Times has likened Mitchell Rose to
"... Woody Allen, with more than
a dash of Abbie Hoffman thrown in."

The Washington Post has described his work as "in the tradition of Chaplin, Keaton, and Tati --
funny and sad and more than the sum of both."


The WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL FILM SERIES sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, presents a special screening of Nicole Quinn's RACING DAYLIGHT, starring David Strathairn, Melissa Leo and Giancarlo Esposito.

Saturday, May 5th, 1:00 pm
at the Rosendale Theatre
408 Main Street, Rosendale, NY

What happens when time collides?

RACING DAYLIGHT is the story of Sadie Stokes (Melissa Leo) who has returned to the family farm to care for her catatonic Grandma (Leclanche Durand). There have always been Stokes in Cedarsville, but Sadie and Grandma are the last. When Harry (David Strathairn), a deceased Civil War soldier beckons Sadie from a mirror, Sadie begins to take on the character of her ancestor Anna, and a rich history of love and mystery unfolds.

This magical love story of hope and forgiveness is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Hudson River Valley and the historically rich Shawangunks.

The screening was introduced by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill. A post screening Q&A with principal cast and crew was hosted by US Weekly Film & DVD critic Thelma Adams.

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Kevin A. Cahill, director Nicole Quinn, Sabrina Lloyd, Meira Blaustein (Woodstock FIlm Festival) Melissa Leo, Jason Downs, Elizabeth Bracco and Aidan Quinn at a special screening of Nicole Quinn's Racing Daylight... part of the Woodstock Film Festival Film Series sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill
Photo Credit: Martin L. Gardlin


Click here to view the trailer


HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION BENEFIT
All of us at the Hudson Valley Film Commission are extremely proud of the work that has been done to attract more film and TV production to the region. We are working hard on bringing more production to the area including interesting projects such as the National Geographic special HUMAN FOOTPRINT, which we are currently working on with the hope that they will shoot and hire locally.

On Saturday, May 5, a BENEFIT was hosted at BYWATER BISTRO for HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION to celebrate the 1pm sneak preview screening of RACING DAYLIGHT (shot in 2006 in the Hudson Valley). The benefit was sponsored by Mary Collins Real Estate.

The fabulous reception, featured delectable Hors D'oeuvres, wine, and the great company of emerging and established talents.

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Director Nicole Quinn, Melissa Leo, Jason Downs, Aidan Quinn, Sophia Raab Downs, Denny Dillon and Laurent Rejto (kneeling) at Hudson Valley Film Commission benefit at Bywater Bistro.
Photo Credit: Martin L. Gardlin

Sponsored by Mary Collins Real Estate


The WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL FILM SERIES sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, presents a special screening of Davis Guggenheim’s GRACIE
starring starring Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Andrew Shue and Elisabeth Shue.

Saturday, May 12th, 1pm
at the Tinker Street Cinema
132 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY 12498

GRACIE is the inspirational, touching story of a sixteen-year-old girl, who, after a family tragedy changed her life, fought for and won the right for girls everywhere to play competitive soccer. The film is set in 1978 and inspired by the Shue family’s real life events.

GRACIE is hot off the press, literally – as the Picturehouse film is slated for a theatrical release of June 1st. Producer Lemore Syvan and select cast and crew will head the post screening Q&A session, hosted by Filmmaker Magazine Senior Editor Peter Bowen.

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A Picturehouse release

BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES
The Future of American Music Hangs In the Balance...

Introduced by Kate Pierson of the B-52’s.
Independent dobro/vocal/stompboard musician Bret Mosley performed prior to and following the screening. His style is an original and soulful mix of blues, folk and country music that anyone can enjoy.

Never have so few companies controlled so much of the music played on the radio and for sale at retail stores. At the same time, there are more bands and more ways to discover their music than ever. Music seems to have split in two - the homogenous corporate product that is spoonfed to consumers and the diverse independent music that finds devoted fans online and at clubs across the country.

BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES tells the story of American music at this precarious moment. Filmmakers Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen traveled the country, hoping to understand why mainstream music seems so packaged and repetitive, and whether corporations really had the power to silence musical innovation. The answers they found on this journey–ultimately, the promise that the future holds–are what makes BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES both riveting and exhilarating.

At the heart of BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES are interviews with musicians, industry insiders, music critics, and fans that reveal how music has reached this moment of truth. Featured performances from a truly diverse group of artists, ranging from The Dave Matthews Band and Erykah Badu to Seattle street performers and Mississippi gospel singers show us that great music is always out there… as long as you know where to look. BEFORE THE MUSIC DIES will renew your passion for great music, and inspire you to play an active part in its future.

 
Buy the DVD

2006

IFC Films, Red Envelope Entertainment and WFF presents
AN UNREASONABLE MAN

In 1966, General Motors, the most powerful corporation in the world, sent private investigators to dig up dirt on an obscure thirty-two year old public interest lawyer named Ralph Nader, who had written a book critical of one of their cars, the Corvair. The scandal that ensued after the smear campaign was revealed launched Ralph Nader into national prominence and established him as one of the most admired Americans and the leader of the modern Consumer Movement.

Over the next thirty years and without ever holding public office, Nader built a legislative record that is the rival of any contemporary president. Many things we take for granted including seat belts, airbags, product labeling, no nukes, even the free ticket you get after being bumped from an overbooked flight are largely due to the efforts of Ralph Nader and his citizen groups. Yet today, when most people hear the name "Ralph Nader," they think of the man who gave the country George W. Bush. As a result, after sustaining his popularity and effectiveness over an unprecedented amount of time, he has become a pariah even among former friends and allies. How did this happen? Is he really to blame for George W. Bush? Who has stuck by him and who has abandoned him? Has our democracy become a consumer fraud? After being so right for so many years, how did he seem to go so wrong? With the help of exciting graphics, rare archival footage and over forty on-camera interviews conducted over the past two years, "An Unreasonable Man" traces the life and career of Ralph Nader, one of the most unique, important, and controversial political figures of the past half century.


Woodstock Film Festival in association with Warner Independent Pictures
present a special screening of THE PAINTED VEIL

As part of its year-round screening series, the Woodstock Film Festival, in association with Warner Independent Pictures, will offer a special sneak preview of one of this year’s most anticipated new films, THE PAINTED VEIL.

Based on the classic novel by W. Somerset Maugham, THE PAINTED VEIL is a love story set in the 1920s that tells the story of a young English couple, Walter, a middle class doctor and Kitty, an upper – class woman, who get married for the wrong reasons and relocate to Shanghai, where she falls in love with someone else.

When he uncovers her infidelity, in an act of vengeance, he accepts a job in a remote village in China ravaged by a deadly epidemic, and takes her along. Their journey brings meaning to their relationship and gives them purpose in one of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.

A Q&A with the film’s screenwriter Ron Nyswaner will follow. A Hudson Valley resident, Nyswaner was nominated for an Academy Award for the screenplay of PHILADELPHIA. Other screenplays include SOLDIER’S GIRL, and MRS. SOFFEL.

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WFF in association with Yari Film Group Releasing, and Allied Advertising presents a special screening of
THE ILLUSIONIST

Director Neil Burger, who will be in attendance for the screening, follows up INTERVIEW WITH AN ASSASSIN, which won best feature film at the 2002 Woodstock FIlm Festival, with what NPR's Bob Montello calls, "Romantic, smart... gorgeous!"

THE ILLUSIONIST stars Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti as two men pitted against each other in a battle of wits: Norton as mysterious stage magician Eisenheim, and Giamatti as Vienna's shrewd Chief Inspector Uhl, with Jessica Biel sharing the screen as the beautiful Sophie von Teschen.

When word of Eisenheim's astounding illusions reaches the powerful and pragmatic Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), the ruler attends one of the magician's shows in order to debunk Eisenheim during the performance. But when the Prince's intended, Sophie von Teschen, assists the magician onstage, Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoods and a dormant love affair is rekindled. As the clandestine romance continues, Uhl is charged by Leopold to intensify his efforts to expose Eisenheim, even while the magician gains a devoted and vocal public following. With Uhl doggedly searching for the reasons and the man behind the trickery, Eisenheim prepares to execute his greatest illusion yet. For more info, visit THE ILLUSIONIST

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The WOODSTOCK IN THE CITY Screening Series sponsored by Indiepix.net proudly presents a SNEAK PREVIEW of
CROSSING ARIZONA and a Q&A with the NYC-based documentary filmmakers Joseph Mathew & Dan DeVivo “On the last day or two (of Sundance) you hurry between screenings, trying to catch films everybody tells you not to miss. One I especially admired was CROSSING ARIZONA.” -Roger Ebert“Deftly sustaining many points of view... in a complex, still-evolving debate.“
-Dennis Harvey, VARIETY

Synopsis: With Americans on all sides of the issue up in arms and Congress embroiled in a knock-down-drag-out policy battle over how to move forward, CROSSING ARIZONA tells the story of how we got to where we are today. Heightened security in California and Texas has pushed illegal border-crossers into the treacherous Arizona desert in unprecedented numbers – an estimated 4,500 a day. Most are Mexican men in search of work, but increasingly the border-crossers are women and children seeking to reunite with their husbands and fathers. This influx of migrants crossing through Arizona and the attendant rising death toll have elicited complicated feelings about human rights, culture, class, labor and national security. “Crossing Arizona” examines the crisis through the eyes of those directly affected by it. Frustrated ranchers go out day after day to repair cut fences and pick up the trash that endangers their livestock and livelihoods. Humanitarian groups place water stations in the desert in an attempt to save lives. Political activists rally against anti-migrant ballot initiatives and try to counter rampant fear mongering. Farmers who depend on the illegal work force face each day with the fear that they may lose their workers to a border patrol sweep. And now there are the Minutemen, an armed citizen patrol group taking border security into their own hands. As up-to-date as the nightly news, but far more in-depth, “Crossing Arizona” is an indispensable primer on what is already turning into the most divisive issue of this election year.

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THE LAST WESTERN


Followed by a Q & A with filmmaker Chris Deaux, and a reception hosted by Indiepix.net at 9 pm
Welcome to Pioneertown, California - a dusty outpost perched on the edge of the Mojave Desert in the shadow of Los Angeles. Built in 1946 by Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, the town would go on to serve as the backdrop for some of Hollywood's last B-Westerns and television serials, including "The Cisco Kid," "Buffalo Bill Jr." and Gene Autry's final film, "The Last of the Pony Riders." The town's time in the spotlight would be short lived, however, and by the mid-1950's Pioneertown sat forgotten and decaying in the desert sun. A virtual ghost town, Pioneertown became a hangout for motorcycle gangs, dope dealers and desert rats. A few of the hearty drifters stayed on and moved into the decaying old west storefronts, creating a surreal 21st Century version of Hollywood's 1950's version of the Wild West: real cowboys, outlaws and desert drifters surviving in the crumbling film sets of near forgotten B-Western movies. THE LAST WESTERN chronicles the bygone era of the B-Western and the colorful citizens of Pioneertown who thrive on the town's Wild West past and celebrate the remarkable freedom afforded by living life outside the lines in Hollywood's version of America's last, great Western town.
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For more info, visit 7th Art Releasing.


“THE LAST WESTERN is filled with colorful characters whose tradgedies and triumphs breathe life into a town that is truly one of Hollywood’s forgotten gems.”
- Solomon Jones: Columnist, Philadelphia Weekly and author of “Ride or Die.”


LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE A WFF SNEAK PREVIEW, in association with FOX SEARCHLIGHT
Q&A with producer Peter Saraf to follow

LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE tells the story of the Hoovers, one of the most endearingly fractured families ever seen on motion picture screens. Together, the motley six-member family treks from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, to fulfill the deepest wish of 7-year-old Olive, an ordinary little girl with big dreams. Along the way the family must deal with crushed dreams, heartbreak, and a broken-down VW bus, leading up to the surreal Little Miss Sunshine competition itself. On their travels through this bizarrely funny landscape, the Hoovers learn to trust and support each other along the path of life, no matter what the challenge.

Fox Searchlight acquired worldwide rights to the hilarious and heartfelt film following its 2006 Sundance Film Festival world premiere, which inspired the audience to a rare standing ovation. Marking the feature film directorial debut for renowned music video directors (and husband and wife team) Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and the first feature script penned by Michael Arndt, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE stars an award-winning ensemble cast led by Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano and Greg Kinnear.

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CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE?
Q&A with filmmaker Frank Popper and reception hosted by Indiepix.net to follow

CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE?, which made its World Premiere at Silverdocs Festival on June 16th, is a riveting, edge-of-seat story about Jeff Smith, a 29-year old underdog campaigning for Congress. With a group of like-minded idealists, the young spitfire, lacking experience, funding, and even familial support, tirelessly campaigns against career politicians backed by the wealthy and powerful. Inspiring and rousing, CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? is proof that there is still room in our increasingly corrupt, corporatized political system for one determined individual to incite change.

Frank Popper wandered into a photo lab while teaching high school English in St. Louis. Seeing the magic of his friend's print come to life took his professional life in a new direction-from photography to award-winning multi-image productions to film. Popper produced THE LOUNGE PEOPLE, a feature starring Buck Henry and Christine Ebersole, which aired on Starz. He was principal videographer of EROICA!, a documentary that aired on PBS about The Eroica Trio's collaboration with a classical music composer. CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? is his first feature-length documentary.

Audience Award Winner at 2006 Silverdocs

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OUR BRAND IS CRISIS Produced & Directed by Rachel Boynton

For decades, U.S. strategists-for-hire have been quietly influencing the opinions of voters and the messages of candidates in elections around the world. Rachel Boynton’s OUR BRAND IS CRISIS is an astounding look at one of their campaigns and its dramatic aftermath.

The filmmaker follows a crack team of Democratic political consultants, including James Carville, Tad Devine and Jeremy Rosner as they strategize
for a struggling presidential candidate in Bolivia. This thrilling adventure is a fly-on-the-wall account of the machinations behind the turbulent re-election campaign of Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada (“Goni”). In a country facing a calamitous economic crisis, Goni - a wealthy businessman who privatized Bolivia's economy and created social security (when he was president in the mid-‘90s) - isn't a popular candidate. Yet the consultants devise a U.S.-style campaign marked by savvy media techniques and negative ads, emphasizing
a single, strong message. They reintroduce Goni as an appealing brand in an attempt to win an election whose aftermath is nothing short of devastating.

Recently Bolivia’s new leftist president, Evo Morales, has put the country back in the news. Morales, previously a leader of the coca leaf-growers’ union, became the nation’s first indigenous leader in December. Boynton’s
film is both a terrific case study in the events leading up to Morales’s win and a shocking example of how U.S. marketing strategies can affect the spreading of “our brand of democracy” overseas.

“It’s hard to know whether to marvel or weep when James Carville goes into his Bill Clinton-meets-Looney Tunes act in Rachel Boynton’s knockout documentary. Darkly amusing. Boynton has extraordinary access – bewildering access, given the damning nature of what she gets.”
– David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Visit WAMC for complete details.
This event made possible through the generous support of the
New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency.

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“(A) momentous documentary! Will pack a punch! The unrestricted access we are given to these discussions that would normally take place behind closed doors is astounding.”
– Laura Kern, The New York Times


BOXERS & BALLERINAS

Boxers and Ballerinas is about four young people forever united by their cultural heritage and forever divided by 90 miles of water and over 40 years of political conflict.  The documentary traces the lives of a boxer and a ballerina in Miami, Florida, and a boxer and a ballerina in Havana, Cuba:  their triumphs and failures, their power and powerlessness, and the singular intensity and violence of being young.

Boxers and Ballerinas cuts through the romantic mystery of Cuba, the neon stereotype of Miami, and the political noise of US-Cuba relations to the sweat, sex, grace and aggression of winning the fight, nailing the pirouette, and chasing the dream until the body gives in.

Director Mike Cahill was a former staff editor, cinematographer and field producer for National Geographic TV and Film in Washington D.C. Co-Director Britt Marling dropped out of Georgetown University to make Boxers and Ballerinas. She returned to university to graduate number one in her class. Producer Nick Shumaker has worked with Emmy and Peabody Award winning producer, Mike Cerre and Globe TV, a Production company in California.

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THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS

Courtesy of New Line Home Entertainment, the Woodstock Film Commission and the Bearsville Theater will co-host a DVD release party screening of THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS starring Paul Reiser (TV’s Mad About You, Bye Bye Love, Diner) and Peter Falk (TV’s Columbo, Wings of Desire, The In-Laws). The feature film was shot almost entirely in Ulster County due to the efforts of the Woodstock Film Commission. The film was originally slated to shoot in Pennsylvania. Hundreds of local residents appeared as extras in film while others worked as crew members.

A hilariously truthful journey into the ties that bind family, love and marriage – as well as the misunderstandings that inevitably bring people closer together – is at the heart of New Line Home Entertainment’s THE THING ABOUT MY FOLKS, an affecting dramatic comedy arriving on DVD on February 14, 2006.  Screenwriter Paul Reiser co-stars with the legendary Peter Falk in this deeply personal, semi-autobiographical film about a father and son on a road trip that leads, ultimately, to a strengthened sense of family.  Also featuring Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck, Steel Magnolias) and Elizabeth Perkins (Must Love Dogs, Big).


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2005
WFF goes to Hollywood with THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS
at the Egyptian Theatre in L.A.

American Cinematheque and Woodstock FIlm Festival partner for LA premiere of THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS. For the first time ever, the WFF is partnering with the prestigious American Cinematheque to showcase a selection from the 2005 festival in the Cinematheque’s historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

On Thursday, November 10, the American Cinematheque will present THE AMERICAN RULING CLASS as part of its Alternative Screen Independent Film Showcase series. The filmmakers, as well as Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein, will be present for a Q&A and a gathering of old friends and new from both coasts after the screening. The screening will take place at 7:30 PM at the Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Tickets are $9 a person.

For more information, visit the American Cinematheque website

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Woodstock Film Festival in the City and Reel Works Teen Filmmaking presents THE BEST OF THE LAB 2005, an evening of extraordinary short documentaries produced by NYC teens at The Two Boots Pioneer Theater

The Lab, supported by HBO, is a four-time Emmy award winning youth media program that challenges teens to create short films about their lives.

Powerful, personal and uncensored, the films of The Lab take us inside the real life challenges teens face every day. Stories about racism, teen pregnancy and depression. Stories of love and survival. With courage, artistry, and great storytelling, our young filmmakers break down the wall between the neighborhood and New York City.

If you ever wondered whether or not teens today had powerful and profound
things to say about the world, listen to the stories of The Lab.

For more info about the lab at http://www.reelworks.org

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Woodstock Film Festival in the City presents HARSH BEAUTY at The Two Boots Pioneer Theater

Harsh Beauty follows the lives of Jyothi, Usha and Hira Bai, three Eunuchs who live as women in India, as they struggle to find a place for themselves in a culture splintered by religion, caste and politics.

Still existing as they have for centuries, the Eunuchs (or Hijra) are considered the third gender, neither men nor women. Although the Eunuchs are part of India’s ancient cultural history, they remain largely unknown outside of the country.

By definition, Eunuchs are either born hermaphrodites or are men who are voluntarily emasculated. Their origins are ambiguous, but from the ancient Vedas to the holy Mahabharata, there is evidence of their presence and their spiritual powers.

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Rumur Releasing and Greenhouse Pictures present OCCUPATION: DREAMLAND

OCCUPATION: DREAMLAND is an unflinchingly candid portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraqi city of Falluja during the winter of 2004. A tense and grimly humorous study of the soldiers unfolds as they patrol an environment of low-intensity conflict creeping steadily towards catastrophe. Through the squad'‚s activities OCCUPATION: DREAMLAND provides a vital glimpse into the last days of Falluja. The film documents the city's waning stability before a final series of military assaults began in the spring of 2004 that effectively destroyed it.

Filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds were given access to all operations of the Army's 82nd Airborne. They lived with the unit 24/7, giving voice to soldiers held under a strict code of authority as they cope with an ambiguous, often lethal environment. The result is a revealing, sometimes surprising look at Army life, operations and the complexity of American war in the 21st century.

"... a gut-wrenching six weeks in the life of the 82nd Airborne Division...
a portrait of tension rising."
- Chris Vognar, The Dallas Morning News

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WFF and WAMC present MURDERBALL

Featuring fierce rivalry, stopwatch suspense, and larger-than- life personalities, MURDERBALL, Winner of the Documentary Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize for Editing at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, is a film about tough, highly competitive rugby players. Quadriplegic rugby players. Whether by car wreck, fist fight, gun shot, or rogue bacteria, these men were forced to live life sitting down. In their own version of the full-contact sport, they smash the hell out of each other in custom-made gladiator-like wheelchairs. And no, they don't wear helmets.

From the gyms of middle America to the Olympic arena in Athens, Greece, MURDERBALL tells the story of a group of world-class athletes unlike any ever shown on screen. In addition to smashing chairs, it will smash every stereotype you ever had about "gimps" and "cripples." It is a film about family, revenge, honor, sex (yes, they can) and the triumph of love over loss. But most of all, it is a film about standing up, even after your spirit - and your spine - has been crushed.

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“Fierce, funny, and inspiring.”
-PREMIERE

“A nonfiction film about sexy, sumbitch quadriplegics who ram the
living daylights out of one another playing rugby in souped-up wheelchairs.”
-Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly


PLAYING FOR CHANGE:
A Cinematic Discovery of Street Music

Former street musician Jerry Mitnick, who also ran Woodstock's legendary Tinker Street Café in the 80's, will entertain with live music prior to the movie. Bring some change.

Directed by Mark Johnson & Jonathan Walls, "PLAYING FOR CHANGE" is a 70-minute musical journey of discovery that celebrates the freedom and the lives of street musicians existing in America today. Focusing on the three cities of Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York, the film brilliantly captures an array of musical styles and human moments that would otherwise slip through the cracks of society. Two of the artists who appear in the film were signed to recording contracts. The soundtrack is available on CD and broadcast rights were recently picked up by the Sundance Channel. For more info about the film, visit Playing For Change .

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MAD HOT BALLROOM

MAD HOT BALLROOM is an inspiring look inside the lives of New York City school kids on a journey into the world of ballroom dancing –  a new and unexpected arena where they discover home truths about  attitude, movement, style  and commitment. Told from  the candid, sometimes hilarious perspective of the boys and girls themselves, the picture  chronicles  their transformation from typical urban kids to “ladies and gentlemen,”  as their school  teams aim towards a final citywide competition.

MAD HOT BALLROOM made its world premiere in January 2005 as the opening night film for the 2005 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The film is directed by Marilyn Agrelo (a part time Hudson Valley resident) and produced by both Angelo and Amy Sewell, and written by Sewell. Brian Gange, another upstater, line produced.

Filmmakers will be present for a Q&A following the screening

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WOODSTOCK IN THE CITY presents LIBERIA: THE LOVE OF LIBERTY
BROUGHT US HERE

THE LOVE OF LIBERTY tells the personal story of Director Gerald K. Barclay whose family was forced to flee their homeland of Liberia after a coup in 1980, which led to a devastating 15-year civil war. After 24 years of being away from his homeland he's lost all desire to ever return to the now war ravaged nation. He is offered an assignment to produce a documentary on influence of Hip Hop on African culture. While in Ghana, he visits the Liberian refugee camp to find a relative. During that search, he begins to listen to the stories of survival from the refugees. One of the stories brings him face to face a notorious killer, now a born-again preacher, General Butt Naked. This encounter makes a dramatic impact on Gerald's life and he then embarks on a 4 year journey of documenting the devastating effects of the war that eventually leads him back to war torn Liberia, reuniting him with the past he tried so hard to forget.

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The Woodstock Film Festival and IFC Films cordially invite you to a special benefit screening for the East Coast Premiere of Rebecca Miller's
THE BALLAD OF JACK & ROSE

THE BALLAD OF JACK & ROSE stars Daniel Day Lewis, Camilla Belle, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, Ryan McDonald, Jena Malone, Jason Lee and Beau Bridges. Award-winning filmmaker Rebecca Miller ("Angela," "Personal Velocity") has created a powerful and poetic feature about a man who has cut himself off from the world that refuses to live up to his ideals, and a young girl’s sensual coming–of–age.
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The Woodstock Film Festival and WAMC, Northeast Public Radio present
V-DAY: UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS
Directed by Abby Epstein
Featuring appearances by Tantoo Cardinal, Rosario Dawson, Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, LisaGay Hamilton, Salma Hayek, Amy Hill, Rosie Perez, Isabella Rossellini.

UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS follows the grassroots impact of V-Day in five international communities while exposing the pervasive and cultural forms of violence that women experience all over the world. Directed by Abby Epstein, the story begins at a star-studded V-Day benefit at Harlem's Apollo Theater and travels to regional events in Ukiah California, the Philippines, and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, culminating in the opening of the first V-Day Safe House for girls in Kenya. What emerges is an alternately devastating and hopeful look at the global and grassroots efforts in motion to stop violence against women and girls.

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PARALLEL LINES

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at 2004 Woodstock Film Festival

Parallel Lines
is an American roadtrip movie with a twist. The journey takes place in the fall of 2001, as filmmaker Nina Davenport drives from California back home to New York, where her apartment once overlooked the World Trade Center. The events of September 11th quickly recede into the background of this documentary, becoming instead a portal into the inner lives of Americans. The filmmaker stops along the road to talk with strangers who end up sharing their personal stories of loss with astonishing candor: A woman tells of losing custody of her children; a veteran describes his battle with post traumatic stress disorder; a cowboy reveals that his mother murdered his father. Touching on a wide range of subjects from the meaning of love to the horror of the atomic bomb, a film that begins as the story of one New Yorker’s journey home in the aftermath of tragedy becomes a portrait of American identity and history.

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MESSENGERS

It's winter in the quiet fishing village of Brighton Mills when the town doctor suddenly dies. His patients panic. There seems to be no one else who understands their special needs. When his daughter, the cool and logical Dr. Sarah Chapel returns home, she embarks on a quest to find out why he had been medicating his patients when their only ailments seem to be an inability to get sick and die. Digging deeper into the unusual atmosphere of Brighton Mills, Sarah tries to make sense of her father's interest in the paranormal, and the paranoid townspeople who can't seem to find relief from the voices that haunt them.

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DOWN TO THE BONE
WFF's 2004 Winner Best Feature

In upstate New York, Irene (Vera Farmiga) struggles to raise two sons, keep her stale marriage together, and manage a secret cocaine habit.  Isolated in a dead-end job at a strip mall on the edge of town, Irene isn’t sure when she went from high school partying to skimming off the grocery money to supply her growing habit.
Desperate to alter her life, she puts herself in rehab, hoping she can reshape the world she has made with her husband, Steve (Clint Jordan). But once she’s back home, the distance between them seems to widen, and Irene ends up falling into an affair with Bob (Hugh Dillon), a nurse and former addict she met in rehab. Bob’s attention and affection revives her pushed-aside life, but all too soon she realizes they have more in common than she bargained for.

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Visit Down to the Bone for more info.


AVOID EYE CONTACT

Animator Signe Baumane presents a custom selection of works from Avoid Eye Contact, Volume I and and the upcoming Volume II. This special animated shorts screening will feature top New York animators including: Aleksey Budovsky, Patrick Smith, Signe Baumane, John Dilworth, Geroge Griffin, Bill Plympton, PES. Beyond the art form, Avoid Eye Contact is truly visionary in terms of commercial distribution. Animator Signe Baumane states, “The entire production of this DVD has been done by the animators themselves” she continues, “The look and quality of this volume would not have been possible without the animators taking complete control”.

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FARMINGVILLE
by Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini

The shocking hate-based attempted murders of two Mexican day laborers catapult a small Long Island town into national headlines, unmasking a new front line in the border wars: suburbia. For nearly a year, Carlos Sandoval and Catherine Tambini lived and worked in Farmingville, New York, so they could capture first-hand the stories of residents, day laborers and activists on all sides of the debate.

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WFF celebrates the DVD release of THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND
with extras and bonuses galore, explodes on retail shelves May 25th.

To celebrate the release WFF's monthly Can Film Festival will present a special screening at the Woodstock Community Center Friday, May 21 at 8:30pm. The Oscar nominated doc by Bill Siegel and Sam Green was distributed theatrically by Shadow Distribution in association with Rhinebeck’s Upstate Films. Canadian distribution was handled by Ron Mann’s Film We Like. Domestic DVD distribution is being handled by Docurama, which is co-owned by advisory board member Steve (New Video) Savage.

One of the top documentaries of the year, this Academy Award nominee interweaves extensive archival material with modern-day interviews to explore the incredible story of THE WEATHER UNDERGROUND, one of America's most notorious modern revolutionaries.

Click here to buy the DVD.

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WAMC, Northeast Public Radio and the Woodstock Film Festival present:
ALTERNATIVE EXPLORATIONS FOR FILMS THAT MATTER

Following up on their successful evening with award-winning cinematographer Haskell Wexler and Pamela Yates, the Woodstock Film Festival and WAMC/Northeast Public Radio's Independent Film On The Air project will present Alternative Explorations for Films That Matter.

In keeping with the theme of issues-oriented filmmaking that has characterized the WFF/WAMC collaboration, this program will address how different social issues can be explored on film through a variety of approaches including animation, music videos, drama, humor, and both narrative and non-narrative filmmaking. The event will include screenings of short films, and a panel discussion, moderated by Lisa Phillips. Filmmakers joining the panel for the evening will be Dominic Inzana, Cruz Angeles, Patrick Downs, Glenn Clements, Martina Radwan and Amos Poe.

Made possible by NYSCA and the City of Albany.

Films and Filmmakers Featured:
25 Ways to Stop Smoking, Bill Plympton
Going Down, Dominic Inzana
Family Hour, Glenn Clements
The Show, Cruz Angeles
Broken, Patrick Downs
Over Yonder, Amos Poe
Spring in Awe, Martina Radwan
Thorn Grass, D. Robin Hammer

The WAMC Independent Film On The Air and
the Woodstock Film Festival present
MEDIUM COOL
Directed by Haskell Wexler

An Evening with Haskell Wexler, Pamela Yates, and others.

Where is the line between fantasy and reality? Check out "Medium Cool," and you'll have trouble finding it. Pioneering cinematographer Haskell Wexler got the bright idea that the 1968 Democratic National Convention would be a hotbed of riots (with Vietnam in its worst years, Martin Luther King recently assassinated, and a growing movement fed up with the government) and he was right. Wexler decided to make a (fictional) movie set during all of this -- but rather than wait until it was over and done with, he took a group of actors to ground zero, tossed them in among the cops and the protesters, and had them "act." The result is one of the most vibrant and eye-opening films ever made, a bit of fantasy that seems devastatingly real -- because, in large part, it is. The story -- about a jaded America during the 1960s -- has become more relevant than ever.

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SHORTS BY WOMEN

IF YOU STEP ON A CRACK by  Jennifer Atkins
When the Cubs are your home team, losing can become a permanent state of mind.  But the night before her breast biopsy, a worried woman refuses to give up hope.  
GYPSY BLOOD by Samantha Sanders
Despite mounting pressure to keep her feet on the ground and procreate, a woman endowed with a remarkable set of wings learns how to use them.  
NON-DISCLOSURE by Julie Pham
A New York publicist on the fast track makes a difficult decision between her sister and her biggest client.  
GUNPLAY by Stefanie Berk
It’s Alice’s 13th birthday and her father Jake’s gift is a shiny new gun and a lesson on how to shoot it at the local suburban gun range. 
WAIT HERE by Gilly Barnes
Two men anticipate success in this hilarious look at the audition process.

GUNPLAY by Stefanie Berk

Non Disclosure by Julie Pham


INTO THE FIRE:
American Women in the Spanish Civil War
Introduced and directed by Julia Newman, Exemplary Films Inc.

"Hemingway, Dos Passos, Orwell, and other famous men have related their experiences during the Spanish Civil War; now we hear from some considerably less-known women, and their stories are vivid and moving tales that Hollywood could usefully adapt into big-screen fiction." Seattle Weekly

In July 1936, a right-wing military uprising tried to overthrow the new, legally elected, democratic government of Spain. Hitler and Mussolini quickly joined the fight in support of the rebel General Francisco Franco. In response, about eighty American women joined over 2700 of their countrymen in defiance of their government to volunteer for the Spanish Civil War, the first major battle against fascism. They were part of the International Brigades' 40,000 volunteers from fifty countries who came to fight for democracy in Spain. In 1996, sixty years after the start of the war, two of the American nurses returned to Spain with other survivors of the International Brigades to be given honorary citizenship in recognition of the heroic part they played in Spain's fight against fascism.

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GARBAGE, GANGSTER, AND GREED
Directed by Fred Isseks and his Middletown High School Electronic English Class A film screening and student town meeting co-presented by WAMC Northeast Public Radio, and the Woodstock Film Festival.

Since 1991 Middletown High School students have been investigating and documenting the history and health implications of toxic waste disposal in the lower Hudson Valley, the primary source of drinking water for New York City. As part of their course work, they produced a documentary about the organized crime-figures, law-enforcement officers, politicians and state regulators who participated in pointless pollution, then kept it hidden. (Scheduled guests include Congressman Maurice Hinchey, Ward Stone, educator/filmmaker Fred Isseks, ex-Police Officer Armondo Bilancione, and student filmmakers.)
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FORBIDDEN WEDDING, A film by Flavia Fontes

A gentle love story about human sexuality, the rights of the disabled, and faith.

"Forbidden Wedding" is the story of Hedir, a paraplegic man in Brazil, who was forbidden to marry his love because the Catholic Church suspected that he was sexually impotent. According to Vatican Law 1084, a person who cannot copulate cannot get married in the Church. This film documents Hedir's struggle to get married and the impact his story had on his small town and Brazil. An intimate account of their personal story and an exploration of disability rights, sexuality, and faith.

Flavia Fontes has been making award-winning documentaries since 1989. She was associate-producer of the award-winning "Chico Mendes: Voice of the Amazon," produced by The Better World Society and aired on Turner Broadcasting System and TNT. This documentary went on to win several awards, including the Golden Eagle (Cine) and the Outstanding Achievement Award (National Educational Association). For more information, visit Means of Productions.

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OFF THE CHARTS: The Song-Poem Story, A film by Jamie Meltzer

Jamie Meltzer's debut film, OFF THE CHARTS: THE SONG-POEM STORY, is a fascinating, at times unsettling, documentary that exposes the strange underworld of the song-poem industry. In this little known subculture, "ordinary people" respond to come-on ads on the back pages of magazines ("Send in Your Lyrics and Make $50,000 in royalties!"), mailing in their heartfelt but often bizarre poems to "music industry" companies that, for a fee, turn those poems into real recordings. Through interviews with several song-poem writers, the jaded producers and musicians who set their words to music, and a few of the growing number of zealous song-poem connoisseurs, OFF THE CHARTS explores a truly unique, never-before-seen slice of Gothic Americana.

Vassar's Jamie Meltzer began his filmmaking career as a news stringer, shooting natural disasters, police chases and fires for the San Francisco Bay Area TV News. His ten-minute documentary, "Pegasus," chronicled the adventures of a gay motorcycle club on a joy ride in Marin County. This short 16mm film was screened at the 1998 San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. OFF THE CHARTS: THE SONG-POEM STORY marks his feature film debut. (courtesy of ITVS). Co-presented by Woodstock Film Festival, Inquiring Mind and Alternative Videos of Woodstock

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GOODBYE HUNGARIA, A film by Jon Nealon

Both political tale and love story, “Goodbye Hungaria” is set in a refugee camp in Hungary. This cinema verité documentary chronicles the lives of a Palestinian refugee and an American volunteer. They both struggle to make life better in a camp caught in the bureaucracy of international politics and, in the process, fall in love. The film traces their unlikely story from the hopelessness of the refugee camp, to the United States where they come to start a new life.

Jon Nealon is a documentary filmmaker and editor based in New York City. He started his career working with Robert Drew – one of the founders of the cinema verité movement in the United States. Since then, he has produced and directed numerous documentaries for television, including “Ruby Ridge: Anatomy of a Tragedy” for The Learning Channel. Most recently, he was the Senior Producer for the award-winning verité series “Women and the Badge,” for the Oxygen Network, which chronicles the lives of women in law enforcement. “Goodbye, Hungaria” is his first independent film. (Co-presented by Woodstock Film Festival, Inquiring Mind and Alternative Videos of Woodstock)

Goodbye Hungaria

LIFE WITHOUT DEATH, A film by Frank Cole and Francis Miquet  

Life Without Death is an intense personal account of filmmaker Frank Cole's Guinness Record crossing of the Sahara Desert by camel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. In the course of his journey, as he overcomes thirst, loneliness and getting lost, Cole is also forced to confront his own mortality.

Striking images of his Saharan odyssey and flashbacks of his aging grandfather timelessly fuse with an evocative music score by Richard Horowitz to create an unsettling meditation on death and a powerful cry for life. For more information, visit Necessary Illusions Productions.

Life Without Death

HOLI-DAYS, A film by Randi Steinberger

Inspired by the quote from St. Francis of Assisi, "you are what you are seeking," award-winning filmmaker Randi Steinberger set out to document her observations and those of the contemporary traveler. Shot entirely in the three mythic cities of Jerusalem, Florence and Las Vegas, tourists, guides and experts reveal a subtle contradiction between the modern pilgrims' anticipated expectations and their actual experiences. Visit Tell Tale Productions for additional info. (Co-presented by Woodstock Film Festival, Inquiring Mind and Alternative Videos of Woodstock)

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Passes & Tickets


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