The 2003 Woodstock Film Festival kicked off its fourth year at its annual New York City press conference at Tribeca's Knitting Factory.
Liev Schrieber complemented the festival as "a perfect little festival," before introducing executive director Meira Blaustein.
The festival trailer followed, then the introduction of thirty plus filmmakers in attendance. Programmer Ryan Werner
next talked about how the lineup has not been compromised for the sake of premieres. After a group picture, director
Larry Fessenden introduced The What, "a sunshine-rock band with a punkish edge, and smart lyrics."


Liev Schrieber

Dan Hedaya
Dan Hedaya

Annie Nocenti and Larry Fessenden

Filmmaker group shot

The What

The 2003 Woodstock Film Festival kicks off its fourth year with another outstanding collection of more than 130 films, panels and workshops, Wednesday Sept. 17 through Sunday Sept. 21.   Screenings and events will take place this year in a variety of venues in the town of Woodstock and nearby communities of Rhinebeck, Hunter and Mt. Tremper. 


Although only four years old, the Woodstock Film Festival has garnered a reputation among filmmakers and industry insiders as one of the best regional festivals in the country.  The expansion of programs and venues is a direct result of the festivals’ successful track record over the past three years, according to festival director Meira Blaustein:


“The indie film community has been incredibly responsive to what we’ve accomplished,” said Blaustein, who co-founded the festival with her partner Laurent Rejto  “We have another solid line-up of extraordinary work by a wide array of filmmakers who are outrageously talented. To showcase all this great work, we’ve expanded into communities with great cinemas and created a series of micro-cinemas along the way.”

 The number of film submissions increased to nearly 900 from 700 last year, notes Blaustein, who also points to increased industry involvement, including films from Miramax, Palm Pictures, Magnolia Pictures, United Artists, IFC Films, Showime, HBO, Seventh Arts Releasing, Women Make Movies, ThinkFilm, Wellspring and others.


Among the key festival participants this year are Aidan Quinn, Patricia Clarkson, Tim Blake Nelson, Liz Garbus, Griffin Dunne, John Sloss, Peter Rowan, Bingham Ray, Donald Westlake, Martin Garbus, Ron Mann, Peter Hedges, Bill Plympton, Fisher Stevens, John S. Lyons, Mary Jane Skalski, Eamonn Bowles, Mark Urman, with more stellar participants to be announced.


The 2003 Honorary Maverick Award will be presented this year to actor/activist Woody Harrelson, at the Sunday evening WFF Awards ceremony, for his fierce independence regarding art and politics. Known for his environmental activism almost as much as for his eclectic performances in more than 30 films, Harrelson’s leadership on behalf of clean air and water, forest protection, organic living, renewable energy and sustainable living is profiled in director Ron Mann’s documentary Go Further (East Coast Premiere).

WFF awards are also given for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Animation, The Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, The Elmer Bernstein Award for Best Film Score, and Best Animation. This years awards are being presented by Cineric (Best feature) Docurama (Best Documentary) Kodak (Best Cinematography) and


The opening night film is the East Coast premiere of Peter Hedges’ Pieces of April, starring Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Derek Luke with Sean Hayes and Oliver Platt, which gives a poignant and funny look at one family’s not-so-ordinary Thanksgiving. This is Hedges’ first film as director.  He is well known for his novel and screenplay of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and screenplay of About a Boy.  The film will screen at the Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock, Thursday evening, 9/18. 


 At the same time Thursday evening, there will be a Special Screening of John Sayles’  Casa De Los Babys, at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Daryl Hannah, Marcia Gay Harden, Susan Lynch, Mary Steenburgen, and Lili Taylor, the film explores the drama of six American women at one of the most emotionally charged moments of their lives, each one on the verge of adopting a baby.



Once again the participation of head programmer Ryan Werner, who is head of theatrical distribution at Palm Pictures, has raised the outstanding level of quality of the features and documentaries in competition to higher ground.

Narrative Features in Competition include: Assisted Living by Elliot Greenebaum; Coney Island Baby by Amy Hobby (New York Premiere); Crude by Paxton Winters  (East Coast Premiere); Love Object by Robert Parigi; Milk and Honey by Joe Maggio; Milwaukee, Minnesota by Alan Mindel, (New York Premiere); The Mudge Boy by Michael Burke and Piggie by Alison Bagnal, (East Coast Premiere)

 Documentary Features in competition include:  Long Gone by Jack Cahill and David Eberhardt; Tom Dowd and the Language of Music by Mark Moormann (Focus on Music); Bukowski: Born Into This by John Dullahgan; A Boy’s Life by Rory Kennedy; The Boys of 2nd Street Park by Dan Klores and Ron Berger and  The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Ki Bartley & Donnacha O’Briain (East Coast Premiere, Exposure).

Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself

Also of special interest: The U.S. Premiere of Les Invasions Barbares (Barbarian Invasions) by Denys Arcand, which won the Best Actress and Best Screenplay awards at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival; In a Lonely Place by Nicholas Ray, presented by Cineric and Sony Entertainment as a special presentation to honor classic film restoration and preservation; Purgatory House by Cindy Baer (World Premiere), written by and starring 14 year old Celeste Marie Davis, chronicling the afterlife journey of a lonely teenage girl. Other special screenings include Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself by Lone Scherfig (East Coast Premiere); Girlhood by Liz Garbus; This So Called Disaster by Michael Almereyda.  (See attached for complete list of films).  

World Premieres include Purgatory House, directed by Cindy Baer and written by, and starring  14 year  old Celeste Davis; Mendy, by Adam Vardy, and Shoot George by Adam Nadler.
My Dinner with Jimi

FOCUS ON MUSIC feature films  & docs include: Godfathers And Sons by Marc Levin, from the Blues Series by Martin Scorsese, the seven-part series of personal impressionistic films by seven world-famous directors; Bluegrass Journey by Ruth Oxenberg and Rob Schumer, profiling the contemporary bluegrass music scene; Playing For Change by Mark Johnson & Jonathan Walls, is a musical journey of discovery that celebrates the lives of street musicians in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York; My Dinner With Jimi  by  Bill Fishman (New York Premiere),  is a humorous memoir from former Turtles lead singer Howard Kaylan recalling the bands rapid rise to fame and the 1967 tour that brought them to London where he met The Beatles, Brian Jones, Donovan, Graham Nash, and Jimi Hendrix for dinner; Tom Dowd and the Language of Music  by Mark Moormann. 

Valley of Tears

EXPOSURE feature films and docs of social responsibility, include: Power Trip by Paul Devlin; A Normal Life by Chai Vasarhelyi & Hugo Berkeley; Go Further by Ron Mann (East Coast Premiere); Valley of Tears  by Hart Perry, and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Ki Bartley & Donnacha O’Briain (East Coast Premiere).

Over 60 shorts will be screened as part of the festival. Select program include screening with  - Comedy - Identities - Sex in the Country - Drama - Tension Please! - Animation - Short Docs - Veils Uncovered - Youth Forum

Panels and seminars include the Actors Dialogue, Film Critics & Filmmakers, The Origins of Film Story, Capturing The Audiences, Current Trends Of Independent Filmmaking, High Impact Doc Filmmaking, Composers Panel, Filmmaking In Risky Times, Making A Low Budget Indie Film: Case Study Of Pieces Of April, and The Youth Initiative: Day At The Roundtables.


TICKETS: Starting Wednesday, August 20th, through Monday, September 10th, advance single admission tickets can be purchased online at
and in person at the Woodstock Playhouse box office. The Box office telephone number is (845) 679-6997. Reserve early. Shows tend to sell out quickly.  WFF Tickets range from $5 to $15 per screening; panels are $15; concert prices vary.  Single purchase tickets will also be available at each screening venue. The best way to take advantage of the entire festival is by purchasing a FULL FESTIVAL PASS for $500, which are available for a limited time only.


The presenting sponsor of the 2003 Woodstock Film festival is MARKERTEK.COM, America’s largest broadcast supply house.  The Platinum sponsor is ORGANIC STYLE MAGAZINE.  Major sponsors include Amtrak and the Catskill Mountain Region Guide. Made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts.

For information on screenings, tickets, workshops and other WFF programs throughout the year, contact (845) 679-4265 or visit For box office info, call (845) 679-6997

The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, (501) C-3 organization with a mission to present  an annual program and year- round schedule of film-related activities  combining inspired learning and the promotion of sustainable economic development by attracting film, video and media production to the Hudson Valley /Catskills region.


This event is made possible with public funds from the
New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency
2003 Main Sponsors (as of 8/24/03): - Organic Style - Amtrak - Catskill Mtn Region Guide - Ruder Finn - Planet Noise - MGM/UA - WDST - 100.1FM

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