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Contact: Meira Blaustein 845.679.4265 or


(Woodstock, NY) – June 6, 2008: The Woodstock Film Festival is renaming several of its Maverick Awards to honor renowned industry members whose work made an impact in the film world and whose relationship with the Woodstock Film Festival or Woodstock region was treasured.

“We’re fortunate that so many film greats have such a fond relationship with Woodstock,” said WFF co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. “Woodstock has always been a haven for great talents from all walks of life. It is a privilege for us to honor their legacy.”

As of 2008, WFF is renaming the Maverick Award for Best Narrative Feature the Lee Marvin Award for Best Feature Narrative and the Best Editing Award the James Lyons Editing Award.

The LEE MARVIN AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE is being renamed after one of America’s most beloved actors.

"It's a real pleasure for us to honor Mr. Marvin’s legacy," said executive director Meira Blaustein. "He's best remembered as a Hollywood legend–a tough guy, but he is also a Woodstock icon whose first professional appearance as an actor (in 1947) was at the summer stock theater at the Maverick Playhouse–on the grounds of the historic Maverick Arts Colony. The Maverick and Byrdcliffe are the roots of Woodstock's rich cultural and arts tradition, and great American figures like Lee Marvin are the trunks and limbs that grew forth."

Pamela Marvin who will announce the prize in person during the October 4th awards Ceremony, said “I know Lee would be happy and very honored to have this award for Best Feature Narrative in the Woodstock Film Festival be given in his name”

Lee Marvin, a decorated U.S. combat marine in World War II, moved to Woodstock at war's end in 1945. By 1947 he had discovered what he wanted to do; become an actor. Mr. Marvin's first professional appearance was at the summer stock theater on the outskirts of Woodstock, at the Maverick Playhouse. His celebrated Hollywood career began in 1951, with films such as Eight Iron Men, The Big Heat and The Wild One.  In 1965 Mr. Marvin received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual role as a drunken gunfighter and his evil, nose less brother in the western comedy Cat Ballou, which placed him in the upper tiers of Hollywood leading men. Many more leading roles followed in films such as Point Blank, The Dirty Dozen, and Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One. Throughout, Mr. Marvin's ties to Woodstock remained constant for the rest of his life. 

The award will include a $5,000 cash prize with additional in-kind contributions.

The JAMES LYONS EDITING AWARD is being renamed in honor of the accomplished editor who had a home near Woodstock and who participated on festival panels and juries. "Editor and WFF advisory board member Sabine Hoffman established the WFF editing awards in 2005."

"I met Jim for the first time at the screening of Far From Heaven in woodstock," recalls Hoffman. "We connected more over the years through mutual friends and got to work together on the jury for the festival. I was deeply moved when Jim insisted coming to our first editors panel discussion, (though he hadn’t been feeling well that day) and once again shared his thoughts, advice, experience and humor in the most generous (and funny) way. His many interests and extensive knowledge made him an amazing speaker and sparker. Jim's spirit, work and energy are a great inspiration. His presence continues."

Terrence Savage, Mr. Lyons partner, said: “Eight years ago James Lyons and I bought an old farm in the Catskills.  What started as a summer getaway soon became home, and when the Woodstock Film Festival began, just down the road, Jim became a strong supporter-- sitting on juries and panel discussions, hosting his filmmaking friends, and seeing everything at the festival that he could.  He was proud and happy when Far From Heaven, the last film in his twelve-year collaboration with Todd Haynes, had its American premiere at Woodstock. Jim liked nothing better than to see one of his assistants develop as an editor so when he died last year, his family and I felt that establishing an award for excellence in film editing would be an appropriate way to commemorate his life and work -- and we knew that the Woodstock Film Festival, with its tradition of support for young filmmakers, would be the ideal home for such an award”.

James Lyons was best known as a film editor and particularly for his long collaboration with Todd Haynes on the award-winning features Poison, Safe, Velvet Goldmine (for which he also co-wrote the story) and Far from Heaven. He also edited Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, Jesse Peretz’s First Love, Last Rites and The Chateau, Tom Gilroy’s Spring Forward, Peter Friedman’s Silverlake Life and more than a half dozen other features and documentaries. As an actor, he played lead roles in Poison, Steve MacClean’s Postcards from the Edge (as the artist David Wojnorowicz) and Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol. A gifted writer, he received a Creative Capital grant for his script, A Short Film about Andy Warhol and was in pre-production for it when he died in 2007. (provided by film critic and long time friend Amy Taubin).

The award will include a cash prize and additional in-kind contributions.

Additional Award news includes new sponsorship for Woodstock FIlm Festival's HASKELL WEXLER AWARD FOR BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY.

Panavision, NY will provide $15,000 worth of film camera equipment rental for the winner of the prestigious award, which is annually handpicked by Wexler. Panavision is the leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of high precision camera systems, comprised of cameras, lenses and accessories for the motion picture, television series and television commercial markets in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Panavision camera systems have been widely used in the filming of major motion pictures over the last 30 years.


Haskell with fellow
DP Ellen Kuras at WFF
Haskell Wexler is considered to be one of the most important cinematographers working in the film industry today. Wexler has photographed a wide range of films that have earned him five Academy Award nominations and two Oscars for Best Cinematography. His nominations came for his work on his first feature documentary, The Living City; a short film T For Tumbleweed, Milos Forman's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, John Sayles' Matewan and Touchstone Pictures Blaze. He took home statuettes for his work on Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf and Hal Ashby's Bound For Glory. Other films shot for Ashby include Coming Home, Second-Hand Heart, and Lookin' To Get Out. Wexler is also highly regarded for his seminal work as director of Medium Cool.

THE DIANE SELIGMAN AWARD–sponsored by Lowel Light will continue to reward, support, and encourage the next generation of inspired filmmakers with annual cash/in-kind awards for Best Short Narrative, Best Short Doc, and Best Student Short.

Diane Seligman was a beautiful, loving, and giving person who touched and inspired all who knew her. As a teenager in the 1960's, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and was the lone survivor in a large experimental treatment group. Against the odds and medical advice, she gave life to and raised a son and a daughter. She passed away on Feb 27, 2004 from respiratory complications caused by the radiation that had originally helped to save her. Diane lived in the moment, in the flow, in harmony with the life force & source with grace and dignity. She was grateful for every day.

ADDITIONAL AWARD SPONSORS include Final Cut Studio Pro, Post Factory NY and Baseline, which has created a process whereby cast, crew and filmmakers may submit their credits for inclusion in the Baseline database. Through, you can now ensure your involvement in a project will be permanently acknowledged, archived and distributed to professional and consumer audiences the world over, including every major studio, network, agency, and major web portals such as Yahoo, Variety, E! Online,, and more....


The ninth annual Woodstock Film Festival takes place October 1 - 5, 2008. The ‘fiercely independent’ event will include more than 140 films, panels, concerts, and special events that will be featured at venues in Woodstock and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Kingston and Rosendale. Visit for detailed program information.

Over the years, the Woodstock Film Festival has established itself as one of the best independent film events in the country by premiering exceptional films, hosting the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry, presenting A-list concerts, parties and panels, and creating innovative and stimulating programming year-round.

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, music, and art-related activities that promotes artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity. The Hudson Valley Film Commission promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video, and media production.

For information contact (845) 679-4265 or visit

P.O Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498 - (845) 679-4265 -