March 2005 Newsletter

THE BALLAD OF JACK & ROSE
HOLLYWOOD IN OUR HILLS: Movie starring Robin Williams shoots locally
WFF IN THE CITY with LIBERIA
ALUMNI SCREENINGS: ELEPHANT SHOES, PIGGY, ASBURY SHORT, SCHOOL BOARD BLUES
DVD NEWS-BLUEGRASS JOURNEY GET JAMMIE NOD
BOOK NOOK - KIM WOZENCRAFT'S WANTED OPTIONED FOR SCREEN
 



Daniel Day-Lewis & Rebecca Miller
following screening of
The Ballad of Jack & Rose

THE BALLAD OF JACK & ROSE

Thanks to all who came out in support of the WFF benefit screening of "The Ballad of Jack & Rose" this past March 19 in Rosendale, NY. It was a real treat to have director Rebecca Miller and Daniel Day-Lewis (Jack) appear for the Q&A following the film and the reception afterwards.

Rebecca pointed out during the introduction that she felt the 'upstate' audience would feel a kinship with the film about a father and daughter who confront society, family and sexuality from their isolated island commune. The soundtrack is enriched with some beautiful Dylan songs and some Leo Kotke instrumentals. The film was met with a standing ovation. The soulful, organic exploration is touched with simple beauty in Miller's hands, Ellen Kuras' lens and the ethereal performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Camille Belle.

Special thanks goes out to IFC Films, producer Lemore Syvan, the Rosendale Theater and The Rosendale Cement Company, Rosendale police and event sponsor, Westwood Metes & Bounds Realty.

The film is set for a limited release by IFC Films on March 25.



Robin Willliams

 


War of the Worlds shoot in Athens, NY

 


Peter Falk & Paul Reiser in
The Thing About My Folks

 

WOODSTOCK FILM COMMISSION NEWS

HOLLYWOOD IN OUR HILLS: Movie starring Robin Williams shot here

By Hallie Arnold, from Daily Freeman (03/19/2005)

LOCATIONS in Ulster and Orange counties will stand in for rural Wisconsin in a movie starring Robin Williams that's been filming in the area this week.

  The cast and crew of "The Night Listener," a thriller based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Armistead Maupin, began shooting in the area Monday. Locations used for scenes in the independent film include the Phoenicia Diner, the Reservoir Dairy Deli in Shokan, the SkyTop Motel in the town of Ulster and the state police barracks in Ellenville.

Williams - whose myriad film credits include "Good Morning, Vietnam," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and the current animated hit "Robots" - will play Gabriel Noone, a late-night radio storyteller who befriends Pete Lomax, a 13-year-old listener of his syndicated show whose horrific past draws Noone into an unusual father-son relationship. Maupin, who adapted his book for the film, has been on set every day as an adviser.

"He gives his input when he feels it's necessary. Otherwise he just lets it happen," said Michele Baker of Woodstock, the location manager for the film.

  "The Night Listener" is being directed by Patrick Stettner and, besides Williams, stars Toni Collette and Rory McCulkin (younger brother of Macauley).

In the story, Lomax often gazes out of his window at a water tower near his home. It was the search for just the right water tower that brought the cast and crew to the Catskills.

"When they originally contacted us, that's what they were looking for. All they wanted was a water tower that looked like it was in rural Wisconsin," said Laurent Rejto of the Woodstock Film Commission, an offshoot of the Woodstock Film Festival, which brought the project to the area. "I think they saw every single water tower in the area."

They found just the right tower in the Orange County town of Montgomery, where they were shooting on Friday, their last day in the area.

In fact, the fictional town in Wisconsin featured in the film will be called Montgomery.

"Once they got here, they kind of liked Montgomery," Baker said. "Once they cleared the fact that there is truly no Montgomery in Wisconsin."

The remaining six weeks of shooting will take place in and around New York City and New Jersey. Baker said the independent film is a low-budget project, costing "only a few million" to make - not much by industry standards.

"The Night Listener" is the latest of a growing cadre of movies shot in the area recently. Others are Willem DaFoe's "Before It Had A Name," which lensed last month in New Paltz; Stephen Spielberg's "War of the Worlds," shot in December on the Athens waterfront; and "The Thing About My Folks," starring Paul Reiser and Peter Falk, shot at locations in Woodstock, Saugerties and Shokan in 2003 and due for release this year.


WFF IN THE CITY

Join the Woodstock Film Festival at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater in NYC on Tuesday, April 19 - 7pm for a screening of Gerald K. Barclay's "Liberia: The Love Of Liberty Brought Us Here." After a 24 year absence from his homeland, director Gerald K. Barclay is offered an assignment to produce a documentary on the 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 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. The encounter leads to a four-year journey that documents the devastating effects of the war, and Gerald's eventual reunification with a past he tried so hard to forget.

Join us afterwards for pizza and beer. The Two Boots Pioneer Theater is located at 155 East 3rd Street (at Avenue A) in NYC (212) 591-4034.  Visit year round events for more info.


ALUMNI SCREENINGS

March seems to be the big month for film screenings of WFF alumni films. Catch the following films if you can.

ELEPHANT SHOES

Christos Sourligas' ELEPHANT SHOES, which just signed a Canadian distribution deal, will be screening on Monday, March 21 @ 7PM at Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue (at Second Street).

Alexis and Manny are a "twelve-hour" couple whose turbulent love affair is told over the course of a half-day. Their romance begins with a chance meeting on the street, then is fast-forwarded to Manny's apartment, where they share an unforgettable one-night stand that feels like a lifetime.


PIGGIE

PIGGIE (WFF 2003) will screen at the Two Boots Pioneer Theater on Thursday, March 24th. 7:00pm. Director Alison Bagnall will be in attendance for Q&A. A paean to inappropriate behavior, PIGGIE follows the child-like Fannie (Savannah Haske) and her singular pursuit of Nile, a grifter from the city (played by Dean Wareham of Luna and Galaxie 500.)     The result is by turns hilarious and excruciating.    Bagnall (who co-wrote BUFFALO 66) gives a distinctive voice to this unpredictable and poignant film.

"...a bold and rueful story of clumsy, bittersweet sexual awakening."   Stephen Garrett , TIME OUT   

"PIGGIE succeeds by coating its female coming of age story in an overwhelmingly narcotic glaze, it's pacing and poetic imagery revealing all the wide-eyed panic and odd obsessions of those caught between child and adult, dream and reality."   Jason Sanders, FILMMAKER   


SCHOOL BOARD BLUES

Screening upstate on March 24 will be Tobe Carey's SCHOOL BOARD BLUES, a docu-memoir about the Onteora School District's Indian mascot and the community upheaval that followed its removal. The 75 minute film, which debuted at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival, will be shown at SUNY New Paltz, in Lecture Center Room 102, on Thursday March 24th, at 5:30 PM.   The showing is open to the public, and will be followed by a panel discussion including the filmmakers, Meg and Tobe Carey.   More information: video@hvc.rr.com



Clint Jordan in "Milk & Honey"

MILK & HONEY at QUAD

MILK & HONEY (WFF 2003) recently opened at the Quad Cinemas, 34 West 13th Street. The second film by Joe Maggio (VIRGIL BLISS) is an utterly clever and unpredictable exploration of intersecting lives, lost loves, and missed opportunities that could only take place in New York City. When emotionally troubled stockbroker Rick Johnson (Clint Jordan) suddenly re-proposes to his wife Joyce (Kirstin Russel) at a cocktail party, only to be rejected and humiliated by her in public, his illusory world of comfort and security comes crashing down. Under cover of darkness, in a city that never sleeps, husband and wife take separate paths that will test both the fragility of their psyches and the resilience of their love. The film is distributed by Wellspring.



"The Quality of Mercy"

ASBURY SHORTS

If you've never seen the "Best of" showcase from Asbury Shorts of New York please mark down these dates! You don't want to miss these amazing films!!

Join Asbury Shorts of New York for their 25th Anniversary Celebration as they screen THE WORLD'S BEST SHORT FILMS.

Are the Oscar nominees for Best Short Film usually unfamiliar to you? Asbury Shorts lets you discover some of the world's best short films. This 25th anniversary program features Oscar-winning shorts and films honored with a "Best of Show" or "Audience Choice"award at the country's top film festivals. March 22-23rd   7:00pm & 9:00pm at The Makor Theatre, 35 West 67th Street  NYC. Click for full schedule



"Bluegrass Journey"

DVD NEWS

BLUEGRASS JOURNEY GET JAMMIE NOD

"Bluegrass Journey" (WFF 2003), an independent documentary film portrait of the contemporary bluegrass music scene, is nominated for a Jammy Award as DVD of the year. "Bluegrass Journey"  features extended and intimately captured performances by The Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek, Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, Rhonda Vincent, The Lonesome River Band, Bob Paisley and the Southern Grass, Pete Wernick and many others.

Other DVDs nominated include FESTIVAL EXPRESS, GRATEFUL DEAD MOVIE (co-directed by WFF advisory board member Leon Gast), JAMCAM CHRONICLES; ALL GOOD 2004, PHISH-IT and TOM DOWN & THE LANGUAGE OF MUSIC (WFF 2002).

For more info, visit Bluegrass Journey


BOOK NOOK

WANTED
When I recently burnt through Kim Wozencraft's  WANTED, I couldn't stop myself from seeing the pages on the screen. Well, current reports are that the Texas/Upstate NY set novel has been optioned by Jennifer Anniston with Anniston to star with Meryl Streep. Read the book, then see the movie. Locations have yet to be determined but the Woodstock Film Commission is set to help with all upstate locales.

Star Magazine report: Jennifer Aniston and Meryl Streep will play cellmates in Wanted, a prison drama being produced by Plan B, the company owned by Aniston and Brad Pitt. Aniston will play an undercover cop who lands in jail as a result of being framed. Streep, is a jailed war protester.

Wanted Woman

By Nina Shengold | Photo by Fionn Reilly

The leading characters in Kim Wozencraft's adrenaline-pumping new thriller Wanted are a veteran convict and a cocksure young officer who's been framed by corrupt Texas cops.  Together, they stage a daring escape from a federal penitentiary, outrun baying bloodhounds, and hit the highway to settle old scores.

Sound like your typical Hollywood buddy picture?  Not quite.  For starters, they're both women, and the highway they hit is New York State Route 209.

Gail Rubin is a political prisoner who's already served 18 years for tangential involvement in a robbery botched by the radical group Free Now.  Diane Wellman is a generation younger and a world apart...or so it would seem.  The rookie cop and the radical will find that they share far more than a prison cell.  Both have been wronged by the system, and will risk their own lives for a chance at redemption.

Stone Ridge resident Wozencraft tells their story with hard-won authority: she's been on both sides of the law herself.  Her breakout first novel Rush was based on her own experiences as a rookie Texas police officer, prematurely thrust into undercover narcotics work and convicted for perjury after denying in court that she had used drugs while working undercover.

Ex-cop, ex-con, ex-junkie, internationally best-selling author, soccer mom...it isn't your typical resumé. The last of these guises is most in evidence as Wozencraft welcomes me to the Stone Ridge farmhouse she shares with her husband, writer/producer Richard Stratton, and their three children.  Today she has traded the cowboy boots she favors in author photos for comfortable cross-trainers.  The yard is full of old rocking horses and plastic slides, boys' mountain bikes and other family detritus.  In the garden alongside the fieldstone steps lies the jawbone of some large animal - longhorn steer?  - next to a stone engraved with a Buddhist mandala.

Wozencraft is lean and athletic, with close-cropped russet hair.  Her manner is warm, but there's a hint of steel in her calm, steady gaze.  Her voice bears only the faintest trace of her Texas roots, except when she's talking about her home state.  "I'm way from Dallas," she drawls, with a laugh.  "I grew up in a landscape of superhighways connecting vast shopping malls." (read the rest online at Chronogram)


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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 promote artists, culture, inspired learning, diversity, and sustainable economic development through film, video and media production and exhibition. The Woodstock Film Commission promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.

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