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2008 OCTOBER NEWSLETTER

CONTENTS:
VOTE FIERCELY INDEPENDENT

Awards Season
Local Film Production
On the Big Screen

On DVD
Music News
Theater News
Holiday Gift Ideas



 

 

“The Woodstock Film Festival
stands for what humanity
should strive for…
Get out there and use your art
to express good, human things
and denounce and expose all the lies
and deceptions that have
become a part of our life.”

Haskell Wexler

"Every year the festival attracts a shockingly strong number of outstanding films, filmmakers and panelists of the highest caliber. It is so important to have these festivals as outposts of our most vital art forms. They bring the best of our cinematic culture to areas that don't always have access to these kinds of films. But above all, it is the intimacy and relationships developed between filmmakers and within the industry
that makes Woodstock so special.
It is a festival for people who love independent film, through and through,
and the bonds one make there are
unique because of that fact."

Jason Kliot, Open City Films

VOTE FIERECELY INDEPENDENT

As election day approaches, we at the Woodstock Film Festival marvel at the fact that neither party has expressed how important art is to the fabric of our lives and our nation– from a cultural, educational and economic standpoint. We understand the troubled economic times we are in, as do so many of our colleagues, but we must all recognize the significance of art.

Since the beginning of man, artists have been able open a window onto the soul of man and to temper the disconnect between heaven and hell, the oppressed and oppressor by revealing beauty and the perception that it inspires the passion that drives the soul towards a spiritual ascent. Every year, we meet so many new filmmakers whose voices deserve to be heard and shared... the voices of Prince of Broadway, Medicine for Melancholy, Explicit Ills, In a Dream, Kassim the Dream, Blind Spot, Johnny Cash's America, Playing for Change - Peace through Music, At the Edge of the World.... These are the grass roots that need growth and support. These are the voices that allow us all to marvel, cry, laugh, scream, and to share in the common universal beliefs that illustrate the strength, virtue and resourcefulness of man.

As a non for profit organization, we have worked diligently over the past nine years to deliver on our promise to be fiscally responsible and to continue our mission to present film, music, and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning and diversity.

Please consider supporting Woodstock Film Festival's 10th ANNIVERSARY in 2009 with a tax-deductible contribution.

Like many other 501(c)(3)not-for-profit organizations, we have felt the sizeable impact of government cutbacks, the evaporation of grants, and corporate downsizing. As a result we are doubling our fundraising efforts and turning to individual donations to fill the gaps in our budget. Although we have just completed a very successful festival, Now is the time we need your support to prepare for our biggest year yet.

Every dollar received enables us to maintain our high level of programming (exposure, focus on music, world cinema, youth initiative...) , make important upgrades to equipment, facilities and film venues and to retain a year-round office and staff. Every dollar goes into creating film, music and arts related opportunities, and bringing to you all the magic that is the Woodstock Film Festival.

We sincerely thank you in advance for your time and consideration and for your generous contribution. Please know that your financial support is greatly appreciated and will be put to good use!

VOTE FIERECELY INDPENDENT
Contribute to the Woodstock Film Festival online
or by sending a check made payable to
Woodstock Film Festival, Inc
PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498



Melissa Leo signs in at
2008 Woodstock Film Festival

AWARDS SEASON

As the Award season revs up, we’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate the following WFF films and supporters on their well-deserved nominations at the Gotham Awards.

Barry Jenkins has been nominated for Breakthrough Director for his film Medicine for Melancholy (which took honorary mention for the Lee Marvin Award for Best Feature Narrative at the 2008 WFF).

Melissa Leo, dear friend and supporter of the WFF, has been nominated for Breakthrough Actor for her performance in Frozen River.

Pedro Castandeda has also been nominated for Breakthrough Actor for his role in August Evening (which won best feature narrative at the 2007 WFF).

The New Year Parade, has been nominated for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

Congratulations and good luck to all!


LOCAL FILM PRODUCTION

As the leaves change in the beautiful Hudson Valley, more filmmakers are drawn to the area to take advantage of the scenery and resources. Alex Uhlmann, who has worked for National Geographic, Killer Films and Tribeca Films, has left his development post at Open City Films to go into production for his short ACROSS THE RIVER AND INTO THE TREES. The film is a colonial period piece anchored on the story of a young man who must transport his brother through the wilderness and war infested terrain in order to find a doctor.

Shot mainly outdoors on the Red Cam, the look promises to be saturated with the beautiful and crisp fall colors and the story with the turmoil and tenderness of one brothers struggle to save another.

Uhlmann was drawn to the area not only because of its locality to New York City and other key locations, but also because of the large variety of landscapes and historic buildings. Uhlmann says, “We drove all over upstate New York looking for locations that would show this small American story on landscapes and properties that felt explicitly fresh and at the same time colonial... spot's that would remind us about the textures that we live on in America.”

Film production includes many local crew and actors. “This is a film with a young up-and-coming crew comprised of Wesleyan graduates and members of the Upstate film community…in general New York industry professionals,” says Uhlmann. The production is based in Kingston and has locations spanning to Saugerties, New Paltz, and Olive Bridge.

“It’s exciting to see more and more young filmmakers eager to shoot in the Hudson Valley,” says Film Commissioner Laurent Rejto.“The area continues to make its mark as a place that is not only a beautiful, but also one full of resources and dedicated crew. It is a pleasure to see a film utilizing all of these elements.”


ON THE BIG SCREEN

Woodstock Film Festival's 2008 Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Film resulted in a trifecta of audience favorites. All three of these films are scheduled to open at the end of October.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Far from simply a horror film, Tomas Alfredson's LET THE RIGHT ONE IN wowed audiences to snag the top Audience Award at the 2008 Woodstock FIlm Festival. Released by Magnolia Pictures, the film will be in theaters October 24.

Using vampirism as a simple tool to tell the common lessons of friendship and trust, this spin on the classic genre focuses on a bullied boy named Oskar who finds friendship in a mysterious new neighbor named Eli.

Alfredson combines tones of innocence, companionship, and loyalty to create a film that is both chilling and touching.

Scott Weinberg from Cinematical says, “Very smart, very sweet, very sick, and very special indeed.”

For more information visit Let the Right One In



Director Gavin O'Connor
at opening night Q&A

PRIDE AND GLORY

The U.S Premiere of PRIDE AND GLORY opened the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival with a proverbial bang. Audiences raved about the film at the Q&A as they interacted with director Gavin O'Connor, who traveled to Woodstock with cast and crew members. The celebration went late into the night as the film was fêted at the 'opening night film party' at New World Home Cooking. The evening featured a live performance by Ireland's The Prodigals, whose music is featured in the film. Listen to the lads on MySpace.

Released by Warner Brothers and produced by New Line Cinema, the film, which opens October 24th, follows a multi-generational police family whose moral code is tested when one of the two sons on the force investigates an incendiary case involving his older brother and brother-in-law.

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Edward Norton, Collin Farrell and Jon Voight, PRIDE AND GLORY is an authentic, gritty and emotional portrait of the New York City Police Departments.

For more information visit Pride and Glory


WFF's closing night film, ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO, closed out the top audience favorites in the narrative category. A packed house filled the theater for the screening that initially sold out in two minutes when WFF ticket sales started on September 10.

The Weinstein Company release, which opens October 31st was written and directed by cult favorite Smith, who appeared in Woodstock in support of the film and to accept the 2008 Maverick Award, which was presented to him by producer and attorney John Sloss. If you missed his memorable acceptance speech, see it on youtube

ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO focuses on two lifelong friends and roommates who decide to make a porno in order to pay off a mountain of debts.

In his blog about Woodstock, Matt Dentler commented about the film... "The Weinstein Company will release on October 31, is easily Smith's best in a long time. I was fan of his last film, Clerks 2, but Zack and Miri has the kind of heart we haven't seen in a Smith movie since Chasing Amy. Now, that doesn't mean you should take your folks to see it with you, because it's still raunchy and graphic and lewd. Yet, also very very funny. It was the best way to end a relaxing and enjoyable festival weekend." Click here to read the entire blog.

For more information visit Zack and Miri Make a Porno


ON DVD

DVD RELEASE PARTY FOR NIGHT OF THE LIVING JEWS

After Premiering at the 2007 Woodstock Film Festival and going on to play other festivals including A Night of Horror Film Festival and Screamfest L.A., at Gruman’s Chinese Theater, NIGHT OF THE LIVING JEWS , the first ever hasidic zombie movie is being released on DVD on Oct 31st through Heeb Magazine.

The film, which was ostensibly produced and filmed in New York's Hudson Valley was was directed by former WFF Volunteer Oliver Noble and filmed by local DP Sam Falconi. A slew of other Hudson Valley filmmakers, actors and musicians worked on the film. Since dropping out of high school, Noble has become a contributing editor for Heeb and virtually invented a genre of film, which he calls—“Jewish extreme.”

The New York City premiere & DVD Release party, which will take place at the 92nd Street Y (now in Tribeca) on Friday October 24, is presented by Heeb Magazine. The screening of Night of the Living Jews will be accompanied by two other such films and a Q&A with the filmmaker.


Ilya Chaiken's LIBERTY KID (WFF 2007) will be available on dvd from KINO FILMS this coming Veteran's Day–November 11, with plenty of dvd extras, including behind-the-scenes, deleted scenes, and a short doc focusing on the Iraq War veterans featured in the movie.

"N. Y. Times 'Critic's Pick'- There's not a single wrong note in Liberty Kid, Ilya Chaiken's poignant drama. Tender, wise and deceptively low-key... everything about this film feels effortless."- New York Times

"New York Magazine 'Critic's Pick'- Chaiken's subtle narrative touch, along with the exceptionally strong performances of leads Al Thompson and Kareem Saviñon, gives this one a rare emotional pull."- New York Magazine

"Smoothly kinetic… Glaringly real."- Variety

"Packs a visceral punch"- TV Guide Online

"Sensitively drawn… Strong performances".- LA Weekly

The DVD is available on Netflix and for pre-order at Kino Video



Pictured: Michael Cristofer and Christine Lahti in a scene from A Body of Water (photo © James Leynse)

THEATER NEWS

A BODY OF WATER
Woodstock local and WFF supporter Michael Cristofer (Gia, Original Sin, The Witches of Eastwick) plays opposite Christine Lahti in Lee Blessing’s A BODY OF WATER – a haunting drama directed by Maria Mileaf, that explores the slippery nature of reality and conviction.

Avis and Moss awake one morning in a house set in the forested hills above a picturesque body of water. The weather’s great, the view’s magnificent. However, neither of them seems to know whose house this is or who they are. Will the stranger at their doorstep be able to help?

The show runs through November 16 at Theater A, 59E59 Theaters
For ticket information, visitA Body of Water


13 THE MUSICAL
Woodstock’s very own Max Schneider, who was recently dubbed one of  Broadway's "future stars" by Playbill Magazine, is currently in the cast of the new hit musical 13, which stars Broadway’s first ever all teenage cast and band. 

A multi-tasker since birth (16 years ago), Schneider covers four different characters in the musical. “Keeping the characters, the choreography and the track of four different roles ready at all times has been a tough but exhilarating experience.  I think one of the greatest challenges is never knowing which role I'll create until as little as 30 minutes before the curtain rises,” say Schneider.  The “shiny” new musical “with radioactive energy” (New York Times) chronicles the travails of a 13 year old Evan Goldman who is uprooted by his parents' divorce and forced to move to a small midwestern town.

 Before landing his roles in 13, the 16-year-old originated multiple roles in MCC Theater's off-Broadway production "Uncensored" in 2008   and New Dramatists Readings in 2007 and starred as Leaf Coneybear in the first regional production of Spelling Bee.  He began performing with Woodstock Youth Theater at 5, and performed with Saugerties Ballet, Bird-on-a-Cliff Shakespeare, Out of the Nest and African  dance and drumming group. Sougei Kibola. An alumni of Woodstock Day School, Schneider moved to New York in 2006 to attend Professional Performing Arts High School.

Read more about Max at www.maxschneider.com 
For tickets and more information, visit 13 the Musical


MUSIC (AND STAFF) NEWS

Peter Donovan (not the Sunshine Superman who also attended the 2008 WFF) returned to Portland, Maine after his Woodstock gig (as box office manager) to his eminatingbandmates. They will be heading into the studio shortly to record new tracks for their upcoming album...

A creative young man who had to finish film-school in order to find out he was born a musician, Peter Donovan fled his native west coast homeland is search of America (thanks Steinbeck!). While in Woodstock he had a "really great time" and we can't help to think that he's going back to Maine with some Woodstock spirits including Dylan and Bowie whose music seemed to be living and emanating from Peter's iBook.

Check out Peter and All the Real Girls on MySpace


2008 HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

With the cold winter months upon us and many more in store, what better idea is there than to wrap your loved ones in a fashionable WFF hoodie!

Another great gift idea is the fabulous 2008 Signed limited edition block print from Karen Whitman.

Other available items include caps, mugs, and posters. See them all online or stop by the festival office!


The Woodstock Film Festival is a nonprofit organization which presents 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 Hudson Valley Film Commission promotes sustainable economic development
by attracting and supporting film, video, and media production.

For information, call (845) 679-4265 or visit Woodstock Film Festival