2009 MARCH NEWSLETTER

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CONTENTS:

HVPG & 7-57 Releasing present THE CAKE EATERS - Mary Stuart Masterson
Bill Plympton in April
SAVE THE DATE for The Answer Man
SXSW Preview
In Theaters
On DVD

WFF Call For Entries

Hudson Valley Film Commission News
Location of the Month




HUDSON VALLEY PROGRAMMERS GROUP SPRING TOUR

The Hudson Valley Programmers Group is thrilled to announce that film screenings of THE CAKE EATERS with appearances by director Mary Stuart Masterson wil be presented in conjunction with 7-57 Releasing at The Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville (3/16/09), The Community Theatre in Catskill (3/22/09) Upstate Films in Rhinebeck (3/23/09) and The Linda, WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio in Albany (4/4/09). The film opens on March 13 in Los Angeles and Manhattan.  

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.

COMING IN APRIL: Bill Plympton will be presenting a selection of some of his favorite and recent works. Films may include Shut Eye Hotel, Horn Dog, Hot Dog, Guide Dog, Mexican Standoff among others.  Plympton’s films are unique in style and distinctively recognizable.  Off the wall, surreal, and undeniably clever and intriguing.  Any opportunity to see his work should not be missed.  Venues will be announced shortly. For details, visit www.hvpg.org

Read more about 7-57 Releasing in recent Indiewire story.



Jeff Daniels and Lou Taylor Pucci
in The Answer Man

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE ANSWER MAN:
The Woodstock Film Festival will host a special benefit screening of THE ANSWER MAN at Soho House, NY on Monday April 27th at 7pm. The screening will be followed by a reception with special guests (TBA). For details and to reserve tickets, click here

John Hindman's THE ANSWER MAN follows reclusive author Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels), who gained his fame from penning a book on spiritual guidance, as his path crosses with two people who are turning to him for guidance. The film also stars Lauren Graham (Flash of Genius, Evan Almighty) , Lou Taylor Pucci (Explicit Ills, Personal Velocity), Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and Olivia Thirlby (Juno).

THE ANSWER MAN is the directorial debut of writer/producer John Hindman. The Film was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

The event is Sponsored in part by 120dbFilms


SXSW PREVIEW
The South by Southwest (SXSW) film conference and festival kicks off March 13 with former Hudson Valley/Cold Spring resident Janet Pierson at the helm. A banner schedule of films, panels, parties and special events (including a Woodstock Panel) are scheduled. A few events with ties to WFF or the Hudson Valley are listed below.

WFF co-founder and Hudson Valley Film Commissioner Laurent Rejto will be at SXSW looking for films and trying to convince filmmakers to shoot their next production in New York's Hudson Valley. On Sunday, March 15th, Rejto will be part of the Mentors: Programmers program. WFF Programmer Michael Lerman will be at SXSW. Look for our ad in the program and say Hi.



Hendrix closes Woodstock '69


Michael Lang

WOODSTOCK: UNTOLD STORIES

2009 marks the 40th Anniversary of the legendary 1969 'music and arts fair.' Stay tuned for concert info for this summer, a bio from event creator Michael Lang and much more.

At the SXSW Music Conference on Saturday, March 21 at 4:15, Wavy Gravy, Michael Lang, Barbara Kopple, Holly George-Warren and others will be featured on the panel WOODSTOCK: UNTOLD STORIES.

The panel celebrates Warner Home Video's special edition 40th anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray and DVD release of WOODSTOCK: 3 DAYS OF PEACE & MUSIC which features a wealth of extras like newly-discovered footage and two hours of bonus performances.

SXSW Film is commemorating the release with a rare screening of Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple's MY GENERATION (see below) . This is Barbara Kopple's first appearance at SXSW Film, where she'll introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session at 11am before participating on the Music panel at 3pm in support of her latest project, the upcoming Rock Doc on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, which will premiere on VH1 and The History Channel in August. Wavy is the subject of the documentary SAINT MISBEHAVIN': THE WAVY GRAVY MOVIE (see below) screening at SXSW Film.


MY GENERATION

Two-time Academy-Award® winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple 's film was the first ever closing night film when it premiered at the 2000 Woodstock Film Festival. A second screening was arranged on site to appease the hundreds who could not get into the first screening.

MY GENERATION examines the enduring influence of the Woodstock legacy and the continuing search for community and ritual through the experiences of boomers and Gen X'ers at the three Woodstock Festivals.

For screening details, see SXSW 2009



Odetta and Wavy Gravy
at Woodstock FIlm Festival

SAINT MISBEHAVIN': THE WAVY GRAVY MOVIE

In 2006, WFF was thrilled present Michelle Esrick's SAINT MISBEHAVIN' as a work in progress (in it's very early stages) with filmmakers and special guests including Wavy Gravy, Odetta and Michael Lang. The event included free Wavy Gravy ice cream for all thanks to Ben & Jerry's.

The true story of cultural phenomenon Wavy Gravy – a man whose life proves that you can change the world and have fun doing it. (World Premiere)

SAINT MISBEHAVIN' reveals the true story of cultural phenomenon Wavy Gravy , a man whose commitment to making the world a better place has never wavered. We experience the impact one person can have and connect to the hope that each one of us can make a difference while keeping our sense of humor. Wavy Gravy is known as the MC of the Woodstock Festival, a hippie icon, clown, and even a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor. In SAINT MISBEHAVIN' we meet a true servant to humanity who carries his message through humor, compassion and a song he sings, called "Basic Human Needs". SAINT MISBEHAVIN' weaves together intimate verité footage, reflections from an array of cultural and counter-cultural peers, and never-before-seen archival footage to tell a story that is bigger than the man himself.

For screening details, see SXSW 2009


BEESWAX

Director/writer Andrew Bujalski , who has delighted WFF audiences with Funny HA HA (2002), Mutual Appreciation (2005) will present the US Premiere BEESWAX.

Something like a legal thriller for anyone who considers "legal thriller" an oxymoron, the film revolves around a pair of twin sisters, Jeannie and Lauren – “same face, different bodies" – and Jeannie's brewing conflict with business partner Amanda. Cast: Maggie Hatcher, Tilly Hatcher, Alex Karpovsky.

For screening details, see SXSW 2009


KNOW YOUR MUSHROOMS

From the award-winning (and perennial SXSW fave) director Ron Mann, comes KNOW YOUR MUSHROOMS, which screened as an 'almost finished' work in progress at WFF 2008. The doc, which is at once entertaining, (delightful, edcational) and "stimulating" follows uber myco visionaries Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans (two of the more expert and unforgettably mercurial characters in the community) as they lead us on a hunt for the wild mushroom and the deeper cultural experiences attached to the mysterious fungi.

Don't miss it. You may even come closer to answering the question posed in Time Magazine 's The Ever Evolving Theoris of Darwin – "It's been 1.5 billion years or more since our ancestors split off from our fungal cousins. How did the genome of our ancestor change so that it could produce two-legged primates?"

For screening details, see SXSW 2009


NEW WORLD ORDER

Director Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer who brought you Darkon (WFF 2006) are back with a documentary about conspiracy theorists. The film is a behind the scenes look at the underground anti-globalist movement. This growing movement targets the annual Bilderberg conference, and the 9/11 attacks as focal points in the alleged global conspiracy.

For screening details, see SXSW 2009


SIN NOMBRE

Director/Writer/Cinematographer Cary Fukunaga first impacted Woodstock audiences with his remarkable short film Victoria Para Chino (2004 winner of the Diane Seligman Award for Best Student Short at WFF) and again with his cinematography for Sikumi (2008 winner of the Diane Seligman Award for Best Student Short at WFF)

SIN NOMBRE , the winner of the Directing Award and the Excellence in Cinematography Award in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, is an epic dramatic thriller written and directed by Student Academy Award winner Cary Joji Fukunaga in his feature debut. The filmmaker's firsthand experiences with Central American immigrants seeking the promise of the U.S. form the basis of the Spanish-language movie.

For screening details, see SXSW 2009
The film will be released by Focus Features on March 20. See details.


SPLINTERHEADS

Brant Sersen seems to gravitate to New York's Hudson Valley and the Catskills to shoot his films, which include Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story (WFF 2004) and his latest effort SPLINTERHEADS, which world premiers at SXSW 2009. The Hudson Valley Film Commission worked with producers and Sersen to find some ideal upstate locations.

For Justin Frost, a typical day is rolling out of bed at one, practicing improvised karate, and mowing grass for his best friend's landscaping business. But when a traveling carnival lands in his small town, Justin falls for a sexy con artist and wakes up to the life he has yet to begin living. Cast: Thomas Middleditch, Rachael Taylor, Christopher McDonald, Lea Thompson, Dean Winters (World Premiere)

For screening details, see SXSW 2009


STILL BILL

Damani Baker and Alex Vlack 's feature documentary about Bill Withers, whose hits 'Ain't No Sunshine,' 'Lean on Me,' 'Lovely Day,' and 'Just the Two of Us,' are only part of a complex and fascinating man. The film includes a tribute concert, the closing show of the 30th anniversary season of Celebrate Brooklyn in New York, and a soundtrack of previously unreleased tracks. (World Premiere)

Alex Vlack produced High Falls (winner the 2007 Diane Seligman Award for best short at WFF)

For screening info, visit SXSW2009


Two films that screened at WFF 2008 will be part of a special new innovative collaboration between SXSW 2009 & IFC Films that will present a sterling quintet of films available simultaneously at SXSW Film Festival and on-demand, coast-to-coast via IFC Festival Direct.

MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY
Barry Jenkins' lovely, subtle film MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY (a runner up at for the Lee Marvin Award at WFF 2008) enjoys a welcome return to Austin, and a chance for new viewers to discover what drove last year's audiences crazy with adulation.

PAPER COVERS ROCK
Another critically acclaimed film from 2008, Joe Maggio's PAPER COVERS ROCK completes the lineup. This intimate study of sibling dependance and emotional fragility deserves to find a wider audience.


IN THEATERS AND SPECIAL SCREENINGS

AMERICAN SWING (WFF 2008) will be released by Magnolia Pictures on March 27th, 2009. 

Outrageous. Hilarious. Provocative. None of these adequately describe Matty Kauffman and Jon Hart's sex documentary AMERICAN SWING. In the 1970's the New York club scene was full of all types of exotic places. For swingers, Plato's Retreat was home. Sitting on the throne of the swinging scene was Larry Levinson: the King of Swing and owner of Plato's. During the club's operation from 1977 to 1985, Larry and his gang of swinging couples, inquisitive singles and celebrities of all kinds enjoyed dancing, drinking, drugs and, of course, the live group sex. Despite attacks from the media, politicians, the IRS and finally the Mayor of New York, Larry responded to his critics with a sometimes jovial, always honest defense of the lifestyle. Featuring in-depth interviews with staff and guests of Plato's Retreat, media and government officials, and uncensored video and pictures of the club at its height, AMERICAN SWING, tells the tale of the rise and fall of swing life. (Gabriel Meyers)


EXAMINED LIFE (2008 WFF)

Opened Feb 25 at IFC Center and will be followed by a nationwide roll out, reaching San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Miami, Portland, New Orleans and many other cities in the coming months.

Deeply spiritually profound and still accessible to all inquisitive minds, Woodstock's very own Astra Taylor has directed a documentary that confronts huge and mostly unanswerable philosophical questions: Is there meaning to life and how is it discovered? What part do ethics play in our actions? What are our ethical duties to others? These issues are only part of the discussions led by Taylor's selection of highly regarded philosophers and academics. From Peter Singer's "Utilitarian Applied Ethics" to Martha Nussbaum's modern spin on Aristotelian societal structure to Slovene philosopher and sociologist Slavoj Zizek's ecological theory concerning human's separation from nature, Taylor's guests, while often contradicting one another, inspire thought and reexamination of previously held perceptions and beliefs. Taylor brilliantly interviews her subjects, alternating between posing probing questions and simply listening, allowing her speakers to explain their concepts and uncover their deeper conclusions. EXAMINED LIFE succeeds in shedding a light on complex and ancient philosophical wonders. (Gabriel Meyers)


EXPLICIT ILLS (2008 WFF), starring Rosario Dawson and Paul Dano, opened March 6 in Manhattan. Check Peace Arch Entertainment for other select cities and dates.

First time filmmaker Mark Webber crafts a powerful and emotional drama that connects seemingly unconnected lives in a woven series of moving vignettes. Recalling the vivid storytelling of Paul Haggis' Crash, EXPLICIT ILLS circles within the lives of typical inner city Philadelphians to paint a moving image of a day in the life. Featuring the exceptional Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) and a terrific ensemble cast, EXPLICIT ILLS showcases outstanding performances and award winning cinematography to illuminate the normally dark and misunderstood world of America's poverty stricken communities. Webber has created a timely and poignant example of the need for better communal understanding and social transformation, while pushing the envelope of traditional storytelling. EXPLICIT ILLS will open the viewer's eyes to the unwitting links we have to everyone around us. (Michael Burke)


THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD (2008 WFF) will be released by Magnolia Pictures on March 27th.  Directed by Sean McGinly, the film follows the story of a mentalist extraordinaire from success to failure and his return back into the limelight. 

Visit Magnolia Pictures for details


IN A DREAM

Jeremiah Zagar's IN A DREAM, the 2008 WFF winner of Best Documentary Feature and the James Lyons Best Editing Award, will be released by International Film Circuit, Inc. The doc opens at the Cinema Village in NYC on April 10.

It is a rare occurrence when a portrait is able to intimately capture both the public and private details of an artist on an equally grand scale. But when documentary filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar set out to make a portrait of his father Isaiah, a brilliant and prolific mosaic mural artist from Philadelphia, he never could have predicted the secrets he would uncover.

Quickly turning from a character study to an incredibly personal, powerful and stirring drama, IN A DREAM is an unparalleled visceral and emotional experience. Shot over the course of several years, Zagar's film is the kind of brutally honest and often beautiful look at a tumultuous time in his parents' marriage that only a son could have captured. Boasting beautiful widescreen cinematography and a haunting score, this most insightful of documentaries is a touching glimpse into the life of the world's most eclectic and ingenious large-scale artists. (Michael Lerman)


SEVERED WAYS

Tony Stone's SEVERED WAYS, which was shot locally in the Hudson Valley and shown at the 2007 WFF, will be released by Magnolia  Pictures March 13th, 2009.  The film is set in 1007 AD when Vikings are stranded on the North American coast and they struggle to survive on the foreign terrain.

In the year 1007 AD, somewhere on the North American coast, two Vikings are stranded and left for dead when their expedition is attacked. Left with no other choice but to make their homes in the wild, one camp at a time, the men trudge through the woods hoping to reunite with their countrymen. But the foreign terrain presents a wholly new set of challenges, one that is compounded by the arrival of both Indians and Irish Monks. In one of the most unique feats of filmmaking of recent years, first-time director Tony Stone (a Bard College graduate) takes his minimal budget to the extreme in this epic adventure shot primarily in the Hudson Valley. At once meditative and exhilarating, SEVERED WAYS is an adventure worthy of Werner Herzog, featuring full Nordic ballads and incredible historical accuracy to boot. A one-of-a-kind homegrown sensation, Stone is sure to go on as one of America's most promising cinematic -voices. (Michael Lerman)

Visit Magnolia Pictures for more details


TOKYO!

Liberation Entertainment’s anthology TOKYO!, co-directed by Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, and Joon-ho Bong opened on March 6 at New York’s Sunshine Cinemas.

From the weird and wonderful mind of master filmmakers Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Leos Carax (Pola X) and Bong Joon-Ho (The Host) comes a wildly beautiful triptych of stories that pay homage to the diversity, social structure and politics of modern-day TOKYO! In Gondry's adorably honest Interior Design, a troubled couple goes on a surreal apartment hunt that will change their lives forever. Carax's side-splittingly funny Merde tells the story of a mysterious man who emerges from the sewer to wreak havoc on the streets above through a series of irrational and provocative actions that garner him more media attention than one person ever deserves. Meanwhile Bong's Shaking Tokyo rounds off the trio with the touchingly poignant story of a shut-in who is forced to face love (and the outside world) when a beautiful pizza girl passes out in his apartment following an earthquake. Each director approaches his film with a unique artistic sensibility that makes TOKYO! a one-of-a-kind cinematic experience you won't want to miss. (Mike Lerman)


ON DVD

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (WFF 2008) is now available on DVD

Oskar is having a tough time at school. A strange and quiet boy, Oskar finds himself without any friends and worse yet, he's constantly tortured by a vicious pack of bullies. When the beautiful and mysterious Eli moves into the apartment next-door, Oskar finds himself with a new, yet reluctant friend who teaches him to stand up to his tormentors. However, Eli holds a dark secret.

Blood-drained bodies soon begin turning up all over town. Visionary director Tomas Alfredson puts a unique spin on the classic vampire genre, subtly keeping the traditional conventions, while introducing themes of innocence, companionship and first loves. Far from simply a horror film, the result is a coming of age tale, using vampirism as a simple tool to tell the common lessons of friendship and trust that life teaches all of us. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN recalls classics like "My Life as a Dog" to create a clever, patient and ultimately touching work with a killer ending, that will most surely chill its way into your heart. (Mike Lerman)


 

MOVING MIDWAY (WFF 2007) is now availalble on DVD.

When New York film critic Godfrey Cheshire returns home to North Carolina in early 2004 and hears that his cousin Charlie Silver plans to uproot and move the buildings of Midway Plantation, their family’s ancestral home, an extraordinary, emotional journey begins.

"Riveting...an extraordinary picture that delves into the most painful recess of American racial relations." Kurt Loder, MTV News

"3 Stars! ...demolishes the myth of the Southern plantation." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"Brilliant...thrilling...haunting." - David Edelstein, New York Magazine


 

WFF CALL FOR ENTRIES

The WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL (Sept 30th – October 4th, 2009) is currently accepting submissions in all categories. Maverick Awards are presented for Best Feature ($5000 cash), Best Documentary, Best Short Documentary, Best Short Film, Best Student Film, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Animation. Cash, prizes and/or services are given out in each category. Audience Awards are presented for Best Feature and Best Documentary. Award sponsors have included The Lee Marvin Estate, the late James Lyons, Lowel-Light, Apple Computers, Final Draft, Post Factory, A&E Indie Films, Docurama, Kodak, Baseline, Markertek, and others.

Industry participants have included Ang Lee, Kevin Smith, Steve Buscemi, Peter Saraf (Big Beach Films), Jonathan Sehring (IFC), Ted Sarandos (Netflix), Bob Berney, Eamonn Bowles (Magnolia Pictures), Mark Urman (Senator), Bingham Ray (Kimmel Entertainment), James Schamus (Focus Features), Fisher Stevens (Greenstreet Productions), John Sloss (Cinetic Media), Ira Deutchman (Emerging Pictures), Ron Mann (Films We Like), John Pierson (Grainy Pictures), John Anderson, Ryan Werner (IFC), Tom Quinn (Magnolia Pictures), Christine Vachon (Killer Films), Andrew Hurwitz, Ira Schreck, Mira Nair, Todd Haynes, Woody Harrelson, Tim Robbins, Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor, D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, Barbara Kopple, Leon Gast, Liz Garbus, Brett Morgen, Thelma Adams, Robert Downey, Zachary Sklar, Kevin Bacon, Ethan Hawke, Matt Dillon, Rosie Perez and many others.

To apply online, and for details, visit ENTRY FORM


HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION NEWS & MORE

On February 22, dozens of Woodstockers braved a snow storm to appear in SNOW ANGEL, a short video by video-artist Tal Yarden. Former WFF operations director Pamela Cederquist produced.

"The Hudson Valley Film Commission was invaluable to me in locating potential locations for the shoot as well as casting local residents.” said Yarden who ended up shooting the giant snow angel at the Woodstock Day School from 60’ up in a bucket truck, supplied by Jesse Reimer of J & J Tree. A group of 25 angels were videotaped in a number of positions surrounding performer Reagan Bongiorno who was cast as the centerpiece 'red' angel. The work will become part of CRIES & WHISPERS, a new theater project by the Dutch theater company Toneelgroep Amsterdam directed by Ivo van Hove. The theatrical version of Ingmar Bergman’s film will open in Antwerp, Belgium, this March, then travel throughout Europe. The short clip featuring the 'Woodstock' Snow Angels is scheduled to be the backdrop for the final piece.


SCHNEIDER FACES LAW & ORDER

Woodstock's Max Schneider makes his TV debut as Justin McTeague in LEAD, a new episode of Law&Order, Special Victims Unit airing Tuesday, March 10th at 10pm (eastern) on NBC

The role follows on the heels of his Broadway debut in the cast of the hilarious, high-energy musical 13. Schneider other credits include: Uncensored, On the Fly (Joey), Regional: Christmas Carol (Young Scrooge), Macbeth (Fleance); Spelling Bee (Leaf Coneybear), New Brain (Roger), West Side Story (Tony)...



Green Screen in studio B

HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION
LOCATION OF THE MONTH

The Seven21 Media Center in Kingston, NY offers a unique, high quality, cost-effective solution to your production needs. Featuring two fully equipped stages, the center provides support services for every facet of the media business.

For specs and more details, visit the Seven21 Media Center online


 

TAX CREDIT UPDATE

There's been a lot of talk circulating that new funding for NY's Film TAX CREDITS, may be in jeopardy. This would be a terrible oversight on behalf of State Officials. According to Ernst & Young’s analysis:

*19,000 jobs were created in 2007 alone, the most recent year that all employment calculations have been completed.

*The State and City of New York combined will collect $220 million more tax revenue than is paid out in production tax credit to motion picture and television producers.

*For every $1 of tax credits issued, $1.90 in tax revenues are collected.

Please take a moment to sign the petition below. If you've never spoken to your state representative, now is the time to do so. Let them know how much you and your families depend on this program.

http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?Zablocki

For those of you who reside in New York, please read the online letter and send it to Governor David A. Paterson, Speaker of the Assembly/Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith, as well as your representatives in the NY Senate and the Assembly.

Click here to find your New York State Senator.
Click here to find your New York State Assembly Member


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