2005 Newsletter


SAVE THE DATE: The 2006 Film Festival will unspool October 11-15



Thursday, November 10, the Woodstock Film Festival was honored as Art Advocate of the Year by the Ulster County Arts Council for its "consistent dedication to the independent film industry and the cultural community of Ulster County."

Co-founder and director Laurent Rejto, accepted the award while partner Meira Blaustein simultaneously introduced a joint screening between American Cinematheque and Woodstock Film Festival for the L.A. premiere of
in the Cinematheque’s historic
Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

A reception followed the Q&A at the Pig & Whistle with the filmmakers, series co-programmer, Libby McInerny, and old and new friends from both coasts.

Other Woodstock L.A. highlights included a fabulous luncheon at Alessi's. The event, thrown in honor of the Woodstock Film Festival by Doreen Ringer Ross and Linda Livingston of BMI , was held in the private dining room which served as Jack Warner's private deal making room back in the 50's.


Wanted: An experienced director to helm the 13 episode Public Television project RIC ORLANDOS HUDSON RIVER KITCHEN. Ric Orlando brings an inspired blend of lust for life, irreverent humor, environmental awareness, and a nationally renowned cooking prowess to his roles as chef, author and Public Television Cooking show host. Ric bridges the gap between the gourmet and health food worlds. Ric TV brings culinary flair to such concepts as sustainable seafood, free-range grazing, isoflavones, and antioxidants, while making the learning experience fun and accessible. His theme is Clean Food and in the cafe, cookbook and Television show, he practices what he preaches.

The series seeks a creative and practical person with excellent credentials,
television and live editing experience.

A ten day production period in anticipated for late spring 2006 by producers WMHT, in the brand new all digital studios in Troy, NY.

Send queries and resumes to






DOWN TO THE BONE OPENS 11/25 in N.Y. at Quad Cinema and L.A. at Laemmle’s Sunset 5

2004’s WFF presented the film with the “Best Feature Award” and the Sundance Film Festival honored DOWN TO THE BONE with two high-profile, prestigious and extremely competitive awards:  Best Director and A Special Jury Prize for acting. A stellar entry in the Dramatic Competition, writer/director Debra Granik, in her feature film debut, and actress Vera Farmiga became the talk of the Festival and the indie film community.

Directed by........DEBRA GRANIK

In DOWN TO THE BONE, Irene (Vera Farmiga) is a working class mother living in upstate New York. She struggles to keep her marriage together and raise two sons while keeping her cocaine addiction a secret. After a series of nearly fatal mishaps, and finally hoping to make a change in her life, she decides to check herself into a rehab center. She knows kicking the habit would be tough, but the experience proves even more difficult than she could have anticipated. There’ she meets and falls in love with a fellow reformed addict (Hugh Dillon). When one of them falls into a relapse with the addiction, their commitment to staying clean, and to each other, shatters. This beautifully wrought film accurately and authentically explores the wrenching road of recovery without ever resorting to histrionics.

“DOWN TO THE BONE has the unpredictability of life... Vera Farmiga gives a fearless performance.”
-Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

“(Farmiga's) is a performance without histrionics... a breakout role."
-Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter

“...a gifted cast and cinematographer. The pent-up emotions and disappointments simmering inside Irene are expressed with magnificent quietude by Vera Farmiga who finally gets a role that shows her talent.”
-Robert Koehler, Variety


THE BOYS OF BARAKA will begin its initial two-week run at New York’s Film Forum beginning November 30. The documentary won the Audience Award at this year’s 2005 WFF.

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s film follows a group of extraordinary 12-year-old boys from the most violent ghettos of Baltimore who leave everything they know to attend an experimental boarding school in the most rural corner of Kenya, East Africa.

Early this month, THINKFilm acquired theatrical and home video rights to the film. Both Heidi Ewing (co-producer/director) and Mark Urman (Chief of Distribution, ThinkFilms) were also featured on this year’s festival panel “Reality Show – Politics, Film and Real Life.”

Visit for more info


Another recent THINKFilm acquisition, which screened at the 2005 WFF is Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary’s FAVELA RISING.

FAVELA RISING documents a man and a movement, a city divided, and a favela (Brazilian squatter settlement) united. Anderson Sa is a former drug-trafficker turned revolutionary in Rio de Janeiro's most feared slum. Haunted by the murders of his family and many of his friends, Sa uses hip-hop music and Afro-Brazilian dance to rally his community to war against the violent oppression enforced by teenage drug armies and sustained by corrupt police. At the dawn of liberation, just as collective mobility is overcoming all odds and Sa's grassroots AfroReggae movement is at the height of its success, a tragic accident threatens to silence the movement forever.

Visit for more info


Also hitting the screens is Astra Taylor's ZIZEK, which was edited in WOODSTOCK! The doc, distributed by Zeitgeist Films. opened November 18 at the IFC Center in NYC.

The author of works on subjects as wide-ranging as Alfred Hitchcock, 9/11, opera, Christianity, Lenin and David Lynch, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek is one of the most important -- and outrageous -- cultural theorists working today. This captivating, erudite documentary explores the eccentric personality and esoteric work of this incomparable academic and writer who has been called everything from "the Elvis of cultural theory" to "a one person culture mulcher".
ZIZEK! trails the eminent and intrepid thinker as he crisscrosses the globe -- racing from New York City lecture halls, traversing the streets of Buenos Aires, pit-stopping at his home in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In transit, Zizek obsessively reveals the invisible workings of ideology through a unique blend of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Marxism and pop culture critique. He is also unafraid to turn his critical gaze on himself, offering cutting commentary on his personality, private life and growing inter-national celebrity.

ZIZEK! is both an unforgettable lesson in philosophy and a compelling portrait of an intellectual maverick. Possessing the capacity to appeal to the uninitiated in a way no other philosopher before him could, Slavoj Zizek's combination of high and low culture will fascinate even those who once believed philosophy to be a bore.

Matt & David with Meira Blaustein at 2005 WFF

David Schwimmer and Janeanne Garofola


Also in release, through IFC is Matt Mulhern's DUANE HOPWOOD.

David Schwimmer stars as DUANE HOPWOOD, a down-on-his-luck divorced father who works the night shift as a pit boss at Caesars Palace in Atlantic City. Heartsick about the demise of his marriage to Linda (Janeane Garofolo), Duane does nothing much in his daily life but work and drink. When his visitation rights are threatened after he's caught driving while intoxicated with his daughter in the backseat, Duane confronts the realization that the time has come to get his life back on track before he loses everything. A moving and humorous look at the limits of unconditional love, what defines a family, and how we're all responsible for our own happiness, DUANE HOPWOOD was written and directed by Matt Mulhern.

Set in the cold, windswept world of an Atlantic City November, DUANE HOPWOOD also stars Judah Friedlander as Anthony, a lonely slot machine repairman who dreams of comedy stardom, and Susan Lynch as Gina, a bartender who befriends Duane. Rich in the details of daily life, wistful and wise, DUANE HOPWOOD is the story of a man who comes back from the brink, and is finally able to celebrate life in all its imperfections.

Winner of the 2005 audience for best feature film, TRANSAMERICA opens December 2 in New York and Los Angeles.

Bree (Felicity Huffman) is days away from a dream she has focused on for years - the completion of her gender reassignment surgery. Her plans come to a grinding halt when she receives a call from New York and discovers she has a son, and that he has been picked up by the police. Bree's closest friend and therapist, Margaret (Elizabeth Pena) tells Bree she has to deal with her past before she can move into her future.

Reluctantly, Bree springs Toby (Kevin Zegers) from jail under the pretense that she's a missionary worker. Toby begs Bree to take him with her to Los Angeles, and so they set out, each hiding their true motives and identities. With Duncan Tucker's directorial debut, he has created a story about parents and children, family and acceptance, all on a delightful estrogen cocktail.


SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC directed by Liam Lynch, from Roadside Attractions opens in select cities, including Rhinebeck on Nov. 25, through out November and December.

Sarah Silverman has been compared to the legendary Lenny Bruce, and is known as one of the funniest and most provocative people in comedy. Despite the current political climate, in JESUS IS MAGIC she takes on such pitch-black topics as September 11th, unwanted body hair, and the Holocaust, and spins them into decidedly un-PC comedic gold.

For more information visit the official website. (



Also playing in limited release is Deborah Koons Garcia’s THE FUTURE OF FOOD  (WFF 2004). Doc  will screen November  20, 21 and 22 at the Cinema Arts Centre (

THE FUTURE OF FOOD offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.

From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada, to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed by the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply.

Shot on location in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, THE FUTURE OF FOOD examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world's food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis today.

Eat locally, think globally. See this film.



Donal Logue in TENNIS, ANYONE.?


2929 Entertainment’ s new distribution division Truly Indie has acquired two films, which played in the 2005 WFF.

CAVITE, which received Best Feature film honors at the 2005 WFF, will be released in ten markets in the spring of 2006.

The low budget thriller follows Adam, an American citizen visiting his home country for his father's funeral. When he arrives at the Philippines Airport, he receives a phone call from an anonymous caller letting him know that his mother and sister have been kidnapped and will be killed if he doesn't comply with his demands. Helpless and alone in a country he barely knows he must submit himself to the fanatic's every wish or face the consequences.

Set for release in five markets including Berkley, San Diego, Boston and 2 other venues to be determined this November/December is Donal Logue’s TENNIS ANYONE…?  The comedy followstwo Hollywood fringe players. Danny Macklin (Donal Logue), the slightly more successful of the two, loses his wife, his TV show, and almost his mind in quick succession. His friend Gary Morgan (Kirk Fox) attempts to save him by re-igniting his passion for the game of tennis by introducing him to the world of celebrity tournaments. In reclaiming his sense of self, he must confront his mortal enemy in comedy and in the world of celebrity tennis: Johnny Green (Jason Isaacs).


Craig Serling recently wrapped production on the feature film JAM: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, based on his short of the same name, which played WFF in 2003. Writer-director Serling (a cousin of Twilight Zone's Rod Serling) piqued interest from financiers and actors with the short film version. The feature cast includes Marianne Jean-Baptiste (SECRETS & LIES), Amanda Foreman (HAPPY ENDINGS), Jonathan Silverman and William Forsythe, among others.

JAM is an ensemble feature film that unfolds during a sweltering Father's Day on a two-lane rural highway. Eighteen diverse travelers' lives collide after a car crash that leaves them stranded. With nowhere to go, the characters of JAM emerge from their cars and become travel companions with those whom they would normally never meet. What transpires becomes a life-changing experience for them all.

The characters are a cross-section of contemporary America whose everyday problems and dilemmas are exacerbated to crisis levels by the stifling heat of the day and the frustration of their situation.


In addition to their recent acquisitions, both FAVELA RISING and THE BOYS OF BARAKA are on the shortlist of films in consideration for 78th Academy Awards®.

Of the 15 films in competition for the 5 nominees for documentary feature, six were featured at Woodstock Film Festival and year-round events including THE BOYS OF BARAKA, FAVELA RISING, UNKNOWN WHITE MALE, MAD HOT BALLROOM, MURDERBALL and  OCCUPATION: DREAMLAND.


The WFF is proud to have been a part of getting these independent releases to the community, and wishes these amazing and informative films and their filmmakers the best of luck.

The nominated films will be announced along with nominations in 24 other categories on Tuesday, January 31, at 5:30 a.m. PST.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements for 2005 will be presented on Sunday, March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 8 p.m. EST.


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The Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) 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, and diversity. An offshoot of WFF, the Woodstock Film Commission (WFC) promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting local film, video and media production. Recent WFC's projects include The Night Listener (starring Robin Williams), The White Countess (by James Ivory), The War of the Worlds (by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Cruise), Before It Had a Name (starring Willem Dafoe), The Thing About My Folks (starring Paul Reiser and Peter Falk), and many more.