August 2006 Newsletter




(The Illusionist, The Night Listener, Little Miss Sunshine)

(Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, Acts of Worship)



Join us October 11-15
for the seventh annual
Woodstock Film Festival!

The Woodstock Film Festival is only two short months away! As always, the festival will offer innovative and stimulating programming with an exciting lineup of features, documentaries, shorts, and animation, as well as great concerts, parties, and panels. The festival will also host the most talented emerging and established people in the movie industry. For information about the schedule, tickets, and full festival passes, please visit Full Festival Passes are only available by phone at (845) 679-4265. The festival schedule will be released in mid September.


/Trail-blaz-er /: an innovative leader in a field; a pioneer

/Jonathan Sehring /: a trailblazing force in independent film and television; pioneer in indie media production and distribution

The Seventh Annual Woodstock Film Festival (October 11-15, 2006), announced today that its honorary Trailblazer Award will be presented to Jonathan Sehring, president of IFC Entertainment. Meira Blaustein, executive director and co-founder of the Woodstock Film Festival, said, “We are thrilled to recognize Jonathan Sehring with the Woodstock Film Festival’s honorary Trailblazer Award. He embodies the essence of the Award, which is designed to honor a distinguished industry member who, through his or her pioneering approach, has carved new and uncharted territories in the film world.”

To read the full story click here.


Writer and Director Douglas McGrath’s New Truman Capote Bio-pic Stars Steller Cast

“The best movie I’ve seen this year.” – Dave Thomson, The Independent

The Woodstock Film Festival announced today that “Infamous” has been selected as the opening night feature film to kick off the seventh annual “fiercely independent” film festival from October 11-15, 2006. The East Coast premier of “Infamous” will be screened at the Woodstock Film Festival on Thursday, October 12.

Meira Blaustein, executive director of the Woodstock Film Festival said, “I can’t think of a better way to open the Woodstock Film Festival than with this brave and stunning film. I’m very pleased we can provide an intimate setting for an early screening of this beautiful film before it is shown nationwide.”

To read the full story click here.




As part of the Woodstock in the City Screening Series sponsored by, IFC FILMS presented SHERRYBABY at the Makor Screening Room on August 17. A Q&A with director Laurie Collyer and a reception followed the screening.

After serving a three-year prison sentence for robbery, former heroin addict Sherry Swanson returns to home to New Jersey. Now clean and sober, she is eager to regain custody of her young daughter Alexis, who has been cared for by her brother Bobby and his wife Lynn, but is unprepared for the demands of the world into which she’s returned. Sherry’s hopes of staying clean, getting a job, and becoming a responsible mother are challenged by the realities of unemployment, halfway houses, and parole restrictions. Bobby and Lynn’s concerns about Sherry’s ability to care for Alexis, and her inability to prove them wrong, threaten to destroy the already delicate relationship she has with her daughter, as well as her newfound sobriety.

Disillusioned and haunted by wounds from her childhood, Sherry is eventually confronted with life-altering questions about her own survival and what it means to be a good mother.


"Riveting from start to finish.
The Illusionist is true movie magic."

Pete Hammond, Maxim


No tricks of the hand or eye were necessary to enrapture the audience at a special screening of THE ILLUSIONIST on August 8, presented by the Woodstock Film Festival at the Clearview Cinemas in New York City in association with Yari Film Group Releasing and Allied Advertising.

“Director Neil Burger gave an in-depth look into the production of the film and discussed everything from magic tricks to the beauty of the Czech Republic,” says Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein.

The recipient of the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival best feature film award for INTERVIEW WITH AN ASSASSIN, Burger returns with THE ILLUSIONIST, his adaptation of a short story by Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Steven Millhauser.

THE ILLUSIONIST stars Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti as two men pitted against each other in a battle of wits: Norton as mysterious stage magician Eisenheim, and Giamatti as Vienna's shrewd Chief Inspector Uhl. When word of Eisenheim's astounding illusions reaches the powerful and pragmatic Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), the ruler attends one of the magician's shows in order to debunk Eisenheim during the performance. But when the Prince's intended, Sophie von Teschen,  (Jessica Biel) assists the magician onstage, Eisenheim and Sophie recognize each other from their childhoods and a dormant love affair is rekindled. As the clandestine romance continues, Uhl is charged by Leopold to intensify his efforts to expose Eisenheim, even while the magician gains a devoted and vocal public following. With Uhl doggedly searching for the reasons and the man behind the trickery, Eisenheim prepares to execute his greatest illusion ever.


Reminiscent of Hitchcockian thrillers, Patrick Stettner’s THE NIGHT LISTENER, starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette, opened August 4.

In February 2005, the Hudson Valley Film Commission was contacted by Hart/Sharpe Entertainment, which had previously filmed YOU CAN COUNT ON ME in the area. Location managers Bill Stitt and Michele Baker scoured Greene, Orange, and Ulster counties to find area landmarks and sites that could stand in for rural Wisconsin where the film is set.

Based on Armistead Maupin’s 2000 novel by the same name, this Miramax Films production stars Williams as a gay late-night radio host Gabriel Noone. As his personal life begins to crumble around him, Gabriel starts speaking to his biggest fan via telephone, a 13-year-old boy tortured by his biological parents and now dying of AIDS under the care of his foster mother (Collette) in a small Wisconsin town. When doubts about the boy’s true identify arise, Gabriel finds his own life thrown into chaos as he seeks out the truth.


Audiences across the country are cheering on the Hoover family, the fictional underdogs of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, which opened in select theaters on July 26.

The Fox Searchlight film recently appeared on the front page of Entertainment Weekly. Writer Josh Rottenberg recounts the standing ovation LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE received at the Sundance Film Festival in January as “the kind that makes industry dealmakers start hyperventilating and frantically punching at the keypads of their Blackberries.”

Local fans were treated to a sold-out sneak preview of the film by the Woodstock Film Festival, in association with Fox Searchlight, on July 22 at Tinker Street Cinema. A Q&A with producer Peter Saraf followed the film.



The biggest, baddest improvised paintball comedy BLACKBALLED: THE BOBBY DUKES STORY is available everywhere now on DVD.

Shot in the Hudson Valley and shown at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival, BLACKBALLED stars Rob Corddry (The Daily Show, Blades of Glory) as Bobby Dukes, paintball’s first superstar. Caught cheating and banned for ten years, Bobby is back to prove himself on the field that made him famous, but his dreams of recapturing his original glory are abruptly impaired when he finds that no one will join his team. Undeterred, Bobby assembles his own team of misfits and paintball outcasts, determined to win back his title…and his soul.

The DVD special features include cast commentary, filmmaker commentary, outtakes, deleted scenes, and Bobby Dukes’ video diary. Pre-order BLACKBALLED now at and get a copy of the movie poster. The first 500 orders receive a limited edition copy, autographed by Bobby Dukes himself, Rob Corddry.


ACTS OF WORSHIP, which was featured at the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival, is now available for download at Google Video.

Written and directed by Rosemary Rodriguez, the film weaves a tale of addiction, friendship, loss, contradiction, and redemption that revolves around the relationship between Alix, a homeless teenaged addict, and Digna, a successful photographer on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The film is available for download purchase at


The Woodstock Film Festival is thrilled to announce that, through a new sponsorship provided by the New York Film Academy, it will introduce a two-day workshop on filmmaking and acting for students in grades 9-12. The workshop will take place on October 14-15. In addition, on October 13 the festival’s Youth Initiative will hold Career Day, at which area youth will sit with established and emerging film professionals and also attend youth film screenings.

Acceptance to the workshop is limited and will be awarded based on a 250-word essay on one of the following topics:

Filmmaking to me is__________ or   Acting to me is__________

One of the students who submits an essay will be chosen to win a week-long scholarship to the New York Film Academy (at either their NYC school or the Los Angeles school on the Universal Studios lot).

Send essays to: NYFA Workshop, c/o Woodstock Film Festival, PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498.


Woodstock Film Festival veteran staffer Jeff Economy is currently stationed in Atlanta, where he is a producer and videographer on the A&E network’s reality television series FLIP THIS HOUSE. The hour-long “docu-soap” follows the trials and tribulations of two real-estate developers in the housing markets of San Antonio and Atlanta.





Published: August 13, 2006 in The New York Times by Saki Knafo

ONE evening early this summer, a group of adults sat in the elegant living room of a Harlem apartment, sipping cocktails, nibbling Prince De Claverolle cheese, and watching a DVD of a talking guitar wielding a magical sandwich against a fire-breathing robot.

The DVD, GARY GUITAR, was a work-in-progress by Bill Plympton, a pioneering auteur of darkly comic animated films who has received two Oscar nominations. Mr. Plympton, who, with his messily parted blond hair, looks a little like a jaded, middle-aged Dennis the Menace, sat in front of the television with a dozen fellow animators, sending them into fits of laughter as he intoned the guitar’s goofy lines in his own matter-of-fact voice.

Over the last few years, this apartment on West 129th Street has become New York’s answer—sort of—to the animation boardrooms of DreamWorks and Pixar, the behemoth studios on the West Coast. Home to a boyish 32-year-old whose name is Adam Pesapane but who more often goes by PES, the apartment is the place independent New York animators gather every few months to assess one another’s work and to puzzle over problems like how to avoid an excess of pink when your main character is a pig. Think of a literary salon, but with animated socks, not to mention scatological humor.

At this meeting, for example, Andy London, a balding former teacher of English as a second language, screened a work with an unprintable title about a Parisian street toilet with a faulty latch. It was the first episode in a series of shorts made for the small, small screen: the cellphone.

Before the screenings, Mr. London stood in the kitchen with a glass of merlot in his hand, lauding cellphone technology as a “new frontier” for independent animators. “I’m actually getting paid to make movies about poop,” he marveled.

The evening took a brief turn toward the melancholy with the screening of a sketch by Signe Baumane, a tall, strong-featured woman from Latvia whom Mr. Plympton once described as the diva of New York animation. Using spare and lyrical imagery, her cartoon centers on the imaginative flights of a teenage girl who discovers she is pregnant.

“This is tragic,” remarked an admiring Mr. Plympton.

Ms. Baumane looked as if she had just been slapped. “No, it’s not!” she exclaimed. “It’s going to be funny at the end!”



The New York Film Academy (NYFA) was founded in 1992 on the belief that a top quality education in filmmaking should be accessible to anyone with the drive and ambition to make films. Each year, hundreds of students of all occupations, races, ethnicities, and of a wide range of ages from around the world benefit from the extraordinary education offered at NYFA. Today, little more than a decade after the first students graduated, the New York Film Academy is considered one of the most prominent fixtures of film education in the world.

For more information on NYFA, visit


We're thrilled that, for the SEVENTH straight year, Markertek, America's largest video and audio supply and accessory source, has come on board as a presenting sponsor.

For over 19 years, Markertek has been the supplier of choice for hundreds of thousands of broadcast, recording, and multimedia professionals. With content being created and delivered through conventional media outlets like television, radio, and cinema, or newer distribution means such as the Internet, video games, or cell phones, you need a partner that has more unique solutions than anybody else.

Markertek's reputation as an innovator stems from a long-term commitment to the development of unique and elegant solutions for pro-audio, broadcast, and presentation. Unlike many catalog and Internet companies that buy their items from common suppliers, Markertek designs and develops many of the exclusive items they sell to offer a collection of merchandise that can’t be found anywhere else. If you love unique, then you will love Markertek! View their rich company history and impressive client list .

Join the following films by shooting your next
production in New York's Hudson Valley


Visit the Hudson Valley Film Commission for help finding
incredible locations, equipment, professional crews, talent,
and much more. Call (845) 679-4265 for more information.


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.

Want to sponsor the 2006 Woodstock Film Festival?

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

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