November 2007 Newsletter






Click below for Quicktime movie

Actor/Director Giancarlo Esposito



Animator Signe Baumane

It's that time of the year where we start thinking about 2008. We are already working hard on workshops, touring programs and special screenings. We'll be announcing a very special event featuring BODY OF WAR, a film by Ellen Spiro (Troop 1500) and Phil Donahue in coming days.

The 8th annual Woodstock Film Festival was a rousing success. The feedback from filmmakers, industry, other festival participants, local merchants, press (including The New York Times) and all of our friends and neighbors is really exciting. See clips and quotes online like "I've covered and participated in many festivals, and Woodstock is unique in its combination of cinematic sophistication, user-friendly scale and down-home hospitality. It's arguably the closest thing the East Coast has to the Telluride Film Festival..."

Everyone's enthusiasm gives us the momentum to go on doing this for as long as we can. None of this success can happen without wonderful sponsors, private donors and the support of attendees. In order to continue, the Woodstock Film Festival and the Hudson Valley Film Commission NEED YOUR FINANCIAL HELP.

The Hudson Valley Film Commission (HVFC) also had a banner year creating jobs and promoting sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production in the area, including the National Geographic Television production “The Human Footprint,” which explores the environmental impact that individuals have on our planet. The production was shot almost entirely in Ulster County due to the ‘voluntary’ efforts of HVFC.

These are big jobs, and despite all the wonderful volunteers and supporters, the bills are equally big. If you want to see the Festival back again next year, would enjoy the opportunity to attend more of our year-round events, and want to help bring more film projects to the Hudson Valley that boost our economy without draining our environment, here is your chance.

Please consider making a year end tax-deductible gift to support our continued efforts. You can also PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET for a brand new 2008 Toyota Prius Hybrid. Only 500 tickets will be sold.

If you prefer, you can make your donation or purchase your raffle tickets online at or by mailing a check to Woodstock Film Festival,
PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498. Or email or call the office.

Melissa Leo and Phil Dorling
on set of Predisposed

Ron Nyswaner visits set of

Wrap Party at Skyytop
Steakhouse and Brewery


Former WFF volunteer Phil Dorling (20) recently finished production in the Woodstock/Kingston area on PREDISPOSED, a dark comedy that explores what a son will do to make a better life for his family, and what a drug-addicted mother will do to get what they want.

Phil was mentored by Academy Award® nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner throughout the project, which first came into light last summer while Dorling was working as a crew member on the locally shot RACING DAYLIGHT, starring David Strathairn and Melissa Leo.

"It started as an idea for a feature, and Ron and I started to slowly develop it," recalls Dorling.When it came time for my thesis this year, we decided it would be most beneficial to make a short version of our feature idea to use as a calling card."

"We decided to try a short version of the same story as the basis for a short film Phil could direct to meet his requirements at the New York Film Academy." adds Nyswaner. "I planned to be a creative advisor for the short film, but the WGA strike left me with lots of free time, and so I jumped on board as a full-fledged producer. I particularly loved doing to Philip what producers have been doing to me for twenty years, namely, making him nervous and complaining about how long everything was taking."

Film production included many local crew members and actors. The film stars actor Melissa Leo (21 Grams, Three Burials and Melquiades Estrada).

"When we started working on the early draft of the script," adds Dorling. "Ron instantly suggested Melissa for the part. And from there on she was our muse to our character Penny."

Phil came up with a tidy little short which we spent a glorious week shooting in the Hudson Valley..." says Melissa Leo who is currently living in Los Angeles. "I can't wait to return for the feature!!!"

"It's exhilarating to see so many young people shooting films in the region with help from established industry members like Ron and Melissa," comments Hudson Valley Film Commissioner Laurent Rejto. "And we're delighted that HVFC was able to help find some of the cast and crew members. This film set really felt like a family unit. I can't wait to see the final film."


Todd Haynes' unconventional Dylan biopic I'M NOT THERE, which closed the 2007 Woodstock Film Festival, has opened in select theaters including Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.

The Weinstein Company release was produced by 2007 WFF Maverick Award recipient Christine Vachon and stars Cate Blanchet, Christian Bale, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Marcus Carl Franklin, and Ben Whislaw as Dylan.

Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman writes' "The singular haunting beauty of I'm Not There, Todd Haynes' thrilling deep-vision meditation on the music and many lives of Bob Dylan, is that obsession isn't just its fuel -- it's the movie's spirit and subject, its driving force.

For complete info, visit I'M NOT THERE

Play Trailer

WFF's 2007 opening night film THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY from Miramax, opens in theaters on November 30th.

Winner for Best Director (Julian Schnabel) at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, this courageous and breathtaking film tells the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby (43), the rakishly successful and charismatic editor in chief of French Elle who suffered a massive stroke and was rendered inactive. After lapsing into a coma, he awoke 20 days later to find himself the victim of a rare locked-in syndrome - mentally alert but permanently deprived of movement and speech. The only way he could express his frustration, however, was by moving his left eye.

Variety write, "Most compelling in its attempts to re-create the experience of paralysis onscreen, gorgeously lensed pic morphs into a dreamlike collage of memories and fantasies, distancing the viewer somewhat from Bauby's consciousness."

Opening in select theaters on December 7 is GRACE IS GONE staring John Cusack. The Weinstein Company release was presented as a special screening at the 2007 Woodstock Film Festival.

Peter Travers writes in Rolling Stone... "Simplicity -- four-square, not sappy -- is rare in film. James C. Strouse had it in his script for Lonesome Jim. As writer and first-time director, he gives Grace Is Gonethe quiet power to sneak up and floor you. A reserved father (John Cusack in a devastating change of pace) drives his young daughters, the wondrous Shelan O'Keefe and Gracie Bednarczyk, to a Florida theme park, unable to find words to tell them that their soldier mom has been killed in Iraq. That's it. No politics, no pleading. No artifice."

7th Art Releasing just announced the release of STEAL A PENCIL FOR ME, which was featured as a special screening at the 2007 Woodstock Film Festival. Look for the film at a theater near you.

This compelling documentary feature film by Academy Award® nominee Michèle Ohayon follows the story of Jack and Ina, two lovers who must overcome unimaginable obstacles and suffering to sustain their romance as they attempt to survive the Holocaust.

The New York Daily News wrote, "Not even Hollywood could invent a romance more extraordinary than this one."

For more info, visit Red Envelope films. For a clip of Jack and Ina at the 2007 WFF, click here. For a clip of Michèle Ohayon at the 2007 WFF, click here.

Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine's WAR/DANCE, which was honored at the 2007 Woodstock Film Festival with the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinemotography and the Audience Award for Best Documentary, opened to rave reviews in New York in early November. The film has also been short listed for an Academy Award® nomination.

Upon awarding the film , Haskell Wexler wrote, "The images of exquisite mountains, the long scenes of trees and fields, the blur of feathers, the slow motion of beads on backs; the framing of children’s close ups which say, even though we live in war we can do things for life. There is beauty and hope to sing and dance together. Music is universal and goes to the heart. The photography by Sean Fine looks to “nature” that looks deep into the faces of young children. WAR/DANCE is creatively photographed without calling attention to itself. Sean Fine facilitates a “documentary” story by bringing the images, music and dance into synchronicity. In so doing he touched us in more profound levels. Congratulations Sean Fine for doing excellent cinematography in the Woodstock tradition of social relevance, music and celebration of youthful life force."

This highly-emotional and beautifully-shot documentary tells the unforgettable story of three children living in an active war-zone of Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war. For trailers and theater info, visit THINKfilm

Hudson Valley resident Robert Stone follows up Guerilla: Tha Taking of Patty Hearst with OSWALD'S GHOST, a Seventh Art Releasing release which recently played to full houses at the 2007 Woodstock FIlm Festival. The film opens November 30.

Featuring interviews with Norman Mailer, Dan Rather, Gary Hart, OSWALD'S GHOST tracks the psychic wound that was inflicted on America as a result of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Few Americans then or now accept that a lone, inconsequential gunman could bring down a president and alter history. In that breach, a culture of conspiracy has arisen that points to sinister forces at work in the shadows.

Indiewire writes, ""A chilling reminder of the state of the world today.”

Narrated by Susan Sarandon, FOR LOVE OF JULIAN, which was helmed by WFF executive director Meira Blaustein, is an inspired and personal documentary about multiply handicapped medically fragile children.

A&E Indie Films, Molly Thompson calls it "a gripping film about how our lives can drastically change from one minute to the next. It’s a brave depiction of the difficult choices a family faces when doctors save a life, but the family has to live that life. Blaustein and her family open their hearts to the camera in a way that is unforgettable.”

Sarah Coleman write in The Independent “Instead of hewing to the party line that ‘special children are given to special parents Blaustein explores her feelings of frustration and impotence, and brings up some difficult questions about whether technology should be used to save such children at birth. This is courageous".

Available on CDBABY

Mechanical Bull goes national with a big new sound in their second release, A MILLION YESTERDAYS .

John Morris (British Radio) said "Out of the hundreds of albums being released onto the country music market it is not very often that one stands out as being totally different, one such album is Mechanical Bull. Chase Pierson is a genius ... you will not have heard anything so original for a long, long time !"

The follow up to last year's All Hat No Cattle is produced by Adam Widoff and mixed by Roman Klun, and it features compelling new tunes written by singer/songwriter/ringleader Chase Pierson. A Million Yesterdays comes fresh out of the box timeless and true.

For more info, visit Woodstock Music Works. Listen to select tunes on MySpace

Available on CDBABY

...a 13-song solo album. In March 2007, Bret sat down for two days in the studio to sing, stomp and play it all at once.

At once lean and lush—this smoldering confessional work includes guest appearances by venerated Woodstock guitarist Chris Zaloom, Jason Novak on harmonica, and John Luther on bass. Produced by Chase Pierson and Bret Mosley.

“…the whole album is like a hot summer night. There is neon're driving down a long, lonely road with too many thoughts in your head. Mosley is certainly one of the most original and thoughtful artists to come down the pike in years.”
—The Daily Freeman, Kingston

"...for those who haven't delved beyond the surface of Bret Mosley's tracks...i'd suggest jump in head'll take something home you didn't have before..."

For more info, visit Woodstock Music Works. Listen to select tunes on MySpace


Check out the new music video for
Trouble Been Hard
by the Felice Brothers
from their album, The Adventures of the Felice Brothers, Volume I


If you missed Woodstock’s Kris Carr on OPRAH, here’s your chance to read the book they were talking about.

Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips is a righteous  guide to kicking cancer tail.  It’s part memoir, part tips, tricks, how-to's, and insights. Kris Carr’s posse of 13 unbelievable survivor babes contribute their lessons to her adventure story.  There is no other book like this on the market and it is VERY different from the film, which WFF showed at WAMC’s Linda Norris. If you've seen one, you haven't seen the other.   Join our cancer stitch n' bitch, pass the wisdom along to someone who needs it and help create a national Crazy Sexy Posse!

"Kris is the ray of light that is needed to raise awareness of what it means to give back. What more can one wish for? She is a true leader of courage and inspiration" -Donna Karan

"I love Kris's book because it made me feel so many things.  Familiar things.  It made me laugh and reflect. This book will be a comfort to so many who are going through the experience or who have graduated to survivor." -Sheryl Crow


Now in paperback from local author Kim Rozencraft.

In it's starred review, Publisher's Weekly wrote "Wozencraft's brilliant third psychological thriller...eloquent prose that's unflinchingly honest."

Though they are sisters, Kit and Jenny could not be more different. Jenny is the dutiful daughter, following in her father's footsteps to become a Texas cop. Now working as a detective in the the Austin Police Department, Jenny is surprised when she sees a crime report with her sister's name on it.

Kit is the rebellious one, hiding from her past. She's trying to escape the fallout of her mother's death, and the gravitational pull of her father's expectations. Working as a stripper, Kit is living in a nighttime world of pseudonyms and lies. And she's begun to notice some new characters hanging around the club.

Suddenly, one sister's murder leads to the other's investigation of it, and brings her into a world more deadly than she can imagine. As the truth unfolds, one sister begins to question everything—even her own sanity—and the role she might have played in this lethal dance. The Devil's Backbone showcases Kim Wozencraft at her best: a novelist whose power to shock and compel you is unsurpassed



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We have great gift ideas for everyone on your list: 2007 Peter Max T-Shirts,
WFF track hoodies, caps, mugs, booty shorts and even underwear!
Merchandise is available online or at the festival's 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