Academy Nods
In Theaters and Special Features

Dinner and a Movie
Sundance Recap
IFP Independent Filmmaker Labs Call For Entries
WFF Call For Entries

Hudson Valley Film Commission News


We’d like to extend our congratulations and good wishes to WFF friends and filmmakers who have been nominated for the 2009 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards! 

Nominations include:

MELISSA LEO, longtime friend and supporter of WFF and HVFC and area local, has been nominated for BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE for her role as Ray Eddy in Courtney Hunt’s FROZEN RIVER. Melissa has already received a number of nominations and awards for her compelling role as an immigrant smuggler across the U.S. and Canadian boarder. 

FROZEN RIVER, directed and written by Courtney Hunt and shot in Upstate New York, has also been nominated for BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY. Hunt developed the feature, set in a real-life smuggling zone on a Native American reservation between New York State and Quebec where the lure of fast money presents a daily challenge to single moms who would otherwise be making minimum wage.
The film is currently availble on DVD.

THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) from WFF friend, filmmaker, and panelist Ellen Kuras, has been nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE. Ellen Kuras, along with co-director and narrator Thavisouk Phrasavath, document the extraordinary saga of a family torn apart by war in Laos during the Vietnam era.  The film combines beautiful imagery, a haunting score, and a powerfully poetic and poignant story. 

MAN ON WIRE, starring area local high-wire artist Philippe Petit, has been nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE.  Directed by James Marsh and shot partially in Ulster County, the film recounts the remarkable high wire stunt between New York City's twin towers by Petit in 1974. Through candid interviews, archival footage, dramatizations and visual effects, the adventures of Petit and his accomplices are brought back to life. The film is currently available on DVD from Magnolia Pictures.

HAPPY GO-LUCKY, which screened at the 2008 WFF, has been nominated for BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY.  The film was directed and written by Mike Leigh, centering on the story of a cheerful schoolteacher named Poppy, played by Sally B Hawkins, whose optimistic approach to life is challenged by the tension and bitterness of those around her.

TROUBLE THE WATER has been nominated for BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE. Cinematographer PJ Raval also directed TRINIDAD (2008 WFF) and received WFF’s Haskell Wexler Best Cinematography Award for the film ROOM.

Directed by Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, TROUBLE THE WATER follows the shocking story of two Hurricaine Katrina survivors through the storm and the aftermath.  Seamlessly weaving footage taken by the two, archival, and current the film is an impressive and moving journey.

MILK, released by 2008 Trailblazer Award Recipient James Schamus' Focus Features, has been nominated for 8 Academy Awards including BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR and BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE among many others. 

The important and shocking story of Harvey Milk, human rights activist, as he becomes the first openly gay man to be elected into a major public office and the events surrounding his election, work, and life. Visit FOCUS FEATURES for more info.

IN BRUGES, also a Focus Features film, has been nominated for BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY.  Two hit men are sent to the gothic town of Bruges, Belgium, to wait for a call from their boss.  The longer they stay, the more entangled with the city they become. The film is currently available on DVD. Visit FOCUS FEATURES for more info.

For complete details, visit the Academy Awards online

THE DUCHESS, produced by Magnolia Mae films is nominated for Achievement in art direction & Achievement in costume design. Magnolia Mae films co-directors Gaby Tana and Carolyn Marks Blackwood are both Hudson Valley residents.

This sumptuous period piece directed by Saul Dibb chronicles the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life. The film is currently available on DVD.


Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath's THE BETRAYAL is currently playing select theatres.  Filmed over 23 years, the film presents two battles of survival.  The battle in Laos they attempt to escape, and the struggle of immigrating to America.

For more info, visit The Betrayal.

THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD (2008 WFF) will be released by Magnolia Pictures on March 20th.  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

Two new films by Barbara Hammer will screen at MOMA's Documentary Fortnight on Thursday, February 19 at 8pm.

In A HORSE IS NOT A METAPHOR (2008) Barbara Hammer – fighting ovarian cancer, stage 3 – returns to her experimental roots, in a multilayered film of numerous chemotherapy sessions with images of light and movement that take her far from the hospital bed.

In DIVING WOMEN OF JEJU-DO (2007) Hammer explores an ancient Korean woman's tradition that is about to die. While diving with the women, she records the reasons behind their disappearing work and lifestyles.

For more details, visit Barbara Hammer

2007 WFF Audience Award Winner THE LIVING WAKE, will screen at BAM Rose Cinemas in Brooklyn on February 19. Directed by Sol Tryon and starring Mike O'Connell, Jesse Eisenberg, Jim Gaffigan and Ann Dowd, this dark comedy set in a timeless storybook universe observes self-proclaimed artist and genius, K. Roth Binew who has one day to live. He has enlisted his best and only friend, Mills Joquin, to take him around on a bicycle powered rickshaw and in a final attempt to probe life's deepest mysteries, Binew endures one ridiculous trial after the next. He concludes his day with a final performance, his living wake. Click here for screening times and dates.

MEDICINE FOR MELANCHOLY, directed by Barry Jenkins, opened at the IFC Center Feb 6th.  The film, which received Honorable Mention for the 2008 WFF Lee Marvin Award is the beautifully shot story of two 20-something African Americans in San Francisco who muse on life and gentrification after a one-night stand.  As they talk and drift on a walk throughout the city, the monochromatic tones and muted colors lend themselves to the overall intelligent and romantic tone of the film.  Click here for screening times and dates.

Hugo Perez's "magically poetic" NEITHER MEMORY NOR MAGIC, which screened as a work ion progress at the 2007 WFF, will have its New York City Premiere at the 2009 MoMA Documentary Fortnight on February 22nd, 2009.

“Through the poetry he wrote at the end of his life, the film tells the story of Miklos Radnoti, a Hungarian poet killed in the Holocaust.  It’s the story of a man who believed in the power of the written word to survive and to bear witness--even when he knew that he himself might not survive.  The year 2009 marks the Centennial of Radnoti’s birth, and as part of my Q and A after the screening, I will be joined by special guests in reading a few of Radnoti’s poems to commemorate his Centennial.  I can guarantee it will be a special evening you won’t want to miss.” – Hugo Perez

Click here for screening times and dates.

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 20th, 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.

Visit Magnolia Pictures for details


Woodstock's Oriole 9 Cafe - Restaurant will present two special movies from the 2008 Woodstock Film Festival as part of their thursday night DINNER & A MOVIE series. Movies start at 7:00 pm. Delicious tapas, dinner and movie meals will be available. For details, visit Oriole 9.

Dan Stone and Patrick Gambuti's AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, which received the 2008 WFF Haskell Wexler Award for Cinematography follows dedicated volunteers, cameramen, and sailors who plunge into an Antarctic journey to save whales from Japanese hunters posing as researchers.

Sean Baker's PRINCE OF BROADWAY, which won the 2008 WFF Lee Marvin Award for best feature narrative, is the story of a Ghanaian immigrant who pushes knock-off merchandise on the streets of New York. His life is turned upside down when a woman pushes a toddler into his life – insisting it is his son.



CHOOSE CONNOR, from WFF 2007, is now available on DVD.  Directed and written by Luke Eberl, the film follows the story of a 15-yr old boy that enters the world of politics as a youth campaign spokesman for a congressman with whom he as formed a friendship.  This new direction shines an unexpected light on the dark world of politics in stark contrast to his previously monotonous and lonely life.

For more information, see Choose Connor


MOVING MIDWAY, which screened at 2007 WFF, 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





All Woodstock Felm Festival delegates that attended the 2009 Sundance Film Festival have returned with new friends and stories.  In addition to catching up with filmmakers and industry members at parties and screenings, WFF & HVFC hosted a hugely successful BREAKFAST PARTY AT THE NY LOUNGE.  Over fruits, bagels, pastries and beverages, everyone began their day by catching up with the WFF staff and networking with colleagues from around the world.  Thanks to the New York State Film Commission and 120db Films for helping make the event so special.  And thanks to all those who attended!

On INAUGURATION DAY, WFF Press Director Ilene Marder, and WFF Executive Director Meira Blaustein headed over to the BMI condo to watch the swearing in and jubilation with friends Doreen Ringer Ross, Linda Livingston, and a small group of music executives, composers and producers.  It was a memorable occasion all over the country, and Park City was no exception as young and old gathered together to celebrate. For more details about Sundance 09, visit Meira’s blog.

Congratulations to the many films that were picked up for distribution during the Sundance festival, including:

HUMPDAY starring WFF alumni, panelist and jury member Mark Duplass was picked up by Magnolia Pictures.

ADAM, directed by Hudson Valley director Max Mayer, has sold to Fox Searchlight.

WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE, directed by the late William Kunstler’s younger daughters Emily and Sarah, has been picked up by Arthouse Films.

has been picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films.  The Sophie Barthes' film stars WFF advisory board member David Strathairn.



The IFP Independent Filmmaker Labs are for first-time feature directors nearing completion on their documentary or narrative projects. The Labs are a free, week-long workshop covering the creative and business aspects of this critical post-production stage, from one-on-one editing critique from experienced editors, to developing a marketing and distribution plan. The Labs provide a creative incubator for the selected filmmakers, where they can, with a community of peers in a similar production stage, think critically about their project and their next steps, with the aid of top documentary and narrative feature industry mentors.

Documentary Lab Submission Deadline: February 20
Narrative Lab Submission Deadline: April 17

Click here for more info


The Woodstock Memoir Festival, taking place February 13-16, will feature film festival advisory board member and Actor's Dialogue moderator Martha Frankel.

Frankel's fabulous memoir HATS & EYEGLASSES comes out on paperback February 19. HATS & EYEGLASSES tells the story of one girl's rediscovery of gambling, and how it almost ruined her life. At once side-splittingly funny, touching, and ultimately heartbreaking. Watch for the paperback release at your local book store or on Amazon.



Wildebeest in a Rainstorm: Profiles of Our Most Intriguing Adventurers, Conservationists, Shagbags and Wanderers

Hudson Valley resident Jon Bowermaster presents a selection of profiles collected during his travels over the past two decades.  His stories tell of adventurers and great conversationalists met on dog sleds, in the bush, the suburbs, and the cities of his travels.



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, Tim Robbins, Ethan Hawke, Matt Dillon, Rosie Perez and many others.

To apply online, and for details, visit ENTRY FORM



As many of us well know – government cutbacks, conservative and minimal sponsorship, and a general lack of funding are jeopardizing the continuation of many of our invaluable arts organization.  And WFF is no exception. 

In this time of economic instability, when support for art activities and art education has increased susceptibility to cutbacks or terminated support, we turn to YOU to help support WFF.

As we are enter our 10th Anniversary year, please help us make this a special time to celebrate film, music, and art related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity.  WFF is an educational not-for-profit, 501 (C)(3) organization already functioning on minimal funding. 

Further cutbacks without alternative subsidization will be detrimental to WFF's ability to maintain the high level of programming, staffing, and inexpensive ticket pricing that has made it such a special event for the past nine years.

In addition, support for WFF directly translates to support for the community and local economic growth and stability.  Each year festival events pack local streets, restaurants, stores, and lodging with guests and participants from around the world–providing a welcome period of financial growth and revenue. 

The Hudson Valley Film Commission, working under the auspices of the Woodstock Film Festival, is a conduit for preproduction, production, and postproduction for filmmaking in the Hudson Valley, Catskill region. Commission support is provided free of charge to studio features, independent features, print, new media, short films, student projects, and TV ads.

Any of the amounts listed are appreciated, and all are tax deductible.  We urge you now to please consider following this link to make a donation. Many thanks to all in advance. 

Or send a contribution to:
Woodstock FIlm Festival, PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498

Help us make the tenth Anniversary a resounding success.

There's been a lot of talk circulating that the New York State Film TAX CREDITS, which went into affect in 2008,
might be repealed. 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.


For those of you who reside in New York, please read the letter below 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