September 2004 Newsletter

WFF announces 2004 schedule

On September 21, the 2004 WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL, announced its 2004 lineup for the October 13-17 event, at Light NYC.

The fest will kick off with a concert by seven-time Grammy award-winner Bela Fleck will kick-off the 5th Annual Woodstock Film Festival with an evening of acoustic music with renowned bassist Edgar Meyer at The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Annandale -On-Hudson, Wednesday, October 13, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. Click for more info.

The roster of international films includes 12 World premieres, 2 North American premieres; 6 U.S. premieres, 22 East Coast premieres, and 15 New York premieres.  There was a 20% increase in submissions this year, including a substantial increase in world cinema and politically-oriented entries, bringing the total number to more than 1000. Participating industry leaders include Newmarket Films, Miramax, Paramount Classics, Magnolia Pictures, Palm Pictures, THINKFilm, Showtime, Wellspring and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

There are two simultaneous Opening Night Films by award-winning directors, one in Woodstock, the other in Rhinebeck. The East Coast premiere of p.s., directed by Dylan Kidd, screens in Woodstock, starring Laura Linney, Topher Grace, Marcia Gay Harden, Gabriel Byrne, Paul Rudd, and Lois Smith. Shot entirely in New York City, the film is a romantic fable about getting a second chance at first love.  The Machinist, directed by Brad Anderson, starring Christian Bale and Jennifer Jason Leigh, unspools in Rhinebeck. It is an inventive psychological thriller about a tormented man who hasn’t slept for a year.

The festival’s Closing Night Film, screening in Woodstock, is Nicole Kassell’s The Woodsman, starring Kevin Bacon, who delivers one of his finest performances in this harrowing and moving tale of the hard-won redemption of a convicted sex offender who attempts to re-enter society. Also starring Kyra Sedgwick and Mos Def.

Among the other luminous highpoints of the 2004 festival:

The 2004 Honorary Maverick Award will be presented to illustrious director, writer, producer Mira Nair at an Saturday, Oct. 16th awards ceremony. The festival’s top award is presented to an individual whose life and work is based on independent vision and social activism. Past recipients include Woody Harrelson, Tim Robbins, D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus and Les Blank.

Other annual WFF awards include the Maverick Award for Excellence in Film Editing (new!), the Elmer Bernstein Award for Best Film Score, the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, and awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Feature Documentary,  Best Short Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Animated Short, and Best Student Short, to be announced at the WFF Awards Ceremony, Sunday evening Oct. 17 at the Bearsville Theater.

Besides Ms. Nair, other key festival participants include Laura Linney, Kyra Sedgwick, Christopher Lloyd, Peter Riegert,  Fisher Stevens, Vera Farmiga, Dylan Kidd, James Schamus, Bob Berney, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Debra Granik, Jim Taylor, Ron Nyswaner, Michael Cristofer, John Sloss, Mary Jane Skalski, Nicole Kassell, Gill Holland, Bill Plympton, Leon Gast, Brett Morgen, Liz Garbus, Ron English, Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer, among others.

·       Narrative Features in Competition: Admissions directed by Melissa Painter (East Coast Premiere); Down to the Bone directed by Debra Granik; The Fittest directed by the Crook Brothers (East Coast Premiere); Jailbait directed Brett C. Leonard; Speak directed by Jessica Sharzer (New York Premiere); Unknown Soldier directed by Ferenc Toth.

·        Documentary Features in Competition: Double Dare by Amanda Micheli (New York Premiere);
The Future of Food
by Deborah Koons Garcia (New York Premiere); I Like Killing Flies by Matt Mahurin (East Coast Premiere);  A League of Ordinary Gentleman by Christopher Browne; Parallel Lines by Nina Davenport; Trollywood by Madeleine Farley (East Coast Premiere). (For film summaries, please see the online schedule)

·        WFF SHORTS: For the filmmakers presenting this year’s crop of fabulous shorts at the Woodstock Film Festival, telling a story can take five minutes, 10 minutes, even thirty minutes. But no more. Their brevity, and their quality, is about the only thing they have in common. Woodstock shorts come in a wide variety; wacky, romantic, dramatic, political, necrophobic, animated, experimental and traditional. The pool of talent represented at this years’ fest includes students, emerging filmmakers and established talent. Featured among the work is the world premiere of The Lost Cause by Jim Taylor (Election, Citizen Ruth, About Schmidt). Programs include La Commedia: Death, Confusion & Hysterics, Love & Hate, Coming of Age, Short Docs and Almost Midnight.


      An outstanding program of animated shorts from around the world was programmed by Signe Baumane and Bill Plympton Highlights include Seventeen, Bikini, Ryan, and Crack of Doom. The full program is online at Shorts: Animation.

EXPOSURE:  WFF’s annual program of Movies That Matter - Films of Social Consciousness. There were an above average number of politically-oriented films submitted in this highly contentious election year. Selections include Off to War, The World According to Bush, Shocking & Awful, Getting Through to the President, Shock & Awe and Soldier’s Pay, directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings, Flirting with Disaster, Spanking the Monkey), co–directed by Tricia Regan and Juan Carlos Zaldivar. Politically based panels include: Film and the Political Equation – Why Now? moderated by  NPR’s David D'Arcy, with panelists Bob Berney and Pamela Yates, among others, and In Your Face, hosted by Larry Beinhart and Richard Fusco, a live Woodstock style “talk-show” from the unabashed Left, exploring why politics do indeed matter.

·        FOCUS ON MUSIC: WFF’s annual program of feature films, docs and panels about music, musicians, and film scoring includes: The World Premiere of Reality by Steven Lippman, based on the work of David Bowie; Growing Up On Tour: A Family Portrait  by Anna Gabriel; Obstinato: Making Music for Two follows banjo  wizard Bela Fleck and double bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer on tour as they perform, compose, and get on each other's nerves.  {Grammy-award winners Fleck and Meyer will be performing at the 2004 Woodstock Film Festival Kick-Off Concert at Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, Wednesday evening, October 13}; Additional films include the East Coast premiere of the narrative feature Chorists (Les Choristes) directed by  award-winning classical guitarist Christophe Barratier, France's entry for the foreign-language film Oscar. Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley, a documentary about the musical icon by Nyla Adams and Laurie Trombley; The Nomi Song, a documentary by Andrew Horn, about Klaus Nomi, one of the 1980s most profoundly bizarre characters. Screaming Men, about a choir of screaming men from Finland that travel the world singing (screaming) national anthems.

·        WFF PANELS include: The Actor’s Dialogue; Artistic Expression in the Time of Censorship; Case Study of ‘Down to the Bone’; Music for Film with BMI; Conversation with James Schamus and Peter Bowen; From Mississippi Masala to Vanity Fair- A Conversation with Mira Nair & Lydia Dean Pilcher; Origins of Film Story – Part II; Reading and a Talk with Ron Nyswaner: ‘Blue Days, Black Nights’, A Screenwriter’s Life, the Ultimate Confession; What is Success: The Dos and Don’ts of Independent Films or How to Make a Successful; Film and the Political Equation; In Your Face; The Youth Initiative and more. (See Panels for more detailed information).

·        SPECIAL INTEREST:  Chorists, (the French entry for the 2005 Academy Awards), Our Music (Notre Musique), the new film by Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential filmmakers of our times; The U.S. Premiere of Ong Bak: the Thai Warrior by Thailand's Prachya Pinkaeqw; Chain, Jem Cohen's hypnotic study of malls, super centers and theme parks; The East Coast Premiere of I Like Killing Flies by Matt Mahurin about the odyssey of a philosopher-chef in NYC; Dear Frankie, directed by Shona Auerbach, after having responded to her son's numerous letters in the guise of his father, a woman hires a stranger to pose as his dad when meeting him; Kontroll by Nimrod Antal, which revolves around a group of subway ticket inspectors, won the Prix de la Jeunesse at this year's Cannes Festival and has just been named as Hungary's entry into the Best Foreign Film Oscar race; In the Realms of the Unreal by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu, an innovative feature length documentary, explores the parallel lives of legendary outsider artist Henry Darger.


·        A special presentation of Martin Scorsese's recently restored The Age of Innocence will be screened as a tribute to legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein, a long time Woodstock resident, whose music for the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Music Score.


For the complete program info, visit, 2004 Woodstock Film Festival Schedule

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The Woodstock Film Festival 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. The Woodstock Film Commission promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.

The Woodstock FIlm Festival is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency

The Woodstock Film Festival newsletter is compiled and written by Laurent Rejto. If you would like to contribute a story idea, email

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