To view online, visit http://woodstockfilmfestival.com/newsletters/10_01.htm
2010 WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL
2010 marks the beginning of a new decade for the Woodstock Film Festival as it marches on towards its 11th year with many exciting plans and initiatives. As always, the year starts with the annual pilgrimage to snowy Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. Thousands of filmmakers, actors, industry members, press and film lovers from all over the world will flock to the small ski resort town later this January, trudging through the snowy pathways and roads, traveling back and forth on the free shuttle system and going from venue to venue as they seek to see this year's most promising new crop of films from the US and abroad. Deals will be made, projects will get kicked off, careers will get launched and many ideas will get exchanged.
As in the past, the Sundance lineup is packed with Woodstock friends, films and filmmakers from New York's Hudson Valley region.
We look forward to seeing our good friend Leon Gast and his new film, Smash His Camera out there. The film, the first ever in depth look at the original paparazzo, Ron Galella, marks Leon's first major work since his Academy Award® winning documentary When We Were Kings. Leon along with his editor Doug Abel, crew and Ron Galella, will attend Park City for the duration of the festival. Here is to Leon, go get them!
Other highlights include Jack Goes Boating and Lucky, both produced by WFF's advisory board member Peter Saraf; The Dry Land, starring Melissa Leo and edited by Sabine Hoffman; Welcome to the Rileys starring Melissa Leo; 12th & Delaware by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady and much more. For info on more films and details see below.
Co-Founder & Executive Director Meira Blaustein will be on hand Jan 21-28. If you are interested in getting involved in the festival, finding information about our sponsorship opportunities, setting up a meeting, inviting us to your film or party, attending our little get together or discussing film submissions, please contact Meira on her cell at 914.466.5728 or email her at email@example.com
Meira will be covering much of the goings on. For Meira's daily reports from Sundance, check the home page (woodstockfilmfestival.com), the Poughkeepsie Journal and listen for live radio interviews on WAMC Northeast Public Radio's Roundtable and with Gattine & Franz on WDST-100.1FM. You can also catch Meira along with reporter Stewart Nusbaumer's video reporting from Sundance at the Huffington Post. Happy New Year everyone, see you all at the movies!
JACK GOES BOATING
Peter Saraf will be in Sundance with two films he has produced–Jack Goes Boating and Lucky (see documentaries). Peter, an Oscar® nominated producer best known forLittle Miss Sunshine, Sunshine Cleaning, Adaptation and the recent hit Away We Go, is a founding member of the Woodstock Film Festival Advisory Board and long-time friend. We reached out to see how he felt about the two upcoming screenings.
Saraf emailed back the following: "Sadly the timing of the completion and the release schedules of both Lucky and Jack Goes Boating make it impossible to premiere them at the most exciting and important festival for American independent film, so we are going to Sundance instead. Next year, I hope to have a film that we can try to get into Woodstock.
Jack Goes Boating is a story of love, trust, truth and romance in a snowy New York city. It's funny, it's moving, I think it's a great movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman fulfills the promise that one of our most beloved actors is as extraordinary director as he is a performer."
The multifaceted Phillip Seymour Hoffman makes his directorial debut with Jack Goes Boating, a tale of love, betrayal and friendship set against the backdrop of working-class New York City life. Jack and Connie are two single people who on their own might continue to recede into the anonymous background of the city, but in each other begin to find the courage and desire to pursue their budding relationship. In contrast, the couple who brought them together, Clyde and Lucy, are confronting the unresolved issues in their rocky marriage. (synopsis courtesy Sundance).
Bass Ackwards is utterly original. This lyrical and visually exciting adventure has such a light touch that it quietly sneaks up and tugs you into an overpowering appreciation of being human. The project is executive produced by Mark Duplass, 2009 WFF panelist Marian Koltai-Levine, and produced by WFF advisory board member Gill Holland and his company The Entertainment Group,
When humble Linas (played by director Linas Phillips) finds a forgotten van on a llama farm outside Seattle, he begins lurching east with nothing to lose. Slowly, the road eases him out of his relentless longing and into the moment. As his encounters with enigmatic characters take on subtly transcendent qualities, his shame and discomfort at being alone gradually give way to self-acceptance and connection.
Bass Ackwards, like it's name, is also poised to be released through an unprecedented distribution maneuver that, will bypass theatrical and other traditional platforms and will be made available nationwide one day after the festival closes. Zipline Entertainment and New Video (owned by WFF advisory board member Steve Savage) plan to make the film available for purchase or download in tens of millions of homes via major digital retailers, cable Video On Demand and DVD.
The Duplass brothers are back with their singular knack: treating us to a tingling, irresistible experience of utter discomfort—suffused with pathos, romance, irony, and a little dollop of horror. This time they intrepidly mine Oedipal terrain to wrestle with stirring, profound questions about the obstacles to human intimacy.
Alone and acutely depressed, having just learned of his ex-wife’s wedding plans, John (John C. Reilly) can’t believe his luck when he encounters beautiful, charming Molly (Marisa Tomei) at a party. The two get along famously and launch a passionate affair—until Molly’s 21-year-old son, Cyrus, (Jonah Hill) enters the scene. Will Molly and Cyrus’s deep and idiosyncratic bond leave room for John?
Cyrus becomes a dark, poignant, sometimes hilarious war dance as Molly, Cyrus, and John walk the line between creepy and sympathetic. Each member of this awkward triangle teeters somewhere between bare honesty and furtive manipulation as he or she lets loose all manner of dysfunctionality. The excruciating, delightful fun is seeing where the boundaries ultimately land. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival)
When precocious 13-year-old paparazzo Austin Visschedyk snapped a photo of celebrity Adrian Grenier (HBO's Entourage and Bard alumni), little did he know his life was about to change. Turning the tables on the juvenile paparazzo, Grenier stepped on the other side of the lens in an attempt to mentor a teenager obsessed with the lure of the Hollywood lifestyle. Grenier develops a meaningful relationship with his camera-clicking young friend as he attempts to reconcile their mutual exploitation. Indeed, Grenier puts himself on the line here, trying to make sense of his own recently acquired fame. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival).
WINNING TIME: REGGIE MILLER VS. THE NEW YORK KNICKS
In Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks, a rich, dark operatic comedy, Peabody award winning director Dan Klores explores much more than Miller's historic playoff performances (logging 25 points in the fourth quarter of Game Five in 1994, eight points in the final nine seconds of Game One in 1995). Klores exposes two powerful forms of resentment that helped craft the NBA's last great rivalry. Both Indiana and New York City took pride in being the “true” home to the sport. Theirs was good Midwestern values against liberal East Coast beliefs. It was country life vs. city life. As significant, New Yorkers detested Miller, yet, he ironically possessed all the general characteristics assigned to them. Loud, arrogant and brash, Miller personified cosmopolitan – traits that his '”Hoosier Nation” reviled.
12TH AND DELAWARE
The world premiere of 12th & Delaware by WFF friends Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp,The Boys of Baraka, Dissident) is an expose on America's most arduous battle. On an unassuming corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, it’s easy to miss the insidious war that’s raging. But on each side of 12th and Delaware, soldiers stand locked in a passionate battle. On one side of the street sits an abortion clinic. On the other, a pro-life outfit often mistaken for the clinic it seeks to shut down.
Using skillful cinema-vérité observation that allows us to draw our own conclusions, Grady and Ewing expose the molten core of America’s most intractable conflict. As the pro-life volunteers paint a terrifying portrait of abortion to their clients, across the street, the staff members at the clinic fear for their doctors' lives and fiercely protect the right of their clients to choose. Shot in the year when abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church, the film makes these fears palpable. Meanwhile, women in need become pawns in a vicious ideological war with no end in sight (synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival).
WFF contacted Heidi and Rachel about the film and received the following comment.
"12th & Delaware represents our journey into the most complex subject matter that we have delved into to date. We hope we have crafted a film that stays with people long after they leave the cinema, and we will soon find out if we accomplished this goal after audiences take it all in at our Sundance debut.”
CASINO JACK & THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY
Alex Gibney, who brought us the Academy Award®-winning Taxi to the Dark Side and the Academy Award® nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, now focuses his attention on the story of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. From Indian casinos and Chinese sweatshops to Russian spies and a mob-style killing in Miami, CASINO JACK and the United States of Money is at once a colorful tale of international intrigue and a story of the corrupting role that money plays in our political process. By following ongoing criminal investigations - including the indictments of federal officials, staffers and congressmen - and inquiries into the day-to-day business of favor-trading in our nation's capitol, the film shines a light on the way that politicians' desperate need to get elected - and the millions of dollars it costs - may be undermining the basic principles of American democracy. (A Participant Media production, the film will be distributed by Magnolia Picures.)
"I'm very happy to be going back to Sundance with "CASINO JACK and the United States of Money," Gibney told WFF. "Three years in the making, the film is the story of a lobbyist/adventurer who shows us how our system of campaign finance has become a form of legalized bribery. I love the tone of the film: it's a comedy but the joke is on us".
Lucky, which will be competing in the US Documentary Competition, is produced by Peter Saraf and directed by Jeffrey Blitz who won the Best Documentary Maverick Award at the 2002 Woodstock FIlm Festival for Spellbound.
Dreaming of winning the lottery is as American as apple pie. Millions of Americans spend billions of dollars each year hoping to come up a winner. But what happens to the lucky few who actually pull a winning ticket? Lucky crisscrosses the country, examining a handful of past lottery winners as they navigate their newly found riches and a couple of extremely determined hopefuls. The winners’ lives are undoubtedly changed forever but not necessarily in the ways we may expect. Life becomes complicated as attorneys, hired security guards, jealous friends, scheming family members, and desperate pleas for help from strangers pepper their new existence. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance).
"We've all fantasized about what we would do if we hit a mega jackpot in the lottery," producer Saraf commented. "Lucky shows how the lives of five people changed overnight when they won. It's been a fun subject matter to dive into over the past few years and working with Jeff Blitz and Sean Welch has been amazing. We're excited to put it in front of audience at Sundance."
SMASH HIS CAMERA
WFF advisory board member and Woodstock resident, Leon Gast will be in Sundance for the World Premiere of his latest documentary Smash His Camera.
The documentary, is the story of notorious, reviled paparazzo Ron Galella who opened a Pandora’s Box of issues from right to privacy, freedom of the press and the ever-growing vortex of celebrity worship. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him and Marlon Brando broke his jaw. The film is edited by virtuoso editor Doug Abel-also of Woodstock. (see related story)
THE DRY LAND
The Dry Land, edited by WFF Advisory Board member Sabine Hoffman (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee), is in Sundance 2010's US Dramatic Competition. James (Ryan O’Nan) returns from Iraq to face a new battle—reintegrating into his small-town life in Texas. His wife (America Ferrera), his mother (Melissa Leo), and his friend (Jason Ritter) provide support, but they can’t fully understand the pain and suffering he feels since his tour of duty ended. Lonely, James reconnects with an army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama), who provides him with compassion and camaraderie during his battle to process his experiences in Iraq. But their reunion also exposes the different ways that war affects people—at least on the surface. (see related story)
Featuring the production design by Woodstocker Jade Healy, HapyThankYouMorePlease is the story of Six New Yorkers negotiating love, friendship, and gratitude at a time when they’re too old to be precocious and not ready to be adults. Cast features Malin Akerman, Josh Radnor, Zoe Kazan, Tony Hale, Pablo Schreiber, Michael Algieri. World Premiere (see related story)
Howl from Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friendman, stars James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels and WFF advisory board member David Strathairn. It’s San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial. The film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society’s reaction (the obscenity trial), and mind-expanding animation that echoes the startling originality of the poem itself. All three coalesce in a genre-bending hybrid that brilliantly captures a pivotal moment—the birth of a counterculture. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival).
When asked for his reaction to the film, Strathairn told WFF, "How often do we get to see a film about a poem, and in this case, such a poem, that is not only an extraordinary piece of writing, but a poem that was one of the 'midwives' who helped birth a countercultural movement that shaped our country's character."
THE IMPERIALISTS ARE STILL ALIVE!
Produced by Vanessa Hope (Willam Kunstler, Disturbing the Universe) and featuring production design by Woodstock resident Jade Healy, Imperialists are Still Alive is about a French Manhattanite juggling the sudden abduction of her childhood sweetheart as well as a blooming love affair as she makes her way as an artist in an indifferent, sometimes hostile world. The cast features Élodie Bouchez, José María de Tavira, Karim Saleh Karolina Muller, Marianna Kulukundis, Rita Ackerman. (see related story)
WELCOME TO THE RILEYS
Starring long-time WFF friend and Hudson Valley native, Melissa Leo, Welcome to the Rileys is directed by Jake Scott and also features James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart. While on a business trip to New Orleans, a damaged man seeks salvation by caring for a wayward young woman. (see related story)
Debra Granik's Winter's Bone follows an unflinching Ozark Mountain girl who hacks her way through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. The cast features Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan.
Winter's Bone is the much awaited follow up from Debra Granik and producer Anne Rosellini. Their last film Down to the Bone, was filmed in the Hudson Valley and starred Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air). Down to the Bone won major awards including Sundance and the Maverick Award for best feature film at WFF2004). Cinematographer Michael McDonough, who recently filmed Bitter Feast in Olivebridge, lensed both features.
"It is my hope that at Sundance, people will deeply enjoy the performances given by the actors in Winter's Bone," Granick told WFF. "Jen Lawrence, John Hawkes and the rest of the cast worked very hard to observe details from the real-life locations and piece together their characters. Many local actors and collaborators participated, guiding us, sharpening more details from props to wardrobe to the music in the film. I hope their contributions will be felt and enjoyed as well".
Cynthia Wade's Born Sweet is a documentary about a 15-year-old-boy from a small, rural village in Cambodia, whose dreams for karaoke stardom are shaken by arsenic-laced water. Cynthia won an Oscar® for Freeheld (WFF2007) and directed the five-time award-winning HBO documentary Shelter Dogs (WFF2002), which was filmed in Ulster County. She is currently working on a documentary with Ulster County filmmaker Ron Nyswaner.
In October 2006, the United States government decided to build a 700 mile fence along its Mexican border. Three years and $3.1 billion later, The Fence by Rory Kennedy investigates the impact of the project, revealing how its stated goals--containing illegal immigration, cracking down on drug trafficking, and protecting America from terrorists--have given way to unforeseen consequences.
Last Address is a composition of exterior images from the last residential addresses of a group of New York City artists who died of AIDS.
The film is directed by 2009 WFF Jury member and panelist, Ira Sachs, who commented, "I’m happy to be returning to Sundance with my first new queer film since The Delta in 1996. I say to myself its about time."
Lisa Myers was the production designer of Samina Akbari's The Visitors about a a young interracial couple who struggle to get by in a rodent-infested apartment.
The short film will be screening with Shorts Program II.
The ANIMATION PROGRAM IS BACK!
The Woodstock Film Festival Animation Program curated and presented by acclaimed animators Bill Plympton & Signe Baumane, is always one of the most exciting events on the animation front. The 2009 program was so successful that we're doing it again -- this time in NYC! Come join filmmakers and colleagues and enjoy an evening of animation magic.
Catch Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe in Daybreakers from Lionsgate. The year is 2019. A mysterious plague has swept over the earth, transforming the majority of the world's population into vampires. Humans are now an endangered, second-class species -- forced into hiding as they are hunted and farmed for vampire consumption to the brink of extinction. It's all up to Edward Dalton, a vampire researcher who refuses to feed on human blood, to perfect a blood substitute that might sustain vampires and spare the few remaining humans. But time and hope are running out -- until Ed meets Audrey, a human survivor who leads him to a startling medical breakthrough. Armed with knowledge that both humans and vampires will kill for, Ed must battle his own kind in a deadly struggle that will decide the fate of the human race. (See trailer)
YOUTH IN REVOLT
An official selection of the 2009 Woodstock Film Festival, Youth In Revolt, Directed by Miguel Arteta, can be seen in theaters beginning Friday, January 8.
Youth In Revolt is a coming-of-age comedy that puts a fresh and outrageous stamp on a tale of adolescent obsession and rebellion. Starring Michael Cera (also of the Oscar® winning film "Juno" and "Superbad") and based on the acclaimed novel by C.D. Payne, Youth In Revolt is the story of Nick Twisp – a unique, but affable teen with a taste for the finer things in life like Sinatra and Fellini – who falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful, free-spirited Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) while on a family vacation. But family, geography and jealous ex-lovers conspire to keep these two apart.
With Sheeni’s encouragement, Nick abandons his dull, predictable life and develops a rebellious alter ego: Francois. With his ascot, his moustache and his cigarette, Francois will stop at nothing to be with Sheeni, and leads Nick Twisp on a path of destruction with unpredictable and uproarious consequences. (See trailer)
FREEING SILVIA BARALDINI
The award winning documentary, Freeing Silvia Baraldini is a profound inquiry into the life of an Italian who was an American radical. Silvia spent 24 years in prison following her conviction of helping to free Black Panther, Assata Shakur from prison. Pelletier and Thomas unlock a chapter in U.S. radical politics that has been until now, sequestered by the U.S. government.
This event is sponsored by
The Haitian People's Support Project &
The Martin Luther King Day Planning Committee. See trailer at www.thinedgefilms.com
Set 58 years before Battlestar Galactica, Caprica follows two rival families - the Graystones and the Adamas - as they grow, compete, and thrive in the vibrant world of the peaceful 12 Colonies, living in a society close to our own. Entangled in the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence and robotics that will eventually lead to the creation of the Cylons, the two houses go toe-to-toe, blending action with corporate conspiracy and sexual politics. Caprica will deliver, intrigue, political backbiting and family conflict in television's first science fiction family saga.
Daniel Graystone, a computer genius, is owner of a large computer corporation that is spearheading the development of artificial intelligence. He and his wife Amanda, who's a brilliant surgeon, are both relentless in their scientific pursuits. The Adama clan is helmed by Joseph Adama, a renowned criminal defense attorney and father of future Battlestar commander William Adama. When tragedy strikes both families, lines are drawn that will determine the fate of the human race.
Our friends at the Cinema Eye Honors will be celebrating their third annual event on January 15, 2010 at The Times Center in New York City and Woodstock Film Festival's Executive Director, Meira Blaustein, who is on the nominating committee, will be there for the festivities. The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking were founded in late 2007 to recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film. 2010 will mark the first time the Honors will be presented prior to the Academy Award® ceremonies.
Cinema Eye’s mission has been to advocate for, recognize and promote the highest commitment to rigor and artistry in the nonfiction field. Cinema Eye Honors trophies were designed and crafted by Steve Heller who has been creating the Woodstock Film Festival awards since 2001.
FILM COMMISSION TURNING HEADS
A “brutal” economy forced the Hudson Valley Film Commission to put on its first fund-raiser last summer, but despite financial challenges, director Laurent Rejto’s passion for film remains strong as the non-profit enters its first decade.
“I’ve always wanted to make films, but the next best thing is to see everybody else make them,” he said, against a backdrop of movie posters in the commission’s office on Mill Hill Road in Woodstock. “That’s where the passion comes in.”
The first job the commission assisted was a short called “Prey” by local filmmaker Larry Revene, who had managed to obtain eight deer carcasses for the shoot.
“The movie was about two people who pick up road-kill,” Rejto said. “It was quite a scene. I lent Larry my 35mm splicer. He still has it.”
Through the years, the commission has aided the making of hundreds of films in the Hudson Valley, including award-winners. Among the works are: “War of the Worlds,” “Taking Woodstock,” “Personal Velocity,” “The Night Listener,” “Down to the Bone,” “The Cake Eaters,” “Racing Daylight,” “Stephanie Daley,” “Splinterheads” “Whisper Me a Lullaby” and “Human Footprint.” (read to full story at Daily Freeman)
“Caring for aging parents is one of the most common experiences sisters share, but few can transform their responsibility into bittersweet words of wisdom the way the Pokras sisters, Fran and Barbara, have done. This book, with its tender, funny, and revealing insights into the world of the elderly, is a must-read for every caretaker.”—Carol Saline, author of the New York Times best seller Sisters
In this pair of moving, gracefully poignant novellas, sisters Pokras and Yariv explore the world of the elderly with deft humor and heart-wrenching detail. Pokras’s Feeding Mrs. Moskowitz introduces us to the remarkable Golde Moskowitz, an elderly Russian widow living alone with her memories. In Golde’s world, “signs” are everywhere, the dead converse with the living, and dreams are real. Natalie Holtzman, a thirty-six-year-old graphic artist longing for connection, fills her world with work and with Artie, her commitment-wary boyfriend. One sweltering summer morning, Golde decides to do some grocery shopping. Natalie, on her way to work, quite literally “runs into” her, and the lives of both women are forever changed.
Yariv’s The Caregiver unfolds in a series of stories, revealing the inner workings of Sunset Hills, a fictional upscale assisted-living facility in Hollywood. Narrated by Ofelia Hernandez, a young Latina caregiver, the stories capture both the mundane routines and the absurdities of the residents’ lives. With deep empathy and subtle humor, Yariv crafts intimate portraits of characters whose passion, intensity, and intelligence are only magnified with age. Click here to purchase
Barbara Pokras is an Emmy award–winning film editor and a member of American Cinema Editors, Inc. and of the Motion Pictures Editors Guild. She taught in the Cinema Department of the University of Southern California. She lives in upstate New York. Fran Pokras Yariv is the author of two screenplays and five novels, including Last Exit and Safe Haven. She was awarded a Writers Guild of America, East, Foundation Fellowship in screenwriting. She lives in Pasadena, California.
WIN a romantic weekend escape at the beautiful Waterfall House
JUST $25 GETS YOU A CHANCE TO WIN THIS PACKAGE or
All proceeds are in support of the Woodstock Film Festival.
For more information, or to purchase a raffle ticket CLICK HERE.
If you would like to see YOUR COMPANY LOGO OR BANNER ON THE HEADER OF NEWSLETTERS, visit ADVERISE WITH US
If you are interested in becoming a 2010 Woodstock Film Festival sponsor,