To view online, visit

March 2010 - SXSW PREVIEW




Easier With Practice
Harlem Aria
Children of Invention
White On Rice
The Eclipse


Milton Glaser receives White House Award
News from Haiti





Congratulations and Good Luck to all the 2009 Woodstock Film Festival Official Selections who've been nominated for an ACADEMY AWARD!

The Messenger
Best Supporting Actor, Woody Harrelson
Best Original Screenplay, Oren Moverman and Alessandro Camon

Up In the Air
Best Picture
Best Director, Jason Reitman
Best Actor, George Clooney
Best Supporting Actress, Vera Farmiga
Best Supporting Actress, Anna Kendrick
Best Adapted Screenplay, Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Miracle Fish
Best Short Film (Live Action), Juanita Wilson, James Flynn

The Academy Awards air Sunday, March 7 at 8pm EST on ABC.
Click here to view all nominees.



Congratulations and Good Luck to all the 2009 Woodstock Film Festival Official Selections and friends of the festival who've been nominated for an INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD!

The Messenger (Oren Moverman, Mark Gordon, Lawrence Inglee, Zach Miller)
Easier With Practice (Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Cookie Carosella)

The New Year Parade (Tom Quinn, Steve Beal)

Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman (The Messenger)

Samantha Morton (The Messenger)

Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles)

October Country (Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher)
More Than A Game (Kristopher Belman)

Larry Fessenden (I Sell The Dead, The House of the Devil)

Kyle Patrick Alvarez (Easier With Practice)

We'd also like to congratulate Cary Fukunaga (currently in production on Jane Eyre) for his best feature nomination for Sin Nombre. Fukunaga's Victoria Para Chino won Best Student Short at WFF2004.

The Independent Spirit Awards air Friday, March 5 at 11PM EST on IFC Channel.
Click here to view all nominees.



The SXSW Film Conference and Festival kicks off March 12 with former Hudson Valley resident Janet Pierson in her second year at the helm. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she discussed her year-two approach to organizing the festival. Click here to read the interview.

Several events with ties to the Hudson Valley and WFF are scheduled including the world premiere of Ain't In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm by Jacob Hatley.

Woodstock Film Festival co-founder, director, programmer Laurent Rejto will be at SXSW looking for films and as Hudson Valley Film Commissioner, he will also be trying to convince filmmakers to shoot their next production in New York. Check out the WFF ad in the SXSW program.


Ain't In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

In Ain't In It For My Health Woodstock legend Levon Helm finds himself thrust into the musical spotlight for the first time in a quarter century, but a Grammy nomination and ever-growing audiences force him to confront the dark times that have haunted him since the demise of The Band: Throat cancer, bankruptcy, drug addiction and the tragic loss of bandmates Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. Win or lose, Levon is an artist who will not go quietly into the night.


Black Ops Arabesque

Director Jared Drake who brought Visioneers to WFF in 2008, is back with Black Ops Arabesque, the story of a secret service agent who's life is as dull as the black and white suit he wears. As he follows orders to protect a little girl on her way to ballet class, a group of rogues move in and attempt to kidnap the girl. The agent and girl escape together on foot, only to be cornered and trapped by the rogues. Facing life and death, the agent learns that sometimes there's nothing left to do but dance. (Courtesy SXSW)

Cold Weather

2006 Woodstock Film Festival Alum and NY resident, director and screenwriter Aaron Katz (Dance Party, USA) is back to premiere Cold Weather at SXSW.

After making a mess of his life in Chicago, Doug, a former forensic science major and avid reader of detective fiction, returns to his hometown of Portland, Oregon where he, his sister Gail, and new friend Carlos become embroiled in a mystery. (Courtesy SXSW)

The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Burger

Woodstock Film Festival Animation Programmer Bill Plympton (Hot Dog, Santa the Fascist Years) is back with the hilariously tragic short story of a bovine who's seduced by advertising and brought down the ominous path of butchers and carnivores. (Courtesy SXSW)

After receiving rave reviews at Sundance, 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?

For Once In My Life

World Premiering at SXSW and directed by Jim Bigham and 2003 WFF Alum Mark Moormann (Tom Dowd and the Language of Music),For Once In My Life is the story of an inspiring group of people and their dream to make music. This documentary film follows the members of the Spirit of Goodwill Band while they prepare for the concert of a lifetime. As they navigate daily life, these twenty-eight musicians and singers, all with a wide range of severe mental and physical disabilities, display innate talent, humor and tenacity. For Once In My Life shatters preconceived notions of what it means to be "disabled" and reveals the humor, hope and the greatness within us all. (Courtesy SXSW)

The Freebie

Directed by and starring Katie Aselton, The Freebie is a romantic drama about a contented, yet sexually frustrated couples' experiment to allow each other 'one night off'. Darren (Dax Shepard) and Annie (Aselton) have an enviable relationship built on love, trust and communication - they still enjoy each other's company and laugh at each other's jokes, but, unfortunately, they can't remember the last time they had sex. When a dinner party conversation leads to an honest discussion about the state of their love life they begin to flirt with a way to spice things up. The deal: one night of freedom, no strings attached, no questions asked. (Courtesy SXSW)


How to Fold A Flag

From part time Hudson Valley residents Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein comes How to Fold a Flag, a documentary about virtue, liberty, unity, justice, perseverance, hardiness, valor, purity, innocence, sacrifice, honor, independence and truth. Each is represented by a fold in the American flag at a memorial service. These are the things soldiers are said to fight for. Then they come home.

Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee

Director, Screenwriter and 2005 Woodstock Film Festival Alum, Shane Meadows (Dead Man's Shoes) has created an unpredictable, lovable film. With its North American Premiere at this year's SXSW Festival, Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee is an irrepressible ode to spontaneous filmmaking where Paddy Considine stars as rock roadie and failed musician, Le Donk. Along the way he's lost a girlfriend but he has found a new sidekick in up-and-coming rap prodigy Scor-zay-zee. With Shane Meadows' fly-on-the-wall crew in tow, Donk sets out to make Scor-zay-zee a star...with a little help from the Arctic Monkeys.

Leaves of Grass

Written, directed and starring WFF alum Tim Blake Nelson, Leaves of Grass features performances by Edward Norton, Keri Russell and Richard Dreyfuss. With its U.S. Premiere at SXSW, the film is the story of Bill Kincaid, who receives news his estranged twin brother, Brady (both played by Edward Norton), has been murdered, he travels back home to Oklahoma to find that his brother's death is greatly exaggerated, and he's soon caught up in the dangerous, unpredictable drug world of the Oklahoma back waters. In the process, he reconnects with his eccentric mother (Susan Sarandon), meets a wise and educated woman who bypassed academia for a simpler life (Keri Russell), and helps his brother settle a score with a pernicious drug lord (Richard Dreyfuss) who uses Tulsa, Oklahoma's Jewish community for a cover. Leaves of Grass follows a twisting path merging crime drama and drug comedy in pursuit of answering one of our oldest questions: What does it truly mean to be happy? (Courtesy SWSW)

One Square Mile of Earth

Director Jeff Drew, a 2001 WFF Alumni (Walk) has brought to the world another fabulous animated short: One Square Mile of Earth. A series of bar room conversations features Bill the Bunny, Gary the Frog, Lucy the Goat, Thad the Bear, Leon the Hippopotamus and Pedro the Squirrel. Fun times await! (Courtesy SXSW)



Have you ever wondered how a sketch was chosen for Saturday Night Live? Or why some actors are in more sketches than others? Here's your chance to find out. Actor James Franco (who recently starred in Some People Are Shits Darling in the Hudson Valley a week before his Saturday Night Live appearance) has switched rolls and has taken the directors chair for his fly-on-the-wall documentary about Saturday Night Live.

With its World Premiere at SXSW and its unprecedented access to the behind the scenes process of the writers, actors and producers, Franco and his crew document what it takes to create one full episode of NBC's Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy showcase.

Silver Sling

From Tze Chun, the writer/director who brought Children of Invention to the 2009 Woodstock Film Festival, comes Silver Sling.

In the polarized economy of the near future, corporations offer subsidies to their high-ranking female employees to pay for surrogate pregnancies and chemically accelerated births. Here a struggling career surrogate must decide whether or not to carry the child of two potential clients, thus giving up her last chance to have a child of her own. (Courtesy SXSW)

Winter's Bone

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 to Down to the Bone, which was filmed in the Hudson Valley and starred Oscar® Nominee Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air). Down to the Bone won major awards including the Maverick Award for best feature film at WFF 2004). Cinematographer Michael McDonough, who recently filmed Bitter Feast in Olivebridge, lensed both features.

5 variations on a long string

Peter Esmonde (Trimpin: The Sound of Invention) brings us his next musical gem.
5 variations on a long string
is a short music documentary about the creative life of composer/performer Ellen Fullman, who has spent over 25 years developing, perfecting, and performing on an extraordinary 60-foot-long instrument. Recorded in multi-channel surround sound, this short film is an intense exploration of Fullman's creative process and the mind-blowing sound world she has created.


Easier With Practice

Kyle Patrick Alvarez' Easier with Practice (WFF2009) was recently released in theaters in Los Angeles and New York City by Lantern Lane Entertainment (see details). The film is nominated for two spirit awards - Best First Feature and the Acura Someone to Watch Award.

In an effort to promote his unpublished novel, Davy Mitchell (Brian Geraghty from Hurt Locker) sets out on a road trip with his younger brother. However, the idealism of being on the road wears off and it quickly proves to be a lonely and unfulfilling experience for Davy. One night in a motel room he gets a random phone call from a mysterious woman named Nicole. They start a funny and intimate long distance relationship that leaves Davy happier than he has been in years. Hoping there is more to the relationship then a voice and a phone bill, Davy decides he wants to meet Nicole. Ultimately, he will have to face not only the truth about their relationship but also about himself.

Harlem Aria

Bill Jennings Harlem Aria (WFF2009) will see limited release March 5 when it opens in NYC at the Cinema Village (see details). The Magnolia Pictures Release came in a close third for the audience award at the 2009 Woodstock Film Festival. WFF advisory board member and friend Sabine Hoffman edited the film, which stars Gabriel Casseus, Damon Wayans and Christian Camargo.

Harlem Aria is an urban fairytale about Anton, a mentally challenged young man from Harlem, who dreams of becoming an opera singer. Frustrated at home, he runs away to pursue his dreams in Italy, but he is conned out of his life savings by Wes, a heartless street hustler. Anton becomes homeless on the streets of New York City, until he is discovered by Matthew, a bitter street musician whose dream of being a concert pianist have stalled. Anton becomes a minor sensation as a street musician, but both Wes and Matthew conspire to use Anton in their own self-destructive battles. Anton innocently turns the tables on them both as his love of music and compassion for people allows all of them to reach their dreams.


Children of Invention

In addition to his new short Silver Sling, Tze Chun is making news with the theatrical release of his feature film Children of Invention (WFF2009) out March 12 in select venues. See details.

In Children of Invention, the lives of immigrant Elaine Cheng and her two children, Raymond and Tina, are turned upside-down when they are evicted from their home. In an honest effort to feed her family while pursuing the American Dream, Elaine begins working longer hours, falling for an illicit pyramid scam while leaving the children to entertain themselves in their squatted apartment. One morning, the children awake to find their mother missing. After determining that she may be gone for good, Raymond (played by Hudson Valley resident Michael Chen) and Tina devise a get-rich-quick scheme of their own with the hope of buying their old house back.


White On Rice

Yet another 2009 WFF Official Selection is set to hit theaters. White On Rice will hit theaters in NYC on March 12 (see details)

Jimmy (Hiroshi Watanabe, Letters from Iwo Jima) loves dinosaurs and sleeps on the top bunk. Unfortunately, Jimmy is 40 and shares that bunk with Bob (Justin Kwong), his 10-year-old nephew. Freshly divorced, Jimmy lives with his sister Aiko (Japanese Academy Award winner Nae) and her family while boldly searching for a new wife. His brother in-law, Tak (Mio Takada, "Late Night with Conan O'Brien") thinks he’s a disaster. And although Jimmy may lack social grace, he is convinced the best years of his life are just beginning. His plan seems like it’s all falling into place when Tak’s beautiful niece Ramona (Lynn Chen, Saving Face) moves in. But once Jimmy sets his sights on stealing her from his best friend Tim (James Kyson Lee, “Heroes”), he sees his intentions go hilariously awry.

The Eclipse

The Eclipse (WFF2009) by Dublin's Conor McPherson opens March 26 courtesy of Magnolia Pictures (see details).

In what seems almost a holy ritual set to melancholy music, silent servers set the stage in an elegant dining room in preparation for the Cobh Literary Festival held in a lovely Irish seaside town. It is in this insular world of the festival that Michael Farr (Ciarin Hinds), a widower, father and woodworking teacher serves as a volunteer assigned to shepherding best selling author Lena Morelle (Iben Hjejle) to various events. Her book, "The Eclipse," a novel of the paranormal, is woven throughout with ghostly apparitions. Such otherworldly visions have lately begun to haunt Michael, still reeling from the death of his wife. Also in attendance is Lena’s one time lover, the philandering novelist Nicholas Holden, played with perfect pitch by Aidan Quinn as an arrogant and cynical alcoholic still in pursuit of Lena. Lush cinematography, brilliant performances and a haunting score deftly balance the truly scary moments with a delicacy seldom found in films dealing with the supernatural. "The Eclipse" easily and gracefully transcends the limitations of genre to become a parable of reaching across the void and learning to let go in order to come to terms with, and reconcile, life’s inevitable losses. (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E.)


Select productions from 2009

Bitter Feast

Stake Land


Restoring Grace


2009 was a great year for film production in the Hudson Valley and 2010 looks even more promising with several feature films slated for regional production. The Hudson
Valley Film Commission (HVFC) promoted sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting over fifty projects including feature narratives, documentaries, TV shows, student shorts, ads, photo shoots, music videos and other media production.

The economic impact resulted in regional revenue, hundreds of part time jobs, educational opportunities and additional revenues that resulted from travel to the area by film crews, post-production work, marketing and screening exhibitions. Work took place in the six counties represented by HVFC, including Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Orange and Ulster.

The film commission attracts filmmakers to the area and provides support for everything from pre-production to post-production. It is “an important part of the creative economy,” said Lance Matteson, chief executive officer of the Industrial Development Agency and president of the Ulster County Development Corp which was responsible for the $30k grant.

"HVFC has demonstrated a tireless work ethic and frugal conservative spending, which has resulted in major growth." said Pat Swinney Kaufman, the Executive Director -
New York State Governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development

Laurent Rejto said the film commission is intent on bringing film productions to the area but said that the non profit organization, which does not charge any fees, still needs to raise another $40,000 to meet its frugal annual budget of $70,000.

"By positioning the region as a prominent venue for film and television activity within New York State with a pool of trained professionals, HVFC brings a contemporary, clean, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible industry to our area, said Rejto. "Film and TV production offer new economic opportunities, increased living standards and creates stronger communities by providing career and educational opportunities not usually available in rural areas."

The New York State Department of Labor reports that the film industry generates over five billion dollars of economic activity annually. The continued aim of the Hudson Valley Film Commission is to ensure that some of those financial benefits are realized regionally.

A fundraising mixer and auction event is scheduled for
June 5 at BSP Studios. SAVE THE DATE

To make a tax deductible contribution, clisk below



Milton Glaser honored with White House Award

Legendary graphic designer and Woodstock resident Milton Glaser has received the prestigious National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal from the White House "for a lifetime devoted to improving the way people communicate through innovation in graphic design, and for memorable visual artifacts that challenge contemporary artists and delight all Americans."

President Obama awarded the 2009 medal to 20 honorees including one other recipient with local roots. Former Woodstock resident Bob Dylan received the medal "for his achievements as one of America's leading musical artists in popular culture.  He is an icon of youthful rebellion and poetic sensitivity, and his songs echo in the hearts of millions."

Milton Glaser honored the Woodstock FIlm Festival in 2009 by designing the 10th Anniversary poster. For details about the Limited Edition Milton Glaser Poster, click here.

Recovery and Reportage

Woodstock Film Festival Advisory Board member Annie Nocenti who teaches film at the Ciné Institute Jacmel, Haiti, has been in Haiti since January producing reportage and short documentaries about Jacmel Haiti post-earthquake. The Ciné Institute's "Ciné Lumiere" projects films in the tent camps on weekends, and the school has produced over 20 short films for CBC TV's Untold Tales show, and are now making PSAs on tent life and survival in Haiti during the coming rainy season.

View stories and info, visit

Getting Haitian women designers and artisans villages back on their feet

Through long-time WFF Friend Annie Nocenti and her colleague Danielle Saint-Lot of Femme en Democratie in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, we have been informed of a new need in Haiti  regarding  more than 200 artisans producing papier mache and hand painted wooden products  in downtown Jacmel, Haiti.  The artisans, many of which have lost all immediate family, have also lost their houses, workshops, products and stocks of raw materials.    

Some of the  artisans members of the Jacmel association were selected for  the Santa Fe Folk Art Market , which will cover hotel and airfare for 5 artisans. However they do not have any working capital to buy raw materials and reorganize their workshops and for products shipment.   Last year, the participation of this association to the fair was covered by CHF International/USAID:  US$ 4,000.00 for production, US$ 4,125.00 for products shipment,airfare and hotel. 
They are looking for funds not only for the artisans participation to the Santa Fe event, but also to get them back in business and promote their participation to other venues.   They have submitted a proposal to USAID, but they need money for  raw materials right away to get back into business and participate in the Santa Fe event efficiently.
Any donations to the Artist Relief Fund of the Santa Fe Folk Art Market will be welcomed by the Jacmel artisans. CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Please find attached information about business opportunities for artisans the organization is working on.   The organization Femmes en Democratie is affiliated to Vital Voices Global Partnership



If you are interested in becoming a 2010 Woodstock Film Festival sponsor,
please contact us regarding sponsorship opportunities. Each year film and music lovers gather at the Woodstock Film Festival from around the world for an exhilarating variety of films, first-class concerts, workshops, celebrity-led panels, an awards ceremony, and superlative parties. For more info, visit SPONSOR WOODSTOCK.