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April Newsletter

APRIL 12th: Battle of the Sexes: Animated!
APRIL 14th: Portrait of a Cuban-American Artist





THEATER NEWS: Upstate Films in Woodstock







warning: images may be explicit

LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL the Woodstock Film Festival & IFC Center presentation of THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES: ANIMATED!

Monday, April 12: It's a war that's been going on for eons - the Battle of the Sexes: Animated! Well, finally it will be resolved - mark your calendars! The Woodstock Film Festival and the IFC Center will present Battle of the Sexes: Animated! April 12 at 9pm, at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue at West Third Street, NYC.

Famed animators and Woodstock Film Festival Animation Programmers Bill Plympton and Signe Baumane will square off toe-to-toe by showing the funniest, sexiest animated cartoons in a 5-round match to discover which gender makes the hottest cartoons! Screenings will be followed with a Q&A and battle with select animators and programmers.

And get this - the audience gets to decide the winner! Yes! The paying public will end this age - old controversy, once and for all declaring the winner!

For more information, click here, For tickets, visit IFC Center



Portrait of the Cuban-American Artist as a Young New York Filmmaker

PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS NOW! Hugo Perez is a filmmaker and writer whose work often focuses on his Cuban heritage. Throughout April and May, his story is coming to a theater near you. As part of the Hudson Valley Programmers Group tour, Hugo will share his experiences producing documentaries in Cuba, making the transition from non-fiction to fiction filmmaking and his experiences as a Latino filmmaker who has been described as a ‘Latino Almodovar.’ 

Four of Hugo's critically acclaimed short films will be screened and followed with a conversation and Q&A. Films screening will include the NY Premiere of SEED, along with festival favorites Betty La Flaca and The Old Man and Hemingway, and never before screened scenes from Hugos' feature film work-in-progress,.

WOODSTOCK IN THE CITY & HVPG screening takes place
Wednesday, April 14, 7:30 pm at the 92Y Tribeca (click here for tickets)

HUDSON VALLEY PROGRAMMERS GROUP upstate screenings are scheduled for
Friday, April 30 at CSB Auditorium, 7pm SUNY New Paltz
Sunday, May 2 at 3pm at the Rosendale Theater (with reception to follow)

*Please take time to ensure the preservation the Rosendale Theater, which is currently in the running for Pepsi Refresh Project Grant.. Click here to vote!

The filmmaker will be present for Q&A at all screenings.
The Hudson Valley Programmers Group tours are made possible by a grant from the
New York State Council for the Arts



BUY YOUR TICKETS BEFORE THEY SELL OUT! Woodstock Film Festival Presents Holy Rollers

Thursday, May 6 at 7pm , join our host Stephen Hays of 120dB Films and special guests including Actor/Producer Danny A. Abeckasar for an exclusive screening and reception at SOHO HOUSE, NYC to benefit the Woodstock Film Festival.

The Screening will be followed by a Q&A with special guests , including actor/producer Danny A. Abeckaser and a reception with complimentary cocktails from Ciroc Vodka, wine and hors d'oeuvres. The event is being sponsored by 120dBFilms, Mary Giuliani Catering & Events, Ciroc Vodka, Heeb Magazine and Hachette Book Group.

Inspired by actual events, Holy Rollers uses the incredible story of Hasidic Jews smuggling Ecstasy in the late ’90s as a backdrop to examine the difference between faith and “blind” faith. Sam Gold, an insulated Hasid on the cusp of manhood, is frustrated by the constraints of his beliefs and his father’s poor business decisions. When Sam is presented with an opportunity to make some real money, he is caught between life as a smuggler and the path back to God and his worlds begin to unravel.

For more information and tickets CLICK HERE.




Festival alumni and friends Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing (12th and Delaware) join Seth Gordon and Eugene Jarecki as co directors of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival – Freakonomics.

What started as a New York Times article in 2003 became one of the best-selling books of the last decade and is now one of the most compelling films of the year. Freakonomics, by economist Steven D. Levitt and author Stephen J. Dubner, examines human behavior through the lens of statistics and incentives, rather than morals and ethics, illuminating surprising and controversial conclusions. Now a team of powerhouse directors comes together to tackle this provocative material in a singular cinematic experience. (Courtesy Tribeca)

The Wagner/Cuban Companies’ Magnolia Pictures announced April 5 that it has acquired all North American rights to FREAKONOMICS, the highly anticipated film version of the phenomenally bestselling book about incentives-based thinking by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Read more: Magnolia Acquires Freakonomics Movie


The Two Escobars

The Two Escobars (which world premieres in Tribeca) is the most recent feature Documentary from 2005 WFF Alums Jeff and Michael Zimbalist (Favela Rising) and is in the World Documentary Feature Competition.

Born in the same city in Colombia but not related, Andrés Escobar and Pablo Escobar shared a fanatical love of soccer. Andrés grew up to become one of Colombia's most beloved players, while Pablo became the most notorious drug baron of all time. As Pablo's criminal success accelerated, his personal interest in (and financial support of) soccer became mirrored in a broader cultural fervor. The Colombian national soccer team rose to unprecedented glory, ultimately coming to a head when Andrés' shocking mistake in the 1994 World Cup lost his team the title, and lost his nation the chance to redeem its international image. (Courtesy Tribeca)


Billy and Aaron: candidate for Best Narrative Short in Competition

BILLY is directed by WFF friend Rodney Evans and edited by advisory board member Sabine Hoffman, who is just coming off the success of 2010 Sundance's official Selection The Dry Land.

Billy and Aaron is a drama about African-American composer Billy Strayhorn and the personal and professional consequences of his decision to live as an openly gay man within the homophobic jazz milieu of the 1940s. (Courtesy Tribeca)



This marks the directorial debut and World Premiere for former Magnolia Pictures Exec and WFF Colleague, Jeff Reichert.

What is "gerrymandering?" You don't have to wait for your oversized 2010 census envelope to figure out what exactly it means. Named for the Massachusetts governor who conveniently redrew a few erratic lines in 1812, gerrymandering is the redistricting of electoral boundaries to effect voting outcome in favor of a particular candidate, political party, et cetera. And why should you care? As the governor of California will tell you, the reestablishment of district lines takes away the voice of individual communities, reduces voter turnout and lessens competition among candidates. Whether it's a community, race, or party issue, an issue it surely is. (Courtesy Tribeca)


Letters to Juliet

From festival friend and director Gary Winick (Bride Wars, Charlotte's Web) comes the charming narrative, Letters to Juliet, which will world premiere.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, Mamma Mia!) is an eager fact-checker at The New Yorker and an aspiring writer who is in engaged to a young, passionate, and easily distracted chef (Gael García Bernal). When the young couple head off for a vacation to Verona, Italy, home of star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Sophie discovers a letter written to Juliet 50 years ago by a heartbroken woman, Claire. With the help of the Secretaries of Juliet, a group of worldly Italian women who answer lovelorn letters left under Juliet's balcony in the city square, Sophie decides it is her duty to reunite the two long-lost lovers. (Courtesy Tribeca)

Meskada, directed by Josh Sternfeld will World Premiere at Tribeca

Shot locally with the help of the Hudson Valley Film Commission and local cast and crew members, Meskada is the story of a small town rocked to its core following the brutal murder of a young boy. Heading the investigation, local detective Noah Cordin (Nick Stahl, In the Bedroom) follows a lead that takes him back to his hometown on the other side of Meskada County, Caswell, a town forced to the brink of destitution in the wake of the recession. As his investigation picks up intensity, Cordin is torn between old loyalties and new responsibilities, and the victim's grieving mother launches a battle of will and vengeance with the citizens of Caswell. The ensuing rift between these two vastly different communities in troubled rural America soon opens wide, igniting a full-on class war…(Courtesy Tribeca)


The Other City

WFF Alum Susan Koch's Documentary The Other City will also celebrate its World Premiere at the 2010 Film Tribeca Film Festival

Not far from the White House, the Capitol, and the National Mall lies a part of Washington, DC that the tourists never see and the mainstream media virtually ignores. At least three percent of DC is HIV positive, a staggering rate higher than parts of Africa. Behind all the stories of heartbreak, loss, and struggle there are also the incredible, encouraging stories of the people behind grassroots movements to extend education, combat stigmas, and spread hope. (Courtesy Tribeca)

The Space Between

Festival friend and Hudson Valley resident, Academy Award® Nominee Melissa Leo stars in the world premiere of The Space Between. She plays Montine McLeod, a world-weary flight attendant who is one more warning away from being fired for her unfriendly countenance with passengers. Alienated from her own family—her mother is dying of Alzheimer's and her preacher brother is shunned from his small-town community for certain indiscretions—she is lonely and unhappy. Meanwhile, when 10-year-old Omar Hassan is awarded a scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, his father seizes the opportunity togive his sweet and precocious son a better life than his—driving a taxi by night and working as a janitor by day. Under the custodianship of Montine, Omar is put on a flight to Los Angeles on the morning of September 11, 2001….


2010 WFF Official Selection When You're Strange hits theaters FRIDAY!

Brought to us by 2010 WFF filmmaker and panelist Tom DiCillo, Strange will open at Angelika Theater in NYC this Friday, April 9th. (Click here for screening info)

Award-winning writer-director Tom DiCillo's riveting When You're Strange uncovers historic, previously unseen footage from the illustrious rock quartet and provides new insight into the revolutionary impact of their music and legacy. The creative chemistry of four brilliant artists - drummer John Densmore, guitarist Robby Kreiger, keyboardist Ray Manzarek, and singer Jim Morrison - made The Doors one of America's most iconic and influential rock bands. "When You're Strange" is the first feature documentary to tell their story. Using no actors and only footage shot between their formation in 1965 and Morrison's death in 1971, it follows the band from the corridors of UCLA's film school, where Manzarek and Morrison met, to the stages of sold-out arenas. Taking its title from the cabaret-tinged Doors hit "People Are Strange," the film chronicles the creation of The Doors' six landmark studio albums in just five years, as well as their electrifying live performances. Rare cinèma vèritè footage offers an intimate glimpse into their musical collaboration - and their offstage lives.



Hudson Valley resident Melissa Leo plays Toni Bernette, Civil Rights Attorney in TREME, HBO's New Orleans Post Katrina drama premiering on April 11 at 10pm EST

Melissa recently commented on her website about Treme and working with fellow cast member Khandi Alexander, who she worked with preivously.

"To remeet and work with Khandi has been one of the great joys of joining TREME.... We adore each other and have almost too much fun when we get scenes together... We giggle with each other and know that our past has brought our future and the key to all for sure is 'keepagoing'!... Many other reunions on this set.. Crew local and from around the country, writers and producers are teaming with folks I have known for years... We shoot a lot like film with big budget scripts (really Good) and TV time (super fast)."

For details, visit HBO/Treme To see trailer, click here


If you missed the opening reception at the Knoedler Project Space for Gendron Jensen: Drawings and the accompanying screening of the short documentary The Boneman by HVFC's Laurent Rejto, the exhibit and film will remain on view thru Friday, May 28. The gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 9:30–5:30 and Saturday from 10:00–5:30. For additional information visit the Knoedler Gallery

The Boneman is a short documentary (work-in-progress) about the life and work of Gendron Jensen, age 70. He is largely self-taught and works almost exclusively with pencil on paper—by eye—without benefit of any technical aids.

His spectacular drawings depict bones—animal bones—or as Jensen calls them, "relics." And "relics" appropriately evoke a spiritual connotation, for Jensen's drawings are meditations.

Jensen has passionately devoted his existence to an artistic calling from within. He draws detailed, precise, and wondrous images that are always executed in a way that leaves the viewer with a newfound respect for the wonders of our natural world.

This exhibition was guest-curated by Marella Consolini, a New York based independent curator and arts administrator.



Here's a warm welcome to Woodstock, to Upstate Films in Rhinebeck! After 38 years of bringing international cinema, films and filmmakers to Rhinebeck, the non-profit Upstate Films is now also in Woodstock at the Tinker St Cinema.

For More Information, visit 


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

To make a tax deductible contribution, click DONATE

SAVE THE DATE! June 5th: Annual HVFC Fundraiser!

You can support film, economic development and the Film Commission by attending this great annual event and making your contribution!

We expect a great turn out of filmmakers, local actors, politicians and industry professionals representing all the surrounding counties that benefit from the work of the Hudson Valley Film Commission.

Stay tuned for More Details.



WFF co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein will be traveling to Krakow, Poland in April to participate in OFF Plus CAMERA, the International Festival of Independent Cinema. The festival is hosting a number of Film Festival Directors from around the world, including Sundance, Dublin, Tokyo, Pusan and Woodstock. Participants will be speaking on a panel and are exploring platforms of cooperation between their respective festivals.

OFF Plus CAMERA highlights include the International Dramatic Competition which features twelve films from around the world competing for $100,000. The jury of industry members includes Parker Posey, John Cooper, Mike Figgis and others. The fest also features panels, industry professionals from all over the world including Colin Farrell, Todd Solondz and key members from the Polish film industry, an international film selection, closing night ceremony and a special tribute to famed New Zealand director Jane Campion (The Piano, Bright Star).


Brazilian Sexy now in Bookstores and featured on WFF's NOT SO SILENT AUCTION!

Brazilian Sexy: Secrets to Living a Gorgeous and Confident Life, by long-time festival friend Martha Frankel and Janea Padilha from the J Sisters Salon is now available at a bookstore near you or online. According to, it's "Fun, frank, and empowering advice for a 'Brazilian sexy' state of mind!"

To purchase Brazilian Sexy: Secrets to Living a Gorgeous and Confident Life online, click here


- a SIGNED first edition of Brazilian Sexy: Secrets to Living a Gorgeous and Confident Life,
- a special gift basket full of waxing, nail , and body cream products from J. Sisters Products

In 1987, seven Brazilian-born sisters introduced American women to their culture's beauty rituals. Today Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Jenea, Juracy and Judseia, known as the J Sisters, handles over 300 clients a day in their salon nestled in a Vanderbilt townhouse at 35 West 57th Street.

  • Click here to bid.
    All proceeds benefit the Woodstock Film Festival


    Todd Rundgren brings a completely new show on the road this spring featuring many Robert Johnson classics and many other rarely performed Todd songs.

    This not-to-be-missed event will be broadcast LIVE from The Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut and is available only to fans who subscribe.

    Todd's band will include Kasim Sulton on bass and vocals, Prairie Prince on drums and Jesse Gress on guitar.

    Each $24.95 webcast ticket includes 6 hours of viewing for the
    live event and video on demand for up to one month.

    The webcast will be available in a 400k stream for those with slower machines or connections and an 800k stream for near HD quality. You can switch easily between the streams to see which works best for you. Our 24/7 customer support can assist you with any connection issues.

    If you live in a timezone for which the live event is inconvenient or wish to view it again and again the video on demand is perfect for you and will be available a few hours after the live performance finishes.

    Click here to purchase your webcast ticket

    The webcast is produced by Nevessa Production Woodstock. If you have further questions please contact us at