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February 2011 Newsletter


Join us for a special viewing of the Oscars®

And the Academy Award Nominees Are...









rock city


The Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) and Hudson Valley Film Commission (HVFC) are very proud to announce that as of January 28, 2011, we are the new owners of the property located at 11-13 Rock City Road. Many of you know this building, which has served as our box office and production headquarters during the annual festival. THE FILM CENTER will soon be home to year round activities.

It took eleven years and the support of many to make this dream a reality. We are extremely grateful to all who made it possible for us to accumulate the necessary funds for a down payment.

Year-round, the FILM CENTER will host filmmakers, film-related workshops, classes, special events and serve as a hub for special film festival and film commission events.

Now, we must turn our efforts to paying the mortgage down and making the necessary renovations (including a new boiler) so we can move in ASAP. Please consider making a contribution in any amount to our capital campaign. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


On February 27, you are cordially invited to attend A NIGHT AT THE AWARDS
A Special Viewing of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Emerson Resort & Spa

The Woodstock Film Festival is happy to announce that it will return to the luxurious Emerson Resort & Spa where it will present A NIGHT AT THE AWARDS: a viewing party for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards®, Sunday February 27 at 7pm.

Festivities will be held in the Emerson’s beautiful Phoenix Restaurant and Great Room. The viewing party will be filled with decadent hors d’oeuvres, a delicious buffet and a flowing supply of bubbly.

Much like at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, red carpet fashionistas will be in attendance, so guests may want to know the name of the designer of their gown or suit!** Our resident fashionistas are:

Hester Mundis — four-time Emmy nominated author and humorist who was Joan Rivers head writer.
Martha Frankel — writer of books, interviewer of celebrities, recovering internet poker addict, lover of ethnic cooking, collector of beach glass.
*Best Dressed Female and Male will receive a special prize.

Attendees will be in for a treat with door prizes and red carpet photos and feel like Hollywood has come home to the Catskills. In addition to great food and fun, the event will honor friends and filmmakers associated with the festival and Hudson Valley. WFF will be rooting for several Oscar Nominees to take home the statue. For a list of Academy Award Nods, see below.

Tickets for this event are limited so get yours early.


WFF and HFVC are proud to congratulate friends and those with Hudson Valley ties

  • Long-time festival friend Melissa Leo nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for The Fighter
  • Best Doc nominee Gasland by Josh Fox, which WFF screened last summer to a sold-out crowd of 600
  • Hudson Valley resident Joel Coen is up several Oscars (with brother Ethan) for True Grit
  • Last year at this time, James Franco was starring in a film at the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia, Now he's up for an Oscar for 127 Hours
  • Hudson Valley resident Mark Ruffalo up for Best Supporting Actor in The Kids Are All Right
  • WFF alumnus Debra Granik's film Winter's Bone for Best Picture and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
  • Luke Matheny's 2010 WFF Best Short winner, God of Love in the Best Short Live Action category
  • A few other unnamed nominees are set to star in upcoming Hudson Valley productions. Stay tuned for announcements...

Ilene, Heidi, Meira and Poughkeepsie resident, actor Reagan Leonard
(Project Nim, Higher Ground)

Meira and Ilene brave the snow!

The Cast of Higher Ground
with Vera Farmiga and Meira

When you think about a film festival like Sundance (or Woodstock); often so big in scope yet so intimate in its sense of community, there are a number of things that make attending it stand out.

ONE: The diverse programming, everything from religion, civil rights, music, politics, sexual identity, familial relationship and much more.
TWO: The convergence of filmmakers and film lovers. You can meet anyone on the shuttle, from the head of a media conglomerate to an aspiring filmmaker.
THREE: The trend setting. Festivals like Sundance are where not only film, but social trends start.
FOUR: The fun! Not only are there movies, but panels, parties, concerts and beautiful slopes!

So after experiencing all four elements at the 2011 Sundance Film Fest, the crew from WFF (made up of Exec Director and Co-Founder Meira Blaustein, Communications Director Ilene Marder and Operations Director Heidi Johnson) are all happy to be home. As we reflect on the week, we're proud to mention some successes by friends and Hudson Valley locals.

A record 27 films were acquired by distributors before we left, including Salvation Boulevard (based on the novel by Woodstocker Larry Beinhardt) which sold to IFC / SONY; Martha Marcy May Marlene sold to Fox Searchlight, The film was shot in Sullivan County, executive produced by WFF advisory board member Ted Hope and post sound was created by Woodstocker Coll Anderson, Hot Coffee by local producer Carly Hugo, sold to HBO, Pariah, which was co produced by Sundial Pictures VP—Woodstock native Joey Carey, sold to Focus Features., My Idiot Brother, produced by WFF advisory board member Peter Saraf and partly filmed in Hudson Valley, sold to the Weinstein Company. We expect additional sales to be announced before long.

Kudos to Slamdance Grand Jury winner Stranger Things, which won the Lee Marvin Award for Best Feature Narrative at the 2010 WFF this past October! Congrats to directors Ron Eyal and Eleanor Burke who were also recently named in Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Onward and upwards guys! Another Slamdance highlight was seeing Pamela Romanowsky's short Gravity, shot in the Hudson Valley starring Kate Udall from New Paltz and our own Laurent Rejto!

Congratulations are also in order to Sundance winners Martha Marcy May Marlene for the Directing Award for a Dramatic Film; Buck producer Julie Goldman (WFF alum) for the Documentary Audience Award; Kinyarwanda producer Darren Dean (WFF alum) for the World Cinema Dramatic Audience Award; If a Tree Falls director Marshall Curry (WFF alum) for the Documentary Editing Award; and Joslyn Barnes and Danny Glover (WFF alumni), producers of The Black Power Mixtapes 1967- 1975 for World Cinema Documentary Editing Award

There were several other outstanding films and performances that sparkled in our eyes, including Vera Farmiga's Higher Ground, with an astounding performance by both Vera and her younger sister Taissa Farmiga, and the breakthrough performance by Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene and Silent House. Olsen also stars in the upcoming Peace Love & Misunderstanding, which was filmed in the Hudson Valley in the summer of 2010. Their performances were incredible and we expect to see much more exciting work from all.

Best wishes to all the participating filmmakers and good luck going forward. We hope to see many of you in Woodstock this fall. For more detailed daily WFF reports from Sundance see


Welcome to the Rileys

Welcome to the Rileys is a powerful drama about finding hope in the most unusual of places. Once a happily married and loving couple, Doug and Lois Riley (James Gandolfini and WFF friend Melissa Leo) have grown apart since losing their teenage daughter eight years prior. Leaving his agoraphobic wife behind to go on a business trip to New Orleans, Doug meets a 17-year-old runaway (Kristen Stewart) and the two form a platonic bond. For Lois and Doug, what initially appears to be the final straw that will derail their relationship, turns out to be the inspiration they need to renew their marriage.

Click here to buy it online.


Missed Saint Misbehavin: The Wavy Gravy Movie when it came to Woodstock?

Well, its not too late to catch the inspiring documentary! You can see the film at Time & Space Limited in Hudson, NY - for a limited time only!

In Saint Misbehavin’ Wavy is revealed more than the tie-dyed entertainer and ice-cream flavor namesake that often defines him in the popular imagination. Audiences will come to know the activist, the optimist, and the healer who reaches beyond political, economic, and cultural divisions in his commitment to social change and the alleviation of human suffering. Wavy’s life is his message, serving as deeply needed inspiration that we can change the world and have fun doing it.


Each year film and music lovers from around the world gather at the Woodstock Film Festival for an innovative variety of films, first-class concerts, workshops, celebrity-led panels, an awards ceremony, and fantastic parties. Be a part of the 12th Annual Woodstock Film Festival...

Early Bird Deadline: May 6. FINAL Deadline: June 14.
For information about submitting your film, visit our Call for Entries

“The Woodstock Film Festival is always a pleasure to attend, and the talent that is showcased always amazes me. It's a wonderful and important showcase for any independent filmmaker.” -Steve Buscemi

"The Woodstock Film festival is among the finest of a dying breed: a festival that isn't trying to sell you anything, but simply and beautifully celebrating the art & craft of filmmaking."
-Ethan Hawke

"... It's just a straight up, wonderful event. Over the last decade you have built this into a truly great festival." -Peter Saraf, producer (My Idiot Brother, Little Miss Sunshine, Adaptation)

"We could not have had a better time. Woodstock is an incredible film festival and we are so honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. It was a delight to share our film with such passionate audiences in a community that embraces independent filmmaking and we are absolutely glowing from winning the Best Feature Narrative Award. Thank you so much for everything!" -Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal, Stranger Things (Lee Marvin Award Winner at 2010 Woodstock Film Festival)


Zosia Mamet on location with
The Art of Love

In 2010, there were over 813 days of production in the Hudson Valley region—284 days resulted from feature films being produced in the area. Project budgets ran the gamut from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars and resulted in over $15 million of local economic development.

2011 is off to an amazing start with two films kicking off in February and six more scheduled to come.

Jonathan Blitstein, who's film Let Them Chirp Awhile world premiered at the 2007 WFF, will be directing his new, yet untitled feature film, mostly outdoors in the snow. Good luck Jonathan and stay warm!!

Rhymes With Banana, a feature film starring Zosia Mamet (The Kids Are All Right, Parenthood, Mad Men, The Art of Love) and Jee Young Han (The Art of Love, Meet Monica Velour) is starting up production near the end of the month. The film is a contemporary comedy written by Christina Mengert (Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding; The Art of Love) and Joseph Muszynski (Peace, Love, and Misunderstanding). The film is to be directed by Mr. Muszynski and Peter Hutchings (co-writer of The Art of Love), and will be produced by BCDF Pictures. Click here for crew and casting calls.


The Hudson Valley Film Commission is supported in part by
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