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DECEMBER 2011 NEWSLETTER - 2nd Edition
Happy New Year



Only Hours Left to Help Us Reach our 2011 Goals



On The Ice

Bombay Beach

Mark Ruffalo





We have hours until 2011 ends – and with it, our most important fundraising deadline.

Since our Appeal went out in early December, we've raised $5,000 and received gracious in-kind goods. Our goal is to raise another $30,000 and you can help us get there! Please consider a 2011 donation to our Capital Campaign.

Here's why raising the remaining $30,000 is so important:

We need funds to help us keep up with our monthly $2500 mortgage and making the necessary renovations including:
Heat for new work/screening room area
Drop ceiling & installation for conference room
Sink, faucet and refrigerator installation for kitchenette area + plumber services
Replacement of 5 windows with energy efficient units
New gutters to replace broken, torn units
Replacement of roof shingles on building and garage
Install attic insulation
Finish upstairs porch into four season room

These final days of the year are truly critical and any amount from $1 and up will be gratelly appreciated
Thanks for your help.

Meira Blaustein, Laurent Rejto and the entire staff and board at the WFF and HVFC

To contribute online,
click on


Capital Campaign donations can be made:

Online at

By check and sent to:
Woodstock Film Festival or Hudson Valley Film Commission
re: CAPITAL CAMPAIGN, PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498

By check and dropped off in person at
13 Rock City Rd, Woodstock, NY 12498.
If have any questions or would like additional information,
call 845.679.4265 or email


Brought to you by Popular Demand:
New! Kid's Merch!

We heard you loud and clear! Yes, we finally carry infant, toddler and youth sizes in our Fiercely Independent merch.

With your little one in mind, we've hand picked some super-soft fabrics and recreated our logo just for them! You can order your Infant, Toddler or Youth T HERE! Sizes 6m to 12 years.


A Winter Recollection, The Top Ten Winter Films Screened at WFF

In honor of Winter Solstice (December 22nd at 12:30 am EST) and the official beginning of winter, we have compiled a list of the top ten films with winter themes that have screened at the Woodstock Film Festival since its inception. 

Check it out on our Blog as we breeze through, in chronological order, our little reflection on each film followed by the synopsis. Here's a snapshot:

#10 - On the Ice from 2011. Finally, an official selection of this year's festival, On the Ice, will make its theatrical premiere in February. The film won the Lee Marvin Award for Best Feature Narrative and the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography.

#9 - Inuk from 2010. Mike Magidson's feature narrative debut is a stunning coming of age adventure featuring dynamic performances by amateur Inuit actors akin to or surpassing any professional. Inuk is the story of a 16-year-old boy who is taken from his broken family life in the capital city of Greenland and placed in a home for troubled youth in the remote north of the country. What follows is a dramatic, arctic journey as Inuk and the other teens at the center are led on a cross-ice voyage where they will be forced to grow into adulthood and face their troubled pasts.

Click Here to check out the entire COUNTDOWN.


Windfall, In Theaters Feb 3

The latest WFF Film to hit theaters is Laura Israel's Windfall, which screened at WFF in 2010. The film tackles the issue of Wind Power in NY's Delaware County and across the northeast. The film will be screening in NY, LA and Chicago starting February 3.

Clean, efficient, renewable, perfect…or so you thought.
Windfall is the story of a community torn asunder by the not-so-gently blowing breeze. First-time director Laura Israel discovers a wholly surprising and troubling trend in the wind turbine farms springing up across the Northeast.
Battles surge among friends, neighbors and family members over the giant turbines erected on their properties. Israel also touches on threatening health risks, dwindling property values and the controversial environmental value of the farms.

In a world struggling to come to terms with its growing energy needs and dependence on foreign oil, wind power seems a viable alternative. But as you will witness in this stirring documentary, the answers are not always so simple. (Michael Burke)


On The Ice, In Theaters Feb 10

2011 WFF Lee Marvin Award Winner for Best Feature Narrative On the Ice will head to theaters on February 10 with a platform release in New York, LA and Alaska.

Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's stark thriller is based on his 2008 short film Sikumi, which also screened at WFF (and won Best Student Short). Cinematographer Lol Crawley also took home the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography for his work on the film.

Set amidst the frozen landscape and the unrelenting summer sun of America's northernmost city- Barrow, Alaska, On the Ice is MacLean's stunning feature debut. Two Iñupiat teens, Qalli and Aivaaq, struggle with the daily monotony of life- listening to rap music, drinking and seal hunting. This tedium explodes when the unthinkable happens, and an argument between the two teens and another friend ends in tragedy. Shocked and horrified, the two make an ill-fated pact to cover up the accident and their choice leads them to construct a poorly built tower of lies. In addition to brilliant cinematography, On the Ice features standout performances by Josiah Patkotak as the guilt-ridden Qalli, Frank Irelan as the troubled Aivaaq and Teddy Kyle Smith as Qalli's stoic father. On the Ice combines the stark loneliness of The Sweet Hereafter with a coming-of-age tale about misplaced honor and desperation.


Kumaré, 2011 WFF Official Selection Picks Up Distribution

The documentary Kumaré, an audience favorite from WFF 2011 was picked up for distribution for 2012 by Kino Lorber. The film will be distributed for a theatrical release in May or June with a VOD release to follow.

He's not really a guru, but he plays one in this film.
The search for spiritual fulfillment becomes grist for the mill as Hindu-American skeptic Vikram Gandhi sets out on a grand experiment to prove that religious leaders are no better than the rest of us. Vikram, through a few cosmetic changes, transforms himself, becoming the guru Sri Kumaré. Accompanied by two colleagues, the newly minted guru heads for Phoenix. His teaching? Illusion is truth, and truth is illusion, and that we don't need gurus to make ourselves happy. He soon attracts a following and Kumaré becomes a mirror for the observer. Ironically, one of his followers proclaims, "There's nothing phony about him." But what happens when the "holy man" must reveal the "hoax?" And will the student become the teacher? An orgiastic sound healing session is just one of the many delights in this smart and very funny film, part Zelig with a nod to a kinder, gentler Borat. (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E.)


WFF 2011 Official Selection Bombay Beach to be distributed

WFF would like to congratulate our friends from Bombay Beach! The Documentary has been picked up by Focus World, a new division from Focus Features, the premiere global brand in original and daring cinema. Charged with finding the most exciting voices in international and independent film, Focus World's latest acquisition was also the winner of the Best Documentary prize at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

Decades ago, the Salton Sea, two hours outside Los Angeles, was a tourist hotspot and a symbol of 1950s-era American optimism. Now, a victim of environmental decline, it stands mostly abandoned, its boomtown communities now decaying relics of a bygone era. Visionary filmmaker Alma Ha’rel investigates one such town – Bombay Beach – and weaves together the stories of its inhabitants with surreal poetry and beauty. Set to the music of Bob Dylan and Beirut, this is the story of a place where the American dream has faded, but where the dreams of those that stayed behind are alive and well.

Bombay Beach will be available on DVD January 17, 2012. Pre-Order Yours Today.


Academy® Award Nominee Mark Ruffalo named one of TIME's People Who Mattered

Woodstock Film Festival 2011 introduced the Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award, an award to celebrate a filmmaker who best delivers a message of social change. This year that award was presented to Academy Award nominated actor and Sullivan County resident, Mark Ruffalo.

Ruffalo was given the award for his outstanding community activism involving safe water and hydro-fracking in the Catskills. Ruffalo along with WFF's long time advisory board member Michael Lang is also part Farmhearts, a local organization devoted to helping family farms. Now TIME Magazine has taken notice. Ruffalo, along with Cornell University faculty members Anthony Ingraffea and Robert Howarth, are included in the magazine's 2011 People Who Mattered as part of its Person of the Year Issue.

NY State is currently embroiled in a battle between oil and gas companies looking to drill for natural gas in the Catskills and environmental activists. The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation is currently holding a public comment period on proposed drilling regulations. The comment period ends January 11th, you can submit your comments here.

For his part Ruffalo shrugs off the title of activist, "In all honesty, I do not see myself as an activist as much as a citizen that feels a responsibility to the greater good and the well being of future generations," the actor humbly told WFF before receiving his award. "Luckily I am not alone. I am one of hundreds of thousands of other citizens that feel the same. Our water is our future and we aim to protect it from corporate greed and selfishness."


2011 was a great and prosperous year for independent film production in the Hudson Valley, and the film commission played a major role in not only supporting filmmaking in the region but by attracting it as well. Several productions were brought to the region as a result of HVFC lobbying efforts with filmmakers and production companies. Some major productions that resulted from these efforts were Brass Teapot, In Our Nature and three productions from Germany: Das höchste Glück der Erde, Harriets Traum, Zum Teufel mit David.

December was a busy month for production, specifically for short films including Mobile Home (shooting in Ulster & Greene County), Persephone (shooting at Backstage Productions in Kingston) and Spin (filming in Columbia County).

Work for 2012 has already begun with vigor. Several features are currently making inquiries for January and February productions. For up to date posts regarding needs relating to locations, accomodations, catering, vendors, cast and crew, check out our updates on Facebook, Twitter and Blogger.

The Hudson Valley Film Commission offers services free of charge and relies on government grants and private contributions to sustain its mission. PLEASE CONSIDER making a years end contribution to the Hudson Valley Film Commission by snail mail to HVFC, PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498 or make a contribution usingPaypal below.

Cardellini wistfully looks out at the Hudson Valley.

Hudson Valley Produced Film Starring Linda Cardellini Set For Distribution and VOD Feb 28

A Hudson Valley film is in the news again as the film Return, shot locally in the Newburgh-Beacon area was picked up for distribution by Focus World. Return, written and directed by Liza Johnson, is the story of a young woman (Cardellini) who must adjust to civilian life after coming home from the war in Afghanistan. Focus World will be available for on-demand viewing starting February 28.

Although Return is set in Ohio, producer Noah Harlan said the Hudson Valley setting was a perfect fit: "Newburgh made a lot of sense for us. The area had the look we were looking for - a mixture of a kind of de-industrialized landscape with a lot of natural beauty and the river."

In addition to shooting in Newburgh and Beacon, Return made filming stops in Walden, New Windsor and Cornwall. As part of the production process, a new facility was certified in Newburgh, with help from the Hudson Valley Film Commission.


Gold Sponsors: 120 dB Films, BCDF Pictures,

Silver Sponsors: A&E IndieFilms, TIME Magazine

Superstar Sponsors: BMI, Brooklyn Brewery, Epix HD, Ketel One Vodka, Lowel Light, Metrovision, Postworks, WDST

Award Sponsors: Gigantic Pictures, Blue Sky Studios, The Giving Back Foundation, Panavision NY

Foundation Support: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,The Perry and Martin Granoff Foundation, ETC

Government Support: NYSCA (New York State Council on the Arts), Dutchess County Arts Council

A complete list of sponsors is available online at WFF SPONSORS