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APRIL NEWSLETTER - Tribeca Preview

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Downtown Express

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

WFF at Tribeca
World Narrative Competition
TFF Spotlight Films
World Documentary Competition

Giving Back Foundation Book Launch





Join Host Stephen Hays of 120dB Films for a very special presentation of the 2011 WFF hit
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
, which was filmed in the Hudson Valley starring Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Olsen, Katherine Keener, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Chase Crawford and Nat Wolff

Peace, Love & Misunderstanding (produced by BCDF Pictures, and shot in the Hudson Valley with help from HVFC during the summer of 2010) is the latest installment in a series of annual fundraisers at Soho House, NYC.

The comedy directed by Bruce Beresford (Breaker Morant, Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy) boasts a star-studded cast including Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Olsen, Katherine Keener, Jeffery Dean Morgan, Chase Crawford and up-and-comer Nat Wolff. The screening is courtesy of IFC Films.

Funds raised will benefit the capital campaign for the Woodstock Film Festival and Hudson Valley Film Commission FILM CENTER. The event will include a special screening of Peace, Love & Misunderstanding before it hits theaters on June 8. The evening will also include a Q&A and reception with the filmmakers along with hors d'oeuvres, wine and complimentary cocktails from Ketel One Vodka.

To reserve your tickets CLICK HERE.



It's already April and that means the Woodstock Film Festival's Early Bird submission deadline is quickly approaching!

Submissions can be made for this deadline until April 16. You can follow the link on our website to our entry page or go to and submit there. If you submit by this deadline, there is a reduced fee. Afterwards the regular deadline fees apply. Films of all genres, lengths and levels are welcomed. We would love to have you be a part of our 13th Annual Festival! ENTER HERE.

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Unraveled - NYC 4/13 LA 4/13

2011 WFF Official Selection Unraveled, the exposing new documentary from award-winning director Marc H. Simon, makes its theatrical debut in NYC and LA this month. Just days before Bernard Madoff captured headlines as the largest Ponzi schemer in U.S. history, prominent Manhattan attorney Marc Dreier was arrested for orchestrating a massive fraud scheme that netted hundreds of millions of dollars from hedge funds. The film weaves Dreier’s struggle to prepare for possible life imprisonment with first-person flashbacks that reveal his audacious path of destruction.

2011 WFF Official Selection Downtown Express will make its theatrical premiere April 20 at the Quad Cinema in NYC.

Downtown Express stars singer songwriter Nellie McKay and world renowned violin soloist Philippe Quint who both performed at the WFF Opening Night Concert. Directed by David Grubin in his feature debut, the film is a witty, musical romance about Sasha (Quint), a Russian immigrant and Juilliard student preparing for his final recital. Sasha spends his free time with his father and cousin entertaining the subway riders of New York for tips, but things begin to go off the rails when he falls for Ramona (McKay) and joins her Bohemian band. Now torn between his overbearing, but well-meaning father (Michael Cumpsty), his burgeoning classical musical career and his new found passion for Ramona and her music, Sasha must decide where his music leads him. Featuring virtuoso performances by Quint, as well as magnetic concerts by the violinist and McKay, Downtown Express is a lively and entertaining film that captures the eclectic sounds of New York’s music scene while showing off two of today’s premiere musical talents.



Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey- on DVD 4/3

2011 WFF Official Selection Being Elmo is now out on DVD. Beloved internationally by children of all ages, Elmo is an icon. But few people know his creator, soft-spoken Kevin Clash, who’s dreams of working with idol and master puppeteer Jim Henson allowed him to breathe life into the red furry monster we love today. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and including rare archival footage, interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell ad Cheryl Henson, this documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson workshop.

Order your copy from today!



Meira Blaustein, Executive Director of the Woodstock Film Festival, is on the move again to another festival. And since its April, that can only mean the Tribeca Film Festival. The festival runs from April 18-29. Every year, Meira previews some of the Summer’s top indie films at the NYC-based film festival, which has screened over 1200 films from over 80 countries since the festival’s inception in 2002.

Meira will be taking a look at Tribeca films that have strong Hudson Valley and WFF ties this year and giving us the low-down on how things turned out. Stay tuned for her reviews!


World Narrative Competition

First Winter
Directed and written by Benjamin Dickinson - World Premiere

Filmed in Orange County, First Winter is a stark drama about a group of Brooklynites snowed in at a farmhouse after a massive blackout. Drawing on the film making styles of Malick and Cassavettes, Dickinson was inspired by the Hudson Valley for his film. "If it wasn't for Orange County - the land and history - this film wouldn't be getting made because I would never have had the idea," Dickinson told the Hudson Valley Film Commission last year.

In this extraordinary debut feature, a blackout of apocalyptic proportions strands a group of Brooklyn hipsters in a remote country farmhouse with no heat and no electricity during the coldest winter on record. At first, it’s all sex and drugs and acoustic guitars. But as the days go on and the food supply dwindles, struggles of power, jealousy, and desire threaten the group’s ability to work together in order to survive. (Tribeca)

Jack and Diane
Directed by Bradley Rust Gray - World Premiere

Woodstock Film Festival friend Jen Gatien (2011 Soho House's Holy Rollers) produced this unique indie tale of love in NYC. Directed by Bradley Rust Gray (if you haven't seen his provocative indie flick The Exploding Girl - put down this newsletter and go watch it now), Jack and Diane is sure to put a new spin some familiar themes.

Tomboy Jack (Riley Keough) and bubbly Diane (Juno Temple) fall head over heels in love one hot summer in New York City. When Diane reveals she must leave the city for school in Europe, their budding love is tested. Weaving horror elements into a distinctive and fresh yet timeless and universal first-love story, TFF alum Bradley Rust Gray brings his unique vision to this idiosyncratic story of the joys and terrors of first love. (Tribeca)

Nancy, Please
Directed by Andrew Semans - World Premiere

Nancy, Please is the feature debut from Andrew Semans and WFF friend Danielle DiGiacomo who served as Associate Producer. DiGiacomo sat on the panel Movies and the World We Live In in 2006. The following year she served as a short doc juror while another film she was credited with as associate producer (Billy the Kid) was an official selection at WFF.

Paul's life is good. He has a gig teaching literature at Yale, and he just moved in with his longtime girlfriend, finally shedding his casually sinister roommate, Nancy. There's just one thing. Paul left an item of great importance at his old apartment, and Nancy doesn't want to give it back. Paul's life is about to unravel. Debuting director Andrew Semans skillfully orchestrates a minor annoyance into an all-consuming obsession in this smart, stunning psychodrama. (Tribeca)

Una Noche
Directed and written by Lucy Mulloy - North American Premiere

Lucy Malloy brought her short film This Morning to WFF in 2005 and now makes her feature directorial debut with Una Noche. This picture will make its North American debut at Tribeca.

Fed up with catering to the privileged tourist class, Cuban teens Raul and Elio are tantalized by the promise of a new life in Miami. Accused of assaulting a foreigner, Raul has no choice but to flee, but Elio must decide whether his own escape is worth abandoning his beloved sister. Brimming with the nervous energy of Havana’s restless youth and evocative cinematography of the sun-bleached capital, Una Noche follows one sweltering day, full of hope and fraught with tensions that burns to a shocking climax. (Tribeca)



Revenge for Jolly!
Directed by Chadd Harbold, written by Brian Petsos - Narrative, World Premiere

Director Chadd Harbold brings his dark feature debut to Tribeca. Harbold's short film Block was the runner up for Best Narrative Short at the 2011 Woodstock Film Festival. Revenge for Jolly! features a tremendous supporting cast including Adam Brody, Elijah Wood, Amy Siemetz, Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe.

Harry (Brian Petsos) will stop at nothing to avenge the death of his beloved dog, Jolly. He and his demented cousin Cecil (Oscar Isaac) follow a series of clues in a frenzied attempt to track down the dog’s murderer, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Elijah Wood, Kristen Wiig, Adam Brody, Ryan Phillippe, Gillian Jacobs, Bobby Moynihan, Kevin Corrigan, David Rasche, Amy Siemetz, and Garret Dillahunt all stand between Harry and revenge for Jolly. (Tribeca)


TFF Spotlight Films

Évocateur: The Jr. Movie
Directed by Seth Kramer and Daniel Miller - Documentary, World Premiere

Hudson Valley natives Seth Kramer (Red Hook) and Daniel Miller (Cold Spring) bring their newest documentary on the man who brought shock to talk TV, Morton Downey Jr,. to Tribeca. The film will make its World Premiere at the April festival.

Long before the days of Jersey Shore or Glenn Beck, there was one man who gleefully gave those on the fringes of the society a national mouthpiece. Witness Morton Downey Jr.’s meteoric rise and fall as the original shock television emcee, and check your sense of decorum at the door. Here we learn about the man behind the mouth, and how the pursuit of fame and fortune over the airwaves can ultimately destroy your soul. (Tribeca)

Keep the Lights On
Directed by Ira Sachs - Drama, New York Premiere

Keep the Lights On, which premiered at Sundance, chronicles the emotionally and sexually charged journey through the love, addiction, and friendship of two men. “Keep the Lights On is a film that I made from the gut,” Director Ira Sachs told WFF. “I wanted it to be as messy, sexy, open, shameless, and with as much complexity, and contradiction, as life itself.”

The film was shot partly in the Hudson Valley with help from the Hudson Valley Film Commission. When we asked Sachs about his experience here, he said, "Our week of production in the Woodstock area -- including scenes at the Peekamoose Blue swimming hole and the Phoenicia Diner -- was a bit like a midsummer's nights dream. We stayed at the very welcoming Catskills Season Inn, and, away from our city lives, the boundaries came down, and we became a family. It was one of the most memorable weeks of shooting I've ever had, and I'm very pleased that some of the magic of the region made it into the movie."

For Erik and Paul, what begins as a meaningless late-night hookup evolves into a serious, committed relationship. Acclaimed director Ira Sachs offers an honest, unflinching portrait of a relationship that is by equal measure loving and destructive. Uncompromising in its depiction of drug addiction and the sacrifices we make for the ones we love, Sachs' film is a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful look at the way love changes over time. (Tribeca)

Directed by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg - Documentary, World Premiere

Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg take the World Premiere of their baseball documentary about two of the sport's top playing oddities, the controversial knuckleball pitchers, to the Tribeca Film Festival. Knuckleball! follows N.Y. Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and the recently retired Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox. Stern and Sundberg were both guest panelists at WFF 2010.

This classic sports story recounts the trials and triumphs of two of the best known knuckleball pitchers currently playing in the MLB: Tim Wakefield, a Red Sox veteran struggling to clinch his 200th career win, and R.A. Dickey, an up-and-comer with the Mets looking to make a name for himself. This energetic documentary from the directors of Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, deconstructs the controversial and erratic knuckleball style. (Tribeca)

Directed by Morgan Spurlock, written by Jeremy Chilnick and Morgan Spurlock - Documentary, World Premiere

Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) hits the scene with his newest documentary all about men in the 21st Century. Spurlock is a three- time WFF alum having participated on the Movies That Matters Panel at WFF 2008, Co-Directing Freakonomics a WFF 2010 official selection as well as serving as an Executive Producer on 2011 selection The Other F Word.

In the age of manscaping, metrosexuals, and grooming products galore—what does it mean to be a man? Oscar® nominee Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and executive producers Ben Silverman, Will Arnett, and Jason Bateman present a delightfully entertaining doc featuring candid interviews from Arnett, Bateman, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, and everyday people weighing in on everything from the obsession with facial hair to body dysmorphic disorder. (Tribeca)

One Nation Under Dog
Directed by Jenny Carchman, Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Amanda Micheli - Documentary, World Premiere

Co-Director Amanda Micheli is a two-time WFF alum. She won the Maverick Award in 2004 for her film Double Dare and in 2008 returned to Woodstock as a co-director on the short documentary La Corona (The Crown).

This heartfelt documentary explores people’s conflicted relationships with dogs and inspires us to rethink how we treat them. From a man who spends a fortune to defend his dogs in court, to a woman who can’t turn away a stray, to pet loss support groups to rescuers who take on difficult-to-place dogs and save them from death row, this is a film about love, loss, betrayal, and hope. (Tribeca)

Whole Lotta Sole
Directed by Terry George, written by Terry George and Thomas Gallagher - Narrative, World Premiere

Many may remember the powerful thriller Reservation Road by Academy Award nominee Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), which screened at WFF 2007. Well, George is back with a lighter turn in his film Whole Lotta Sole. The film stars Brandon Fraser.

In a rowdy little corner of Belfast, hapless young father Jimbo tries to protect his family from the gangster he’s in debt to by robbing the local fish market… which turns out to be a front for the same gangster! On the run, Jimbo holes up in a local antique shop run by a long-lost man from his past. A colorful cast of character actors and a strong turn from Brendan Fraser light up this madcap Irish crime comedy from Terry George (Hotel Rwanda). (Tribeca)

Your Sister’s Sister
Directed and written by Lynn Shelton - Narrative, New York Premiere

WFF alum Mark Duplass stars in this drama along with Emily Blunt. The film was produced by alum Megan Griffiths who directed the 2011 drama and 2011 WFF Official Selection The Off Hours.

Jack (Mark Duplass) hasn’t recovered from his brother’s death. His best friend—and late brother’s ex—Iris (Emily Blunt) sends him to her family’s isolated cabin for some quiet reflection, but complications, rivalries, and surprising revelations arise when both Iris and her heartbroken sister Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt) end up at the cabin as well. Lynn Shelton’s long-awaited follow-up to Humpday heralds a graceful maturation of the reliably against-the-grain filmmaker. An IFC Films release. (Tribeca)


World Doc Competition

Off Label
Directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher - World Premiere

Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher team up once again for Off Label, an exposé into the overuse of prescription pharmaceuticals for reasons other than their original intended use. The directing team came to WFF in 2009 with their documentary feature October Country.

The term “off-label” refers to the use of pharmaceuticals in any way counter to their prescribed dosage and function. Weaving together the powerful, personal stories of misdiagnosed patients, professional guinea pigs, recreational drug users, and soldiers struggling with PTSD, Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher (October Country) expose the breadth of off-label drug use and take us on an emotional road trip through an overmedicated, misdiagnosed, and drug-addled America. (Tribeca)



Directed by Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez - Documentary, World Premiere

Early this year WFF profiled Detropia by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, a documentary about the collapse of Detroit's manufacturing community. Now comes another film profiling the problems facing the crumbling metropolis of Detroit. Burn is brought to you by executive producer Morgan Neville who has brought three films to WFF. Neville directed 2007's The Cool School and 2008's Johnny Cash's America and also co-wrote and produced 2010's Ray Charles America.

Detroit is burning. Meet the men and women charged with saving the once-roaring American city that many have written off as dead. With vast stretches of forsaken buildings left as kindling, they face one of the worst arson rates in the world. From executive producer Denis Leary, Burn drives us straight into the heart-pounding fire and introduces us to the characters and controversies that make up the most overworked and underequipped firehouse in the country. (Tribeca)


Book News

Cocktails and GIVING BACK book launch

WFF Sponsor Meera Gandhi will be launching her new coffee table book Giving Back on May 3 at The Wallace Center at the Franklin and Eleanor Library in Hyde Park. Gandhi is the Founder of The Giving Back Foundation, which was launched as a catalyst to aid women and children - to create a new generation of leaders and thinkers. The Giving Back Foundation aims to assist directly in education, address illness and poverty around the world. Cocktails will be available at the event from 6pm-8pm.

To RSVP for the event please email or You can also call 845.229.5302. WFF Executive Director Meira Blaustein will be in attendance.

The 3rd Annual Woodstock Writers Festival is now only a week away!

The coolest little town in the world welcomes the hottest names in literature for 3¼ days of peace and books. Join our friends at the Woodstock Writers Festival for the whole weekend or for individual events. A full-festival pass is only $395 and includes tickets to all events, scrumptious meals and an exclusive meet-and-greet with unrivaled memoirist Augusten Burroughs (Running with Scissors, Dry).

Don’t miss the incomparable William Kennedy (Pulitzer Prize winner for Ironweed) in conversation with Joe Donahue, host of the Roundtable on WAMC.

Poetry and Politics, Publishing and Humor, Memoir and Songwriting, Shorts, Resilience and Art, there’s something for everyone with a passion for writing and reading. Many events are close to selling out, so go to and get tickets now. All events will go up $5 at the door.


Hudson Valley Film Commmission News

Laid Telemedia, an award-winning manufacturer of products for the worldwide broadcast industry, has teamed up with the Hudson Valley Film Commission (HVFC) to produce the next generation of digital camera technology. Laird Telemedia, out of Mount Marion, NY is a trusted name by broadcasters and production personnel for the finest interface technology.

During the summer of 2011, the Hudson Valley Film Commission introduced Laird Telemedia to production companies and cinematographers working in the Hudson Valley to ascertain the need for hi-tech production gear. As a result of this cooperation, Laird designed interface technology for the latest generation of digital cinema camera equipment including the Red One, Red Epic & Red Scarlet cameras.

Laird Telemedia will unveil this new digital gear at the 2012 National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, NV on April 14-19. In 2011, the Hudson Valley Film Commission continued its efforts to support sustainable economic development by tracking over $5.5 million in direct spending by film productions. Indirect 'secondary' spending magnified this economic benefit exponentially as individuals and businesses like Laird "re-spend" locally. By aiding Laird with this new technology, HVFC displays its ability to bring other production opportunities to the Hudson Valley in addition to filmmaking.

To Read More, CLICK HERE

Hudson Valley Film Commission Gets Boost from Ulster County IDA
At its March 14 meeting, the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency (UCIDA) approved financial support for the Hudson Valley Film Commission (HVFC), which actively markets the region for film productions and related business.

UCIDA Chair, David O'Halloran, said, "There is no question there is real return on investment with HVFC. They drive a lot of business, jobs, and investment to Ulster County and the region. The Ulster County IDA was an original funding partner of HVFC and has provided financial support each year. We have good indications other counties also benefiting from the Commission will step up and start contributing to HVFC as well."

More than $5.5 million in documented direct spending in the area in 2011 resulted from filmmaking activity fostered by HVFC. One German production company alone, which specifically credits HVFC with saving its 2011 production here, is slated to spend $4 million directly in 2012. To Read More, CLICK HERE

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