To view online, visit http://woodstockfilmfestival.com/newsletters/13_01.htm
Happy New Year to all of our colleagues, supporters and friends. We hope your 2013 is off to a fantastic start!
WFF Executive Director Meira Blaustein is about to embark on her annual pilgrimage to Park City to take in the snow, cold and oh yes, a first look at some of the hot new independent films for 2013. This year, Meira will also be one of the jurors for the Slamdance Film Festival Narrative Competition. Meira is very excited by the honor and will be sitting down to judge the 12 films in competition over the next two weeks. Stay tuned to see which film comes out on top. Meira will be selecting the winner with her co-jurors, former Tribeca Film Festival VP Nancy Schafer and Film Threat Magazine czar Chris Gore.
Soon thousands of filmmakers, actors, industry members, press and film lovers from all over the world will converge in the snowy resort town of Park City, to see this year's most promising crop of new films from the U.S. and abroad. Back room deals will be struck and the next "it" filmmakers may be finding their way to a theater near you soon.
Once again the 2013 Sundance Lineup is brimming with Woodstock Film Festival friends and alumni, as well as Hudson Valley filmmakers.
WFF Alum Jim Mickle follows up his vampire actioner Stakeland with a new tale of terror, We Are What We Are. The delicious tale of cannibalism was filmed here in the Hudson Valley. Rhinebeck resident and WFF Alum Robert Stone unveilst his surprising new documentary on the future of nuclear power -Pandora's Promise. Meanwhile several WFF Advisory Board members will be hitting the slopes with new films. Executive Producer Jonathan Gray has two films- Blue Caprice & Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes. Director Barbara Kopple will premiere her new documentary Running From Crazy. C.O.G. is produced by Advisory Board member Stephen Nemeth. Editor Sabine Hoffman has the much anticipated May in Summer; and producer Peter Saraf will be ready to go with Toy's House.
We are fired up to see them all! See details and comments from some of the filmmakers on these films and more below.
Meira will be on hand Jan 17-24 so if you are in the wintery wonderland that is Park City, please say hello.
WFF Board Member Steven Hays of 120dB Films will also be at Sundance. Along with the NYS Governor's Office for Motion Picture & Television Development and the New York Production Alliance, 120dB Films will host a brunch celebration for the Woodstock Film Festival and the Hudson Valley Film Commission.
If you are interested in attending our WFF/HVFC Brunch Celebration, setting up a meeting, sending Meira party invites (don't be shy - Meira loves to party), discussing film submissions, sponsorship opportunities or producing your next film in the Hudson Valley, feel free to get in touch. You can contact Meira at meira[at]woodstockfilmfestival.com.
For Meira's daily reports from Sundance, check the WFF blog, the Poughkeepsie Journal and their blog Peace, Love and Movies. Listen for live radio interviews with Meira from Sundance on Up and Running with Rick on WKZE and mornings on WDST.
Happy New Year everyone, see you all at the movies!
Executive Produced by 2005 WFF alum Donal Logue (Tennis Anyone?), Big Sur focuses on a moment in Jack Kerouac’s life when, overwhelmed by the success of his opus On the Road and struggling with alcoholism, he retreats to his publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s cabin in the small, coastal California town of Big Sur, which eventually inspires his 1962 novel of the same name. Kerouac’s time begins with quiet moments... READ MORE...(Courtesy Sundance)
An odd couple of sorts: meditative and stern Alvin and his girlfriend’s brother, Lance, dopey and insecure, leave the city behind to spend the summer in solitude repainting traffic lines down the center of a country highway ravaged by wildfire. As they sink into their job in the remarkable landscape, they learn more than they want to about each other and their own limitations. An unlikely friendship develops through humor and nasty exchanges, leading to surprising affection. READ MORE... (courtesy Sundance)
Very Good Girls features several Woodstock alumni and Hudson Valley locals. The film stars 2011 WFF Honorary Excellence in Acting Award recipient Ellen Barkin. Former WFF volunteer coordinator Lisa Myers served as Art Director and part-time Woodstocker Andrew Hafitz (who received 2009 WFF honors for his work on Cruz Angeles's Don't Let Me Drown) edited.
Best friends—introspective Lilly and free-spirited Gerry—spend their last summer at home in New York City before parting ways for college. The girls meet Brooklyn boy David, whom they both fall for, and Lilly soon begins a secret relationship with him. As Lilly’s home life falls apart after she discovers her father’s affair and Gerry becomes more... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Pandora's Promise is the latest documentary from award winning filmmaker, WFF alum and Rhinebeck resident Robert Stone. Stone tackles the issue of nuclear power from an unexpected angle. Hudson Valley resident Coll Anderson served as sound designer.
Stone talked to WFF about his new film and its upcoming premiere at Sundance, "I'm thrilled to be taking this film to Sundance for several reasons: First, the idea for this film was born out of the Q&A for my last film, Earth Days, a valentine to the environmental movement of my youth which premiered as Closing Night Film at Sundance in 2009. Somebody asked me what my views where about nuclear power the response I got to my answer was so astonishing that I knew right away that this would be the subject of my next film. I'd never seen anything like it.
Second, Sundance is well known for its passion about environmental issues. The fact that Sundance would program a pro-nuclear documentary (mine) is in itself a huge (and daring) step forward in finally confronting the epic failure of the environmental movement to realistically address climate change."
The atomic bomb, the specter of a global nuclear holocaust, and disasters like Fukushima have made nuclear energy synonymous with the darkest nightmares of the modern world. But what if everyone has nuclear power wrong? What if people knew that there are reactors that are self-sustaining and fully controllable and ones that require no waste...READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
WFF Alum, Advisory Board member and juror; Oscar Winner Barbara Kopple takes her latest documentary about the Hemingway family to Sundance.
"Running from Crazy gave me the incredible opportunity to delve into the history of the Hemingway family, guided by Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter (and) actress and writer Mariel Hemingway. Filming with Mariel was a deeply rewarding experience and I continue to draw inspiration from her strength, her ability to evolve and change as a person, and her bravery in her willingness to explore and reflect on her and her family's history," Barbara noted to WFF.
Hailed as one of the most distinguished families in American literature, the Hemingways have always exposed both their bright brilliance and their harrowing secrets. Two-time Academy Award winner and the only person to sweep all three of the Sundance Film Festival's documentary awards for American Dream, Barbara Kopple focuses her newest film on... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
In his newest documentary, Alex Gibney (WFF alumni with Mea Maxima Culpa, Freakonomics, Client 9) delves into the secretive world of WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange. Bradley Manning. Collateral murder. Cablegate. WikiLeaks. These people and terms have exploded into public consciousness by fundamentally changing the way democratic societies deal with privacy, secrecy, and the right to information, perhaps for generations to come. We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks is an extensive... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Dave Lowery (editor of the 2012 WFF Official Selection Nor'easter) wrote and directed this drama starring Oscar® nominee Rooney Mara.
Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie, an impassioned young outlaw couple on an extended crime spree, are finally apprehended by lawmen after a shoot out in the Texas hills. Although Ruth wounds a local officer, Bob takes the blame. But four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration. READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
WFF Advisory Board member Stephen Nemeth produced this drama by 2009 WFF alum Kyle Patrick Alvarez (Easier with Practice).
"That the amazing David Sedaris entrusted Kyle Alvarez to adapt and direct COG for the screen.....a first for any of his work, is a dream scenario for all," exclaimed Nemeth. "What a remarkable pairing of great talent and what a unique and special film we are all so fortunate to be a part of."
David has it all figured out. His plan—more a Steinbeckian dream—is to spend his summer working on an apple farm in Oregon with his best friend, Jennifer. When she bails out on him, David is left to dirty his hands alone, watched over by Hobbs, the old farm owner and the first in a series of questionable mentors he encounters. First there’s Curly READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Executive Producer Jonathan Gray (another WFF Advisory Board member) is heading to Sundance; with Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes — the first of two films in Park City for 2013.
Emanuel, an acerbic but sensitive teen, lives with her father and stepmother. She’s on the verge of another birthday—a day she has never cared for since her mother died giving birth to her—when the mysterious Linda, a young and hip mother, moves in next door. Intrigued by Linda’s striking resemblance to her late mother, Emanuel begins to babysit... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Editor Sabine Hoffman, advisory board member and head of the editing jury at WFF, edited filmmaker Cherien Dabis' second feature film May in the Summer.
"We had a wealth of material after a 30 day shoot in Jordan during the late summer and an accelerated schedule," mentioned Hoffman. "But thanks to the brilliance of Cherien, both in front of the camera and in the editing room, we finished with a beautiful film that we are very excited to be premiering at Sundance."
May has it all—a celebrated book, a sophisticated New York life, and a terrific fiancé to match. But when she heads to Amman, Jordan, to arrange her wedding, she lands in a bedlam of family chaos she thought she’d transcended long before. Her headstrong, born-again Christian mother so disapproves of her marrying a Muslim that she threatens to... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Matt Parker and Carly Hugo who have produced several films with 2012 WFF sponsor and Kerhonkson based BCDF Pictures will attend Sundance with Mother of George. The pair co-produced Bachelorette (a 2012 Sundance entry) and Higher Ground (a 2011 Sundance entry). Parker also co-produced Beasts of the Southern Wild.
At long last, handsome Ayodele Balogun, owner of a small Nigerian restaurant in Brooklyn, will wed his beautiful fiancée, Adenike, and they will start a new life together in the United States. Their traditional Yoruba wedding culminates in a ceremony where Adenike is named for her yet-to-be-conceived son, George. But as the months pass without... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
WFF Advisory Board member Peter Saraf, produced this wonderful coming of age comedy about three teens who create their own utopia in the woods.
WFF had a chance to ask Saraf about his latest endeavor. "I am very excited to be part of the audacious film debut of director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta," he exclaimed. "This is unquestionably only the first great film of many that they will make. I love how wildly original this movie is. It's a comedy told with a very lyrical and poetic style with an unbelievably talented young cast. I think it's going to surprise people."
Joe Toy, on the verge of adolescence, finds himself increasingly frustrated by his single father, Frank’s, attempts to manage his life. Declaring his freedom once and for all, he escapes to a clearing in the woods with his best friend, Patrick, and a strange kid named Biaggio and announces that they are going to build a house there— free from...
|US DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
What would a pop song be without the riffs, refrains, and harmonies of its backup vocalists? Although these singers are usually relegated to the margins, and few, if any, become household names, their work has defined countless songs that remain in our hearts and collective consciousness. Twenty Feet from Stardom juxtaposes interviews with... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Executive producer Jonathan Gray's second film at Sundance, Blue Caprice stars Tim Blake Nelson who has attended the WFF several times, most recently in 2012 where he was the recipient of the Meera Ghandi Giving Back Award for his work with 52nd Street Project in NYC and other charities.
Blue Caprice is inspired by the Beltway sniper attacks during which two men, John Muhammed and Lee Malvo, conducted a siege of terror on the Washington, D.C. area. Their method: a series of random shootings in public places. Their weapon: a sniper rifle, fired from the trunk of a blue Chevrolet Caprice. The film investigates the genesis of those... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Two time WFF Alum Andrew Bujalski (2002 Funny Ha Ha, 2005 Mutual Appreciation) makes his Sundance premiere with his new film about early computer chess programmers- "back when the machines seemed clumsy and we seemed clever."
“Is there a computer program in the house which can stand up against a human chess master?” That’s the question posed by mastermind of the game Pat Henderson, head of an annual computer chess tournament. Set in 1980 in a nondescript hotel, Computer Chess follows several young geniuses as they try to make the ultimate chess program to beat a human... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Hudson Valley resident Jason Sosnoff had this to say about this dark coming of age comedy. "Milkshake was easily one of the most original scripts I had read in years, so I started developing it with the writer/director David Andalman. Set in the 90s, it's about a white kid who does everything he can to be thugged out. This is the age of 2Pac and Deathrow Records. What was cool about the script and ultimately the movie is that it approached this idea with the right amount of humor and reality. It's not a satire about white kids trying to be black, and yet it doesn't take itself too seriously. It's just a fun piece about teen identity, race, confusion, a time period. Sundance is really excited about the film and I think Woodstock would be a great festival for us as well!"
While O. J. Simpson stands trial and a big beef brews between Tupac and Biggie, Al Jolson’s great-great-grandson Jolie Jolson reaches for a dream he will never achieve. What this white, well-to-do, magnet high school student wants with all his being is to be like the cool kids from the Maple Avenue projects. He wants to be a gangsta like Henrietta... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Heather Rae, the director of the documentary First Circle (2010 WFF official selection) produced this wacky road comedy that stars WFF Advisory Board Member Vincent D'Onofrio as well as Brian Geraghty, who has attended WFF with Easier With Practice (2009) and Refuge (2012). Both actors have been featured on the annual WFF Actor's Panel.
Kate and Chloe have been best friends since childhood, when they both tied for dead last in their hometown beauty pageant. Now they are all grown up and living in New York City, where Chloe works as a “girl in a box” at a nightclub and Kate is a CEO…of her own one-woman egg-donor “corporation.” Their past humiliation remains long forgotten until... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Jim Mickle's third film We Are What We Are was filmed entirely in the Hudson Valley with a little help from the Hudson Valley Film Commission. The film features numerous local cast and crew members as did Mickle's sophomore film, the vampire pic Stakeland, which made its East Coast Premiere and was a fan favorite at the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival.
A seemingly wholesome and benevolent family, the Parkers have always kept to themselves, and for good reason. Behind closed doors, Patriarch Frank rules the roost with a rigorous fervor, determined to keep his ancestral customs intact at any cost. As a torrential rainstorm moves into the area, tragedy strikes and his daughters Iris and Rose are... READ MORE... (Courtesy Sundance)
Dan Mirvish's Between Us, a 2012 WFF Official Selection starring Taye Diggs and Julia Stiles, will have a special screening at Slamdance.
In this darkly comedic drama, two couples reunite over two incendiary evenings where anything can happen. Grace and Carlo are a newly married New York couple who visit their old friends Sharyl and Joel in their huge Midwestern home. Despite their wealth, the hosts are in a bitterly destructive marriage. A few years later, the couples reunite in New York, but the tables are turned as the young couple struggles with parenthood and finances, only to discover their old friends even more successful and much happier than before. Courtesy of SLAMDANCE.com
Two short films that screened at the 2012 Woodstock Film Festival will also take a bow at Slamdance. Glory Days filmed in the Hudson Valley by Vassar College grad Benjamin Rutkowski is the story of Jack, a recovering alcoholic and divorced father of two, who gets the chance to spend some quality time with his children over the weekend. He uses the opportunity to take them on a trip to Upstate New York for a New Years Eve party, where he must confront demons of his past and prove his competence as a father.
Noam Sussman's Gum, will also screen at Slamdance 2013.
Quartet, the directorial debut of Dustin Hoffman (and a WFF 2012 Official Selection)makes its theatrical debut on January 11 in New York with more cities to come.
Quartet is a comedy starring Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon and Pauline Collins. The film tells the story of Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly) and Cissy (Collins) who reside in Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Each year they stage a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday, which also raises funds for the home. Reggie’s ex-wife Jean (Smith) arrives at the home and creates tension, playing the diva part but refusing to sing in the concert.
Avi Zev Weider's 2012 WFF Official Selection Welcome to the Machine will make it's Brooklyn premiere starting on January 11 for a limited run at ReRun Gastropub. For tickets head to the ReRun Theater website. Weider, composer Michael Montes and co-editor Ann Husaini will be in attendance for a post screening Q&A at the January 11, 7:30 show!
Upon becoming the father to triplets, filmmaker Avi Zev Weider explores the nature of technology. Woven together with expert interviews and portraits of people who have intimate relationships with technology, Welcome To The Machine takes the conversation away from the business of technology or the latest gadgets and leads the audience to ultimately consider questions of life and death, revealing that all discussions about technology are really about what it means to be human.
|ON DVD and VOD
2012 WFF Official Selection Arcadia, starring Oscar nominee John Hawkes hits Cable VOD curtesy of Film Movement beginning January 13. The film will run through March 13 on Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon and many other cable systems.
Check out the film's Facebook page to stay abreast of the latest news.
A coming-of-age story set in a vast, cross-country landscape, Arcadia begins when twelve-year-old Greta's dad Tom (Academy Award nominated actor John Hawkes) wakes her up before dawn and crams her and her two siblings into a dented station wagon. They set off on a 3,000 mile journey from the New England woods to the California desert. On the way, Tom tells enchanting stories, paints pictures of a California paradise, and assures the kids that Mom will soon join them. Greta believes him at first, mesmerized by the strange new scenery and clinging to her stuffed bunny Harrison. Older sister Caroline nonchalantly accepts his stories, more focused on the boyfriend she's leaving behind. And nine-year-old Nat, too young to suspect a thing, is eager to see the epic Grand Canyon. But Tom's mood shifts as often as the landscape outside their window, and the kids soon find themselves in increasingly unpleasant and even dangerous situations. Mom's presence seems to recede further with every mile they travel.
Keep the Lights On chronicles an emotionally and sexually charged journey of two men in New York City through love, friendship, and addiction. Documentary filmmaker Erik (Thure Lindhardt) and closeted lawyer Paul (Zachary Booth, Damages) meet through a casual encounter, but soon find a deeper connection and become a couple. Individually and together, they are risk takers – compulsive, and fueled by drugs and sex. In an almost decade-long relationship defined by highs, lows, and dysfunctional patterns, Erik struggles to negotiate his own boundaries and dignity while being true to himself. Director Ira Sachs' fearlessly personal screenplay is anchored by Lindhardt, who embodies Erik's isolation and vulnerability with a gentle presence. Harrowing and romantic, visceral and layered, Keep the Lights On is a film that looks at love and all of its manifestations, taking it to dark depths and bringing it back to a place of grace. Keep the Lights On was partly shot in the Hudson Valley.
Keep the Lights On will be available on DVD, BluRay as well as streaming on January 22.
Dexter's Michael C. Hall stars as Morris Bliss a 35 year old still living with his father who stumbles into an awkward relationship with the sexually precocious, 18-year-old daughter (Brie Larson) of a former high school classmate (Brad Henke), Morris quickly discovers his static life comically unraveling and opening up in ways that are long overdue. Featuring quirky characters and performances by Lucy Liu, Chris Messina and Sarah Shahi.
The Felice Brothers opening for Mumford and Sons
That's right, Catskill's very own The Felice Brothers will open two nights for the internationally renowned band Mumford and Sons. Catch them on February 5 in Boston and February 6 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn! Tickets are available now on Ticketmaster. Starting in May, they will tour with singer-songwriter Josh Ritter starting in May.
Paul Green, founder of School of Rock and WFF music director, presents the Music of Jesus Christ Superstar, a rock concert style presentation of the original cast recording, performed by awesome rock musicians including many WFF alumni (see bold) — Ray Belli, Katie Benevento, Richard Bennett, Jeremy Bernstein, Tracy Bonham, Jason Bowman, Zak Carey, Inyo Charbonneau, Gail Ann Dorsey, Peter Dougan, Heidi Emrich, Joey Eppard, Aaron Freeman, Daria Grace, Lisa Soden Green, Paul Green, Ida Hakkila, Rachel Havens, Connor Kennedy, Jesse Krakow, Dr. Know, Jesse Lauter, Acacia Ludwig, Chris Miller, Clip Payne, Joe Russo, Keith Slattery, Isaac Sorensen, Matt Stauffer, Tim Sutton, Zach Tenorio Miller, CJ Tywoniak, and Lindsey Webster. *Performers are Subject to Change. Opening entertainment will feature mentalist Lucas Handwerker.
Tickets are on sale for 2 PERFORMANCES ONLY - February 9 & 10 at the Bearsville Theater. Proceeds will benefit the Woodstock Day School.
|HUDSON VALLEY FILM COMMISSION NEWS
2012 was a busy 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.
2013 is already looking to be just as busy with 5 feature films on top to shoot in the early part of the year.
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 using Paypal below.
|SPONSOR THE 2013 WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL!
After a big THANK YOU to all our great sponsors for the 2012, it's time to start thinking about 2013!
Becoming a WFF sponsor provides opportunities such as exposing your brand to audiences, filmmakers and industry professionals of the best contemporary filmmaking from the US and the world. WFF features passionate, creative, captivating and affirming works by today's most promising and accomplished independent filmmakers. This 5-day event generates large, enthusiastic audiences and a gamut of promotional opportunities for your company.
WFF Sponsorships come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We offer Presenting, Platinum, Gold and Silver levels, as well as Signature Sponsorships (new in 2012). We'll work with you to custom fit a partnership that works for your business marketing goals!
For more information or to find out how to purchase ad space, visit our sponsorship page!