To view online, visit http://woodstockfilmfestival.com/newsletters/15_01.htm
|IN MEMORIAM: 2014
In 2014, the Woodstock Film Festival hit a milestone with its 15th Anniversary and it was celebrated with style. Filmmakers attended at an all time high from all corners of the world as WFF presented 22 world premieres; 5 North American premieres, 2 US premieres, 18 East Coast premieres and 21 New York Premieres. Celebrities, including Natalie Portman, Jennifer Connelly, Courteney Cox, Seann William Scott, Robert Vaughn and Paul Wesley added press and audience buzz.
2014 has been hailed as our best year yet but it was also marked with sadness as several beloved members of our extended Woodstock Film Festival family passed away. We would like to take a moment and remember some of our dear friends and to remember them with light and love: Vincent "Jay" Andretta III, Lee Blumer, Kit Carson, Jim Dodge, Mary-Wynne Deyo, Steven M. Eggleston, William Greaves, Kenneth A. Krausman, Mery H. Rosado.
|2014 YEAR END FUND DRIVE
2014 is coming to a close and we need your help.
To make a DONATION please CLICK HERE
Thank you for your kind consideration.
|CALL FOR ENTRIES
The 16th Annual Woodstock Film Festival is now open for submissions. We are looking for films in all categories including narratives, documentaries, shorts, music videos, animation and teen films.
Our Deadlines are:
We are looking forward to year 16, which will feature lots of special year round events and programs at the Fall Festival, September 30 - October 5, 2015. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements!
The Hollywood Award season has kicked off in earnest with the announcements of nominations from major competitions like the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards and Oscar nominations are just a month away. Two films with WFF ties are major players.
|FILMMAKER THOUGHTS: ANDREA KALIN
This month, WFF continue to bring you thoughts from participating filmmakers. Andrea Kalin co-directed the powerful documentary RED LINES with Oliver Lukacs. The picture won the Films We Like Best Feature Documentary Award. The film goes inside Syria to focus on the tragedies unfolding during the ongoing civil war.
YouTube and the Syrian Revolution
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists [www.cpj.org], 77 professional journalists have been killed inside Syria since 2011 making Syria the most dangerous war zone in the world.
But in the vacuum of professional news coverage came forth a network of hundreds of citizen journalists armed with cellphones. With a click, brave activists captured gritty, unfiltered images of life inside war-torn Syria on their mobile phones and uploaded more than 300,000 videos to YouTube for an audience of millions worldwide.
While they may not be wielding assault rifles and RPGs on the front lines, many citizen journalists live under the constant threat of the Assad regime’s attempts to unveil their online identities that, if revealed, would mean arrest, torture or even death for them and their families.
To honor those who are selflessly risking their lives to document the Syrian uprising, the first ever Syria Mobile Phone Film Festival was created. The festival, which includes 13 original short films, features a wide variety of genres (documentary, experimental, narrative) all focusing on life for Syrians living in the shadow of a violent, armed conflict.
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival (@sundancefest) is rapidly approaching and there are a number of films that the Woodstock Film Festival is keeping tabs on, includingWHAT HAPPENED MISS SIMONE?, which was partly filmed in the Hudson Valley by director Liz Garbus.
|SUNDANCE: DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES
WHAT HAPPENED MISS SIMONE?
1998 Academy Award nominee Liz Garbus (THE FARM: ANGOLA, USA) has had a longtime association with WFF, starting in 2003 when she brought her film (GIRLHOOD) to Woodstock. In 2013 she sat on a WFF panel and served as a juror for the Documentary Feature award. Her new documentary explores the life of Nina Simone.
A classically trained musical genius, chart-topping chanteuse, and Black Power icon, Nina Simone is one of the most influential, beloved, provocative, and least understood artists of our time. On stage, she was known for utterly free, rapturous performances, earning her the epithet "High Priestess of Soul." But amid the violent, day-to-day fight for civil rights, she struggled to reconcile artistic ambition with her fierce devotion to a movement. Director Liz Garbus sensitively explores the constant state of opposition that trapped and tortured Simone—as a classical pianist pigeonholed in jazz, as a professional boxed in by family life, as a black woman in racist America—and in so doing, reveals a towering figure transcending categorization and her times. The film stays true to Simone's subjectivity by mining never-before-heard tapes, rare archival footage, and interviews with close friends and family. Charting Simone’s musical inventiveness alongside the arc of her Jim Crow childhood, defining role in the Civil Rights Movement, arrival at Carnegie Hall, self-imposed exile in Liberia, and solitary life in France, this astonishingly intimate yet epic portrait becomes a non-fiction musical—lush tracks and riveting story resonating inextricably. (Courtesy Sundance)
KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK
Brett Morgan has served WFF in three capacities, as a juror in 2005 for the Best Documentary Feature Award, as a panelist in 2008 and then as a filmmaker in 2010 with his documentary CHICAGO 10. Morgan now delves into the life and death of Kurt Cobain in a fully authorized film on the iconic grunge rocker.
Experience Kurt Cobain like never before in the first fully authorized portrait of the famed rock music icon. Director Brett Morgen expertly blends Cobain's personal archive of art, music, and never-before-seen home movies with animation and revelatory interviews with his family and closest confidantes. Following Kurt from his earliest years in Aberdeen, Washington, through the height of his fame, a visceral and detailed cinematic insight of an artist at odds with his surroundings emerges.
While Cobain craved the spotlight even as he rejected the trappings of fame, his epic arc depicts a man who stayed true to his earliest punk rock convictions, always identifying with the "outsider" and ensuring the music came first.
Fans and those of the Nirvana generation will learn things about Cobain they never knew while those who have recently discovered the man and his music will know what makes him the lasting icon that he is. (Courtesy Sundance)
GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF
WFF has screened three films directed by acclaimed filmmaker Alex Gibney (CLIENT 9, FREAKONOMICS, MEA MAXIMA CULPA). Gibney's highhly anticipated documentary; GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF explores the depths of Scientology. This is Gibney's 10th time at Sundance.
Following MEA MAXIMA CULPA, his investigation into the Catholic Church, Academy Award-winner Alex Gibney turns his gaze to Scientology in GOING CLEAR based on the book of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.
Gibney profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities, shining a light on how the church cultivates true believers, including their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion. The film covers a broad range of material from the church’s origins—punctuated by an intimate portrait of founder L. Ron Hubbard—to present-day practices and alleged abuses as reported in the media.
Fearless and fascinating, this latest cinematic opus from the man Esquire dubbed "the most important documentarian of our time" is a powerful exploration of the psychological impact of blind faith—what Lawrence Wright calls the "prison of belief." (Courtesy Sundance)
2014 WFF Filmmaker Patrick Brice (CREEP) makes his Sundance debut with a complete departure from his feature debut. THE OVERNIGHT is a thirtysomething comedy, a complete 180 from the...well...creepy, CREEP.
Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, have recently moved to Los Angeles’ Eastside from Seattle. Feeling lost in a new city, they are desperate to find their first new friends. After a chance meeting with Kurt at the neighborhood park, they gladly agree to join family pizza night at his home. But as it gets later and the kids go to bed, the family “playdate” becomes increasingly more revealing as the couples begin to open up.
Andrew Bujalski returns to Sundance with his latest feature RESULTS. Bujalski world premiered hi Funny Ha Ha at WFF. Mutual Appreciation screened at the 2005 Woodstock Film Festival.
Recently divorced, newly rich, and utterly miserable, Danny (Kevin Corrigan) would seem to be the perfect test subject for a definitive look at the relationship between money and happiness. Danny’s well-funded ennui is interrupted by a momentous trip to the local gym, where he meets self-styled guru/owner Trevor (Guy Pearce) and irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders). Soon, their three lives are inextricably knotted, both professionally and personally. (Courtesy Sundance)
THE STANDFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT
WFF 2009 alum Kyle Patrick Alvarez's (EASIER WITH PRACTICE) thought provoking new feature will make its premiere at Sundance. The film is produced by Brian Gerraghty.
It is the summer of 1971. Dr. Philip Zimbardo launches a study on the psychology of imprisonment. Twenty-four male undergraduates are randomly assigned to be either a guard or a prisoner. Set in a simulated jail, the project unfolds. The participants rapidly embody their roles—the guards become power hungry and sadistic while the prisoners, subject to degradation, strategize as underdogs. It soon becomes clear that, as Zimbardo and team monitor the escalation of action through surveillance cameras, they are not fully aware of how they too have become part of the experiment.
|SUNDANCE: US DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
BEST OF ENEMIES
Morgan Neville is a two time WFF Alum with 2007's THE COOL SCHOOL and 2008's JOHNNY CASH'S AMERICA.
In the summer of 1968, television news changed forever. Dead last in the ratings, ABC hired two towering public intellectuals to debate each other during the Democratic and Republican national conventions. William F. Buckley, Jr. was a leading light of the new conservative movement. A Democrat and cousin to Jackie Onassis, Gore Vidal was a leftist novelist and polemicist. Armed with deep-seated distrust and enmity, Vidal and Buckley believed each other’s political ideologies were dangerous for America. (Courtesy Sundance)
2003 WFF alum Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (A NORMAL LIFE) teams with American mountain climber Jimmy Chin on this harrowing documentary among the peaks of Mt. Meru in India.
Rising above the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the magnificent Shark’s Fin of Mount Meru is a 21,000-foot peak stacked with so many obstacles that it’s both a nightmare and an irresistible siren call for the world’s toughest climbers—many of whom have attempted and failed to summit the elusive mountain. Meru is the electrifying story of three elite American climbers—Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk—bent on achieving the impossible. (Courtesy Sundance)
|SUNDANCE: NARRATIVE PREMIERES
Director Michael Almereyda appeared as a panelist at the 4th Woodstock Film Festival in 2003, his new film EXPERIMENTER is set to make its debut in Park City. The film also features part time Hudson Valley resident John Leguizamo.
LAST DAYS IN THE DESSERT
Rodrigo Garcia's NINE LIVES was a 2005 WFF Official Selection. The filmmaker's new feature film, re-imagines the final days of Christ.
Ewan McGregor is mesmerizing as he takes on two of history’s most complicated and misunderstood characters: Jesus Christ and the Devil.
Sean Baker took home the 2008 WFF Maverick Award for Best Feature Film for Prince of Broadway, then screened Starlet in 2012. He now returns to Sundance with the drama TANGERINE.
It's Christmas Eve in Tinseltown, and Sin-Dee is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend hasn't been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the working girl and her best friend, Alexandra, embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles, including an Armenian family dealing with their own repercussions of infidelity.
Director Sean Baker’s prior films brought rich texture and intimate detail to worlds seldom seen on film. Tangerine follows suit, bursting off the screen with energy and style. Exhibiting fierce chemistry with his actors to fashion a dazzlingly distinctive film filled with humor and heart, Baker’s talent is on full display. A decidedly modern Christmas tale told on the real streets of L.A.,Tangerine defies expectation—a veritable cinematic jolt. (Courtesy Sundance)
LITTLE ACCIDENTS (@LAccidents)
WFF 2014 Official Selection Little Accidents will make its theatrical premiere January 16.
After a mine collapses in a small Appalachian community, sole survivor Amos Jenkins (beautifully played by Boyd Holbrook), finds himself embroiled in a court case surrounding the disaster. Families of deceased co-workers expect him to testify that the accident was the coal company's fault while miners untouched by the tragedy want him to keep quiet.
When the son of the mine's boss goes missing, a chain reaction is set off that impacts three very different families and gives an intimate view of what life is really like in the rust-belt.
Debut director Sara Colangelo handles her cast with such sensitivity and finesse that, while steeped in anguish, LITTLE ACCIDENTS is a beautiful, touching gem.
LOITERING WITH INTENT
LOITERING WITH INTENT starring WFF alums Sam Rockwell and Brian Gerraghty as well as Marisa Tomei comes to theaters on January 16. The movie was filmed in New York's Hudson Valley in 2013.
After a chance run-in with a film producer eager to invest in a new project, aspiring writers Dominic (Michael Godere) and Raphael (Ivan Martin) need to come up with a script fast, so the pair head to the seclusion of upstate New York to churn out their masterpiece. But when Dominic’s siren of a sister (Marisa Tomei) turns up desperate for reprieve from her boyfriend (Sam Rockwell), they soon realize they’re in for more than they bargained for as their creative retreat is increasingly waylaid by uninvited guests, romantic entanglements, and unexpected distractions. Isabelle McNally and a hilarious Brian Geraghty round out the ensemble cast of New York art world characters in this romantic comedy from director Adam Rapp. -Cara Cusumano (Tribeca Film Festival)
|Congratulations to David Baron of Edison Music Corp, for the GRAMMY NOD. In 2013, Baron composed three different scores for the Woodstock Film Festival trailers. View them on YOUTUBE.
The keyboard, organ, piano and saxophone parts for All About That Bass, by Meghan Trainor, were recorded in Boiceville, Ulster County, by musician David Baron. The song was also nominated for song of the year.
"I'm overwhelmed" said Baron, who will perform New Year's Eve at the Towne Crier Cafe in Beacon with Woodstock musician Simi Stone. "I'm very grateful. It's like winning the lottery. it's like the gods shining down on you." (excerpted from Poughkeepsie Journal)
The Paul Green Rock Academywill be hosting Stevie Wonder Tribute: A Benefit For The Woodstock Day School on January 3 at 7pm at the Bearsville Theater.
The Woodstock Film Festival welcomes a new restaurant to town. Shindig is co-owened by Lari Lang, daughter of long time friend and WFF advisory board member Michael Lang, and by Ryan Giuliani, long time friend and supporter of the Woodstock Film Festival.
If its scrumptious Hudson Valley granola that you want, mouth watering Grilled Cheese sandwich or healthy and tasty Grain Salad, or just people watching in the heart of Woodstock, Shindig is a great place to be in the new year.