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The Woodstock Film Festival of 2009

As the vestiges of summer give way to the crispness of October, it’s time again for the yearly local cinematic love-in that is the Woodstock Film Festival. Celebrating their tenth year, the WFF—working in conjunction with the Hudson Valley Film Commission—has become an industry favorite, with the bucolic setting of the world-famous arts town a relaxing counterpoint to the hustle of the larger city-based film festivals.

For five days (September 30-October 4), the town of Woodstock plays host to filmmakers, writers, directors, cinematographers, actors, musicians, and film lovers. There will be multiple screenings, seminars, and concerts, with additional events and screenings in Rhinebeck, Rosendale, and Kingston At roll press time, a complete schedule is unavailable; check the website at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com for updated information.

As a “fiercely independent” festival, WFF embraces its local heritage, making it a destination for movies with a musical bent, as well as a sense of Hudson Valley locality. With over 150 films, panels, and concerts to choose from, we’d like to make you aware of projects and premieres with regional flavor and/or participants.

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Against the Current (East Coast Premiere) is a heartfelt drama directed by Peter Callahan (Last Ball), that depicts a man, haunted by a tragic loss in his past, who is determined to swim the length of the Hudson River from Troy to New York City. Showcasing tour-de-force performances by Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk and Elizabeth Reaser, this beautiful film paints a unique portrait of the Hudson River and its surrounding countryside.

The Perfect Age of Rock 'n' Roll (East Coast Premiere) featuring Lukas Haas, Peter Fonda and Ruby Dee, was directed by Scott Rosenbaum and produced by Joe White. The story tells of a young musician, eager to avoid being a one-hit wonder, returning home to unite with a former collaborator and childhood friend. "I have been a part time local of Woodstock for about ten years," says White. "There are few places where all forms of art can come together and flourish in harmony while maintaining integrity. As a filmmaker I have always admired the Woodstock Film Festival for its commitment to that integrity."

October Country (New York Premiere) portrays the hardships of blue-collar life in New York's Mohawk Valley. The documentary tells the story of a family haunted by war, teen pregnancy, foster care and child abuse. First time directors Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher's film uses rich visual metaphors and floats through multiple storylines to paint a portrait of a family: unique in their own right but representative of the struggles of America's working class.

Splinterheads (East Coast Premiere) is a romantic comedy that tells the story of Justin Frost (newcomer Thomas Middleditch) a lazy, good for nothing, who, while visiting the local carnival, falls for sexy carnie con artist Galaxy (Rachel Taylor), and begins to understand that there's more to life than doing nothing. Several scenes were shot locally in Pine Bush, New Paltz and High Falls, NY. The film was written and directed by Brant Sersen, whose last film, Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story was also filmed in the Hudson Valley.

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SHORT FILMS WITH REGIONAL INSPIRATION

The 4th of July Parade (World Premiere) is a touching mother and daughter story shot all around the Hudson Valley in Woodstock, Saugerties, Kingston, and Catskill. Directed by Ulster County resident Miranda Rhyne.

A Horse is Not a Metaphor by Woodstock resident Barbara Hammer received the prestigious Teddy Award for Best LGBT short film at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. The film is a hopeful, multilayered experimental film with music by Meredith Monk that offers a first-person account of surviving—and thriving—with cancer.

The Bell (World Premiere) is based on the Emerson poem of the same name and was directed by Erik Weigel (El Camino) who spent the summer living in a Woodstock house once owned by famed American director Preston Sturges. The short film, which is narrated by Martin Sheen, stars local children and was filmed on location at the Woodstock Day School in Woodstock, NY.

Knife Point follows a family that crosses paths with a traveling salesman at the end of his rope. The short is directed by Delaware County native Carlo Mirabella-Davis and was filmed in East Meredith, Delhi, Oneonta, and Hamden, NY. In addition to the crew, the lead actor Lev Gorn and Davis Hall have local connections.

Love and Roadkill was directed by John David Allen and filmed entirely in Columbia County. The film was produced by Columbia County resident James Ivory (A Room With A View, Howard's End) and features local actor Bill Camp.

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MUSIC THEMED FILMS…WITH LOCAL FLAVOR

Music We Are, a documentary by Woodstock resident Mirav Ozeri, provides a rare look into the creative process of legendary jazz drummer Jack Dejohnette (2008 Grammy winner), Danilo Perez and John Patitucci as they create their latest album. The film was shot entirely in Catskill, NY.

OOOM: Out of Our Minds is a stunning, mythical and musical journey, occurring in three time periods. Conceived by musician Melissa Auf der Maur (Hole/Smashing Pumpkins) and birthed by Filmmaker Tony Stone (Severed Ways: The Norse Discovery of America), this mini epic is proudly self-produced and shot in the Hudson Valley on high definition video fueled entirely by solar power.

Stooge (World Premiere) by Woodstock-raised director Mickey Breitenstein, is relationships, monogamy and infidelity. The short film was shot in Woodstock; Will Lytle, the Director of Photography, is an Onteora Graduate and a former student of the Indie Program. Actor Aren Stirbl grew up and was part of the Youth Theater Program in Woodstock.


The Woodstock Film Festival runs September 30 through October 4, in the towns of Woodstock, Kingston, Rosendale, and Rhinebeck.
Contact www.woodstockfilmfestival.com for scheduling and ticket/venue information, or call 845.679.4265.



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