17th edi­tion of Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val set to run this week in var­i­ous lo­cales in re­gion

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian Hu­bert bhu­bert@free­manon­line.com @bri­anat­free­man on Twit­ter

WOOD­STOCK >> Film lovers can choose from more than 120 films — rang­ing from shorts and an­i­ma­tion to full-length doc­u­men­taries and nar­ra­tives — along with eight dif­fer­ent pan­els, at this year’s Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val.

The Fes­ti­val runs Thurs­day through Sun­day with venues in Wood­stock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Sauger­ties and Rosendale.

“We want to give a re­flec­tive pic­ture of where film­mak­ing is,” Meira Blaustein, the Fes­ti­val’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor and co-founder, said.

The fes­ti­val seeks to high­light the wide range of sub­jects and styles used by a very di­verse range of the in­de­pen­dent film world. “You’ll find very lit­tle Hol­ly­wood here,” she said.

The fes­ti­val, in its 17th year, cel­e­brates creativ­ity, artistry, strong sub­ject mat­ter and pas-


“It cel­e­brates vi­sion­ar­ies, young and old and near and far, who tell us pas­sion­ate sto­ries,” Blaustein said.

While the Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val gen­er­ally shies away from Hol­ly­wood, it at­tracts many celebrities — in­clud­ing Alec Bald­win, who will be in town Thurs­day night for the world pre­miere of “Blind.”

“Blind” tells the story of Bill Oak­land, an award­win­ning nov­el­ist who loses his wife and his site in a ter­ri­ble car crash.

“He’s re­ally good in it,” saod Blaustein, adding that past stars have in­cluded Peter Gabriel.

“We have a lot of them,” Blaustein said. “It’s re­ally, re­ally won­der­ful to have them. I’m thrilled he’s com­ing, but I’m also thrilled young film­mak­ers from China are com­ing.”

Blaustein said she takes great pride in how the fes­ti­val pairs some of the most ac­com­plished names in the film in­dus­try with those just start­ing out. She re­called how she of­ten sees well-known film­mak­ers be­ing whisked away by limos at the end of screen­ings at other fes­ti­vals, adding that does not hap­pen at the Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val.

“It’s very Demo­cratic here. There’s no caste sys­tem, no one be­ing whisked away in limos,” Blaustein said. “There’s a great mix­ture of those at top and those just start­ing out.”

Like years past, the fes­ti­val’s lineup is com­prised of a mix­ture of films shot all over the word, across the U.S. — in­clud­ing the Hudson Val­ley.

“11:55,” a Latino-cen­tric film shot in New­burgh, cen­ters around vet­er­ans re­turn­ing home from com­bat.

“It’s all about the tran­si­tion from that space back to the com­mu­nity,” she said. “How easy or hard is it?”

The film makes its New York pre­miere at Up­state Films in Wood­stock at 1 p.m. Thurs­day and at the Rosendale The­atre at noon on Sun­day.

“Ev­ery­one is go­ing to be here form the cast to the crew,” Blaustein said.

Shot in the KingstonArea, “Lit­tle Boxes” is about a multi-ra­cial fam­ily who moves from Brook­lyn to a small town on the West Coast. It will be screened at the Rosendale The­atre at 7:30 p.m. Thurs­day and at 11:45 a.m. Sun­day at the Wood­stock Play­house.

“In Brook­lyn, they’re a nor­malcy, and in that lit­tle town they were an odd­ity,” Blaustein said. “They’re liv­ing a mul­tira­cial life in white Amer­ica. The film­maker and cast will also be on hand for this film.”

“My First Kiss and The Peo­ple In­volved,” shot in Delaware County, makes its East Coast premier.

“It was made with a very low bud­get,” Blaustein said. “It’s about an autis­tic, non­ver­bal young women who lives in a group home. How she deals with liv­ing in a group home and how she deals with a mur­der.”

Other high­lights in­clude the doc­u­men­tary “Marathon: The Pa­tri­ots Day Bomb­ing,” sched­uled to be screened at Up­state Films in Rhinebeck at 6 p.m. Fri­day and at the Bearsville The­ater in Wood­stock at 4:15 p.m. on Satur­day.

“The movie is re­ally about the sur­vivors of the marathon bomb­ing, and the power of the hu­man spirit,” Blaustein said. “It’s done so beau­ti­fully,”

Three sur­vivors of the April 15, 2013 bomb­ings will join the di­rec­tors for the screen­ings, she said.

“It’s re­ally worth it to see the film, and be in­spired by the hu­man­ity of it,” Blaustein said. “Neruda,” a Span­ish Lan­guage film, tells the story of famed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

“It’s po­lit­i­cal, but ex­tremely poetic,” said Blaustein, speak­ing of the film which will be shown at the Wood­stock Play­house at 1:30 p.m. Satur­day.

In 17 years film­mak­ing tech­nol­ogy has gone through rapid change from film to video and dig­i­tal, she said. While film­mak­ing is eas­ier than ever from a tech­ni­cal stand­point, Blaustein said a film is still driven by a film.

“Rather it’s be­come eas­ier to pick up a cam­era, it’s just as com­pli­cated for an artist to cre­ate and come up with a good story that will move you,” Blaustein said. “You have to have a good story and know how to tell it.

“There’s far more films that are out there, es­pe­cially doc­u­men­taries, that delve into sto­ries far deeper than any jour­nal­ist can.”

These have the power that to bring us any­thing that takes place, she added.

“We have a few films about rev­o­lu­tions shot right in the midst of them,” Blaustein said. “The film­mak­ers are of­ten imbed­ded at the risk of their own lives telling sto­ries that can move us.”

Film buffs can also choose from eight dif­fer­ent pan­els at the Klein­ert/ James Cen­ter near the Vil­lage Green.

“We bring some strong in­ter­est­ing mem­bers in their fields,” Blaustein said. “They have 30 min­utes to an one hour to con­verse with the au­di­ence and ex­plain what they do and things re­lated to what they do. “It’s in­spir­ing and fun.” This year’s fes­ti­val fea­tures a record num­ber of women-driven pan­els, Blaustein said.

At 2 p.m. Satur­day is “Women in Film and Me­dia,” and at 2 p.m. Sun­day is a panel on fem­i­nism in the Mid­dle East.

Blaustein said this panel, pair­ing aca­demics and these women, com­ple­ments the “The Promised Band,” a doc­u­men­tary about a group of Pales­tinian Young women who be­friended each other and cre­ated a band just as ex­cused to criss­cross bor­ders.

The “Telling Their Sto­ries” panel at noon on Sun­day at Klein­ert James Cen­ter fea­tures Delaware County res­i­dent Roger Ross Wil­liams, an Academy Award win­ning doc­u­men­tary film­maker.

The au­di­ence can chat with the pan­elists af­ter each ses­sion, Blaustein said.

“No­body is whisk­ing them away,” Blaustein said. “That’s a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity.

“There’s a ca­sual at­mos­phere with re­ally, re­ally great peo­ple in the field.”

At the Mav­er­ick Awards cer­e­mony at BSP on Wall Street in Up­town Kingston, start­ing at 7 p.m. Satur­day, Par­tic­i­pant Me­dia CEO David Linde, will re­ceive the Trail­blazer Award. Writer, di­rec­tor and pro­ducer Oren Mover­man will re­ceive the Fiercely In­de­pen­dent Award, while the Life­time Achieve­ment Award will go to pro­ducer, ed­i­tor and cin­e­matog­ra­pher Leon Gast.

As for find­ing the per­fect bal­ance of lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tal­ent to fill out the Fes­ti­val, Blaustein said she isn’t sure that is even pos­si­ble.

“I don’t know if we ever find the per­fect bal­ance,” she said. “I think we’re look­ing for a di­verse lineup.”


The win­dow of the fes­ti­val head­quar­ters on Rock City Road in Wood­stock.

Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Meira Blaustein in the box of­fice on Rock City Road in Wood­stock.


An old film reel sits in the box of­fice win­dow at the Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val.


Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val press staff in the up­stairs of­fice at the fes­ti­val head­quar­ters on Rock City Road in Wood­stock. From left are: Press Di­rec­tor Deb Me­den­bach, Deputy Press Di­rec­tor Kaela Gar­rett , and Press As­sis­tant Rachel Wells.


This year’s art work for the Wood­stock Film Fes­ti­val.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.