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A Film Feast At Woodstock FF


 

You maybe have heard of Woodstock.....the pastoral country town, not just the famed music festival. For those in the know, the two should not be confused, since the seminal 1969 music concert happened nearly 50 miles away. But the spirit of those times lives on in Woodstock, New York, where films fill the screen, music rocks the clubs and, oh yes, pot smoke (still) is in the air. Tie-dye still reigns in this Catskills bohemia, and each year the hippies (now entering menopause) join forces with the shiny young things to celebrate indie and international cinema at the Woodstock Film Festival.

For its 11th edition, the Woodstock Film Festival will play host to some 150 films, with the the New York premiere of STONE, an intense thriller starring Robert DeNiro and Edward Nortoon closing the event, with director John Curran in attendance. Starting September 29, with the local premiere of the zeitgeist documentary FREAKONOMICS, the Catskill Mountain towns of  Woodstock and neighboring Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Mt. Tremper and Kingston will be showcases of cinema gold, a perfect compliment to the red/brown/gold stamp of the annual fall foliage season. In all, the Festival boasts 11 world premieres, 20 U.S. and 14 East Coast debuts and 13 New York premieres.

The lineup, like the town itself, is rather eclectic. HENRY'S CRIME, a US premiere starring Keanu Reeves, will be the event's Spotlight Film. Reeves himself will be in ttown to receive the Excellence In Acting award at the Festival's Gala Maverick Awards on Saturday evening, October 2nd. Other honorees that evening include veteran director Bruce Beresford (who will also be the focus of an on-stage interview preceding the screening of his Oscar winning film TENDER MERCIES early Saturday) and indie distribution maven Bob Berney.

Another highly buzzed title is INHALE, the English-language debut of acclaimed Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur. With a high-powered cast that includes Dermot Mulroney, Diane Kruger, Sam Shepard, Vincent Perez and Rosanna Arquette, the film tells the compelling tale of a district attorney and his wife who get ensnared in the Mexican crime underworld in order to secure a lung transplant for their daughter. Kormakur, the respected director of such acclaimed titles as 101 REJKAVIK and JAR CITY,  will be in attendance for the Q & A following the film. Other strong films that have made waves on the international film festival circuit include LENNON NYC, a documentary portrait of musician and activist John Lennon's years in the Big Apple; THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR, an eye-opening documentary on technological convergence theory as espoused by futurist Ray Kurzweil;  and actor-turned-director Vincent D'Onofrio's fright-night debut DON'T GO INTO THE WOODS.

The Festival is grounded by its Narrative Feature, Documentary and Short Film competitions, which feature a varied and provocative mix of stories and filmmaking styles.“We have an extraordinarily diverse program this year that challenges the way we perceive and think about the world,” WFF co-founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein declared in a statement. “We are proud to present a line-up that explores our innate desire to make personal connections, while reflecting on the cautionary aspects of the changing technological and environmental landscape."

For more information on these films and other events at the Woodstock Film Festival, visit: www.woodstockfilmfestival.com or check in on this site for all the groovy vibes and hippie hellraising  (hey, pass that doobie over here.....)

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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