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Woodstock FF Celebrates 10th Anniversary

 

The Woodstock Film Festival, which opens this evening with a pre-Festival screening of Oscar winning documentarian Barbara Kopple's WOODSTOCK: NOW AND THEN, is celebrating its 10th anniversary as one of the independent film festival's most intriguing and enjoyable events.

The Festival, which runs through Sunday, is set in the idyllic town of Woodstock, New York, about 3 hours north of Manhattan. While many might associate the town with the legendary 1969 rock concert (and cultural event), the fact is that the mud-and-music event was held 40 miles away in Bethel, NY (although the original plan was to hold it there). However, the hippie vibe of that period is still alive and well in Woodstock, where peace signs, tie-dye and alternative everything still thrives (where smoking pipes are not expressly for tobacco....if you know what I mean).

The festivities kick off this evening with a pre-Festival premiere of WOODSTOCK: NOW & THEN. Featuring never-before-seen footage, photographs and illustrations of the 1969 concert, this documentary examines Woodstock and the extent of its influence through today's musicians, artists, and political figures. Following the film, there will be a special reception attended by Executive Producer and 1969 Woodstock promoter Michael Lang and two-time Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple (Harlan County, USA, American Dream).

The official Opening Night Film Gala is tomorrow evening, when the Festival will present the East Coast Premiere of THE MESSENGER, directed by Oren Moverman. A Sundance FF favorite starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, and Samantha Morton, this moving and important film depicts the story of an American soldier who struggles with an ethical dilemma when he becomes involved with a widow of a fallen officer.The film, which won a Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festivalwill screen at the Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock, followed by a Q&A and reception with the director, producer and select cast members.

The Festival Centerpiece Film, to screen on Friday evening, is YOUTH IN REVOLT, directed by Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Chuck and Buck). Based on C.D. Payne's cult-hit novel of the same name, and starring indie darling Michael Cera, the film is a unique and outrageous coming of age story. Nick Twisp (Michael Cera), is a hapless youth who creates a bad-boy alternate persona Fran¡ois Dillinger to attract love interest Sheeni (Portia Doubleday). Despite his success with Sheeni, Fran¡ois may prove to be more trouble that Nick can handle. The all-star ensemble cast includes Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, Fred Willard, Zach Galifianakis, and Mary Kay Place, among others. The film made its international premiere earlier this month at the Deauville Film Festival.

With a mix of film premieres, special events, seminar panels and some of the more outrageous parties on the film festival circuit, the Woodstock Film Festival is a delight for the eye, the ear and what is left of the mind. I will bring these and other senses to bear in my reportage over the next five days. For more information, visit: www.woodstockfilmfestival.com

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor

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(International Media Resources)

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

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