16th ANNUAL WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL UNVEILS 2015 FILMS IN COMPETITION
OUTSTANDING NARRATIVES AND DOCUMENTARIES HIGHLIGHT FESTIVAL'S 16TH EDITION
Woodstock, NY (September 2015) – The Woodstock Film Festival annually dedicates itself to showcasing some of the best independent films for cinephiles near and far. As part of this year's superb lineup of Official Selections, a number of films will compete in the 2015 festival competition in various categories. Our panel of top-notch jurors – consisting of filmmakers and top industry professionals from various disciplines – have their work cut out for them as select narratives, documentaries and shorts programs vie for awards. Listed below are the films in competition in all categories and the competition's jurors.
Join us at the Maverick Awards Gala on Saturday, October 3 at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY, where the jury will announce all the winners in front of over 500 independent filmmakers, industry professionals and guests in attendance.
Official Jury 2015 to include:
Feature Narrative: Stephen Lang, Thelma Adams, Joana Vincente
Feature Doc: Simon Kilmurry, Alan Berliner, Sara Bernstein
Short Narratives: Benjamin Scott, Mary Stuart Masterson, Nancy Collet
Short Docs: Hugo Perez, Cynthia Kane, Jedd Wider
Student Shorts: David F. Schwartz, Isil Bagdadi, Marjoe Aquilling
Ultra Indie: Larry Fessenden, Lori Singer, Leah Meyerhoff
Editing Narrative: Michael Berenbaum, Meg Reticker, Sabine Hoffman
Editing Doc: Sabine Hoffman, Katherine Barnier, Chad Beck
Animation: Signe Baumane, Linda Beck
World Cinema: Claude Dal Farra, Lucy Barzun Donnelly
Cinematography: Haskell Wexler
DOCUMENTARIES IN COMPETITION
The babushkas of chernobyl
Directed by Holly Morris and anne bogart
east coast premiere
Here in the exclusion zone life never stopped, nature just took over. So says Valentyna Ivanivna, one of a remarkable group of elderly babushkas living in the shadows of Chernobyl in some of the most toxic land on earth. Ironically, this contaminated earth produces herbs, fruits and vegetables that seem to sustain the babushkas. How is it possible that these ancient women continue to thrive? Is the deep and enduring friendship they share part of the answer? Evacuees were told they could never return, but motherland is everything. Each person should live where their soul desires, says one. THE BABUSHKAS OF CHERNOBYL is a fascinating and powerful film, with indelible images and a near perfect score.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films Woodstock 12:00pm and Sat. 10/3 at Rosendale Theatre 12:00pm.
buried above ground
directed by ben selkow
BURIED ABOVE GROUND brings to light the global health condition we now recognize as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by sharing the courageous journeys of three Americans wrestling with the aftermath of devastating events. Struggle along with U.S. Army captain Luis Montalván, back from the Iraq War, as he learns to cope with his inner war wounds and resurface via the bond he forms with his service dog, Tuesday. Relive Hurricane Katrina with evacuee Ashley as she pledges to rebuild her home while she rebuilds herself. Empathize with Erundina, fighting to stay sober and go back to school after surviving child abuse and domestic violence. Filmed over six years, with intimate access to these survivors as they unburden themselves of the past, BURIED ABOVE GROUND pays tribute to the human spirit and the skill of the filmmaker.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 1:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 5:15pm.
Directed by Hillevi Loven
East Coast Premiere
Growing up is difficult. But when you are a boy living in the body of a girl in rural North Carolina, life can be extremely complicated. Meet 17-year-old Spazz, exiled by her family, rejected by her ex, with no one to lean on for support. When Spazz falls in love again, she finds the courage to transition to Cole Ray Davis, a gutsy trans young man. Directed by social justice activist Hillevi Loven and executive produced by LGBTQ supporter Susan Sarandon, DEEP RUN is Cole's coming-of-age and coming-out story. It is also an intimate exploration of young outsiders in an insular Christian community, whose candid humor and steadfast beliefs help them face the harsh, gritty reality of their daily lives. With a small group of supportive friends, relatives, and his girlfriend, Ashley, Cole's search for love and belonging leads him to a radical revision of what faith and church can be.
Screening Thurs. 10/2 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 11:45pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 6:00pm.
Drawing the tiger
directed by amy benson, scott squire, and ramyata limbu
new york premiere
In rural Nepal, where each day is a work-filled struggle to survive, young Shanta Darnal is her family's hope for something better. When Shanta is awarded a scholarship to attend school in the city, they envision circumstances changing. And so they do, but in a way neither the family nor the filmmakers, who spent seven years filming, could have anticipated. DRAWING THE TIGER is an unflinchingly real and almost unbearably touching portrait of an impoverished family and a young girl faced with an enormous responsibility. In their first feature-length production, Amy Benson and Scott Squire exhibit an amazing commitment to telling the story of a family and a culture, even when, as can happen with a documentary, happenstance takes the story in an unplanned direction.
Screening Thurs. 10/1 at Upstate Films Woodstock 1:30pm and Sat. 10/3 at Orpheum Theater Saugerties 2:30pm.
directed by noa roth
north american premiere
Deep family secrets and heartfelt attempts to heal broken relationships are the crux of this moving documentary about the little known world of the extreme orthodox Jewish population. Directed by Noa Roth, FAMILY MATTERS is her unflinching journey of self discovery as she tells the story of how, 30 years ago, the divorce of her parents shook the religious Israeli city of Bney Barak and affected the lives of their seven children. Her father was an esteemed rabbi; after she left with the children, her mother became a renowned author. Following a family divided between the conflicting worlds of the ultra-orthodox and the secular, Roth bravely travels among the ghosts of her childhood in an attempt to reunite her fractured family and, finally, start one of her own. Told with respect and love for both worlds, Roth's film is a testament to self-empowerment and the deep-seated force of religious life.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films Woodstock 2:30pm and Sat. 10/3 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 3:30pm.
i will not be silenced
directed by judy rymer
east coast premiere
Charlotte Campbell got more than she bargained for when she left her home in Australia to volunteer in Africa to help orphans and vulnerable kids and experience the Kenyan way of life. She became the victim of a violent daytime rape by a gang of young thugs. Assuming the police and the court system would meet out justice, Charlotte reported the attack and landed at the intersection of law and culture. While rape has become a pandemic in Kenya, especially in the slums, women are afraid to report it out of embarrassment and fear of reprisal from the police. Charlotte, determined to find justice, set out to empower other rape victims, many of whom were sexualized at a young age through poverty, poor living conditions, and gender bias. Mobilizing women to stand up to the rapists, Charlotte's journey is a story of courage in the face of enormous obstacles. An inspirational and unforgettable film.
Screening Sat. 10/3 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 11:45am and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 3:30pm.
directed by e. chai vasarhelyi
east coast premiere
In the spring of 2011, Senegal was pitched into crisis when President Abdoulaye Wade decided to change the constitution to allow for a third term. An artist-led youth movement - the Y'en a Marre (Enough is Enough) -- erupted to protect one of Africa's oldest and most stable democracies. Fourteen candidates ran for president. INCORRUPTIBLE follows the main players: incumbent President Wade, opposition candidate Macky Sall and music superstar Youssou Ndour, along with the Y'en a Marre movement. Displaying passion, exuberance, corruption, religious ploys, a call for accountability, collaboration, and the registration of 300,000 new voters, the results were stunning. The film explores this transition and asks: after you unite against something, what do you then unite for? With democracies around the world under siege, INCORRUPTIBLE offers hope, while honestly examining the sustainability of a peoples' movement and the role youth are taking to shape the future.
Screening Sat. 10/3 at Upstate Films Woodstock 12:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films I Rhinebeck 5:30pm.
the student body
directed by bailey and michael webber
east coast premiere
Tenth grade filmmaker Bailey Webber is on a mission. The investigation begins when her school district implements a controversial mandate forcing schools to perform Body Mass Index tests in a misguided attempt to address childhood obesity. After a sixth grader voices her protest against the "fat letters," Webber recognizes the injustice of telling children they are fat if they don't fall within a narrowly accepted range. Believing they are being unfairly profiled and bullied, her keen inquiry includes a relentless chase after the bureaucrat who sponsored the law. Despite the filmmaker's youth, THE STUDENT BODY is a sophisticated, smart, steadfast, sensitive, and often humorous chronicle of two brave girls who expose the hypocrisy of grownups who think they are safeguarding the nation's young.
Screening Sat. 10/3 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 1:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 2:30pm.
The Three Hikers
Directed by natalie avital
east coast premiere
Sarah Shourd, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, human rights activists and educators, got more than they bargained for when, in 2009, they inadvertently stepped out of Kurdistan and stumbled into Iran. Caught in the turmoil of strained diplomatic relations following the notorious 1979 hostage-taking episode and more recent student uprisings protesting rigged elections, the three were thrown into prison and charged with crimes punishable by death. With limited access to diplomatic intervention -- the Swiss Ambassador, the Sultan of Oman, and behind-the scenes American efforts played a role -- the plight of the three sparked a grassroots movement that eventually caught the attention of Desmond Tutu, Sean Penn and Cesar Chavez. Far more than a story of wrongful imprisonment, THE THREE HIKERS is a testament to courage, endurance and the power of love.
Screening Sat. 10/3 at Upstate Films I Rhinebeck 3:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 12:00pm.
narrative features in competition
band of robbers
directed by aaron nee & adam nee
east coast premiere
Expertly adapting the characters from Mark Twain's seminal stories into the 21st century, BAND OF ROBBERS is a clever escapade that truly honors the essence of its source material. We meet thrill-seeking Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer as young boys pursuing adventure. But the authorities have a different concept of fun, and after being released from his latest stay in prison, petty crook Huck hopes to leave his criminal activities behind. But lifelong friend and corrupt police officer Tom has a different idea in mind. In a final endeavor to achieve their childhood dreams, Tom pulls the gang back together in the hopes of discovering a legendary treasure. Little do they know, this new caper will send them into more unexpected and dangerous territories than they ever faced as children. The sophomore feature from brothers Aaron and Adam Nee, with its impressively talented cast, comes together to create a slightly dark, but always witty comedy-adventure.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films Woodstock 7:00pm and Sat. 10/3 at the Rosendale Theatre 2:15pm.
blunt force trauma
directed by ken sanzel
Welcome to an underground, money-making subculture of people who wear bulletproof vests and shoot each other. Set against Colombia's majestic landscapes and impoverished villages, BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA follows two modern-day gunslingers, John and Colt, who are on parallel but very different journeys, one seeking excitement, the other revenge. Part action drama-part love story and always engrossing, their worlds collide with passion and pain as John and Colt each try to fulfill their own wants and at the same time keep each other safe in the dueling underworld. Writer/director Ken Sanzel weaves a yarn of loss, longing, alienation, and revenge, right up to the climactic moment of fleeting satisfaction when John finally meets the fight champion, impeccably played by Mickey Rourke. BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA is a visual masterpiece and a must-see film for anyone with an interest in realistic action dramas.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films Woodstock 9:30pm and Sun. 10/4 at The Orpheum Theater Saugerties 12:30pm.
good ol' boy
directed by frank lotito
east coast premiere
The year is 1979, when life was simpler but families were still complex, and an Indian family moves to America hoping to live the American Dream. Reminiscent of The Wonder Years, GOOD OL' BOY is an endearing coming-of-age story, where 10-year-old Smith falls for the girl next door and is caught between his family's Hindu traditions and his desire to become a "good old boy." While the children and their stories take the lead, GOOD OL' BOY challenges the stereotypical notion of both traditional Indian and predictable redneck families as the patriarchs help tell a compelling tale of the struggles of parenthood and married life for anyone of any race or background. By initially treating the characters as caricatures of themselves, we're given the chance to laugh with them as we watch how the depth of their characters and love for their families evolve. Adding to the mix, director Frank Lotito brilliantly incorporates the soundtrack as a character throughout, including Johnny Cash's "Don't Take Your Gun to Town," when all-American dad Butch takes his vegetarian neighbor on a big game hunting trip. No matter what your background, all it takes to fall in love with this movie is an open mind and an open heart.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at The Woodstock Playhouse 2:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at The Rosendale Theatre 2:30pm.
it had to be you
directed by sasha gordon
Sonia is a neurotic and utterly charming jingle writer who has always dreamt of a big and exciting life. Surprised by a sudden proposal of marriage and subsequent ultimatum from her easy-going boyfriend, Chris, Sonia has to decide whether she'll join the ranks of her married friends or take a leap to pursue her fantasies. Director Sasha Gordon, who worked on past WFF favorites Dear Lemon Lima (2009), God of Love (2010) and I Believe in Unicorns (2014), brings the same sensitivities to IT HAD TO BE YOU, her directorial debut. In this whimsical and edgy romantic comedy, that is raunchy yet gentle, she explores the choices women face today, while at the same time satirizing cultural expectations of gender and romance.
Screening Thurs. 10/1 at Upstate Films Woodstock 6:30pm and Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films I Rhinebeck 9:00pm.
love & taxes
directed by jacob kornbluth
east coast premiere
LOVE & TAXES is a riveting comic account of seven years of tax avoidance. Director Jacob Kornbluth takes on the role of "biographer," following the exploits of his brother Josh, who is an autobiographical monologist (think Spalding Gray). The child of a radical upbringing, Josh prides himself on living "outside the system." Thus, despite working for a high-powered tax attorney, he hasn't filed his taxes in seven years. When he decides to go legit, everything in his life takes an upward turn. Or does it? Part documentary, part narrative, LOVE & TAXES blends Josh's solo performances with scripted scenes to bring the subjective reality of the storyteller hilariously to life. What is real, what is exaggerated, we may never know. Nor does it matter. In this tale of procrastination, making movies and growing up, we are privy to a middle-aged coming-of-age story that is, quite possibly, the first ever pro-tax romantic comedy. A perfect antidote for these troubled financial times.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 3:30pm and Sun. 10/4 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 7:45pm.
directed by barney elliott
North american premiere
Set against a backdrop of international finance and intrigue in New York and Peru, OLIVER'S DEAL weaves an intricate tapestry of exploits, corruption, familial bonds, and human redemption that is as heartrending as it is troubling. Oliver Campbell, an American businessman played sympathetically by Stephen Dorff, finds himself torn between the icy corporate CEO portrayed to the tee by Academy Award nominee David Strathairn, and the poverty stricken Peruvian boy who tends the family's sheep and llamas while dreaming of a new life. Though cold hard greed propels the story, the suffering that eventually seeps in alters the trajectory and softens the hearts of some of the more hardcore characters. In this intense drama that keeps you speculating throughout the interwoven stories, we see people from vastly different walks of life facing situations no one has prepared them for. With a gifted international and American cast and outstanding cinematography, director Barney Elliot tells a story that is unpredictable, emotional and ultimately questioning whether the end can justify the means.
Screening Thurs. 10/1 at The Rosendale Theatre 7:30pm and Fri. 10/2 at Woodstock Playhouse 7:30pm.
directed by laurie weltz
east coast premiere
Despite a disregard for convention and lax parenting, rebellious 15-year-old Scout is willing to risk everything for her little sister. When this charming con-artist enlists a wealthy mental patient to help her find Lulu, we embark on a road trip across Texas in search of their estranged carnie father who has kidnapped his young daughter. The characters in this film are as unpredictable as the story. Twenty-one-year-old India Ennenga as Scout and child star Onata Aprile (What Maisie Knew) as Lulu are supported by a stellar cast: James Frecheville as the convincing suicidal side-kick, Jane Seymour as his overbearing mother, Danny Glover as the misleadingly menacing Red, Tim Guinee as the malevolent dad, Nikki Reed as his religious zealot wife, and Ellen Burstyn as sympathetic but erratic Gram. In spite of its wit and dysfunction, at its heart, SCOUT is a touching tale of deep sisterly bonds and two misfits who come together to create a new kind of family.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 10:00pm and Sat. 10/3 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 3:30pm.
touched with fire
directed by paul dalio
east coast premiere
Dedicated to a long list of bi-polar artists, TOUCHED WITH FIRE propels us into the roller coaster lives of Marco and Carla, two young poets drawn to each other's mania. Is it a gift? An illness to be cured? An entry into fierce creativity? Does mania inspire fierce genius, and if so, is it worth the price of the crushing depression that inevitably follows the high? Writer-director Paul Dalio tells his story from the inside-out, using Van Gogh's Starry Night as the backdrop to an alternate reality. Katie Holmes and Luke Kirby strike just the right note as the manic young lovers, and Christine Lahti's Sara is perfect as Carla's mother navigating the difficult terrain between protecting and alienating her daughter. Lighting is used to great effect in this harrowing story of lovers spinning in and out of control and a cameo by Kay Jamison, author of Touched with Fire, the definitive work on creativity and madness, lends even more authenticity.
Screening Thurs. 10/1 at Upstate Films I Rhinebeck 7:00pm and Sat. 10/3 at Woodstock Playhouse 1:30pm.
meet me in venice
directed by eddy terstall
The parent-child relationship is a popular theme in film; typically there is friction between the generations, but gradually each realizes they have more in common than previously thought. MEET ME IN VENICE adds a new voice to this story. Recounted by Lisa through a video she makes for her son, this Dutch father-daughter story of reconciliation unfolds between a woman and the father she first meets in adulthood. When the absentee Mauro invites Lisa to join him in Venice, she decides to go. But the journey doesn't stop there, and the father-daughter road trip takes them from Italy to Istanbul along the Orient Express route, with breathtaking imagery of the Balkans and heartwarming musical interludes. In getting to know her father, Lisa gets to know herself. She shares this experience with her son so when he is older, he will understand her decisions and life choices. Anguish and charm combine to make watching MEET ME IN VENICE enjoyable and enlightening at the same time.
Screening Thurs. 10/1 at Upstate Films Woodstock 4:00pm and Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 6:30pm.
moscow never sleeps
directed by Johnny o'reilly
MOSCOW NEVER SLEEPS is a multi-narrative drama that dives headlong into the volatile intersections of Moscow itself and the intimate lives of five Muscovites from diverse backgrounds. The film tracks an oligarch forced to leave Russia, a young man conflicted about sending his grandmother to a nursing home, a famous comedian on his death bed, a woman powerless in her marriage, and an aspiring singer. The characters are connected by past relations, as well as chance, and while they don’t always physically cross paths, all experience a certain element of Moscow at the same time. The city, in fact, is one of the main characters. Opening with stunning panoramas of Moscow at dawn, the calm gives way to the hustle and bustle of Moscow City Day, an annual festival celebrating the biggest metropolis in Europe, which is the backdrop for the 24-hour rollercoaster encounter.
Screening Thurs. 10/1 at The Woodstock Playhouse 3:30pm and Sun. 10/4 at The Orpheum Theater Saugerties 3:00pm.
directed by antoinette beumer
Simone needs a change. Together with her husband Eric and their two children, she buys a decrepit mansion in the south of France, to turn it into a home and B&B. While the chaos of the renovation grows, Simone flees into a thrilling affair with one of the French construction workers, the gorgeous twenty-year-old Michel. She slowly loses control of her life and the French dream turns into her worst nightmare. Exquisitely shot and acted, this whirlwind tale of forbidden and dangerous passion is one you will not be able to keep your eyes off.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 7:15pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 1:00pm.
directed by colette bothof
new york Premiere
Sweltering in a Dutch village where everyday life is dominated by the continually droning power plant, 16 year-old Anne, her brother and their friends spend the days biking through winding roads that lead nowhere and everywhere. It is a time of adventure and youthful awakening. Anne, however, a quiet girl who longs to escape the confines of her small town, often feels like an outsider until she meets Lena, a new girl in town who rides a motorbike, wears leather and is different from everybody else. With the awkward tenderness of youth and innocence, the two girls quickly form a bond and the audience gets to watch as young love unfolds. Authentic performances and cinematography that captures the languor and heat of summertime create a beautiful story of sexual awakening and a girl daring to be different.
Screening Sat. 10/3 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 10:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at the Rosendale Theatre 5:00pm.
there should be rules
directed by linda-maria birbeck
east coast premiere
Mia and Mirjam, two passionate, free-spirited 14-year-olds, along with Karl, who is inventive and wise beyond his years, are a close knit trio in a small town in Sweden where nothing ever happens. Although the young friends spend nearly every waking hour together, each attempts to discover a unique path to coming of age. In the center is Mia, torn between youth and adulthood, family and friends. Mia wishes there were no rules and tempts life again and again. Mirjam, seeking love, finds her road to adulthood in a steamy romance with an older man who claims he loves her. Karl, supporting Mia's sense of loss as her best friend is pulled away by new love, helps concoct ways to bring Mirjam back to them. While friendship and family bonds are tested and facades eventually crumble, the teens declare, "we are never becoming ordinary." And they don't. Beautifully shot and acted, and superbly written, THERE SHOULD BE RULES exemplifies fine Swedish cinema, where nuances are everything and delicate stories unfold in their own tempo and style.
Screening Fri 10/2 at Upstate Films Woodstock 4:30pm and Sat. 10/3 at The Orpheum Theater Saugerties 12:00pm.
Bob and the trees
Directed by diego ongaro
new york premiere
Bob is a handsome, rugged logger who spends his days either cutting trees in the silent, majestic Massachusetts woods or listening to hardcore rap music and playing golf. But this routine life is rudely interrupted when one of his beloved cows gets brutally wounded and his work suffers a financial blow following a bad business deal. Suddenly Bob finds himself facing some hard decisions. Despite family opposition, the unyielding winter woods ultimately push Bob to do whatever it takes to keep his failing business alive. Just how much is he willing to sacrifice to hold his life together? BOB AND THE TREES thrives on ultra-realism. With non-actors portraying fictionalized versions of themselves, debut feature director Diego Ongaro succeeds in getting impressively honest performances from his cast, especially lead Bob Tarasuk, who plays Bob Tarasuk in the film. The arresting Berkshires and slow-building tension add to this story of struggle that pays tribute to a declining population still holding onto their rural dreams.
Screening Fri 10/2 at the Rosendale Theatre 3:30pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films Woodstock 11:30am.
THE GRACE OF JAKE
DIRECTED BY CHRIS HICKY
EAST COAST PREMIERE
Just out of prison, drifter/musician Jake steals a car and hits the road for small town Arkansas, intent on exacting revenge against the father he never knew. Although he never met the man, Jake blames him for all of life's troubles, starting with his mother's death. Arriving in this dustbowl town with only a guitar to sustain him, Jake discovers nothing is as he imagined. THE GRACE OF JAKE is, at its core, the story of a man who finds redemption through friendship, faith and his deep-rooted love of gospel music, which bonds him with the locals and sets him on a righteous path. Religion, however, is backdrop to the music. Grammy-nominated director Chris Hicky proves his musical aptitude by wisely casting Jake La Botz, who learned his trade from old Mississippi bluesmen, as lead man. The soul-filled music is extraordinary, the acting genuine, and the tempo in perfect harmony with the surroundings. From crop dusters to gospel churches, this compassionate film captures the essence of the Arkansas delta.
Screening Sat. 10/3 at Bearsville Theater Woodstock 5:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films I Rhinebeck 12:30pm.
also, BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA
directed by clay riley hassler
east coast premiere
Filmed in a real shelter with real people, HOMELESS tells the story of Gosh (Josh), a teenage boy lost in the bleak routine of life in a shelter. After his father is sent to jail and his grandmother passes away, Gosh, unable to pay rent, is forced onto the streets with only the clothes on his back and his iPod. If this were a Hallmark production, we'd expect some kindhearted soul to rescue Gosh. And indeed, after weeks of loneliness and setbacks, he is befriended and lands a job. But HOMELESS isn't a family-TV movie. Based on a real life story, made on a shoestring budget, director Clay Riley Hassler manages to truly portray a sense of what being homeless is like. With heartbreaking honesty, we are pulled into Gosh's world.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films I Rhinebeck 3:00pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films Woodstock 4:45pm.
directed by ross partridge
new york premiere
LAMB, based on the novel by Bonnie Nadzam, traces the self-discovery of David Lamb in the weeks following the disintegration of his marriage and the death of his father. Hoping to regain some faith in his own goodness, he turns his attention to Tommie, an awkward and unpopular yet adventurous eleven-year-old girl played beautifully by rising young star Oona Laurence. Lamb is convinced that he can help Tommie avoid a destiny of apathy and emptiness, and takes her for a road trip from Chicago to the Rockies, planning to initiate her into the beauty of the mountain wilderness. Never quite certain where Lamb is going, the film maintains a slow-burning intensity as the unfolding circumstances threaten to veer into very disturbing territory. But Lamb is not Lolita and Ross Partridge masterfully directs and stars in what is truly a provocative psychological drama of two lonely strangers, one a grown man, the other a mere child, who use one another to find direction and purpose in their lives.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at Upstate Films II Rhinebeck 9:30pm and Sun. 10/4 at Upstate Films Woodstock 7:15pm.
also, BOB AND THE TREES and the grace of jake
carpe diem award (non competitive)
directed by eshom nelms & ian nelms
east coast premiere
Directors Eshom and Ian Nelms (LOST ON PURPOSE 2013) return to Woodstock with their second feature, WAFFLE STREET, based on the memoir of James Adams, former VP of a $30 billion hedge fund, who loses his job and unexpectedly winds up in the world of the unemployed. In this genuine riches-to-rags story, Jimmy, played by a charming James Lafferty, finally finds work waiting tables at a chicken & waffles chain, where the hectic pace and general mayhem become both comedic and endearing. Under the tutelage of master grill man Edward (Danny Glover in a stunningly earnest performance), Jimmy learns some hard lessons about life, finance and making grits. But the foremost thing he discovers is carpe diem, as he begins to enjoy the pleasures of the moment and realize that the measure of a man is far more than luxury homes and expensive cars. Fundamentally,WAFFLE STREET is an authentic account of what it means to rediscover yourself.
Screening Fri. 10/2 at the Rosendale Theatre 6:30pm and Sun. 10/4 at Woodstock Playhouse 12:30pm.
the tangerine entertainment Juice award for best female director
The Third Annual Tangerine Entertainment Award will be presented to one of the festival's many female filmmakers for outstanding directorial vision.
The Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund is a donation-based initiative focused on changing the landscape for women filmmakers. In keeping with Tangerine's commitment to outreach, the Juice Fund provides an opportunity for community involvement in directly supporting women directors and outlets for their films.
Films in competition for this award include:
THE ADDERALL DIARIES, directed by Pamela Romanowsky
I DREAM TOO MUCH, directed by Katie Cokinos
IT HAD TO BE YOU, directed by Sasha Gordon
RENDEZ-VOUS, directed by Antoinette Beumer
SCOUT, directed by Laurie Weltz
SILVER SKIES, directed by Rosemary Rodriguez
SUMMER (ZOMER), directed by Colette Bothof
THERE SHOULD BE RULES, directed by Linda-Maria Birbeck
About the Woodstock Film Festival:
CELEBRATE OUR SWEET 16 WITH US
Hailed by Indiewire as "A true American Maverick Among Fests" and named among the top 50 film festivals world wide, the Woodstock Film Festival premieres exceptional films, hosts the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry; presents A-list concerts, panels and parties, and creates stimulating, innovative programming year-round.
The Woodstock Film Festival is a non-profit, 501c3 with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning and diversity.
The Woodstock Film Festival celebrates its 16th Anniversary, September 30-October 4, 2015, with an extraordinary line-up of fiercely independent films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties.