WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 2016 NEWSLETTER

Woodstock film festival alumni news

New fILM TAX CREDITs FOR MID HUDSON VALLEY

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"HONORING THE YOUNG AND THE OLD, ENDORSING COMMUNITY, ADVOCATING INSPIRATION AND LAUDING HUMANITARIAN GESTURES — ALL SENTIMENTS THAT SUM UP WOODSTOCK AND ITS 'FIERCELY INDEPENDENT' FILM FESTIVAL, QUITE WELL." (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER)

"2017 will mark the Woodstock Film Festival's eighteenth year. Since our inception in 2000, we have provided a welcome home for independent filmmakers from near and far," exclaims executive director Meira Blaustein. "These visual storytellers of all races, genders, nationalities, religions and sexual orientation often take great risks to tell the stories of our human history and the tapestry of our lives. We are honored to give these filmmakers a continued voice and a platform." 

"Stories – they build relationships, they build communities," added Adam Blaustein Rejto at the recent Maverick Award Ceremony. "They build understanding and give the opportunity to learn and reflect. They’re necessary for survival in this global society that seems to have a culture that supports oppression and dehumanization – a culture that seems to not want us to love and understand one another. Yet, we are resilient in one way or another, whether that’s building a community with your friends or peers or neighborhoods, we all collaborate and engage in dialogue and storytelling to build resilience and resistance." 

We hope to see you at the 18th Annual Woodstock Film Festival, October 11-15 2017


Be on the lookout for films and filmmakers that have screened at the Woodstock Film Festival. 

Gimme Danger

Enter an outrageous backstage exploration of groundbreaking 1960s punk band, The Stooges, in Gimme Danger, an Amazon Original documentary that opened in select theaters on October 28. Directed by Jim Jarmusch, the film tells the controversial and powerful true story of one of the greatest rock -n- roll bands of all time. Nominated for 2 Critics' Choice Awards including Best Music Documentary, Gimme Danger made waves at Cannes with insights from Iggy Pop, Danny Fields, Ron Asheton, Mike Watt, James Williamson, Scott Asheton, and Steve Mackay. 

See the intriguing documentary in select theaters October 28. For details, visit Gimme Danger 

Jim Jarmusch (with Annie Nocenti) introduced and followed the screening of Gimme Danger with a Q&A. Photo by Vincent Boucher

Jim Jarmusch (with Annie Nocenti) introduced and followed the screening of Gimme Danger with a Q&A. Photo by Vincent Boucher

Gimme Danger screened at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

THE IVORY GAME

THE IVORY GAME by Woodstock Film Festival alumni Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani, is now streaming on Netflix. Elephants are disappearing at the staggering rate of 1 every 15 minutes. Their deaths are fueled by the illegal ivory trade, a dangerous network of violence and corruption that a brave and dedicated few are daring to dismantle. THE IVORY GAME exposes the dark world of ivory trafficking from the planes of Africa to the streets of China. By working with undercover intelligence organizations, activists, frontline rangers and conservationists to infiltrate the corrupt global network of ivory trafficking, the film inspires both outrage and hope. 

Watch Trailer at https://youtu.be/3GPEKKaSmZY

In 2005, Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani’s THE DEVIL’S MINER won the Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Award for Best Documentary Feature. The documenatry profiled Basilio, a 14-year-old Bolivian who supported his family by working in a silver mine. Like his fellow workers, the boy looked to Satan for protection from the daily hazards he encountered in the bowels of the Earth. 

In 2008, Kief returned with the irrepressible KASSIM THE DREAM, about a man from Uganda who was trained as a child soldier before getting involved in boxing. 

"Woodstock is by far my favorite festival." Davidson was quoted as saying.


Producer, Peter Saraf (Loving) holds a Q&A at the 17th Annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by Matthew Dammer

Producer, Peter Saraf (Loving) holds a Q&A at the 17th Annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by Matthew Dammer

Loving

Loving, much admired in Cannes this year, celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving, who fell in love and were married in 1958.

The couple grew up in Central Point, a small Virginia town that was more integrated than surrounding areas in the South. Yet it was Virginia -- where they were making their home and starting a family -- that first jailed and then banished them. The Lovings relocated to the inner city of Washington, D.C. While relatives made them feel welcome there, the urban environment didn't feel like home. Ultimately, their Virginia roots spurred Mildred to find a way back.

Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry. Richard and Mildred returned home and their love story has inspired couples ever since.

Loving opens in select theaters on November 4th, with a wider distribution occurring shortly thereafter.

Loving was the centerpiece screening at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival, courtesy of Focus Features.


MARATHON: The Patriots Day Bombing

Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing will be shown in Theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Boston on Friday, November 18th and on HBO on Monday, November 21 at 8pm and will be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, and HBO On Demand thereafter.

Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing screened at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary.

April 15, 2013, Boston, Massachusetts--The winner of the marathon crossed the finish line hours ago, but Boylston Street remains vibrant as friends and families cheer a steady stream of runners coming down the final stretch. Suddenly the unthinkable happens...BOOM! BOOM! Two massive blasts instantaneously transform triumph to tragedy, killing four and leaving a blood-soaked trail of shrapnel and severed limbs in their wake.

Directors Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg focus not on the politics or sensationalism, but instead offer a patchwork of deeply moving portraits of the victims, struggling to move forward on prosthetic limbs and recreate their lives. When the headlines fade, the real work begins -- but, how does one put a life back together when it has just been literally blown apart? As the remarkable people in this film and their loved ones rise to the challenge, each, in their own way, is a true testament to the human spirit. -- Jon Greenhalgh

Marathon survivors Celeste and Sydney Corcoran with Director Ricki Stern (Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing) at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by Naomi Schmidt

Marathon survivors Celeste and Sydney Corcoran with Director Ricki Stern (Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing) at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by Naomi Schmidt


The Promised Band

Vivacious thirty-three year old Lina Qadri, wife, mother, university teacher, artist, and musician, struggles with life in land-locked Nablus, an isolated West Bank city designated Area A, forbidden to Israelis and nearly as difficult for Palestinians, who are denied access to Israel except by special permit. Enter Jen Heck, a determined reality TV producer and peace activist who hatches a plot to create a fake band, thus allowing some furtive visits between Lina and a gutsy, adventurous group of Israeli women to cross into the forbidden zone. As the group bonds, it becomes apparent that the government imposed separation generates fear and prevents peace. 

Lina Qadri, Viki Asunder and Jen Heck (The Promised Band) hold a Q&A at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by Richard Hutchings.

Lina Qadri, Viki Asunder and Jen Heck (The Promised Band) hold a Q&A at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by Richard Hutchings.

With warmth and compassion, this story explores how barriers to understanding crumble with the healing power of friendship. Are similarities more powerful than differences? While tensions remain, The Promised Band allows a glimpse into what might be a true roadmap to peace. --Barbara Pokras, ACE

The Promised Band screens on Sunday, November 20th, 5:00 PM at the SVA Soc/Doc Screening Theater 136 West 21st Street, Main Floor.

The Promised Band had its New York Premiere at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival.


MY FIRST KISS AND THE PEOPLE INVOLVED

Delicate beauty and a fragile soul characterize the nonverbal, yet desperately expressive Sam, a young woman living in a group home for the mentally and physically challenged. Like a butterfly, she floats through the house, existing in her own world. Her only connections fellow housemate Junior and caregiver Lydia. Through the filmmaker's purposely focused lens, we perceive the world in the way Sam does: as a montage of dreamlike images and sounds.

When Lydia disappears after a seemingly violent confrontation, My First Kiss and the People Involved becomes a suspenseful search for clues. Sam's covert hunt reveals a heel in the trash, blood on the ground: all pointing to one thing. But Sam's inability to communicate inhibits her from convincing anyone of what she herself is fearfully certain.

My First Kiss and the People Involved is a true gem of independent filmmaking, where every glimpse, touch and sound are suggestive, yet things aren't always what they seem. –Svetlana Krotek

 
director Luigi Campi (My First Kiss and the People Involved) and cinematographer Giacomo Belletti at the Thursday night Filmmakers party at New World Home Cooking, sponsored by Heineken. Photo by Laurie Feldman

director Luigi Campi (My First Kiss and the People Involved) and cinematographer Giacomo Belletti at the Thursday night Filmmakers party at New World Home Cooking, sponsored by Heineken. Photo by Laurie Feldman

My First Kiss and the People Involved won the Audience Award at the New Orleans Film Festival on November 4. Check back on their website for future screenings.

My First Kiss and the People Involved was produced in the Hudson Valley and had its East Coast premiere at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival and received an honorable mention for the Ultra Indie Award.


STRAY BULLETS

Screen Media has picked up worldwide rights for Stray Bullets, a low-budget crime drama from 16-year-old Jack Fessenden, son of indie-film vet Larry Fessenden.

The younger Fessenden stars in the film alongside Asa Spurlock. The two play a pair of teenage boys tasked with cleaning out their father’s old mobile home on an abandoned property, only to find that three cons on the run (James Le Gros, John Speredakos, Larry Fessenden) are using the trailer for a hideout.

We have a great track record working with Screen Media, and we’re delighted they’ve shown such enthusiasm for Jack’s movie,” said Larry Fessenden. “We look forward to building on that to make an impact with this humble but resonant film.

Beck Underwood, Jack Fessenden, John Speredakos, Steve Heller, Larry Fessenden following the North American premiere of STRAY BULLETS at Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by John Mazlish www.johnmazlishphoto.com

Beck Underwood, Jack Fessenden, John Speredakos, Steve Heller, Larry Fessenden following the North American premiere of STRAY BULLETS at Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by John Mazlish www.johnmazlishphoto.com

Screen Media is planning a multiplatform release for Stray Bullets in the U.S. in February of next year. The company also has taken on international rights and will be selling the title to foreign buyers at AFM.

Stray Bullets was produced in the Hudson Valley and had its North American premiere at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival.


THIRSTY

Prepare to be dazzled! Thirsty is the compelling story of Scott Townsend a.k.a., Thirsty Burlington, who caught the filmmaker's eye during Thirsty's striking performance as Cher. The film lays bare Scott's life growing up as a girl-boy in Cambridge public housing and eventually becoming a revered drag queen delighting club-goers with her spot on impersonation of Cher.

Using an array of storytelling techniques within a non-linear structure, the film moves through dramatic, fantasy and musical sequences, capturing both the harsh realities of living a life with a slippery gender and the sparkle that Thirsty exudes.

Townsend embodies this natural phenomenon of a gender that roams between male and female. "A bouquet from a single stem," as Thirsty sings. Thirsty asks that we let everyone be beautiful and create the world they want. For Townsend that means, "To be safe and comfortable in all his skins, and loved for all that he is." -- Ben F. Fischer

 
Director Margo Pelletier (Thirsty) with star Thirsty Burlington

Director Margo Pelletier (Thirsty) with star Thirsty Burlington

Thirstyby Margo Pelletier, screened at the Rosendale Theatre Collective through their Best of the Woodstock Film Festival program Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 7:15pm. Like their page on Facebook to stay in the loop about future screenings.

Thirsty was produced in the Hudson Valley and had its East Coast premiere at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival.


The Hudson Valley Film Commission (Woodstock Film Festival’s sister organization) is OVERJOYED that legislation pertaining to additional film tax credits for the mid-Hudson Valley has been signed into law by Governor Cuomo.

This legislation, which is effective immediately, increases New York State Film Production Tax Credits by 10% on BELOW THE LINE LABOR COSTS for Films or TV shows budgeted at $500k and above, in Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Greene, Sullivan, Columbia, and six other non mid-Hudson Counties.

“We already had the ideal locations, vendors, infrastructure, crew, background talent and exceptional A-list actors," says Laurent Rejto of the Hudson Valley Film Commission. "All we needed was the economic opportunity to compete on a level playing field. The additional film tax credits are a win-win for Film and TV productions, the mid-Hudson Valley region and the entire state!”

With the support of hundreds of local film industry members and government officials, the Hudson Valley Film Commission campaigned for these additional incentives over a four year period. 

Director Jim Mickle (Cold in July, We Are What We Are) wrote "The Hudson Valley is one of the most rewarding places to shoot films, and as someone who’s directed three films in the area, I never want to shoot anywhere else.”

Academy Award winning actor Melissa Leo (The FighterFrozen River) added that “Our region deserves the ability to host larger film productions!”

For production and post production information in the mid Hudson Valley regarding your next film or TV show, please contact email filmcommission@me.com or visit https://esd.ny.gov/businessprograms/filmcredit.html


The Woodstock Film Festival showcases some of the best contemporary filmmaking from around the world, featuring passionate, creative, captivating and affirming work by some of today's most promising and accomplished independent filmmakers. Events generate large, enthusiastic audiences, news headlines, social media exposure and a gamut of other promotional opportunities.

Woodstock Film Festival Sponsorships come in a variety of shapes and sizes. We will work with you to custom fit a partnership that benefits your business marketing goals! If you are interested in learning more, give us a call at 845.679.4265 or email sponsor@woodstockfilmfestival.com

For more about our wonderful 2016 SPONSORS, click below.


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