"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)
The 17th Annual Woodstock Film Festival came to a close on October 16 after presenting over 125 films, 9 panels, round table discussions, parties and specials events including musical performances, Career Day for area youth, and the Maverick Awards Ceremony.
Everyone at the Woodstock Film Festival would like to extend a big thank you to all the wonderful filmmakers, industry members, staff, volunteers, venue owners, attendees, advertisers and audience members who made 2016 a resounding success! We especially want to give an extra special thank you to our incredible sponsors who make it possible for us to continue our efforts year after year.
2016 highlights included World, North American and U.S. Premieres that gave audiences a first glimpse at provocative documentaries, insightful narratives and shorts that chose Woodstock as their place to debut.
Over 80 percent of the films were accompanied by one or more representatives who took part in Q&A's with audience members after their screenings. First-class panels and round table discussions (with SAGindie and the Governor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development) allowed festival-goers to engage in lively discussions with prominent members of the film and television industry.
Alec Baldwin, screenwriter John Buffalo Mailer and director Michael Mailer attended the opening night screening of Blind, starring Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore, and participated in a lively Q&A following the screening. As reported in Hollywood Reporter, Baldwin joked, “I just want to say that Donald Trump said he would donate $1 million to the Woodstock Film Festival if you gave me an award that would keep me here on Saturday night this weekend.”
On Saturday, October 15, the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Ceremony took place at the historic Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY. More than 500 filmmakers, film industry members, community leaders and audience members attended the event held in the heart of Kingston’s Uptown Historic District.
Awards were presented to exceptional films and honorees. Academy Award® winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu attended specifically to honor David Linde, who executive produced Iñárritu's Oscar-winning film, Biutiful. Linde was presented with the Trailblazer Award for his leadership as CEO of Participant Media, bringing films of social change before audiences everywhere.
Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Oren Moverman received this year’s Fiercely Independent Award from presenter Ben Foster, who starred in Moverman's 2009 film The Messenger. The prolific writer, director and producer went on to direct Rampart, Time out of Mind and the upcoming film starring Richard Gere, The Dinner.
Documentary filmmaker Leon Gast was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by filmmaker Barbara Kopple. Gast's award-winning documentaries span topics from bikers to Dead Heads and prizefighters to paparazzi. His newest film, Woodstock: A Love Poem, was the closing night film of the festival, enjoying its world premiere at the Woodstock Playhouse.
Films from the 2016 Woodstock Film Festival were honored at the Maverick Awards Ceremony with presentations for Best Feature Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Animation Award, The James Lyons Editing Awards in Documentary and Narrative, The Tangerine Entertainment Juice Award for Best Female Director, the Ultra Indie Award, the World Cinema Award, the Carpe Diem Andretta Award, and the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography.
Listed below are the Competition Finalists and jurors for the various categories.
Gigantic Pictures Feature Narrative Award went to Oliver Schmitz's riveting Shepherds and Butchers. Competition finalists included Chronically Metropolitan, My Feral Heart, Paint it Black, The Drowning, and To Keep The Light. Jury members included William Horberg, Mary Stuart Masterson, Jonathan Gray.
Best Feature Documentary sponsored by The Bluestein Family Foundation was presented to director Matthew Millan for Stronger than Bullets. Competition finalists included Circus Kid, Kivalina, Magnificent Burden, Monster in the Mind, The Promised Band, Real Boy, and Women of Maidan. Jury members included Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman, and Nancy Abraham.
Best Short Narrative sponsored by Gigantic Pictures went to director Lluis Quilez for Graffiti. Competition finalists included Black Canaries, The Quantified Self, A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky, Rated, and Shame. Jury members included Lucas Joaquin, Logan Hill, and Isil Bagdadi
Best Short Documentary, sponsored by Films We Like, went to director Aaron Schock for La Laguna. Competition finalists included Pickle, Striking a Chord, and Suffering is the Easy Part. Jury members included Cynthia Kane, Diana Holtzberg, and Gene Fischer
Best Animated Short was presented to Andy Kennedy for Slow Wave. Competition finalists included Filthy But Fine, Look-See, Makeshift Satellite, Patti Smith - Blank on Blank, and Perfect Houseguest. Jury members included Joy Buran, Noelle Melody, and Peter Ahern.
The James Lyons Editing Award For Narrative Feature, sponsored by Technicolor Postworks NY was presented to editor Paul Frank Paint it Black. Competition finalists also included Chronically Metropolitan, My Feral Heart, The Drowning, and Shepherds and Butchers. Jury members included Sabine Hoffman, Barbara Pokras, ACE, Gary Levy, ACE
The James Lyons Editing Award For Documentary Feature, sponsored by Technicolor Postworks NY, was presented to editor Andrew Gersh for Real Boy. Competition finalists included Circus Kid, Kivalina, Magnificent Burden, Monster in the Mind,The Promised Band, Stronger than Bullets, and Women of Maidan. Jury members included Sabine Hoffman, Carla Gutierrez, and Mako Kamitsuna.
The Haskell Wexler Award For Best Cinematography, sponsored by Panavision NY, was presented by Mr. Wexler's widow Rita Haggart and cinematographer Ellen Kuras, to Leah Striker for lensing Shepherds and Butchers. Competition finalists also included To Keep The Light, My First Kiss And The People Involved, and Play the Devil. The Award winner, which was personally selected by Mr. Wexler from 2002-2015, was selected by Ellen Kuras.
The Ultra Indie Award, sponsored by Gray, Krauss, Stratford, Sandler, Des Rochers, LLP and Blackmagic Design. was presented to Ben Caird for Halfway. Competition finalists included Green/is/Gold, Halfway to Zen, My First Kiss and The People Involved, and Sensitivity Training. Jury members included Alicia Van Couverings, Joe Amodei, and Janet Grillo.
The World Cinema Award was presented to Neruda. Competition finalists included Clean Hands, The Fury, Junction 48, The Surprise, and Play the Devil. Jury members included Wendy Lidell, Claude dal Farra, and Lori Singer.
The Tangerine Juice Award for Best Female Director, sponsored by Tangerine Entertainment was presented by Catherine Hardwicke to Maria Govan for her film Play the Devil. Competition finalists included Girl Flu, Operator, To Keep The Light, and Sensitivity Training. Jury members included Amy Hobby and Anne Hubbell
The Carpe Diem Andretta Award, which is presented to the film that best represents living life to the fullest, was presented to actors Karen Allen and Michael Cristofer on behalf of Year by the Sea.
Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg took Audience Award Honors for Best Documentary with an average score of 4.94 out of 5. The documentary premieres on HBO on November 21.
Look for these movies that have screened at the Woodstock Film Festival or at year round special screening, to open soon at a theater near you.
"There is an immediate human desire to protect the rest of the world from having to go through this.”
Filmed over the course of nearly three years, the filmmakers use unique access and never before heard testimonies to tell a story of the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting of schoolchildren in American history on December 14, 2012. Newtown documents a traumatized community fractured by grief and driven toward a sense of purpose. Joining the ranks of a growing club to which no one wants to belong, a cast of characters interconnect to weave an intimate story of community resilience.
“We are honored to show this moving and important film that has far too much relevance today as it did when filming first began” - Woodstock Film Festival's Co-Founder & Executive Director, Meira Blaustein.
“You won’t truly understand gun violence until you see the Newtown documentary.” - Esquire
“Arguably the most timely festival film this year.” - Entertainment Weekly
It’s a community fractured by grief, but driven toward a sense of purpose. See Newtown Film (@WeAreAllNewtown) Nov. 2 in one of 500 theaters nationwide — one night only.
Newtown screened August 24, 2016 at a Woodstock Film Festival special screening at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck. The film recieved a standing ovation and featured a powerful Q&A following the screening.
Enter an outrageous backstage exploration of groundbreaking 1960s punk band, The Stooges, in Gimme Danger, an Amazon Original documentary opening in select theaters tomorrow. 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
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.
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.
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 had its New York Premiere at the 17th annual Woodstock Film Festival.
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.
- Ben F. Fischer
"Are you an educator or librarian? Do you know one? If so, you can help advance the rights and understanding of trans people and queer youth by taking a look at my movie Deep Run for your collection. It's the perfect conversation-starter about trans rights, trans diversity, gender, undocumented workers, rural poverty, and the changing face of religion in America as seen through the eyes of the movie's inspiring star, Cole Ray Davis. On sale now from Women Make Movies, make sure to click this link to check it out: http://www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c933.shtml" - Susan Sarandon
Deep Run had its East Coast Premiere at the 2015 Woodstock Film Festival.
We hope to see you at the 18th Annual Woodstock Film Festival, October 11-15 2017
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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.
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