The Woodstock Film Festival is proud to announce twelve films making their East Coast premiere at this year's festival, and one film making its United States premiere. These array of films tackle significant societal issues and tell fascinating stories, while also showcasing their hard work on the East Coast and United States for the first time.
The Advocates, directed by Rèmi Kessler
The Advocates is a sweeping look at the history and causes of the current homeless crisis in Los Angeles, a distressing situation throughout the U.S. But rather than focusing solely on the homeless population, this story highlights the community of advocates who work tirelessly to create a better existence for their clients. Bringing us deep into the lives of some of the individuals they are fighting for, and with great compassion, the film goes behind debates and headlines with pragmatic, hopeful stories of real-life transformation from the trenches. Rudy Salinas, the Director of Outreach for Housing Works in Los Angeles asks, ‘Where is the crossroads? Where do we change direction?’ It is time for everyone to look for answers and find solutions toward a more just and humane society.
Cold Brook, directed by William Fichtner
In his directorial debut, veteran actor William Fichtner brilliantly meshes past and present, as his look back in time offers guidance for the future. Cold Brook follows Ted (played by Fichtner) and Hilde (co-star Kim Coates), two charismatic — albeit somewhat immature — colleagues and pals, who find themselves in the center of an otherworldly mystery. Upon encountering a confused stranger of unknown origin, the duo vows to find out who he is and bring him back to his home. To do this, they must unlock secrets from the distant past, placing their homes and everything they take for granted at risk. Fichtner's time-bending tale affirms that everyone, regardless of origin, deserves love and peace, a unifying message delivered in an overwhelmingly entertaining package. This promising parable is a beacon of light in an increasingly dark world.
Dorst (Craving), directed by Saskia Diesing
Lovely, young Coco has no idea what to do with her life. Plagued by numerous questions about her childhood, she is desperate for any kind of love. Based on the novel by one of Netherlands' finest authors, Esther Gerritsen, , it is clear from the start that Coco's relationship with her mother is strained, and her powerful older lover is rather dispassionate. When she learns her aloof, albeit charming mother is terminally ill, Coco decides to move in and dedicate herself to caring for her even though her mother isn't interested in having her there. The timeless question of what it means to be 'family' anchors Craving, and the three strong lead roles are perfectly cast in this very intimate, personal and lustful comedy that runs the gamut from hilarious to, at times, outright uncomfortable.
Dreaming of a Vetter World, directed Bonnie Hawthorne
Journey to the American heartland in Bonnie Hawthorne’s intimate documentary about a visionary Nebraska farm family who understood that modern agriculture was ailing, and found a cure. From farmer’s son to soil scientist to missionary and back to farmer, organic pioneer David Vetter has dedicated his life to a “ministry to the soil.” With camera and camper in tow, Hawthorne leaves her urban comforts in the rearview mirror to learn from the Vetters about what's really going on in the Corn Belt. With both historical context and an eye to the future, Dreaming of a Vetter World shows it's possible to jump off conventional agriculture’s pesticide treadmill. It’s also a story about love, hope and place; an inspiring example of perseverance and doing what you know is right — against all odds.
For The Birds, directed by Richard Miron
What will one woman risk in order to keep the 200 ducks, chickens, geese, and turkeys she's raised and come to love? This Hudson Valley-based documentary follows Kathy Murphy's struggles with family and community as she juggles what many would consider to be too many birds. Kathy's undying devotion to her animals has left her home in disarray and her marriage in jeopardy. The situation turns dire when a legal battle ensues between Kathy and the local animal advocacy organization (Woodstock Farm Sanctuary) over alleged neglect of her beloved birds. On one level, we have a story that is sure to provoke discussion among anyone interested in animal rights and the growing national debate over the mistreatment of animals. On a deeper level, this is a story about love and its power to give rise to heart-wrenching dilemmas.
Fort Maria, directed by S. Cagney Gentry and Thomas Southerland
Through the use of improvised dialogue and deadpan delivery, this rendering of female friendship and caring delivers a ‘fly on the wall’ look at the inner and outer aspects of its diverse characters' lives. Set in the modern day south, Fort Maria slowly and deliberately unspools the tale of a group of loosely connected women who all find themselves, in various ways, victims of isolation. First we meet Maria, a Bulgarian immigrant unable to leave her home after a traumatic incident. When her adopted daughter's beloved dog dies, Maria forms an unexpected relationship with her helpful neighbor. Parallel to that, Meredith, her adopted daughter, is off on a quest to discover her biological family. With elegant cinematography, this black-and-white journey immerses viewers in a world that, like the women in it, is charming, engaging and totally distinct.
Ghost Light, directed by John Simpson
Something is rotten in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts as a resentful understudy unleashes the curse of Macbeth upon his dysfunctional theatre troupe. While the actors prepare for their production of the “Scottish Play,” love triangles and intergroup rivalries abound, resulting in an opening night where nothing is as it seems. Taking inspiration from director John Stimpson’s time in Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals and co-written by veteran producer Geoffrey Taylor, the movie’s script draws from real life thespian superstitions and the genres of both comedy and horror. As tradition dictates, the titular lamp is supposed to illuminate an unoccupied stage in order to safeguard it from evil spirits. Will its inevitable snuffing doom the rag-tag Shakespeareans?
In Our Bones, directed by Alex Kimura
In Our Bones is the inspiring tale of Sam Kimura, a young woman with a terminal bone marrow disease who sets off on a road trip around America with her sister, Alex, and best friend, Taylor Shorten, in search of a donor match. Infused with humor and charm, her crusade for herself and for other patients needing transplants forces her to confront her mortality, uncover family secrets and get out of the passenger seat of her own life. Crowded together in the their vamped-up SUV for 24,000 miles, and hosting hundreds of bone marrow drives as they pursue their mission to turn adversity into a meaningful adventure, the girls experience moments of sheer beauty and wonder, generosity, compassion, exhilaration, depression, desperation, and overwhelming exhaustion.
Socrates, directed by Alex Moratto
After his mother's sudden death, 15-year-old Socrates, living in the favelas of coastal São Paulo, must learn to survive on his own or be put into state care. Desperate to make money, Socrates searches for work and takes occasional day jobs. Disowned by his estranged, abusive father because of his sexuality, he is left to survive on his own. An unlikely relationship with a male co-worker, Maicon, gives Socrates some hope, but Maicon's homophobia gets in the way of their relationship evolving. As Socrates' life begins to unravel, we reflect upon our own struggles and how we, as humans, pull through. Produced by Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) and filmed with a micro budget of under $20,000, Socrates is the debut feature from Brazilian-American director Alex Moratto and was co-written, produced and acted by at-risk teenagers with the support of UNICEF.
Spell, directed by Brendan Walter
Haunted by his fiancée’s drowning, American illustrator Benny Miller impulsively flies to Iceland without plans or preparation. Out of his OCD medication, he wanders aimlessly and discovers the Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft, where he hears the saga of Loftur – an ancient magician able to raise the dead. In his vulnerable state, Benny innocently tattoos a powerful stave on his chest and, after a puzzling night of lovemaking, is introduced to Steindor, a supposed guide who leads him into the wilderness. Following a bizarre ritual, Benny is abandoned and left to follow the steps of Loftur’s spell. As reality falls apart, he is drawn to the dark and dangerous forces around him, leading to a final confrontation with his dead fiancée. Spell is an engrossing thriller, with just the right balance of humor and the mystical.
Suicide: The Ripple Effect, directed by Kevin Hines and Greg Dicharry
At age 19, Kevin Hines decided to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. But on the way down, he suddenly realized what he had done and made a desperate prayer to live, vowing to put his life to good use if he was spared. Suicide: The Ripple Effect,, which he co-directed with Greg Dicharry, follows Hines' mission to make people aware of the devastating effects of suicide and the huge, positive ‘ripple effect’ of the work he and his loyal vanguard of mental health professionals, survivors and advocates are engaged in as they travel the country, reminding people that hope is out there, even if they can't yet see it. The film compassionately shares the stories of individuals and families who are using their personal tragedies to offer inspiration and healing, as part of a global undertaking to help curtail suicides and raise greater awareness about mental illness around the world.
Younger Days, directed by Paula van der Oest
From one of Netherlands’ most celebrated female directors comes the story of an eclectic group of middle-aged, former band mates who reunite at a large country house, decades after their band disbanded, to scatter the ashes of their deceased front man on the anniversary of his birthday. As old relationship are quickly revisited and relived, the gathering is interrupted by the arrival of one of the friends’ striking, young, blonde girlfriend. The sharp contrast between those in their fifties and the attending twenty-something-year-olds is palpable as conversations about midlife crisis, addiction, infidelity, and loneliness traverse the generations. Guided by a strong cast, Younger Days is as thoughtful and thought-provoking as it is utterly entertaining.
Keely and Du, directed by Laurie Colbert and Dominique Cardona
What lengths will the pro-life movement go to realize its goals? In this adaption of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated play by Jane Martin, America's ongoing debate about abortion takes the form of a pulse-pounding dramatic thriller. The film tracks the journey of Keely, a spirited young woman who awakens one day to find herself a captive of a mysterious religious duo. Going head-to-head with the stern woman guarding her, and showing herself to be a feisty foe to the man in charge, we witness the battle of wills that is familiar in communities all over this country. Will Keely free herself from her fanatic kidnappers or succumb to their dogma? Keely and Du brings one of this country's most contested issues to life in a way that grips you from start to finish. Buried within all this excitement is a deeply humanist heart that is sure to resonate with viewers of all persuasions.
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER ONLINE AND OVER THE PHONE (845-810-0131)
WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL BOX OFFICE (13 Rock City Road, Woodstock, NY) will be open:
September 12 to October 7 • Wednesday through Sunday, from Noon-6PM (Closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
October 8-13 • Daily from 9AM to 7PM
October 14 • 9AM to 6PM
Roger Ross Williams is the first African-American director to win an Academy Award with his short film Music By Prudence. Williams has directed a wide variety of acclaimed films including God Loves Uganda, which was shortlisted for an Academy Award, and Life, Animated, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2017. Williams is on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences, representing the Documentary branch, as well as being on the Diversity Committee for the Academy. This year, Williams is our Special Guest Programmer whose selection spotlights some of his favorite contemporary works by filmmakers of color. Williams said, "I am thrilled to be a guest programmer at this year's Woodstock Film Festival. The three films I have chosen demonstrate the scope, depth and creativity that is possible when we, as black filmmakers, tell our own stories." These films include Hale County This Morning, This Evening, Shakedown, and Mr. SOUL!.
Our festival staff and interns have selected some of their favorite fiercely independent films that are being screened at the upcoming 19th Annual Woodstock Film Festival.
The Feeling of Being Watched, directed by Assia Boundaoui
Journalist Assia Boundaoui investigates one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11 and reveals its enduring impact on the community.
Fort Maria, directed by S. Cagney Gentry and Thomas Southerland
Four southern women are connected by the death of a dog.
Only A Switch, directed by Michael Vincent
Two lovers are on the run in this psychedelic fairy tale that blurs lines of sexuality and identity.
Black Spirit, directed by Chakib Taleb-Bendiab
A world-weary French archaeologist goes on a quest to find the elusive ‘Black Spirits’ - a legendary African Samurai clan.
Even Ants Strive for Survival, directed by Ren Xia
Everyman Ma Yi, who raises ants as a hobby, is arrested without explanation by the Hong Kong government - and attempts to understand his mysterious crime.
Lucy, directed by Ruben Gutiérrez
A delusional, solitary sound effects artist secretly films his neighbor and reconstructs the sounds of her life.
Voice, directed by Takeshi Kushida
A lonely man falls in love with the shadow of a woman.
William Horberg's solo show Portraits in Jazz opens with an artist's reception on Friday, October 5th, 6-9pm and a JAZZ JAM from 7-9pm with the Mike DeMicco Trio featuring Lew Scott and Tani Tabbal at Cross Contemporary Art in Saugerties, NY.
Portraits in Jazz is a tribute to the music and personality of jazz musicians. William Horberg's works on paper captures the spirit and melody of the many artists who have inspired him and built this distinctly American art form. Each study by Horberg is a sensitive meditation on the process, passion and lyricism of the individual musician in numerous small-scale intimate portraits. As a jazz musician, writer, visual artist and film producer, William Horberg succeeds in weaving together not only the history of jazz but its relevance today in contemporary culture.
"William Horberg: Portraits in Jazz" will be curated by Jen Dragon and Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein. The exhibition opens Friday, October 5th and continues through Sunday, October 28th, 2018.
Come explore some of the wonderful farms in our area for fresh and local produce, apple picking, and more!
Home to the World’s Third Largest Garden Gnome, Kelder’s Farm is a family farm located in Kerhonkson that has pick-your-own-produce and a petting zoo. With over 100 acres of seasonal crops, pick-your-own-produce, an educational program for thousands of school children every year, and a popular agri-tourism destination, Kelder’s also has a petting zoo and mini golf.
5755 US Route 209, Kerhonkson, NY 12446
Saunderskill Farm has been growing in the Accord since 1680. There are thirteen greenhouses, a roadside marketplace, and 450 acres of farmland to deliver fresh produce to the Hudson Valley. Asparagus, Strawberries, Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Apples and Pumpkins are just a handful of the produce offered. Pick-your-own apples and complimentary hayrides on the weekends are also available.
5100 US Route 209, Accord, NY 12404
Davenport Farms is a family-owned farm market, greenhouse, and wholesale vegetable farm located in Stone Ridge. The stand has been in operation since the early 1960s, and offers a large selection of homegrown produce. They sell baked goods, delicious homemade soups, Catskill Mountain Coffee Roasters coffee, locally grown beef, organic baking supplies, organic bread, gourmet foods, and a variety of cheeses. And food is clearly marked by region of origin, so there’s no question where your food is coming from.
3411 US Route 209 Stone Ridge NY 12484
What started out as a simple roadside fruit stand to sell fresh apples from their orchard has evolved into one of the area’s most unique purveyors of local foods grown using sustainable farming practices. Stone Ridge Orchard, a local hotspot for apple picking, now features a wide variety of local gourmet produce and farm products that include their own fruit as well as products from the area’s finest growers. Many of the products carried are only available on a seasonal basis, so every time you visit, there will be something new. Other items like apples, ciders, and jams, are available throughout the year.
3012 State Route 213, Stone Ridge, NY 12484
Are you considering making your next indie or major feature film here? Looking for diverse locations, experienced on-screen talent and an expert crew? Pre-and post-production facilities? All the amenities and services needed to keep everyone happy? Ulster County has it all—and with NYS Film Tax Credits of up to 45% (the highest in NYS), you won’t find a more affordable place to bring your dream project to final cut. Check out UlsterForFilm.com, visit us at the Woodstock Film Festival hospitality lounge from 3:00 pm-5:00 pm on October 12th, or call (845) 340-3556 to get rolling today. The Ulster County Film Office is a proud sponsor of the 2018 Woodstock Film Festival.
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