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AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS CLOSE OUT  
WOODSTOCK FILM FESTIVAL'S 19TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION

The Fiercely Independent Festival Concludes with Audience Favorites

WOODSTOCK, NY (October 15, 2018) - The 19th Annual Woodstock Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday with the closing night film A PRIVATE WAR which was followed by a Q&A with director Matthew Heineman. More than 100 feature length narratives and documentaries were calculated at the film center late Sunday night to determine the winners of the Audience Awards. Thousands of film lovers, film industry members and filmmakers from around the world attended films, panels, and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Kingston and Saugerties over the last week.

CLICK HERE FOR MAVERICK AWARD WINNERS


Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature:

WHEELS

DIRECTED BY: PAUL STARKMAN

19-year-old Max longs to be a DJ. But in order to provide for his sick grandmother, he has dropped out of high school and is working at a supermarket and DJing parties for Oscar, a neighborhood thug, as he struggles to make ends meet. Monty, a popular underground DJ, sees Max's potential and pushes him to take DJing more seriously. Holding on to his dream, Max stashes away every spare cent to buy his own turntables. When his brother, Terry, shows up after a three-year prison stint for stealing cars, Max finds himself at a crossroads between trust, obligation and pursuing his dream. Shot in gorgeous black and white, with exhilarating backbeats, Wheels is a powerful ride; an earnest story with a magnetic young lead. We all have a dream until life gets in the way, but this Rocky-style underdog story shows us the importance of staying true to yourself and your art, no matter the adversity.

 Neal Usatin and Paul Starkman. Photo by John Mazlish

Neal Usatin and Paul Starkman. Photo by John Mazlish

 

The cast and crew of Wheels
Photo by Naomi Schmidt


Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature:

Mr. soul!

DIRECTED BY: Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard

Mr. SOUL! tells the story of Ellis Haizlip and his ground-breaking variety show, SOUL!, that showcased the black experience in America during the late 60s and early 70s. It was a show by black people, for black people and hosted the likes of Sidney Poitier, Stevie Wonder and Maya Angelou. Haizlip, a proud gay man, boldly created a platform for black music, poetry and ideas in a racially divisive era. Directors Samuel Pollard and Malissa Haizlip (Ellis's niece) take us on the five year journey of the SOUL! series and dive into the life of its creator. I chose this film because Ellis Haizlip, who passed away in 1991, deserves recognition and admiration for his daring and profound vision. Ellis's mission was, in his own words, ‘to sensitize and involve the total community in the lifestyle and rhythm’ of black Americans. His life and career have inspired me on many levels and continues to influence my work today.

 Mr. SOUL!

Mr. SOUL!

 

Melissa Hazlip
Photo by Joseph Vlachos


The 20th Annual Woodstock Film Festival will take place October 2-6! Mark your calendars and look forward to joining Woodstock Film Festival for our big anniversary. Keep up to date with everything Woodstock Film Festival through our official website, signing up for our monthly newsletters and following the festival's latest news on social media. See you next autumn!

CLICK HERE FOR HI-RES FESTIVAL PHOTOS and visit the Woodstock Film Festival YouTube channel for video coverage from the 19th annual Maverick Awards Ceremony as well as other 2018 festival Q&As and panels.