Directors & WFF alumni Eshom and Ian Nelms return to Woodstock with their third 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.
Silver Skies chronicles a group of seniors whose lives turn upside down when their Los Angeles apartment complex threatens to be sold out from under them. Director Rosemary Rodriguez has assembled a high-profile cast to play some very complicated roles. With humor and compassion, she brings these old-timers to a place of fear, a little romance and deep caring for each others' well-being. Long term pals Phil and Nick (George Hamilton and Jack McGee) tenderly face Phil's descent into Alzheimer's. Ethel (Valerie Perrine) finds friendship trumps love. Mariette Hartley's Harriet discovers life is good when you let down your guard. And with incredible moxie, Eve (Barbara Bain) demonstrates that age is no impediment when it comes to defending what's right. The story is easily relatable, as our aging population confronts a downturn in health, money and self-esteem. Now in their twilight years, facing the unknown, these underdogs will have you rooting for them all the way.
When director Justin Schein set out to film the life story of Mayer Vishner, an aging hippy and former political activist living alone in NYC in a tiny, overly crowded apartment, it is unlikely he anticipated the turn the story would take. Loneliness is one of the hardest maladies to live with, and Mayer, after years of coping with solitude, and six months into filming, announces that his last political act will be the taking of his own life. An ethical struggle ensues as the filmmaker can't help but put himself inside the story, trying to help his subject create a different ending. As Schein's own young child becomes a part of the film in a tender moment that restores hope that Vishner's life can be preserved, the viewer is inadvertently pulled into the unfolding tragic drama in a rare and deeply affective experience of self-questioning. Left on Purpose is a cinematic journey that poses ethical questions not easily answered, yet oh so important to be asked.
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. The film follows 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, Family Matters is a testament to self-empowerment and the deep-seated force of religious life.
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
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 impressively 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.
Evocatively titled, After The Spill takes us five years out, after BP's Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank in April 2010. Has life returned to normal along Louisiana's coastline? Or has it been changed forever? Filmmaker and adventurer Jon Bowermaster was putting the finishing touches on SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories, which he began filming in 2008, when the well exploded. The film gorgeously captured a place and a way of life that many believe will never return. Bowermaser and his camera have revisited the area many times, interviewing fishermen, scientists, politicians, environmentalists, and oil-rig workers to investigate how the Louisiana coast has been altered. What really happened to that oil? What about the dispersant used to push it beneath the surface? How has the spill impacted local economies, human health and the health of marine life and the Gulf itself? Has Louisiana's coastline been tainted forever? With skill and determination, filmmaker Jon Bowermaster probes and uncovers the truth beneath the spill.
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.
Zomer (Summer) is sweltering in a Dutch village where everyday life is dominated by the continually droning power plant. Sixteen-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. For those who have traveled beyond the teenage years, it is a reminder of the possibilities life holds.
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.
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. The film broadens the scope of PTSD beyond combat veterans to include other forms of debilitating trauma that currently impact 450 million people worldwide. Struggle along with U.S. Army captain Luis Montalvan, 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.
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. More people voted than ever before in the history of independent Senegal. Macky Sall, running on a platform of reform and anti-corruption, won. 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.
Reconquest Of The Useless is a documentary film that follows the travails of three young men as they journey nearly 5,000 miles through the Peruvian Amazon searching for inspiration, adventure and the legacy of Werner Herzog's classic film Fitzcarraldo thirty years after it was made. LikeFitzcarraldo, who dreamed of building an opera house in the jungle, and Herzog himself, with his transcendent vision of cinema, the creators of Reconquest Of The Useless also pursue quixotic dreams: to travel without being tourists and to have transformative experiences by exploring what is rarely sought after. Imbued with the spirit of Fitzcarraldo, the ultimate film for impossible dreamers, Reconquest Of The Useless is about the quest for the ineffable and unknown, and where that path can take you. A true journey for the audience to embark upon.
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, debut director Clay Riley Hassler manages to truly portray a sense of what being homeless is like. With heartbreaking honesty, we are pulled into the world in which it is set. But despite the stark realism, Homeless is a tender story, told in quiet yet deep beats that slowly pierce our hearts.
Josh Fox, activist writer/director of Gasland Parts I and II, opens WFF 2015 with a dialogue about the intersection between human rights and climate change, and how film can illustrate and transform our approach to this complex political problem.
WEDNESDAY 9/30, 4 PM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
The Americans: Conversation with Showrunner Joe Weisberg
An episode of the hit show followed by a discussion with Showrunner Joe Weisberg Moderated by Eric Kohn of Indiewire
SATURDAY 10/3, 2:15PM @ UPSTATE FILMS WOODSTOCK Tickets available HERE.
FILM AND LIVE PERFORMANCE: THE POET OF HAVANA WITH CUBA'S CARLOS VARELA AND SPECIAL GUEST JACKSON BROWNE
A screening of Ron Chapman's THE POET OF HAVANA followed by performance with Carlos Varela joined by special guest Jackson Browne.
WEDNESDAY 9/30, DOORS OPEN 7:15 PM @ THE ULSTER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Tickets available HERE.
A LIVE PERFORMANCE WITH WILL DURST AND JOHNNY STEELE (FOLLOWING SCREENING OF 3 STILL STANDING)
Enjoy a live (and lively!) performance with comedians Johnny Steele and Will Durst following the Bearsville screening of 3 Still Standing.
THURSDAY 10/1, 9:15 PM @ WOODSTOCK PLAYHOUSE Tickets available HERE.
PANEL: SOCIAL IMPACT IN MEDIA
Panelists: Andrew Catauro, Dan Cogan, Paco de Onís, Mike Webber, and Todd Wider. Moderator: Cynthia Kane
Our panelists, for whom impact is an vital motivator, will lead us through personal case studies to explore and define what has worked for them.
SATURDAY 10/3, 10 AM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
Panel: Animation - What Makes Animation So... Animated?
Panelists: Linda Beck, Mark Osborne, Bill Plympton Moderator: Signe Baumane
SUNDAY 10/4, 2PM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
PANEL: MUSIC IN FILM - SPONSORED BY BMI
Panelists: Krishna Das, Stewart Copeland, and Duncan Bridgeman. Moderator: Doreen Ringer-Ross
Join BMI's Doreen Ringer Ross as she chats with composer/musician Stewart Copeland (drummer for The Police), spiritual musician Krishna Das and filmmaker/recording artist Duncan Bridgeman about their dynamic collaboration on their project, One Giant Leap 2: What About Me?
SATURDAY 10/3, 12PM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
PANEL: ENOUGH, ALREADY! CHANGING THE STATUS OF WOMEN IN FILM AND TELEVISION
Panelists: Leah Meyerhoff, Anne Hubbell, Rose McGowan, and a representative from the ACLU | Moderator: Alexis Alexanian
Presented by New York Women in Film & Television, a panel of industry veterans will discuss the lack of opportunities for women directors in film and television and some of the steps that are being taken to address this situation
SATURDAY 10/3, 2PM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
HOT TYPE: SCREENING AND TALK WITH BARBARA KOPPLE AND KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL
A screening of documentary Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation, followed by a conversation with Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple and the The Nation’sPublisher and Editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, joined by Robin Bronk, CEO of The Creative Coalition.
SATURDAY 10/3, 2:30PM @ BEARSVILLE THEATER WOODSTOCK Tickets available HERE.
PANEL: FILM AS MEMOIR
Panelists: Alan Berliner, Doug Block, and Gayle Kirschenbaum | Moderator: Simon Kilmurry
Some of the most influential and talented filmmakers who specialize in films in the first person will discuss what motivates them, what it takes to make an impactful and successful memoir film, and how their cohorts feel about being on screen and exposed.
SUNDAY 10/4, 12 PM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
Sporting Dreams & Shelter Double Feature
In SPORTING DREAMS, director Leon Gast (We Were Kings) explores how sports play a part in the American dream through the intimate stories of three American families.
Followed by a screening of Barbara Kopple's SHELTER, an intimate depiction of the on-the-ground work of the veteran-founded community-based service organization
Bearsville Theater WOODSTOCK 10/3/2015, 11:45AM Tickets available HERE.
Atom Egoyan & Guy Maddin In Conversation
Join two of Canada's most celebrated filmmakers, Atom Egoyan and Guy Maddin in conversation.
SATURDAY 10/3, 4 PM @ KLEINERT JAMES ART CENTER Tickets available HERE.
Atom Egoyan's newest film, REMEMBER (starring Christopher Plummer) makes its U.S Premiere as the Opening Night Film at the 2015 Woodstock Film Festival.