"For the 2017 edition of the self-declared 'fiercely independent' fest, the programming was eco-friendly, class-conscious, gender-aware and racially sensitive — a fitting environment for the handful of host towns surrounding the area."

- Variety



our amazing STAFF & VOLUNTEERS

We cannot thank everyone enough. From the bottom of our hearts, we are deeply grateful for the wonderful and inspiring five days. From filmmakers, to volunteers, to staff members, to festival attendees, and everyone in-between this year was a success because of YOU! Thank you to everyone who attended this year.

We can't wait until next year - and we hope to see you all again!


Every year the Maverick Awards is one of the highlights of the festival. The Woodstock Film Festival takes this night to honor filmmakers and celebrate their accomplishments. On Saturday, October 14, this year's Maverick Awards took place at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY. The venue was packed with over 500 filmmakers, film industry members, community leaders, and audience members who attended the event held in the heart of Kingston’s Uptown Historic District.

Awards were presented to exceptional films and honorees in numerous categories.

The evening opened with world renowned tight rope walker and the subject of the Academy Award winning documentary MAN ON WIRE, Philippe Petit who introduced festival Co-Founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein gave welcome remarks as well and addressed the recently announced Ulster County Film Finance Program.

Celebrated producer, talent manager, and film agent Shep Gordon was presented with the Trailblazer Award for his visionary approach to the arts.

Actor Bill Pullman received the Excellence in Acting Award. Earlier, following the East Coast premiere of THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN, the actor discussed his role as the title character. As Bill Pullman was accepting his award, he knocked his award off the stage and broke in two. The actor spun this moment into one of pure laughter as he joked that he now had won two awards. This instance speaks volumes about how fun-loving and easy-going the Woodstock Film Festival is.


The Woodstock Film Festival had its Kickoff Night at the Woodstock Playhouse on Wednesday, October 11. A live musical performance by operatic soprano Sarah Joy Miller started the evening. A HAND OF BRIDGE preceded the special screening of STUCK. The excitement and engagement of the audience could be felt by all who attended this evening as the film received a standing ovation.

The night concluded with a Q&A by Giancarlo Esposito, Michael Berry, and Tim Young. The cast and crew spoke of their motivations and passion behind the creation of this film. As the Q&A moved to questions about the score of the film, Tim Young (the compose) took this chance to perform two songs from the film. The performance was captivating, leaving the entire audience in a musical mood wanting more.


On the second evening of the 18th Annual Woodstock Film Festival, THE MAD WHALE had its world premiere at the Woodstock Playhouse on Thursday, October 12.

In THE MAD WHALE, inmates at a women's mental asylum are tasked with staging a theatrical production of Herman Melville's 'Moby Dick' as a bold new form of therapy. The film was produced through James Franco's Elysium Bandini Studios.

Producers Jennifer Howell and Brandon Somerhalder, along with star Summer Phoenix, discussed the film's unique approach, in which nine directors and nine screenwriters worked collaboratively to produce a final cohesive piece, demonstrating that artists are strongest when working together. 

The Q&A session highlighted the importance of giving women a platform for expression. Jennifer Howell discussed how James Franco's advocacy for women's equality was a driving force behind the film. It was an honor to host the world premiere of THE MAD WHALE, which epitomizes the idea of fiercely independent filmmaking and highlights the value in bringing arts and education to the communities across the country that need it the most. 


Numerous people from the cast and crew attended THE SONG OF SWAY LAKE East Coast Premiere on Sunday, October 15th. Rory Culkin, the star of the film, mentioned that he had shot the film five years ago and this was his first time ever viewing it. It was an honor to share this moment with Rory and the crew. Afterwards, during the Q&A, he was able to share with the audience the personal growth and emotional journey that he has taken since they first worked on the film all those years ago. 
Photo by: Joe Davis

Director Tamlin Hall welcomed the audience to his screenings by first asking for a little audience participation. He asked everyone to stand up and hug the person next to them. HOLDEN ON is a deeply personal story about how precious life is and the impact of mental illness. Tamlin Hall connects with his audience by telling them his story and teaching them habits worth practicing to gain a life of love that is worth living. The star of the film, Matthew Fahey, was also in attendance and touched on how he and the other actors influenced one another by being open-minded and listening to each other. This allowed them to gain an understanding and true meaning of this important film. 

A very special surprise guest came to the screenings of THANK YOU FOR COMING. Sara Lamm’s sperm donor surprised the audience by attending. This documentary follows Lamm on her journey to find the man who donated his sperm in the 1970s which contributed to half of her DNA. Sara Lamm and her biological father both spoke about their experiences in this process after the screening during the Q&A.
Photo by: Cecilia Gonzalez-Gordon

Pedro's entire family came to the Woodstock Film Festival for the world premiere of MY NAME IS PEDRO. With two packed screenings, it was clear the audiences were moved while watching Pedro’s story. Both Q&As were nothing short of inspiring. It was an privilege to have so many wonderful cast and crew members here in Woodstock to celebrate Pedro's life and story.
Photo by: Angela Shapiro


PANEL: Through Their Lens: The American Condition 

The Through Their Lens panel discussed challenges of documentary filmmaking and how an individual's different background will have a significant impact on the filmmaking process. Richard Rowley mentioned that filmmaking is an inherently collaborative process between the crew and that this joint effort and mutual understanding can lead to new revelations. He explained that it is possible to gather a broader comprehension of the world by asking questions and learning from those who have had distinct life experiences. Sam Pollard touched upon the fact that his mission is to make films accessible to all and if this can be accomplished it can lead to world changing actions. Both filmmakers went into detail on how audiences find inspiration and motivation while watching films which will in turn get audiences to then go out and create movements that can change the world.

PANEL: Music in Film

Christopher Lennertz talked about his inspiration behind the film A SYMPHONY OF HOPE in the Music in Film panel. When he heard about the 2010 hurricane in Haiti he immediately feared for his childhood priest who is a missionary just outside of Port-au-Prince. One thing Lennertz loves about music is that it can "let you feel that you're not alone." Music has the ability to inspire and save lives. Over the course of 18 months, 25 composers wrote one piece for the symphony and in the end, the symphony became a beautiful cohesive piece of art. 

PANEL: Through Their Lens: The American Condition at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival. Photo: Dion Ogust

PANEL: Through Their Lens: The American Condition at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival. Photo: Dion Ogust

PANEL: Music in film at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival. Photo: John Mazlish

PANEL: Music in film at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival. Photo: John Mazlish

Students at Onteora High School saw the film HOLDEN ON and afterwards heard from many special guests in a round table like setting. They were able to speak with Tamlin Hall and Matthew Fahey from HOLDEN ON as well as hear from Kurt Voelker the writer and director of the film THE BACHELORS. Two highly respected and successful producers also joined in on the conversation, William Horberg and Jonathan Burkhart. They gave advice on how to get a start in the film industry and the dedication and love needed to have a successful career in the field. 

Wednesday, October 11 - A&P COCKTAIL BAR

After the kickoff event at the Woodstock Playhouse, the first night of the festival continued next door at A&P. Filmmakers gathered and had A&P's specialty cocktails such as: The Bill Pullman, The Shep Gordon, and The Stuck. It as a great way to finish up the first night of the festival, leaving everyone excited for the weekend to come.

Thursday, October 12 - New World Home Cooking

Filmmakers gathered in Saugerties the following night at New World Home Cooking for a fun night filled with karaoke, food, and dancing. Everyone got their chance to get on stage and perform a song. Throughout the night filmmakers and staff did their best to mimic the hit songs of TLC, Backstreet Boys, and Garth Brooks to name a few. Thank you to our sponsor Heineken. 


The Hudson Valley Film Commission hosted a mixer for visiting and local filmmakers to explain why producing and editing films in the region is ideal. The film commission, an extension of the Woodstock Film Festival, creates sustainable economic development and educational opportunities, by attracting, supporting and promoting local film, tv, photography, and new media work. In 2017, the Hudson Valley Film Commission has already worked with over 20 feature films.

Friday, October 13 - The Colony

The Colony hosted the Filmmakers Party on Friday night with live music performed by Transcend Gentlemen. The Dutch Consulate provided ample amounts of chocolate from THE CHOCOLATE CASE, as filmmakers mingled and chatted. 
Thank you to our sponsors the Dutch Culture USA and Ketel One.

Saturday, October 14 - Stella's Station

After the conclusion of the much anticipated Maverick Awards, attendees walked around the corner to Stella's to continue the celebration. Award winners, filmmakers, sponsors, jury members, and staff all joined together on the last night of the Woodstock Film Festival.


The Post New York Alliance (PNYA) hosted filmmakers, local post production industry professionals and members of the public from Friday through Sunday. In addition to providing delicious food, beverages, and fabulous local music (programmed by Ed Gerrard) members of the Alliance handed out cool swag and presented their objectives including 1) Incentivizing projects to finish in New York, 2) Marketing the services provided by the New York Post Production industry, and 3) Creating avenues for talent to enter into this fast growing sector of the economy. 

Thank you to all of our gracious hosts for a wonderful festival!


    Tallies from more than 120 narrative, documentary, short and animated films were calculated at the film center late Sunday night to determine the AUDIENCE AWARD WINNERS. Thousands of movie buffs, film industry members and filmmakers from around the world attended films, panels, and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Rosendale, Kingston and Saugerties over the course of the festival, traversing everything from road blocks to drum circles to get to their screenings and fill the ballot baskets! 

    Festival attendees this year included: 
    Bill Pullman, Shep Gordon, Giancarlo Esposito, Rory Culkin, Griffin Dunne, Summer Phoenix, Lori Singer, Catherine Curtin, Auden Thornton, Tim Guinee, Rebecca Miller, William Horberg, Peter Saraf, Lee Aronsohn, Anne Carey, Richard Rowley, Bob Herbert, Jamie Redford, Sam Pollard, Barbara Kopple, Philippe Petit, Tamlin Hall, Catherine Eaton, Michael Lang and many more.


    Michael Berry, Giancarlo Esposito and Tim Young. Photo by: Dion Ogu

    Michael Berry, Giancarlo Esposito and Tim Young. Photo by: Dion Ogu

    Director Nick Taylor, subject Wade Rathke and producer Joey Carey Photo by: Laura Revercomb

    Director Nick Taylor, subject Wade Rathke and producer Joey Carey
    Photo by: Laura Revercomb

    Rebecca Miller at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival. Photo by: Dion Ogust

    Rebecca Miller at the 2017 Woodstock Film Festival.
    Photo by: Dion Ogust

    The Woodstock Film Festival closed with the biographical documentary ARTHUR MILLER: WRITER, which was directed by his daughter, Rebecca Miller. Attendees engaged in the Q&A following the screening by asking thoughtful questions and praising Rebecca Miller for the beautiful film capturing the life of literary American hero, Arthur Miller.

    Producer William Horberg and son at the Virtual Reality Experience Photo by: Meira Blaustein

    Producer William Horberg and son at the Virtual Reality Experience
    Photo by: Meira Blaustein

    The Woodstock Film Festival presented a selection of four virtual reality pieces. The exciting new medium is something that must be experienced to truly understand. Virtual Reality is the next phase of storytelling for creators and artists. We presented room scale experiences using HTC VIVE.

    The installation was organized and curated by Carol Silverman, an Emmy award-winning set decorator, VR artist, and Hudson Valley local, and Dario Laverde, a virtual reality expert at HTC VIVE.


    We are currently seeking matching funds for a facilities grant that we hope to receive from NYSCA on January 1, 2018. Your support will help us achieve our goal. We raised $26,100 with a goal of $40,000. The Film Center is the hub of operations for the Woodstock Film Festival as well as the Hudson Valley Film Commission. The facility's improvements would be an asset to the overall operations of the festival and the film commission. We thank you in advance for your donations.

    Your Capital Campaign Contribution will help us hire local contractors to: 
    - Gut and renovate 2 office spaces & bathroom ($20k) 
    - Electric upgrades ($5k)
    - 5 new windows ($3k) 
       *includes removal of old windows and new installation
    - Prep for and install spray foam insulation ($12k) 
       *includes demo and new walls after foam insualtion

    For more information and to make a charitable donation, please visit our Capital Campaign page.

    Photo by: Leslie Hill

    Photo by: Leslie Hill

    We hope to see you at the 19th Annual Woodstock Film Festival, October 10-14 2018.

    Please take a moment to fill out our year-end survey.

    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.


    The Woodstock Film Festival is extremely grateful to have so many amazing sponsors each year. This year's festival was made possible in part by our Gold, Silver and Bronze sponsors along with State Support.

    Below is a list of this year's sponsors:

    Our Gold Sponsors this year include: 

    Our Silver Sponsors include: 

    Our Bronze Sponsors include:

    Our State and County Support from:


    We would like to also extend a thank you to advertisers who support our monthly newsletters including BankPurely, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Deborah MedenbachColdwell Banker Village Green RealtyThe Lodge, Screenwriter Mark T. GerlachSunflower Cafe, and Ulster Savings Bank.