World Premieres Bring Artists, Indigenous Leaders, Activists and More to Woodstock

Manuel Oliver works on his mural in the center of Woodstock.

Manuel Oliver works on his mural in the center of Woodstock.

The fourth day of the 20th annual Woodstock Film Festival was filled to the brim with exciting performances, world premiere screenings, and special events.

During the afternoon in the center of Woodstock, artist and activist Manuel Oliver installed a mural in memory of his late son Joaquin, who lost his life in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. To a hushed crowd of onlookers, survivors, and photographers, Oliver and his wife delivered a powerful speech about how their son’s tragic death continues to motivate their efforts about the perils of gun violence.

Casey Camp-Horniek (left) and Director Clement Guerra (right) during the Q&A for  The Condor and the Eagle.

Casey Camp-Horniek (left) and Director Clement Guerra (right) during the Q&A for The Condor and the Eagle.

Also in the afternoon, Sophie and Clement Guerra’s The Condor & the Eagle made its World Premiere. The screening was preceded by group prayer lead by Casey Camp-Horinek. The documentary follows four indigenous leaders from North and South America as they embark on a journey to fulfill an ancient prophecy and protest the global response to climate change.

(From left) Ellen Toland, Aaron Fisher, and Eric Roberts at the premiere of  Inside The Rain.

(From left) Ellen Toland, Aaron Fisher, and Eric Roberts at the premiere of Inside The Rain.

In the evening, writer-director Aaron Fisher’s Inside The Rain made its World Premiere. The film follows film student, Benjamin Glass (played by Aaron Fisher), a young man with ADHD, OCD, and other mental disorders as he seeks to prove his innocence to prevent his expulsion in this captivating romantic comedy. After the premiere, Aaron Fisher, executive producer Danny Fisher, cast members Ellen Toland, Eric Roberts, and Catherine Curtin stayed for a Q&A with the audience.

(From left) Jammal Lemmy, Sam Zeif, Cameron Kasky, Matt Deitsch, Manuel Oliver, Patricia Oliver, and Cheryl Horner speak following the world premiere of  Parkland Rising.

(From left) Jammal Lemmy, Sam Zeif, Cameron Kasky, Matt Deitsch, Manuel Oliver, Patricia Oliver, and Cheryl Horner speak following the world premiere of Parkland Rising.

Coming right after the Inside The Rain World Premiere was another shining debut, Parkland Rising. This heartbreaking, yet uplifting documentary follows the deadly February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the subsequent efforts of the survivors to advocate for stricter gun control laws. After the show, director/producer Cheryl Horner McDonough, producer/cinematographer Bill Richmond and a number of Parkland activists including Jammal Lemmy, Sam Zeif, Cameron Kasky, Matt Deitsch, Manuel and Patricia Oliver were there to field questions from the audience.

Billy Martin performing after the world premiere of  Not Not Jazz.

Billy Martin performing after the world premiere of Not Not Jazz.

Jason Miller’s Not Not Jazz also sold out its World Premiere last night. The documentary follows the avant-jazz-funk band, Medeski, Martin & Wood as they set out to record a new album at the famous Allaire Studio in upstate New York. The screening concluded with a solo drum performance by Billy Martin of Medeski, Martin & Wood.

Director Jeff Roda at the 2019 Woodstock Film Festival.

Director Jeff Roda at the 2019 Woodstock Film Festival.

Last, but certainly not least, Jeffrey Roda’s 18 to Party made its World Premiere to a sold-out crowd. The packed theater were the first to see the nostalgic coming-of-age story of a group of 8th graders hanging outside a small-town night club in 1984. Jeffrey Roda, producers Emily Ziff Griffin, Nikola Duravcevic, Andrew Cahill, and most of the cast were available for audience questions after the screening.