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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.