Twenty years ago two starry-eyed filmmakers ventured upstate, intent on creating a festival where people from all over the world could gather at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains and unite in their shared passions for community and independent cinema. Two decades later, the Woodstock Film Festival continues its mission by showcasing the most cutting-edge works from the silver screen while serving as an incubator for upcoming talent and local filmmaking.
We live in a period of great uncertainty and unprecedented change, both for the medium of filmmaking and our planet itself. New communication technologies are disrupting industry gatekeepers, allowing creators to finance and deliver their films directly to their audiences without the need for a big studio or distributor. The advent of social media has created new opportunities for those with similar interests to both connect and segregate themselves from people they disagree with. Meanwhile, rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns are pushing anxieties about climate change to an all time high, to the chagrin of the public and scientists alike.
Fearlessly tapping into the current zeitgeist, the diversity of year’s lineup serves as an artistic response to these unstable times. From documentaries centered around gun control and environmental activism to films that engender empathy for those existing on society’s margins, the Festival’s programming remains committed to pushing the boundaries of creative expression and social norms. Like the iconic concert that shares our namesake, this year’s Festival includes an exciting slate of live performances across a multitude of genres, including but not limited to rock, jazz, Arabic, and even burlesque.
New York’s Hudson Valley region is one with a rich artistic history, a legacy that the Festival is both inspired by and immensely proud to be a part of. As you meander through the charming towns of Woodstock, Rosendale, Saugerties, Rhinebeck and Kingston, take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty and channel the creative spirits of those who made the pilgrimage to this special area before you.
We extend our gratitude to the many wonderful people who took part in making the Woodstock Film Festival what it is today. Thank you to our hard working and dedicated staff, volunteers, filmmakers, industry members, sponsors and individual contributors, programmers, our past and present board of directors and advisory board members, and last but not least, the community at large. Over time, the Festival has transformed into an organization and annual event that has surpassed our most stratospheric expectations, and it couldn’t have gotten there without your generous support.
Welcome to the 20th Annual Woodstock Film Festival. See you at the movies!
Meira Blaustein, Co-founder and Executive Director and the whole Woodstock Film Festival Team