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Join us October 13-16, 2016


Join us on March 16, 6pm at Onteora High School for a special screening of How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change with Oscar nominated director Josh Fox (GASLAND). The event is free and Fox will be on hand for in depth Q&A with the audience following the screening. For you free ticket, click here.

In How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change, Oscar nominated director Josh Fox (GASLAND) continues in his deeply personal style, investigating climate change – the greatest threat our world has ever known. Traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, the film acknowledges that it may be too late to stop some of the worst consequences and asks, what is it that climate change can’t destroy? What is so deep within us that no calamity can take it away?

Fox is best known as the writer/director of GASLAND Parts I and II. He is internationally recognized as a spokesperson and leader on the issues of fracking and extreme energy development. Gasland premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2010, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Documentary. The film premiered on HBO, was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for best documentary, and Josh won the 2011 Emmy for best non-fiction director. How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can't Change premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and will air on HBO in the summer of 2016. Fox is the recipient of the 2011 Ono/Lennon Grant for Peace.

“Touring with the GASLAND films for almost 8 years now I’ve seen the power organized communities have,” said Fox. “That’s why we’re bringing this film to communities like Woodstock. This is the frontline of climate change. We know if we’re going to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius we can’t frack for oil and gas, we can’t build pipelines and power plants that will keep us burning fossil fuels for 50 more years. That change is going to happen at the community level.”


Ric Orlando   (Best Overall Winner 2015) with   Jaimie Caprotti   and   Lauri Andretta

Ric Orlando (Best Overall Winner 2015) with Jaimie Caprotti and Lauri Andretta

The Woodstock Film Festival and its sister organization, the Hudson Valley Film Commission, will hold two stellar events this spring: the 4th Annual Taste of Woodstock on May 25 and the 4th Spirit of Woodstock Celebration on June 4. These events will highlight some of Woodstock’s finest culture and at the same time raise funds to help support the important contributions that WFF and HVFC make to the arts and economy in the area.


First up is the 4th Annual Taste of Woodstock on Wednesday, May 25th from 6-9pm, which celebrates the culinary diversity and delicacies that the area has to offer. Over 20 of Woodstock's top restaurants will participate in the event, which starts at the Film Center on Rock City Road and continues on a walking tour around town as attendees visit as many participating eateries as their appetites allow.

Among the celebrated chefs this year is Chef Ric Orlando (New World Home Cooking), who was the overall Taste of Woodstock winner in 2015 and known nationally as a Food Network CHOPPED Champion in 2010 and for his win on BEAT BOBBY FLAY in 2015.

"Taste of Woodstock is a great event for everyone, with a variety of different styles of food, drink and culinary superstars," says Woodstock Film Festival board president Lauri Andretta."We'll start you off with a glass of wine at 13 Rock City Road and hand you a map of the participating restaurants and venues, all within walking distance of the film center."

Proceeds from the event will benefit THE FILM CENTER capital campaign. Year-round, THE FILM CENTER hosts filmmakers, film-related workshops, classes, special events, and serves as a hub for the Woodstock Film Festival and Hudson Valley Film Commission.

A full list of participating restaurants and tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.woodstockfilmfestival.com

The following month, the Woodstock Film Festival will host the 4th SPIRIT OF WOODSTOCK CELEBRATION on Saturday, June 4th from 5-8pm. As in past years, the Spirit of Woodstock will celebrate honorees who embody the fiercely independent spirit that has made Woodstock famous for over 100 years. This year there are actually two honorees, both of whom are recognized internationally for their individualism and their artistry: Ron Nyswaner and Philippe Petit.  

The event will be held at a scenic estate overlooking the Ashokan Reservoir, where attendees can stroll the spectacular grounds and enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres while they mingle with and hear from the honorees. Proceeds will go towards the Woodstock Film Festival, which celebrates its 17th year this fall, October 13-17. The funds raised will help bring the high quality films, filmmakers, talent and other events that draw audiences from around the country and the world to the towns of Woodstock, Saugerties, Kingston, Rosendale, and Rhinebeck.  

"It is such a privilege to honor these two extraordinary individuals who have had long ties with the Woodstock community,” says Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein. "Ron Nyswaner is one of the most prolific, bold and sought after screenwriters and filmmakers around, and Philippe Petit is not only a world renowned tight rope walker, but an extraordinary artist who is an inspiration to all who dare to dream of the seemingly impossible.”

For details and tickets, visit SPIRIT OF WOODSTOCK

Ron Nyswaner

Ron Nyswaner

Philippe Petit

Philippe Petit

Ron Nyswaner is a screenwriter, author, director, producer, and activist who makes his home in Ulster County and Los Angeles. His screenplays include PHILADELPHIA, THE PAINTED VEIL, and SOLDIER'S GIRL. He is also the Writer/Co-Executive Producer of RAY DONOVAN (Seasons 1 & 2) and HOMELAND (Season 5 & 6). In addition to other honors, his documentary SHE’S THE BEST THING IN IT won the audience award at the 2015 Woodstock Film FestivalThis year he issued a revised edition of BLUE DAYS, BLACK NIGHTS: A Memoir of Desire, chronicling a doomed love affair and his battle with addiction.

Philippe Petit has performed on the high wire more than 80 times around the world, but he makes his home in Ulster County and New York City. In 1974, Petit mesmerized the world with an illegal high wire walk between the World Trade Center Towers, a quarter of mile above the sidewalks of New York City. His 'coup’ has been the subject of many books and movies, including the autobiographical TO REACH THE CLOUDS, the Academy Award-winning documentary MAN ON WIRE, and the Robert Zemeckis feature film THE WALK. He is also a magician, street juggler, lecturer, barn builder, and the author of ten books, the most recent being CREATIVITY: The Perfect Crime.

The Spirit of Woodstock celebrates the roots of the Hudson Valley-- its natural beauty, art, culture, innovation, the independent spirit of the people who live there, and the river that flows through and connects it all together. Past honorees include Michael Lang (one of the founders of the 1969 Woodstock Festival), Congressman Maurice Hinchey, local entrepreneur Mark Braunstein, and the Band’s Levon Helm. The Spirit of Woodstock Award is hand-crafted by local artisan Steve Heller of Fabulous Furniture.

The original Oscar statuette was sculpted in 1928 by Los Angeles artist George Stanley. The first statuettes were cast in bronze by Guido Nelli at the California Bronze Foundry. For the past 33 years the statuettes have been manufactured at a Chicago trophy company where they were cast in britannia metal and gold plated. The statuette’s base was made of black, nickel-plated spun brass.

In 2015 the Academy sought to return to the original process of lost wax cast bronze for reasons of tradition and quality. They chose Polich Tallix as the place to start anew. While the essence of the sculpture has never changed, over the years small changes had crept in. Of particular importance was the subtle softening of the statuette’s features. After review and much conversation between the Academy and the foundry, it was decided to start by scanning a classic Oscar from 1928 as well as the modern Oscar used in 2015.  These two scans were then blended to make the 2016 design closer to George Stanley’s original Art Deco sculpture.  The new, 2016 Oscar marries the best features of the classic Oscar to the contemporary form of the modern Oscar through 3-D modeling. (For more info, visit Polich Tallix)

CAROL, produced by Woodstock Film Festival advisory board member Christine Vachon and directed by festival alum Todd Haynes, is nominated for numerous Oscars, including Cinematography, Costume Design, Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay. 

Mark Ruffalo, the recipient of the Woodstock Film Festival’s Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award, Hudson Valley resident, anti-fracking activist, and one of our favorite actors, is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in SPOTLIGHT.

The documentary WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? is among the five docs competing for the coveted Oscar this year.  The film was directed by Woodstock Film Festival alum Liz Garbus and produced by Woodstock Film Festival’s friend Amy Hobby. The documentary was shot in part in the town of Woodstock.


Critically acclaimed filmmaker and award-winning producer  Janet Grillo gathered with friends at  Cucina  following the special screening of JACK OF THE RED HEARTS in Woodstock.

Critically acclaimed filmmaker and award-winning producer Janet Grillo gathered with friends at Cucina following the special screening of JACK OF THE RED HEARTS in Woodstock.

On February 6, the Woodstock Film Festival presented a Special Screening: of JACK OF THE RED HEARTS to a delighted crowd.

To quote an audience member and author, Jana Martin: "Stunning. Suspenseful. Funny. Gripping. Moving. Even the most untear-prone of us shed one, maybe two. Directed, smartly, sensitively, by Janet Grillo. Surprise perfection: Famke Janssen as the stressed and anguished mom. Q&A after with Meira Blaustein was like a class. Made me want to make movies."

The film opens Friday, February 26th in select theaters nationwide. For details, visit JACK OF THE RED HEARTS

Starring stellar actors such as AnnaSophia Robb (SOUL SURFER, CARRIE DIARIES) and Famke Janssen (TAKEN, X-MEN), Jack of the Red Hearts follows an aging out of foster care yet street-smart teen, JACK (AnnaSophia Robb), who gets in trouble with her probation officer. Needing to lay low, she cons her way into a job as live-in companion to a child with severe autism, GLORY (Taylor Richardson: ANNIE). Intending to stay a few weeks and make a few bucks, Jack is stunned when she makes a positive impact on Glory. Meanwhile the family, in particular the mother KAY (Famke Janssen) makes a positive impact on Jack. The wounded, scrappy survivors begin to heal each other a little bit--until the law catches up, the truth comes out, and Jack must choose: save herself or help someone else.

"It was a delight and an honor to share JACK OF THE RED HEARTS with the Woodstock Film Festival community," expressed Janet Grillo. "As a new resident of Saugerties, I was drawn here by the beauty, gracious pace of life and vast cultural resources. The people I've met here are warm, generous and stimulating."


On March 21, 2015, the Woodstock Film Festival proudly presented the documentary FOOD CHAINS with special guests and panelists, director Sanjay Rawal, Bob Dandrew (Local Economies Project), Ric Orlando (New Home World Cooking), and Heriberto Gonzalez (Rural & Migrant Ministry)

We’re now delighted to announce that FOOD CHAINS is one of the 5 winning films at the BritDocs’ Impact Award.

In this searing exposé, an intrepid group of Florida farmworkers battle to defeat the $4 trillion global supermarket industry through their ingenious Fair Food program that partners growers and retailers to improve conditions for farm laborers in the U.S.

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.

FOOD CHAINS reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food restaurants and supermarkets.

You can watch FOOD CHAINS on iTUNES at http://www.foodchainsfilm.com/see-the-film


MAVIS!, which has a special 2015 Woodstock Film Festival at Levon Helm Studios, is opening in select theaters in New York and Los Angeles and will screen on HBO beginning February 29.

Mavis Staples performing live

Mavis Staples performing live

Variety called MAVIS! “A spirited and captivating bio-doc that richly deserves the exclamation point in its title.”

MAVIS! is the first feature documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, The Staple Singers. From the freedom songs of the ’60s and hits like I’ll Take You There in the ’70s, to funked-up collaborations with Prince and her recent albums with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis has stayed true to her roots, kept her family close, and inspired millions along the way.

Featuring powerful live performances, rare archival footage, and conversations with friends and contemporaries including Bob Dylan, Prince, Bonnie Raitt, Levon Helm, Jeff Tweedy, Chuck D, and more, MAVIS! reveals the struggles, successes, and intimate stories of her journey. At 75, she's making the most vital music of her career, winning Grammy awards, and reaching a new generation of fans. Her message of love and equality is needed now more than ever.

The 17th Annual Woodstock Film Festival is now open for submissions. Film categories include narrative & documentary features, short narrative, student short narrative, short documentary, animation, music videos, and teen films. The early bird deadline is April 11.
Cash prizes are awarded for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Narrative, Best Student Short and Best Short Doc.
Submit your film at Woodstock Film Festival.com or Without a Box or FilmFreeway

Gigantic Pictures at WFF 2015

Gigantic Pictures at WFF 2015

We are thrilled to welcome back our partner GIGANTIC PICTURES. They ares returning in force as a 2016 sponsor. In addition to sponsoring Woodstock Film Festival's Best Narrative Feature Prize (winner gets $5,000 cash prize), the New York based company has committed to sponsoring Best Short Narrative (winner receives $2,000 cash prize) and Best Student Short Narrative (winner receives $1,000 cash prize).

Other awards include Best Animated Short, the Tangerine Award for Best Female Director, the Ultra Indie Award sponsored by Gray Krauss Statford Sandler Des Rochers LLP and Black Magic Design, the Carpe Diem Andretta Award, The James Lyons Editing Awards, and the Haskell Wexler Cinematography Award.

Award winners also receive a beautiful hand crafted trophy and in-kind prizes.


We would like to also extend a thank you to our official 2015 WFF sponsors and three advertisers who joined us for year-round Newsletter support: Mid- Hudson Limo, Sunflower Natural Foods Market, and Waterside Getaways!