Contact Information:

Deborah Medenbach, Press Director, Woodstock Film Festival, 

845-679-4265 (o), 845-706-7716 (c) wffpress@gmail.com, woodstockfilmfestival.com


The dynamic political climate of the United States in an election year may overshadow American awareness of political issues in other parts of the world. This year, the Woodstock Film Festival offers a glimpse into the international politics and hot-button issues in Libya, Israel, Pakistan, Chile and the Ukraine.

“Filmmakers are often those bold voices who guide us into hard places and difficult situations, shedding light onto what was once in the shadows and opening a window into what was once hidden” said Woodstock Film Festival’s co-founder and executive director, Meira Blaustein. “We are fortunate to bring to this year’s film festival some of those world travelers and explorers who can take us from darkness into light and from despair into hope”.

This year, the Woodstock Film Festival offers eight documentary and narrative films with an international political focus, most of which will have the filmmakers, and in some cases also the subjects, present. A panel discussion inspired by one of the films rounds out the political focus.

Here are this year’s politically-themed films. Click on the title for full film descriptions.

The Promised Band  , directed by Jen Heck

The Promised Band, directed by Jen Heck

The Promised Band (2016) NEW YORK PREMIERE

     *A panel discussion Insiders and Outsiders: Feminism in the Middle East inspired by The Promised Band will be held, with Martina Radwan, Olga M. Davidson, Lina Qadri, Viki Auslender, and Jen Heck in attendance, and moderated by Dr. Holly Shaw.

Stronger Than Bullets (2016) US PREMIERE- In attendance will be director  Matthew Millan

Neruda  , directed by Pablo Larrain

Neruda, directed by Pablo Larrain

Freedom Runners (2016) NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE-  In attendance will be director David Waschmann

Women of Maidan (2016) WORLD PREMIERE-  In attendance will be director Olha Onyshko.

Disturbing the Peace (2016)- In attendance will be director Stephen Apkon, subject and Combatants for Peace Mohammed Owedah, and subject and Combatants for Peace, Assaf Yacobovitz.

Neruda (2016)- In attendance will be CEO of Participant Media, David Linde.

The Confession (2016) US PREMIERE

Junction 48 (2016)- In attendance will be producers Oren Moverman, Lawrence Inglee and Udi Aloni.

The Closing Night Film

Lifetime Achievement honoree Leon Gast's brand new documentary Woodstock: A Love Poem, has been chosen as the closing night film and will be screened at 8 p.m. Sunday Oct. 16 at the Woodstock Playhouse. The film, produced and directed by Gast and filmed and edited by Justin Martinez, features Ron Balsamo, Joyce Balsamo, Tad Wise, Ike Phillips, Tom Fletcher, Bruce Milner, Robbie Dupree, Michael Lang, Brian Hollander, Richard Segalman, Sam Magarelli, Cathy Magarelli, Mike Anello, Anthony Timpone, Barney Hoskins, Neil Howard, Kali Quinn, Jim Friskel, Jean Michel. 


Not every significant cast or crew member of a film can tell us they are attending until just before the festival. We are delighted to announce the special appearances of screenwriter John Buffalo Mailer, actors Eden Epstein and Drew Moerlein, and musician Amy Lee of Evanescence in support of the Thursday screening of Blind at the Woodstock Playhouse. 

Junction 48 director Udi Aloni will join Oren Moverman and Lawrence Inglee for the Sunday screening at Rosendale.

Director Xavier Manrique of Chronically Metropolitan announced he will be joined by mentor David Frankel (of Devil Wears Prada) along with the previously announced Q&A participants. 





The Panel Discussions at the Woodstock Film Festival have long been a distillation of industry knowledge from top producers, directors, actors and composers in the film world. No serious student of film or the film business should miss this year’s panels, offering unprecedented access to the driving forces of today’s independent film industry. All panels are held at the Kleinart James Arts Center, 34 Tinker St., Woodstock.

Producers on Producing •  Moderated by Richard Abramowitz with William Horberg, John Sloss, Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Lawrence Inglee, and Wendy Ettinger 

Master Class with Catherine Hardwicke: Fix it in Prep

Music For Film •  Moderated by BMI’s Charlie Feldman with Jedd Wider, Todd Wider, Lori Singer, and Paul Cantelon

Women in Film and Media •  Moderated by Thelma Adams with Bette Gordon, Mary Stuart Masterson, Catherine Hardwicke, and Amber Tamblyn

Chat with Trailblazer David LindeA conversation between Logan Hill and Trailblazer Honoree David Linde

Actors Dialogue •  Moderated by Martha Frankel with Karen Allen and Alia Shawkat

Telling Their Stories • Moderated by Nancy Abraham with Roger Ross Williams, Sam Pollard, Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg, and Olha Onyshko

Insiders and Outsiders: Feminism in the Middle East • Moderated by Dr. Holly Shaw with Martina Radwan, Olga M. Davidson, Lina Qadri, Viki Ausender, and Jen Heck


7-11 p.m. Oct. 15
Backstage Studio Productions, 323 Wall St., Kingston, NY

The annual Maverick Awards Ceremony has become one of the most talked-about events attracting more than 500 filmmakers, industry professionals and community leaders and guests. The event is open to the public. Individual and full-table tickets are available at the Woodstock Film Festival Box Office or online.

The 2016 Maverick Awards Ceremony will present several honors including: 

  • TRAILBLAZER AWARD, to be presented by a four-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker and close colleague Alejandro González Iñárritu to honoree David Linde, CEO of Participant Media

  • FIERCELY INDEPENDENT AWARD, to be presented by actor Ben Foster to honoree Oren Moverman

  • LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD,  to be presented by Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple to honoree Leon Gast

  • Best Feature Narrative, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Animated Short, the James Lyons Editing Award (Documentary and Narrative), the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, the Tangerine Entertainment Award for Best Female Director, the Ultra Indie Award, the Carpe Diem Andretta Award and the World Cinema Award.

Audience awards are announced to the media on Sunday.



Hailed as "A True American Maverick Among Fests" and named among the top 50 film festivals  worldwide, the Woodstock Film Festival premieres exceptional films, hosts the most talented emerging and established professionals in the movie industry; presents A-list concerts, panels and parties, and creates stimulating, innovative programming year-round. The Woodstock Film Festival is a non-profit, 501c3 with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning and diversity. The 17th Woodstock Film Festival returns October 13-16, 2016 with an extraordinary lineup of fiercely independent films, panels and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Kingston, Rosendale and Saugerties.

Sponsored by: Markertek, 120dbFilms, Gigantic Pictures, Ketel One, Gray Krauss, Stratford, Sandler, DeRochers LLP, Heineken, BMI, SAGIndie, Black Magic Design, Films We Like, Miller Howard Investments, Technicolor and Panavision.