Now in its 13th year, this premier event was named as one of the top 50 film fests in the world by Indiewire. And while the festival reflects the Fiercely Independent spirit of the historic arts colony in Woodstock, the festivities are held across the region, including Kingston, Rhinebeck, Rosendale, and Saugerties- the picturesque site for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
IDLE THREAT directed by George Pakenham
A self-described vigilante, George Pakenham walks the streets of New York to stop what many see as a victimless crime: idling. This Manhattan style eco-adventure story follows Pakenham on his five year oddyssey to have a 1971 engine idling law enforced. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CAR TALK’s Click and Clack are featured among others.
ONCE IN A LULLABY: THE PS 22 CHORUS STORY directed by Jonathan Kalafer
With unprecedented access, this documentary follows lovable Staten Island 5th graders and their inspiring teacher to Hollywood with behind the scenes drama at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. It all started when their unconventional music teacher started posting their performances on YouTube. The videos went viral and tens of millions of people including celebrities and indie rockers fell in love with this chorus of angels. This documentary is a feel-good inspiring story that shows us how much children can teach us all.
- Putzel – World Premiere For some, life is an adventure filled with endless possibilities of opportunities to excel and places to explore. For Howard, a timid and weak-willed Jewish man known by many as Putzel, life doesn’t go beyond his family’s fish store and his community on the upper west side of Manhattan. Expectations are exceeded however as Howard’s aspirations of taking over his uncle’s Bagel and Lox shop are disrupted by the arrival of Sally, a woman who becomes romantically linked with his uncle. While Howard tries to dissuade them of pursuing a relationship in order to insure his taking over the business, he finds himself falling for her as she brings about a long awaited change in his life. After years of being undermined by his family and friends, Howard finally starts to realize his full potential. With Sally’s help, Howard challenges his fear of venturing out of the sheltered community that he has never had the courage to leave and seeks to prove that he is more than a “Putzel.”
Jason Chaets in his feature debut, directs this delightful comedy of a young man’s struggle to realize himself and overcome his fears while gaining the confidence that he has been missing all along. –Joseph Martindale
- Rhymes with Banana – World Premiere When two quirky best friends’ dreams of becoming actors in NYC seem to be going nowhere, they decide to take things to the edge and then push them right over.
Delving into the childlike world of Z and G, two out of work actresses who are constantly in a state of play, can be daunting for anyone, but for their new neighbor Ted, things become surreal as he is kidnapped by this highly eccentric duo for being a suspected talent agent who can help them in their careers. After a few days being subjected to these girl’s outrageous antics, Ted discovers the inner workings of their unusual friendship and begins to sympathize with his captors. As he begins to understand their bizarre motivations, the two girls realize they are in over their heads and their friendship begins to fray around the edges.
Directed by Peter Hutchings and Joseph Muszynski, this satirical take on a buddy comedy defies the conventional standards and takes awkward hilarity to a new level. –Joseph Martindale
- Sparrows Dance
Leaving the apartment is a hard thing to do for the lead lady of Noah Buschel’s “Sparrows Dance,” a delightfully tender story of an agoraphobic woman who falls in love despite not having left her apartment in over a year. Marin Ireland delivers a stunning performance as a woman confined to her small NYC apartment, struggling with tasks as simple as ordering Chinese take-out and getting her plumbing repaired. Wes, played by Paul Sparks, provides a comical and compassionate backdrop as Ireland’s plumber and romantic interest, balancing the emotional struggle of Ireland’s agoraphobia that she faces throughout the film. “Sparrows Dance” is a delicate mixture of quirks, romance and drama, utilizing the physical space of a one-bedroom apartment to create an intricate world of solitude that extends far beyond its visible limits. —Chandra Knotts
Born in Philadelphia in 1978, Noah Buschel grew up in New York City’s Greenwich Village. After spending some time as a contributing editor for Tricycle Magazine, he made his feature film debut with “Bringing Rain,” starring Adrian Grenier and Paz de la Huerta. “Bringing Rain” was produced by Belladonna Productions, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003, and was released by Plexifilm. His second feature, “Neal Cassady,” was produced by Jean Doumanian Productions. It starred Tate Donovan and Amy Ryan, and was released by IFC Films in 2008. His third film, “The Missing Person,” starred Michael Shannon and premiered at Sundance. Buschel was nominated for a Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director and the film was on IFC.Com’s 2009 Ten Best List.
- Turning A Corner
A poor kid from Brooklyn fights the fates for a chance to change his life.
David B. Levy is Manager, Animation at Disney Publishing Worldwide. Over his career, Levy has directed animated TV series and pilots for Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Scholastic, Disney, Sesame Workshop, National Geographic, and the Fox Broadcasting Company. As a writer, Levy has been engaged by major companies such as Garan, Inc., Kidville, and Classic Media to create animated projects based on existing properties and by Disney, which optioned one of his original creations. As an author, Levy has penned the three essential books on the animation business (Your Career in Animation, Animation Development, and Directing Animation) and is the co-author of the upcoming Independently Animated: Bill Plympton (2011), published by Rizzoli press. Grandpa Looked Like William Powell, Levy’s recent indie animated short, was in over 55 film festivals worldwide including the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival, Athens International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, L.A. Film Festival, and the Atlanta Film Festival. His latest film, Turning a Corner, is just hitting the festival circuit.
– THE EYES OF A CHILD
At the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his nine-year old niece, Sophia, for a few hours. The young girl may be just the spark that suicidal Richie needs to bring him back from the edge.
Shawn Christensen graduated from Pratt Institute with a degree in Illustration and Graphic Design. He formed the indie rock band Stellastarr* and, while on tour, wrote and sold the screenplays “Sidney Hall” and “Karma Coalition.” His short “Brink “screened at TFF last year. He is attached to direct “Sidney Hall.”
Robert Tully and Michael Severn are fleeing town in a hurry. When their car overheats in front of an old family friend’s house, things get rather awkward and take some very unexpected turns.
Matt Smukler is a commercial director based in Los Angeles. He began his career in advertising as an art director. With regards to filmmaking, he maintains that he is self-taught through movies, books and more movies. His commercials have been recognized with numerous awards from institutions including Cannes, D&AD and the One Show. Matt has been profiled in Shots, Creativity, Boards, Res and CA. The Hiccup is Matt’s first short film.
- Happy Hour– North American PremiereUnemployed and recently dumped, Jack is forced to crash with his slovenly buddy Max in the crappiest apartment in NYC. Threatened with eviction, they need to raise cash fast or be put out on the street. The guys take two very different paths trying to put their lives back together, hoping to change their luck in time for Happy Hour.BIO:
Brian Devine is co-founder of GIGANTIC PICTURES, a fixture in the NYC Indie film community, known for their critically acclaimed feature films: “Night Catches Us,” “Dare,” “Flannel Pajamas,” “Year of the Fish,” “The Doorman,” “Satellite” and Ramin Bahrani’s “Goodbye Solo.” “Happy Hour” marks Brian’s directorial debut.
Tickets go on sale in September, and the full schedule will be announced just weeks before. The venues are intimate and many events sell out quickly, particularly those with celebrity participants. Tickets can be purchased at box offices in Woodstock and Rhinebeck or online at woodstockfilmfestival.com, where you can also register for email updates and don’t forget to Like WFF on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/woodstockfilmfestival) for up-to-the-minute details on year-round special events and other news.