The Woodstock Film Festival, now in its 24th year, has announced its main slate of films to screen from September 27 to October 1, 2023, at venues across the Hudson Valley towns of Woodstock, Rosendale and Saugerties, including the critically-acclaimed Sundance hit Fair Play directed by Chloe Domont, as the opening night film.
The lineup also includes Steve Buscemi’s The Listener; The Kill Room directed by Nicol Paone and starring Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson; The New Boy directed by Warwick Thornton and starring Cate Blanchett; Oscar-nominated filmmaker Pawo Choyning Dorji’s The Monk and the Gun; Oscar-nominee Bill Plympton’s Slide; and anticipated documentaries including Wim Wenders’ Anselm; Oscar-winner Roger Ross Williams’ Stamped from the Beginning; Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky and Maeve O’Boyle’s Joan Baez I Am Noise; Oscar-nominated director Karim Amer’s Defiant; Madeleine Gavin’s Beyond Utopia; Oliver English’s Feeding Tomorrow and a special 40th anniversary screening of When The Mountains Tremble by Saugerties-based master documentarian Pamela Yates.
The shorts programs includes works from auteurs Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson with Black Girls Play, Ramin Bahrani with If Dreams Were Lightning, Joan Churchill with Who Tells the Story? and Yann Mounir Demange with Dammi starring Riz Ahmed.
Meira Blaustein, Woodstock Film Festival Co-Founder and Executive Director, said, “We are thrilled to continue our tradition of bringing together world class talent from our own Hudson Valley community and extraordinary works of cinema from all over the world. We are once again proud to amplify the work of a group of filmmakers whose ingenuity and innovative storytelling is exemplary. As the Hudson Valley establishes itself as an epicenter of artistry and industry for the creative film community in the United States, we are proud to be at the forefront of generating experiences, audiences and conversations that give directors, actors, writers and people practicing all forms of filmmaking a place to flourish.”
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to renowned filmmaker James Ivory. Ivory was the directing partner with the legendary producer Ismail Merchant, in their independent company Merchant Ivory Productions. In the forty eight years they worked together as a team, usually accompanied by the writer and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, they created 28 feature films including the classics A Room With a View, Maurice, Howards End and The Remains of the Day. Ivory also wrote the screenplay for Call Me By Your Name, for which he received an Academy Award in 2018. A tribute screening of Ivory’s film The City of Your Final Destination, will take place on Saturday, September 30, followed by a conversation with Ivory and novelist Peter Cameron.
Filmmakers, talent and others expected to attend this year’s edition of the festival include James Ivory, Steve Buscemi, Michael Imperioli, Bill Plympton, Ramin Bahrani, Matthew Modine, Brittany Snow, Ted Hope, Vanessa Hope, Barbara Kopple, Sheila Nevins, Kiefer Sutherland, The Zombies, Ondi Timoner, Lori Singer, Tim Blake Nelson and more. Woodstock Film Festival Deluxe and Weekend passes are now on sale. Individual Tickets go on sale August 31.
The festival will feature stimulating panels with distinguished filmmakers and industry mavericks including:
— A conversation with prolific documentary producer Sheila Nevins moderated by two-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple. The two pioneering women will discuss their impactful careers, the state of documentary filmmaking and their current and future projects.
— Actors Who Direct with Brittany Snow, first-time director of Parachute; Steve Buscemi, director of The Listener; Matthew Modine, director of I Am What You Imagine, and moderated by Mary Stuart Masterson.
— The Picket Line: A Road to Pay Equity and Sustainability, presented by New York Women in Film & Television, with Neil Gaiman, author, writer and showrunner; Dana Weissman, Director of Programs at the Writers Guild of America East, Jo Miller, writer, The Daily Show, Full Frontal, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and moderated by film critic Thelma Adams.
— Creating Climate Stories to Rewrite Our Future, with Meredith Milton, Creative Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Lydia Dean Pilcher, leader of the PGA-WGA Climate Storytelling Initiative and moderated by producer Peter Saraf.
— John Sloss, founder and CEO of Cinetic Media, together with Eugene Hernandez, Director of the Sundance Film Festival and head of public programming, and Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse, will discuss the current and future state of independent film.
The Woodstock Film Festival is an Academy Awards qualifying festival in the categories of Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Documentary Short Film.
This year’s festival features 23 films directed by women, including Jane Weinstock’s personal 1960s-set drama Three Birthdays; Brittany Snow’s directorial debut Parachute; I Used to Be Funny by Ally Pankiw and starring Rachel Sennot; and Irena’s Vow by Louise Archambault, adapted from the hit Broadway play of the same name. Highlights of the documentary section directed by women include the 40th anniversary screening of When The Mountains Tremble by Pamela Yates, Beyond Utopia by Madeleine Gavin, The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution by Ondi Timoner; Razing Liberty Squareby Oscar-nominated filmmaker Katja Esson; and Finding the Money by Maren Poitras.
Highlights from the shorts program include:
— American Santa, by Avi Weider, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games, by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, U.S.
— Dammi, by Yann Mounir Demange, France
— Funnyface, by Jude Harris, U.S.
— I Am What You Imagine, by Matthew Modine, U.S. — NY Premiere
— If Dreams Were Lightning, by Ramin Bahrani, U.S.
— Maria Schneider, 1983, by Elisabeth Subrin, France
— Peccadillo, by Sofia Garza-Barba, Mexico
— Who Tells the Story?, by Joan Churchill, U.S. — World Premiere
Other festival highlights include the annual awards ceremony on September 30, where honors will be presented for accomplishments in multiple categories including Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Ultra Indie and Best Short Documentary.
The line up of narrative features and documentaries follows.
— Alien Intervention, by Janet Grillo, U.S.
— Asleep in My Palm, by Henry Nelson, U.S. — World Premiere
— At the Gates, by Augustus Meleo Bernstein, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
— Blackout, by Larry Fessenden, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
— The City of Your Final Destination, by James Ivory, U.S. —Tribute Screening
— Crumb Catcher, by Chris Skotchdople, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Eileen, by William Oldroyd, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Fair Play, by Chloe Domont, U.S. — Opening Night
— Fairyland, by Andrew Durham, U.S.
— Finestkind, by Brian Helgeland, U.S. — Closing Night
— Goodbye Stranger, by Aaron Rookus, Netherlands — U.S. Premiere
— I Used to be Funny, by Ally Pankiw, Canada — NY Premiere
— Irena’s Vow, by Louise Archambault, Poland, Canada — U.S. Premiere
— The Kill Room, by Nicol Paone, U.S. — World Premiere
— The Listener, by Steve Buscemi, U.S.
— Mascot, by Remy van Heugten, Netherlands — NY Premiere
— The Monk and the Gun, by Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan — NY Premiere
— Narcosis, by Martijn De Jong, Netherlands — NY Premiere
— The New Boy, by Warwick Thornton, Australia — U.S. Premiere
— No Right Way, by Chelsea Bo, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Parachute, by Brittany Snow, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Rachel Hendrix, by Victor Nuñez, U.S.
— Slide, by Bill Plympton, U.S — NY Premiere
— Stockade, by Eric McGinty, U.S. — World Premiere
— Summer Solstice, by Noah Schamus, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Three Birthdays, by Jane Weinstock, U.S. — World Premiere
— Tótem, by Lila Avilés, Mexico, Denmark, France
— Which Brings Me to You, by Peter Hutchings, U.S. — World Premiere
— Another Body, by Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Anselm, by Wim Wenders, Germany — NY Premiere
— Beyond Utopia, by Madeleine Gavin, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Defiant, by Karim Amer, Ukraine, U.K., U.S. — NY Premiere
— Down By The Riverside, by Jodie Childers and Dan Messina, U.S. — World Premiere
— Feeding Tomorrow, by Oliver English, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Finding the Money, by Maren Poitras, U.S. — World Premiere
— Fioretta, by Matthew Mishory, U.S., Czechia — World Premiere
— Food & Country, by Laura Gabbert, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Gumbo Coalition, by Barbara Kopple, U.S.
— Hollywoodgate, by Ibrahim Nash’at, U.S., Germany — NY Premiere
— Hung Up On A Dream: The Zombies Documentary, by Robert Schwartzman, U.S. — NY Premiere
— In the Shadow of Beirut, by Stephen Gerard Kelly and Garry Keane, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
— Invisible Nation, by Vanessa Hope, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
— Joan Baez I Am A Noise, by Miri Navasky, Maeve O’Boyle and Karen O’Connor, U.S.
— Mùsica!, by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, U.S. — NY Premiere
— The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution, by Ondi Timoner, U.S. — NY Premiere
— No Accident, by Kristi Jacobson, Canada, France — World Premiere
— Razing Liberty Square, by Katja Esson, U.S.
— A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari, by Kishi Bashi and Justin Taylor Smith, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Stamped from the Beginning, by Roger Ross Williams, U.S. — NY Premiere
— Texas Music Revolution, by Troy Paff, U.S. — NY Premiere
— The Tuba Thieves, by Alison O’Daniel, U.S.
— Unseen, by Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, U.S. — NY Premiere
— When the Mountains Tremble, by Pamela Yates, Guatemala, 40th Anniversary Tribute
— With Peter Bradley, by Alex Rappoport, U.S.