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“Stranger Things” & “Marwencol” Take Top Prizes at 11th Woodstock Film Festival

"Stranger Things" & "Marwencol" Take Top Prizes at 11th Woodstock Film Festival

Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal’s feature “Stranger Things” and Jeff Malmberg’s doc “Marwencol” took top prizes Saturday evening at the 11th Woodstock Film Festival. Emceed by Oscar-nominated writer/director and Woodstock resident Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia”), the Gala Maverick Awards ceremony also honored writer/director Bruce Beresford (“Mao’s Last Dancer”) with its Honorary Maverick Award, veteran film distributor Bob Berney with the festival’s Honorary Trailblazer Award, and actor Keanu Reeves, who received the festival’s Honorary Excellence in Acting Award.

Of note, Berney was recently named President of Theatrical Distribution of the recently unveiled new outfit, FilmDistrict.

In other Woodstock prizes, Anthony Sheppard’s “Music Scene” won the award for Best Animation, while John Cohen’s “Roscoe Holcomb: From Daisy Kentucky” took Best Short Documentary. “Hirosaki Players” by Jeff Sausa won Best Short Narrative and Xavier Liberman and Franck Rabel won Best Cinematography for “Inuk,” directed by Mike Magidson.

The full list of winners from the 11th Woodstock Film Festival, with information provided by the festival:

Lee Marvin Best Feature Narrative Award: “Stranger Things,” directed by Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal
Honorable Mention: “3 Backyards,” directed by Eric Mendelsohn

Maverick Award for Best Feature Documentary: “Marwencol,” directed by Jeff Malmberg

Maverick Award for Best Animation: “Music Scene,” directed by Anthony Sheppard

Honorable Mention: “Down to the Bone,” directed by Peter Ahern

The Diane Segilman Award for Best Short Documentary: “Roscoe Holcomb: From Daisy Kentucky,” directed by John Cohen

The Diane Seligman Award for Best Short Narrative: “Hirosaki Players,” directed by Jeff Sausa

Honorable Mention: “Junko Shamisen,” directed by Solomon Friedman

The Diane Seligman Award for Best Student Short Film: “God of Love,” directed by Luke Matheny

Honorable Mention: “Some Boys Don’t Leave,” directed by Maggie Kiley

The Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography: “Inuk” – Cinematographers Xavier Liberman and Franck Rabel; directed by Mike Magidson

The James Lyons Award for Best Editing of a feature narrative: “Norman” – edited by Robert Hoffman, Editor; directed by Jonathan Segal

Honorable Mention: “3 Backyards,” Morgan Faust andJ effrey K. Miller Editors; directed by Eric Mendelsohn.

The James Lyons Award for Best Editing of a Feature Documentary: “One Lucky Elephant” – edited by Kate Amend and Tchavdar Gerogiev, Editors; directed by Lisa Leeman

Honorable Mention: “The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan,” edited by Kimberley Hassett and Eben Bull
Directed by Henry Corra

Honorary Prizes:

Honorary Maverick Award: Writer/director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy,” “Mao’s Last Dancer”)

Honorary Trailblazer Award: Bob Berney (“There Will Be Blood,” “Monster,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Whale Rider,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”)

Honorary Excellence in Acting Award: Keanu Reeves (“The Matrix,” “The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee,” “Something’s Gotta Give”)

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Josh Hyde

Let’s be honest. Both films are good. They hit you in different ways and you can feel the authenticity from their directors and producers. Hats of to both of the films as they continue on the festival circuit.

Authenticity and sincerity is often the hardest things to capture.


Stranger Things is beautiful! The acting is so nuanced and the story so controlled. Very elegant filmmaking.


Stranger Things sneaks up on you— it starts off slow and quiet and pretty soon you’re sucked into the drama of this very personal story.


WTF!? “The Tested” was much beter than “Stranger Things.” That’s a joke!!

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