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Woodstock Reveals Lineup for 12th Fest with 62 Premieres

Indiewire By Brian Brooks | Indiewire September 1, 2011 at 1:49AM

The Woodstock Film Festival revealed the full lineup for its 12th edition, with almost 150 exciting films, panels, performances and special events. The 2011 festival includes what it calls "a record 62 premieres," with 19 World, four North American, five U.S., 13 East Coast and 21 New York premieres on tap.
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The Woodstock Film Festival revealed the full lineup for its 12th edition, with almost 150 exciting films, panels, performances and special events. The 2011 festival includes what it calls "a record 62 premieres," with 19 World, four North American, five U.S., 13 East Coast and 21 New York premieres on tap.

As previously announced, the U.S. debut of Bruce Beresford's "Peace, Love & Misunderstanding" will open five-day festival, while East Coast debut of “Another Happy Day” by Sam Levinson will screen as a Spotlight film with star Ellen Barkin receiving the fest’s Excellence in Acting Award. Also receiving WFF nods are actor Mark Ruffalo and the Creative Coalition's Robin Bronk who will receive the fest's Honorary Trailblazer Award.

"Each fall we have the honor to provide the Woodstock platform to so many talented, innovative and bold filmmakers, from distant places throughout the world to those who work right here in our own Hudson Valley backyard," commented Meira Blaustein, WFF co-founder and executive director in a statement. "This year is rich with new and exciting voices side by side with those who are prolific and accomplished. We can't wait to host them all together here in Woodstock this September."

Screenings and events will take place in the historic arts colony of Woodstock, and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Rosendale and Kingston, in the Hudson Valley Catskills.

Highlights from the 2011 Woodstock Film Festival with descriptions and credits provided by the event:

"Peace, Love & Misunderstanding," directed by Bruce Beresford (U.S. premiere) - Opening Night Film
In this film by WFF 2010 Honorary Maverick Award recipient Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies) Oscar nominated actress, Catherine Keener, plays a conservative lawyer who takes her two teenage children to meet their estranged, hippie grandmother (Jane Fonda) in Woodstock. Shot and produced here in the Hudson Valley, the opening night film will take place Thursday, September 22, at the newly renovated Woodstock Playhouse. Beresford, along with writers, producers and select cast will attend the Q&A after the screening.

"Another Happy Day," directed by Sam Levinson (East Coast Premiere) - Spotlight Film
High-strung Lynn (Ellen Barkin) and her troubled grown children (Kate Bosworth and Ezra Miller) journey deep into the heart of domestic darkness to attend the wedding of her estranged eldest son. (Barkin will be the recipient of the WFF Excellence in Acting Award at the Saturday September 24th, Gala Maverick Awards Ceremony. She will be in attendance for the Q&A, and the Award ceremony.) Two-time Golden Globe Award Nominated actress and Emmy Award winner, Ellen Barkin is known for her remarkable roles in "Sea of Love" (1989), "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (1998) and more recently "Ocean's Thirteen" (2007).

Special Screenings:

"Giving Back," directed by Meera Gandhi - Special Screening
International humanitarian, author and filmmaker Meera Gandhi explores the deeply personal and unique ways in which her friends from around the world "give back" to humanity. A conversation on global philanthropy will follow the screening of this riveting short documentary. (*Academy Award Nominated actor, Mark Ruffalo, will receive the very first honorary Meera Gandhi Giving Back award for his community activism involving safe water and hydro-fracking in the Catskills. Ms. Gandhi will present the award to Mark Ruffalo at the Saturday September 24th, Gala Maverick Awards Ceremony.) Academy Award Nominated actor, Mark Ruffalo, is a resident of the Catskills and an active supporter of the anti-fracking movement, traveling to Albany and Washington to protect safe water for the region. Easily moving between stage and screen his most recent roles include "Collateral" (2004), "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004), "Shutter Island" (2010) and "The Kids Are All Right" (2010).

"Perfect Sense," directed by David Mackenzie, (East Coast Premiere)
Scientist Susan (Eva Green) has given up on love after dedicating herself to the study of epidemics. When she meets Michael (Ewan McGregor), everything changes. They experience new and unforeseen depths of feeling, as all around the world something strange is affecting everyone's emotions. A genre-busting, poetic sci-fi film with a life-affirming look at what it means to love and be loved in turbulent times. Screening Saturday, Sept. 24, 9:30p, Upstate Films, Woodstock and Sunday, Sept. 25, 7:30p, Rosendale Theater.

"Musical Chairs," directed by Susan Seidelman, (Sneak Preview)
A sexy, pulse-pounding romance set in the scintillating, competitive world of ballroom dancing. Upper East Side Mia (Leah Pipes) has a promising career as a dancer. Bronx-born Armando (EJ Bonilla) sweeps floors at the dance studio in exchange for lessons. He dreams of dancing with Mia, the love of his life. Their dreams are shattered when a tragic accident forever confines Mia to a wheelchair. Armando dedicates himself to helping Mia "dance" once more. Director Seidelman will be in attendance for the Q&A, Saturday, Sept. 24, 8p, Woodstock Playhouse.

"Coming Up Roses," directed by Lisa Albright, (World Premiere)
Young Alice (Rachel Brosnahan) and her theatrical mother, Diane (Bernadette Peters) desperately hold onto each other and the fantasy of a better life. A dangerous neighborhood, money troubles, even Diane's relentless depression will not defeat them. But is their love and determination enough? A striking dramatic role for Broadway superstar BERNADETTE PETERS. The directors and select cast will be attending the Q&A, Friday, Sept. 23, 5:45p, Woodstock Playhouse and Saturday, Sept. 24, 6:15p, Rosendale Theater.

Narrative Features:

"96 Minutes," directed by Aimee Lagos, (New York Premiere)
"An Ordinary Family," directed by Mike Akel, (East Coast Premiere)
"Another Happy Day," directed by Sam Levinson, (East Coast Premiere)
"Another Kind," directed by Jonathan Blitstein, (World Premiere)
"Answers to Nothing," directed by Matthew Leutwyler, (World Premiere)
"Coming Up Roses," directed by Lisa Albright, (World Premiere)
"Downtown Express," directed by David Grubin, (World Premiere)
"East Fifth Bliss," directed by Michael Knowles, (East Coast Premiere)
"The Inkeepers," directed by Ti West, (New York Premiere)
"Letters from the Big Man," directed by Christopher Munch
"The Lie," directed by Joshua Leonard, (New York Premiere)
"Losers Take All," directed by Alex Steyermark, (World Premiere)
"Musical Chairs," directed by Susan Seidelman, (Sneak Preview)
"The Off Hours," directed by Megan Griffiths, (New York Premiere)
"On the Ice," directed by Andrew O. MacLean
"Pájaros del Papel" (Paper Birds), directed by Emilio Aragón
"Peace, Love & Misunderstanding," directed by Bruce Beresford, (U.S. Premiere)
"Perfect Sense," directed by David Mackenzie, (East Coast Premiere)
"Ponies," directed by Nick Sandow, (World Premiere)
"Sahkanaga," directed by John Henry Summerour, (New York Premiere)
"Silver Tongues," directed by Simon Arthur, (New York Premiere)
"Tilt," directed by Viktor Chouchkov Jr., (East Coast Premiere)
"Union Square," directed by Nancy Savoca, (U.S. Premiere)

Narrative Competition Finalists: "96 Minutes," "East Fifth Bliss," "The Lie," "On the Ice," "Sahkanaga," "Silver Tongues," "Tilt"

Documentary Features:

"9 Pianos," directed by Gillian Farrel, (World Premiere)
"Adventures In Plymptoons," directed by Alexia Anastasio, (North American Premeire)
"Bombay Beach," directed by Alma Har'el
"Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle," directed by Robbie Gemmel and John Kirby, (World Premiere)
"Deaf Jam," directed by Judy Lieff, (North American Premiere)
"Dolphin Boy," directed by Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir, (U.S. Premiere)
"Fat Cows, Lean Cows," directed by Men Elias, (World Premiere)
"Fightville," directed by Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker, (New York Premiere)
"Freaks in Love," directed by Skizz Cyzyk and David Koslowski, (East Coast Premiere)
"Giving Back," directed by Meera Gandhi
"King's Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution," directed by Lucy Winer, (World Premiere)
"Kumaré," directed by Vikram Gandhi, (New York Premiere)
"More to Live For," directed by Noah Hutton, (New York Premiere)
"The Other F Word," directed by Andrea Blaugrund Nevins, (New York Premiere)
"Poetry of Resilience," directed by Katja Esson, (East Coast Premiere)
"Semper Fi: Always Faithful," directed by Tony Hardmon and Rachel Libert
"Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul," directed by Kai Sehr, (East Coast Premiere)
"Something Ventured," directed by Daniel Geller and Danya Goldfine
"Taking a Chance on God," directed by Brendan Fay, (World Premiere)
"Unraveled," directed by Marc H. Simon, (New York Premiere)
"The Welcome," directed by Kim Shelton, (New York Premiere)
"I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, The Mad, The Beautiful," directed by Jonathan Demme, (U.S. Premiere)

Documentary Competition Finalists: "Bombay Beach," "Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle," "Deaf Jam," "Dolphin Boy," "Semper Fi: Always Faithful," "Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul," "Unraveled"

Friday Fright Night:

"The Inkeepers," directed by Ti West, (New York Premiere)
After more than 100 years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors forever. The two last remaining employees are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England's most haunted hotels. As the final days draw near, they experience strange and alarming events, compelling them deeper into the long-unexplained mysteries of the inn. The producers will be attending the Q&A, Friday, Sept. 23, 8:15p, Woodstock Playhouse and Saturday, Sept. 24, 9p, Rosendale Theater.

"Another Kind," directed by Jonathan Blitstein, (World Premiere)
A group of 20-something New Yorkers drive to the Catskills for a long weekend of winter camping. It soon becomes apparent they were better off staying home. Strange and inexplicable things begin to happen, they lose all sense of direction, and after a snowy frostbitten night, begin having strange visions. They can't distinguish dreams from reality, nor do they know a twisted surprise awaits them at the trailhead. Director Blitstein will be attending the Q&A, Friday, Sept. 23, 11p, Woodstock Playhouse and Saturday, Sept. 24, 10p, Upstate Films, Rhinebeck.

Exposure: Films of Social Responsibility:

"Semper Fi: Always Faithful," directed by Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon
Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger's loyalty belonged to the Marine Corps for 25 years. But when his nine-year-old daughter dies of a rare form of leukemia, he takes on a quest that leads him to a shocking discovery: the organization to which he had pledged his loyalty was responsible for one of the largest water contamination incidents in U.S. history. His fight, and this important doc, reveals a grave injustice at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune and a looming environmental crisis at military sites across the country. The directors will be attending the Q&A, Friday, Sept. 23, 11:45a, Upstate Films, Woodstock and Sunday, Sept. 25, 2p, Upstate Films, Rhinebeck.

"Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle" directed by Robbie Gemmel and John Kirby, (World Premiere)
"Give wind a chance," versus "not in my backyard" is the central conflict in this darkly humorous and profoundly serious tale of a community divided by green politics. In 2001, entrepreneur Jim Gordon proposed building a major wind farm in the middle of Nantucket Sound, fabled playground for America's rich and famous, billing the project as a clean, green power plant that should be welcomed by all. To his chagrin, "Cape Wind" became one of the decade's most confounding political battles. A gripping and entertaining study of eco-capitalism and grassroots democracy. The directors will be attending the Q&A, Friday, Sept. 23, 2:30p, Bearsville Theater and Sunday, Sept. 25, 11:15a, Upstate Films, Rhinebeck.

"The Welcome," directed by Kim Shelton, (New York Premiere)
A fiercely intimate view of life after war, the fear, anger and isolation of post-traumatic stress that affects vets and family members alike. As we join them for an unusual healing retreat, we witness how the ruins of war can be transformed into the beauty of poetry. Their inspiring examples of unflinching honesty, courage and love remind us of our common humanity, always the first casualty of war. The directors will be attending the Q&A.

"Taking a Chance on God," directed by Brendan Fay, (U.S. Premiere)
Follows the extraordinary life of 85-year-old Jesuit priest John McNeill, a former POW, co-founder of the GLBT Catholic group Dignity NY, author of The Church and the Homosexual, and loving partner of 45 years to Charles Chiarelli. McNeil has refused to let his voice be silenced despite being expelled from the Catholic Church after forty years of faithful service. This powerful doc explores the inspiring story of faith, love and perseverance in the face of oppression and rejection. Director Fay will be attending the Q&A, Saturday,

"Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul," directed by Kai Sehr, (East Coast Premiere)
"We build ramps, not bombs," say Oliver and Sharna, founders of Skateistan, an aid foundation whose goal is to bring education and equality to the overwhelmingly adolescent population of war-torn Afghanistan. Love of skateboarding reveals a rarely-seen side of Afghan culture. With the help of visiting professional skate boarders, and an outpouring of local enthusiasm, they construct a skate park in the center of Kabul. Touching on gender, ethnic and social mores in Afghanistan, Skateistan offers an exhilarating vision for the future.

"Poetry of Resilience," directed by Katja Esson, (East Coast Premiere)
War, genocide and oppression: unfathomable tragedies paint a dark portrait of the human condition. And yet, out of atrocity the beauty of poetry can flow, as those who lived it attempt to make sense of it all. Through the poems and words of six extraordinary artists, comes this deeply contemplative examination of violence, society, and the reality of being an artist and survivor. Shot by Academy Award-Nominated director Esson on location from Hiroshima to Rwanda. Director Esson will be attending the Q&A.

"The Thing that Happened," directed by Andrew Walton, (Short)
The Hope North Secondary School in Uganda provides a home and education for displaced children of civil war; school founder Sam Okelo's personal account is a poetic and moving tribute to the living and the dead. Screening prior to "Poetry of Resilience."

"I Now Pronounce You Husband & Husband," directed by Stephanie Donnelly, (Short)
In 2004, New Paltz Mayor Jason West was criminally charged for making many couples' dreams come true by performing two dozen same-sex marriages. Screening prior to "Taking a Chance on God."

[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article included "Corman's World" in the lineup, it has since been removed from the Woodstock lineup.]

[For more information, visit the festival's website]

This article is related to: Woodstock Film Festival





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