As autumn slowly approaches, an array of actors, filmmakers, musicians and movie-lovers will soon flood the Hudson Valley. From Sept. 21-25, the Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) will enter its 12th year for five days celebrating independent films.
This year’s line-up consists of nearly 150 short and feature-length films, panels and music. Screenings and events will be held throughout Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Rosendale and Kingston.
One thing the WFF specializes in is the incredible diversity of new and veteran filmmakers. This year, director Bruce Beresford (“Driving Miss Daisy”) returns with “Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding.” Beresford won last year’s Honorary Maverick award.
“There’s a great presentation of well-known, established and highly accomplished directors premiering this year. It kind of complements the films we’re having by many young directors,” said Meria Blaustein, WFF co-founder and executive director. “You can put those two types of filmmakers together in a casual environment so young emerging filmmakers can work intimately with more accomplished and prolific directors out there.”
Each year, a number of panels are spread out throughout the festival where actors, directors, composers and more come together for question-answer-based programs. “Amazing Women in Film” takes a diverse group of women who will discuss their work with panelists including Robin Bronk, Nancy Savoca and Susan Seidelman. The popular “Music in Film” will discuss BMI’s annual discussion with George S. Clinton, David Grubin and more.
“I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the panels,” said Blaustein. “It’s a crash course on its own if you want to know about what makes a film successful or not successful, how to fund your project and everything there is to know about documentary filmmaking.”
New this year is the festival’s music program, started by Paul Green (founder of The School of Rock). There will be seven world premiere music films, including “Downtown Express,” directed by David Grubin, about world-renowned violinist Philippe Quint and “9 Pianos,” directed by Gillian Farrell about a piano dealer and tuner who goes to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
The festival will begin with a kick-off concert on Wednesday, Sept. 21 with Nellie McKay, Tracy Bonham and more. There will be 10 live performances throughout the week, including an acoustic set by Gene Ween at Colony Cafe in Woodstock on Thursday, Sept. 22.
Other notable features include Academy-Award Nominated actor Mark Ruffalo, who will receive the first honorary Meera Gandhi Giving Back award for his activism involving hydrofracking and safe water.
For more information on tickets, movies, etc., visit www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.