With the tagline “fiercely independent,” the Woodstock Film Festival annually draws from the countercultural spirit and storied musical and artistic history of Woodstock and the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York to present a cross-section of over one hundred films for local area residents and city dwellers looking for a getaway. This year’s event, which begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday, October 14, marks its 13th edition. Close to 60 feature length films will screen, as well as scores of shorts, panels, musical performances, and other special events.
Twenty-five feature docs are part of the lineup, including both the opening film, DEAR GOVERNOR CUOMO…, Jon Bowermaster’s documentation of a musical event/demonstration by New Yorkers against hydrofracking that took place this past May; and the closing night film, CASTING BY (pictured), Tom Donahue’s appreciation and exploration of the craft of the casting director.
Among the festival’s world premieres are a number of docs, including Marco Antonio Orsini’s DINNER AT THE NO-GOS (pictured), detailing what happens when the director and his Muslim producer host dinner parties to talk politics and religion in a number of countries on the US State Department’s Travel Advisory List; Barbara Kopple’s FIGHT TO LIVE, an exploration of the FDA’s drug approval process and the efforts of some to acquire non-FDA approved drugs to manage their incurable conditions; Dan Habib’s WHO CARES ABOUT KELSEY, following a troubled teen as she struggles to graduate from high school; and Rasmus Dinesen’s THE WORLD’S FINEST CHEF, a look at the preparation a renowned chef makes for one of the world’s most prestigious cooking competitions.
Other documentaries screening at Woodstock include Jamie Meltzer’s INFORMANT (pictured), a fascinating insider’s perspective on Katrina activist turned federal informant Brandon Darby; Anton Verstakov’s ROLAN MAKES MOVIES, a portrait of a zero-budget amateur filmmaker in Siberia; Walter Matteson’s PRETTY OLD, profiling the annual MS Senior Sweetheart Pageant and a number of its spry contestants; and Francis Hanly’s MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR REVISITED, about the circumstances behind the production and controversial reception of the Beatles’ film.