The 2005 Woodstock Film Festival is one of the premiere spots to tap into the independent film world, celebrating it’s 6th year Wednesday, September 28th through Sunday, October 2nd. This years’ program will include an outstanding collection of over 150 films, panels, concerts and special events in Woodstock, NY and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Hunter and Rosendale.

The roster of international films includes eight (8)world premieres, twelve (12) U.S. premieres, four (4) East Coast premieres and twenty-four (24) New York premieres. There was a 33% increase in submissions this year, including a substantial increase in world cinema and music oriented entries, bringing the total number close to 1500. Participating industry leaders include Picturehouse, THINKFilm, The Weinstein Company, Warner Bros., Roadside Attractions, Magnolia Pictures, IFC Films, Wellspring Media, Apple Corps., 7th Floor, Emerging Pictures and IDP. Attendance has been steadily growing over the past few years, with over 10,000 visitors expected this year throughout the five-day span of this year’s festival.

The Woodstock Film Festivalwas created in 2000 by filmmakers with a real love and understanding of filmmaking. Coupled with Woodstock’s worldwide reputation as a center of independent thought, the festival provides a perfect setting where filmmakers are embraced and welcomed in a friendly, creative and nurturing environment surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. That is part of the festival’s secret of success, according to director Meira Blaustein:

“We focus on high quality films and the unique talent and passion of filmmakers”, said Meira Blaustein, who co-founded the festival with her partner Laurent Rejto.

“Once you gather those in such a creative, casual, yet sophisticated setting, in a place that is like no other – Woodstock – magic happens.”

Opening Night Films: There are two simultaneous opening night films. On Wednesday, September 28th, the US Premeire of “Winter Passing,” written and directed by first time feature director Adam Rapp and starring Zooey Deschanel, Will Ferrell, Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, will screen at Woodstock’s Tinker Street Theatre at 7:30 PM. The film follows actress Reese Holden (Deschanel) who has been offered a small fortune by a book editor if she can secure for publication the love letters that her father (Harris), a reclusive novelist, wrote to her mother, who has since passed away. Returning to Michigan, Reese finds that an ex-grad student and a would-be musician (Ferrell) have moved in with her father, who now cares more about his new friends than he does about his own health and well-being.

“Dead Man’s Shoes,” written and directed by Shane Meadows (“24 7: Twenty Four Seven,” “Once Upon a Time in the Midlands”) which will screen at Upstate Films Theatre in Rhinebeck at 7:00 PM, is a thriller starring Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Jo Hartley and Seamus O’Neill, “Dead Man’s Shoes” is a genre-defying film blending horror, supernatural elements, comedy, and social realism. Set in a Midlands village, it explores the underbelly of contemporary rural Britain in communities where crime is unchecked and drugs, intimidation, and power games are blandly accepted as the fabric of daily life.

Closing Night Films: The festival has two featured closing night films.“Lonesome Jim,” directed by Steve Buscemi and starring Casey Affleck, Liv Tyler, Mary Kay Place and Seymour Cassel will screen on Sunday, October 2nd at 4:30 PM at Woodstock’s Bearsville Theatre. Casey Affleck plays Jim, a young man who, after deciding he can’t make it on his won, moves back to his hometown in Indiana – under his parents’ roof. He’s saved from his family’s dysfunction by a local woman and her son.

Director Atom Egoyn’s “Where The Truth Lies” which stars Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth will also close the festival by screening its US Premiere on Sunday, October 2nd at 6:00 PM at Woodstock’s Tinker Street Theatre. The film, from ThinkFilm and Serendipity and based on the novel by Rupert Holmes, is a surprising, suspenseful whodunit that explores – and explodes – 1950’s Hollywood’s mythmaking machine. Bacon and Firth portray Lanny Morris (Bacon) and Vince Collins (Firth), the most beloved entertainers in America. That is, until a dead beauty turns up in their hotel suite and threatens their success.

Centerpiece Film: Directed by Lajos Koltai (“Being Julia”) “Fateless” is a historical drama based on Nobel laureate Imre Kertesz’s novel about Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. The 2005 Woodstock Film Festival is pleased to present the US Premiere of this compelling film on Saturday, October 1st at 8:45 PM at Woodstock’s Tinker Street Theatre.

Among other highlights of the 2005 festival:

The Honorary Trailblazer Award is in its inaugural year in 2005 will be given to entertainment attorney/producer JOHN SLOSS. The Award will be given out annually to a distinguished industry member who, through his/her pioneering approach, has carved new and uncharted territories in the film world. Mr. Sloss embodies this award through his out of the box, forward thinking in the business side of filmmaking. John Sloss is the principal in Sloss Law Office and a founder of Cinetic Media, a consulting firm specializing in the entertainment and media industries. He is also a partner in Independent Digital Entertainment (InDigEnt), an innovative production company dedicated to making digital features in collaboration with established filmmakers and actors. “I am humbled by this honor,” Sloss said in a statement. “People who do what we do are unaccustomed to having a light thrown on their efforts. Nevertheless, I feel this work is essential, and it is my hope that all of those who toil to assemble financing for films will feel ennobled by this recognition. I look forward to a wonderful weekend upstate.”

The Honorary Maverick Award will be presented to independent film luminary and film actor, director, STEVE BUSCEMI. Having starred in over eighty (80) feature films, most of which have been independent, Steve Buscemi is one of the most recognizable and impressionable faces in Independent Film, starring in The Coen Brothers’ “Barton Fink,” “Miller’s Crossing,” “Fargo,” and “The Big Lebowski,” Quentin Tarentino’s “Resevoir Dogs“ and “Pulp Fiction,” Woody Allen’s “New York Stories,” and cult hits such as “Living In Oblivion,” “Things To Do in Denver When You’re Dead” and his feature directing debut “Trees Lounge.” The Maverick, having long been a symbol of the Woodstock arts colony, is an award that represents an individual whose life and work is based on creativity and independent vision. Past recipients include Woody Harrelson, Tim Robbins, D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Les Blank and Mira Nair.

Other annual WFF awards include the Maverick Award for Excellence in Film Editing, the Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, and awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Narrative, Best Short Documentary, Best Animated Short and Best Student Short, to be announced at the WFF Awards Ceremony, Sunday evening October 2nd at the Bearsville Theater. Visit www.woodstockfilmfestival.com for ticket and more detailed program information.

NARRATIVE FEATURES: “212” Directed by Anthony Ng, “Automatic” Directed by Jonathon Walls, “Cavite” Directed by Neil Dela Llana and Ian Gazon, “Dead Man’s Shoes” Directed by Shane Meadows, “Duane Hopwood” Directed by Matt Mulhern, “Fateless” Directed by Lajos Koltai, “Lonesome Jim” Directed by Steve Buscemi, “Mutual Appreciation” Directed by Andrew Bujalski, “My Tiny Universe” Directed by Glen Scantlebury and Lucy Phillips, “Nine Lives” Directed by Rodrigo Garcia, “Police Beat” Directed by Robinson Devor, “The Puffy Chair Directed by Jay Duplass, Room Directed by Kyle Henry, “The Roost” Directed by Ti West, “Runaway” Directed by Rim McCann, “Somersault” Directed by Cate Shorland, “Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 1/2” Directed by William Greaves, “Tennis Anyone…?” Directed by Donal Logue, “Transamerica” Directed by Duncan Tucker, “Ushpizin” Directed by Gidi Dar, and “Winter Passing Directed by Adam Rapp.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES:“The American Ruling Class” Directed by John Kirby, “Anytown USA” Directed by Kristian Fraga, “Be Here To Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt Directed by Margaret Brown, “The Boys of Baraka” Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, “Bruce & Me” Directed by Oren Siedler, “The Devil’s Miner Directed by Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani, “Favela Rising” Directed by Matt Mochary, “Instrumental” Directed by Gabriel Shalom, “Learning to Swallow” Directed by Danielle Beverly, “Midnight Moives: From the Margin to the Mainstream Directed by Stuart Samuels, “New York Doll” Directed by Greg Whiteley, “Our Brand is Crisis” Directed by Rachel Boynton, “Press On” Directed by Gillian Grisman, “Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic” Directed by Liam Lynch, “Shakespeare Behind Bars” Directed by Hank Rogerson, “State of Fear” Directed by Pamela Yates, “Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth” Directed by Philip Di Fiore, “Zizek” Directed by Astra Taylor.

SPECIAL SCREENINGS: Woodstock Film Festival’s annual program of feature films, docs and panels that focus on music brings the first screening in over 33 years of THE CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH, the filmed version of the first benefit concert of its kind featuring George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell and Billy Preston. The screening will take place in a dance-party setting at the Bearsville Theatre on Friday, September 30th at 10:00 PM.

Additionally, in a tribute to James Dean, the Woodstock Film Festival will screen REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE on Friday, September 30th (the anniversary of James Deans’ death) at 7:00 PM at the CMF Theatre in Hunter, NY.

CONCERTS: The Woodstock Film Festival’s focus on music brings rare live concerts to festival goers each year.

Wednesday, September 28th: Bernie Worrell and the Strangers will perform at the Bearsville Theatre at 8:00 PM for the opening night concert. Special guest appearances include Danny Louis of Gov’t Mule and Doug Wimbish and Will Calhoun of Living Colour.

Friday, September 30th:The Cassettes with Brandford Reed will perform at the Colony at 8:30 PM.

Saturday, October 1st: BMI and WACBIZ present SEE IT HEAR FIRST where emerging songwriter artists and recent signings will be in the round. Featured artists include Brendan James (Capital Records), Adriano Sciavo, Jeremy Gregory (WB), Missy Higgins (WB), Mieka Pauley, and KJ Denhardt.

PANELS include:

Post Post -Pre-Distribution: PR, Film Festival Strategy, Marketing and Selling Your Indie Film

Actors Dialogue – featuring Janeane Garafolo and Steve Buscemi,

Film Story and Screenwriter: With James Toback, William Greaves, L.M Kit Carson, Kule Henry & Lewis Lapham

Horror!: Modern Day Catharsis & Box Office Bonanza

Indie Film Revival: This panel looks at how the independent film business has changed in just the past few years, and what new opportunities have emerged for independent filmmakers to finance, produce, and sell their films.

Music For Film Film – featuring Michael, Kevin Bacon and Nic Harcourt

Reality Show: Politics, Film, and Real Life. Moderator David D’Arcy.

Amazing Women in Film: Presented by New York Women in Film & Television, featuring Melissa Leo. Moderated by Thelma Adams (US Weekly)

From Novel to Screen: What’s the difference between writing prose and screenplays? How does a story evolve as it moves from one form to the other?

For more info, visit the Woodstock Film Festival website.

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