Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Setting the scene

Journal music writer John Barry says........

The 2007 Woodstock Film Festival marks my fifth WFF and the thing that stands out above anything else, for each edition I've covered for the Poughkeepsie Journal, is the scene that sprouts up in Woodstock. There is a vibe, a community, a happening, something of a tribal goings-on. There is a sense of people sensing that they are belonging to something, which in this case, is the moving image.

I experience many things while covering a Woodstock Film Festival - the first is sheer exhaustion, because there is so much going on, so much that I don't want to miss, so I try and cover it all.

But there is also this lifelong love affair with the movies - it all goes back to "Star Wars" in 1977, when I was 8 years old and I saw it seven times in three months. Then there was that Christmas season as a teenager when my entire family stayed up for a late-night showing of "It's a Wonderful Life." These days, that movie is a staple for my sister and I, on Christmas Eve into Christmas morning, as her children sleep and she and I stay up way too late, wrapping presents that will only be torn open hours later. I have to control myself from bawling like a baby everytime Clarence the Angel turns to Jimmy Stewart, I mean George Bailey, near the end and says, "George, you've had a wonderful life." If you've seen the movie, you know what I mean. If you haven't seen the movie, then go see it. Then you'lle know what I mean.

My most recent experience with the moving image came a week ago at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, where I saw, "The Shadow of the Moon," which combined stunning, archival footage of the NASA space program of the decades ago with interviews, conducted recently with astronauts. Aside from the incredible footage taken in outer space, or a sound stage, if it was all made up anyway, I thought often throughout the movie of my uncle, who worked at NASA and was in the Johnson Space Center in Houston throughout all the space journeys.

I'm looking to experience some of that movie magic this week in Woodstock. Stay tuned. I'll be happy to share as much as I can. I'm going home now to get some rest.

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