Thursday, May 1, 2008

After taking a couple of days off from Tribeca to go back to the Woodstock Film Festival office to catch up on much needed work, I went back yesterday along with our deputy director Nikki Goldbeck for a day of movies, meetings and parties. After sitting down with the Executive Producer of Harbinger Media, a global organization, funded by the Soros Foundation, that facilitates, supports, promotes and distributes filmmakers throughout the world who document war torn situations and other socially relevant issues, we set off to see some movies.

First on the agenda was Julian Schnabel's LOU REED'S BERLIN. The concert film spotlights Reed's 33 year old album about the painful collapse of two lovers in the backdrop of the Berlin Wall. Shunned by critics for over 30 years, the album has been resurrected by Schnabel, who produced the 5 day live concert and who directed the film. The result is a hauntingly dark and melancholic piece with some great performance by Reed and his band.

Next was our friend Tom Donahue and Paul H-O's art documentary GUEST OF CINDY SHERMAN. Before the screening we ran into Tom who was curious to hear our thoughts of the film, warning us that while many loved it, some critics expressed concerns of exploitations. When we saw Tom later on at a party we both quickly told him how much we loved the film. And indeed, this intimate and high energy look into the art world in NYC in the nineties along with a particularly intimate and endearing look into Cindy Sherman, one of America's most unique and provocative photographers, is both entertaining and insightful. I'll have more about the film in a later piece.

At the A&E Indie Films party later that day, held at the Rivington Hotel in the trendy lower east side, much of the independent film community gathered for good drinks, food, and endless conversations. It was nice to meet some of the young filmmakers who submitted their films already to the Woodstock Film Festival (some of whom might have a good chance of making it to the final line up...), as well as other filmmakers who were encouraged by us to submit. The party was full with WFF's alumni, including Thomas Kikis of DARKON, Ann Chaisson of P.S., filmmakers and Woodstockers Alex Berger and Avi Wider, and many more. Festival's long time friend Amos Poe, and indie icon, was there as well, talking about his upcoming project, starring Scarlett Johansson, to be shot in Italy later this summer. Talking to Amos, whose film EMPIRE II is screening at Tribeca, and whose short film JUST AN AMERICAN BOY screened in one of WFF's special year round events a few years ago, I was amazed by all the new projects he's involved with these days. Amos has always been a very busy filmmaker as well as an NYU teacher, but lately his work seem to have sky rocketed. I'll definitely follow up on his progress.

Industry members, including many film sales agents, distributors, programmers, and producers milled about during the crowded party enjoying the beautiful NY night and A&E's hospitality. Nikki and I stayed until nearly the very end, until, like Cinderella, we had to leave before midnight so that we can catch our "coach" (bus) back upstate.

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