Here are three filmmakers with strong ties to that guy Oscar.
Leon Gast, Barbara Kopple and Doug Abel, at the WFF's New World Home Cooking party Thursday night
Leon Gast is an Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker, Woodstock resident and one of those folks I bump into only at the WFF.
I wrote my weekly column on Leon, and here it is:
Oscar-winning filmmaker inspires
John W. Barry • October 1, 2009
Any film festival lives and dies on who arrives from out of town to promote the film they have appeared in, put money into or directed.
The Woodstock Film Festival, which runs through Sunday, certainly brings in big names from out of town, most notably Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee last year.
There is one guy who lives in Woodstock whom I typically only see during the film festival, who really embodies the Hudson Valley's strong link to the arts, Woodstock's legendary link to the arts and the Woodstock Film Festival's wealth of history when it comes to exploring cinema.
Leon Gast won the 1996 Oscar for Best Documentary for "When We Were Kings," about the legendary boxing match in Zaire between champion George Foreman and underdog challenger Muhammad Ali.
Gast's other film credits include "Celia Cruz: Guantanamera," "Hell's Angels Forever," "The Grateful Dead Movie" and "Soul Power." His latest project, forgive the pun, focuses on paparazzi photographer Ron Galella.
Just about everyone loves the movies, whether it's a slasher flick, romantic comedy, adventure, drama or documentary.
Indiana Jones may be your guy or perhaps Bridget Jones is your gal. It doesn't matter.
Who doesn't love a night out at the movies or curling up in a sleeping bag and watching a DVD at home?
This commonality I share with just about everyone I know takes on a sense of grandeur, a sense of awe, when I have my annual run-in with Gast and his wife, Geri.
Leon Gast took his love of filmmaking into another dimension, where he makes films instead of only watching them.
And then he took that passion one step further, by making a movie that won an Oscar.
Gast is truly inspiring.
In awe of award
I can't help but shake my head in amazement when I think of his Oscar on a living room mantle - or maybe it's inside a glass case.
This is largely because I am as familiar with the Oscar as I am with the idiosyncracies of my favorite film characters.
As ridiculous - and long - as the Academy Awards ceremonies can sometimes be, I always allow myself this guilty indulgence and watch.
Since May 2007, I have been producing, shooting and editing high-definition video for the Journal.
I recently purchased an iPhone that lets me shoot video.
I feel like a little kid with a new toy anytime I shoot or edit video. I can't help but pretend I am some big-shot movie director telling Harrison Ford to crack the whip a little harder.
When I look through that viewfinder, I can't help but think of Oscar, along with someone who has accomplished as much as Leon Gast.
John W. Barry is the music writer for the Poughkeepsie Journal. His column appears every Friday. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 845-437-4822.
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