Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Woodstock. Not that Woodstock. The other Woodstock.

Woodstock concert promoter Michael Lang, the guy who brought us THAT Woodstock, will be on hand tonight for a screening of "Woodstock: Now and Then," a film for which he served as executive producer. Oscar winner Barbara Kopple directed the movie, and she and Lang will be on hand for a q and a after the film. The traditional opening night party follows, and it all happens at the Bearsville Theater.

I'll be on hand for it all. So check back late tonight, or, maybe it will be early tomorrow, for pictures, reviews, recaps and hopefully some video.


I usually have each day at the WFF planned out...what films I'm seeing, where they are, the times, etc. This year, life has been so crazy that I have very little planned. But things are taking shape. I think I will check out this film, "Ricky," tomorrow. Here is the deal...

Love is “in the air” in this charming French fable of working class lovers whose passion produces an extraordinary child. Sparks fly when single mother Katie and Spanish co-worker Paco meet in the sterile factory where they both work. Soon they are living together as Lisa, Katie’s seven-year-old daughter, struggles to find her place in this new family. Lisa’s feeling of abandonment escalates with the birth of Ricky, a child quickly changing in the most amazing ways. Accused of harming the baby and tiring of fatherhood, Paco leaves, only to return when Ricky’s “abnormalities” create a media frenzy.

But “love has wings,” and loss has the power to unite. Director Francois Ozon blends mystery with magic, humor and irony, while maintaining the reality of the story. Finely crafted performances make “Ricky” less a fantasy than exploration of the complexities of love and family, and what it means to be “different.” (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E.)
Francois Ozon was born in 1967 in Paris. He received his master's degree in Cinema after attending the director's section of the famed French film school La FEMIS, in 1990. Since then, he has made many movies using super-8, video, 16mm and 35mm. Many of his short movies have been in competition in various international festivals. "Truth or Dare" (Action Verite) marked the beginning of his collaboration with Fidelite Productions.

"A Summer Dress" (Une Robe d'ete) received the Golden Leopard award at the Locarno International Film Festival. "Sitcom," his first feature, was invited as an official selection in competition at the International Critic Week during the 1998 Cannes Festival.
Cast/Featuring: Alexandra Lamy, Sergi Lopez, MŸlusine Mayance, Arthur Peyret
Producer(s): Chris Bolli, Claudie Ossard, Vieri Razzini
Director(s): Francois Ozon
Screenwriter(s): Francois Ozon
Cinematographer(s): Jeanne Lapoirie
Composer(s)/Music: Philippe Rombi
IFC Films

Now THIS guy's story would make a heck of a movie. Yes - I'm talking about Roman Polanski

Talk about a thriller of a movie plot. Young child escapes the Warsaw Ghetto and the Nazi, goes on to become world famous movie director, then his pregnant wife is murdered by Charlie Manson's sickos, then he is arrested and charged with having sex with a 13-year-old girl he's loaded up booze and drugs, then he flees the country before his case his resolved, then more than three decades later he is arrested on a warrant issued by the LAPD, while he is in Switzerland, attending, would you believe, A FILM FESTIVAL????

You may have heard of Roman Polanski's incredible story? And how many, many people have come out in his defense? It's wild. I'd like to secure the rights for this film.

But in any event, you can be sure I'll be asking all the filmmakers I bump into what they think of 'ol Roman's plight, as he sits in a Swiss jail.

Check out this picture:

Film director Roman Polanski is seen as he leaves court in this Oct. 25, 1977 file photo taken in Santa Monica, Calif.,

Here is Roman Polanski as he looks today:

Cell phone etiquette

Right now, the only people in the main room of the Colony Cafe (see pics below) are me and another woman, who I don't know. It's not bad enough that her loud musical ring tone went off when she received a phone call, but now she is barking into her phone, holding a conversation. I'm tempted to just invite her over to my table, as it seems as though she really wants me to be a part of her discussion.

Why do I think this won't be the first time I run into this this weekend?

Noel Nelson

The Woodstock Film Festival is a grand exercise in that very American notion of volunteerism. There are many volunteers who make the film festival a critical success each year, and one of them is Noel Nelson.

I've known Noel forever, since his days working at the Woodstock FM radio station, WDST. Noel is one of those guys I bump into A LOT at the film festival, so much so that we stop saying hello round around Friday morning!!! ha!!

It was quite fitting that the very first person I bumped into upon entering the Colony Cafe was - who else? - Noel Nelson. Here he is with Julie, a WFF intern.

Breaking News: Uma Thurman

This just in. No kidding. Uma Thurman, whose family has had very strong roots in Woodstock for a very long time, will moderate a Woodstock Film Festival panel discussion on Saturday morning, called, "Amazing Women in Film." Here is the tout: "Join us as a diverse group of powerful women discuss their work and the state of the film industry, from the woman's perspective." It's at 10 a.m. Saturday at Utopia Studios, in the same complex as the Bearsville Theater, on Route 212, just a few miles west of downtown Woodstock.

A movie starring Uma, and Minnie Driver, and Anthony Edwards, "Motherhood," has already sold out its 1:45 p.m. screening on Saturday at the Tinker Street Cinema. But tickets are still available for a 5:30 p.m. showing Sunday at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.

Here is the tout from

Eliza wants it all -- motherhood, a writing career, an egalitarian marriage. Her search for identity presents as a faceless woman beginning her day. When finally we meet Eliza “head on,” it’s at high speed, a pace which generally typifies Eliza’s daily life in the West Village walkup she shares with husband Avery (Anthony Edwards) and their two young children. This particular day is fraught with preparations for the party she’s throwing for daughter Clara, about to turn six. A “writing career” translates into a few scattered moments blogging to other mothers, but the blogging also offers the potential to become a paid position if the deadline can be met. The accumulation of minor crises, familiar to any urban dweller, is perfectly expressed by Uman Thurman’s frantic, fragile and frustrated Eliza. Newly separated, very pregnant single mom Sheila (Minnie Driver) serves as witty counterpoint, and Jodie Foster is hilarious in a brief cameo. A wise, warm and gentle comedy, “Motherhood” has much to teach about finding meaning and passion in the shared sacrifices of parenthood. (Barbara Pokras)
Katherine Dieckmann began her career making music videos for such bands as R.E.M., Wilco, Aimee Mann, and Everything but the Girl. She was also the originating director for Nickelodeon's groundbreaking children's serial, "The Adventures of Pete and Pete," which earned her a CableAce nomination. Her first feature was "A Good Baby" (1999), which was developed at the Sundance Institute's Screenwriters and Directors Labs. Her second film was Diggers (2007). Dieckmann is an assistant professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts, where she teaches screenwriting. She lives in New York City and Rensselaerville with her husband and two children.
Cast/Featuring: Uma Thurman, Anthony Edwards, Minnie Driver
Executive Producer(s): Daniel Crown, Peter M. Graham, Stephen Hays, Michael Lesser, John Wells
Producer(s): Jana Edelbaum, Rachel Cohen, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon
Director(s): Katherine Dieckmann
Screenwriter(s): Katherine Dieckmann
Cinematographer(s): Nancy Schreiber
Editor(s): Michael R. Miller
Composer(s)/Music: Joe Henry
Freestyle Releasing

It's her party

I arrived at the Colony Cafe to find WFF Executive Director Meira Blaustein hard at work (surprise, surprise!) at her laptop, but never too busy for a quick hello.

The calm before the storm.....

The Colony and Woodstock are on the cusp of an incredible influx of people, cinema, community, a scene, a vibe and a hang. There is nothing like it. Covering the Woodstock Film Festival is one of the highlights of my year.....But, shhhhh.

It's all about to happen.

Here's a quick peek at a quiet Colony Cafe.

Houston - I have arrived

You know when you're trying to get out of the house for a trip and the distance from your front door to the car seems like a million miles. Well, that's what my day has been like. But - I am here, at the Woodstock Film Festival, just 90 minutes later than I had hoped.

I have arrived at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock, the headquarters for the Woodstock Film Festival. This building will be my home for the next five days.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Oh, Lonesome Neil......

The Poughkeepsie Journal has got a story running this Sunday, Sept. 27, about Jonathan Demme's Neil Young Documentary, "Neil Young: Trunk Show." I saw the film and it was quite good. Demme told me during phone interview this week that the movie's not for non-Neil Young fans. But I have to disagree. It's a real analysis of this very complicated man. I'll post a link to the story once it publishes Sunday. Until then, it's a state secret. But here are some stills from the movie. Enjoy.
Oh - almost forgot. For our Neil Young fans out there, the man with the maid plays a haunting version of "Oh, Lonesome Me," from "After the Gold Rush," one of the saddest songs ever written. His harmonica is downright sorrowful.

Rock and Roll. Shake and Bake. Lights, Camera, Action.

Ok folks, it's that time of year again. Cool days and nights, the turn of the season, the changing of the color of the leaves.....The Woodstock Film Festival is at hand. And I will once again be eating, sleeping and drinking cinema from Sept. 30-Oct. 4, all but sleeping at the media hq at the Colony Cafe, armed with a laptop computer, iPhone and cell phone.

I will be updating this blog as fast as humanly possible. So check back often. That's all for now. I've got to rest up.