It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Well, it’s one of my favorite times of year! The 18th Annual Woodstock Film Festival is October 11-15 and this year’s lineup does not disappoint.
This year, the festival presents films selected from more than 2,000 entries from around the world and represent France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and the USA.
A majority of the films in the lineup will be screened with the filmmakers and cast/subjects in attendance.
There will be 18 female directors who will present their work (a third of the festival’s offerings) including the World Premiere of Lisa France's Roll With Me.
"It is an honor to support and celebrate the achievements of women filmmakers at the Woodstock Film Festival every year,” said Meira Blaustein, co-founder and executive director of the Woodstock Film Festival Film. “Festivals, such as ours, are an important platform for these talented directors, so that together we work towards gender equality.”
The Woodstock Film Festival offers a Spotlight on Women in Film and Media, which highlights their work and, hopefully inspires other female filmmakers to create. There were 19 feature films presented by women filmmakers in 2016 and this year is no different with 18 feature films. “The festival's dedication to getting these films out into the world does not waver as the years go on,” said Blaustein.
Some of the features include Hope Litoff’s 32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide, which is the film editor’s directorial debut. The film centers on her sister Ruth’s suicide and Hope’s six-year struggle to empty Ruth’s packed storage bin. Rebecca Miller’s film Arthur Miller: Writer focuses on her dad’s playwriting career. Documentary filmmaker Benthe Forrer brings audiences The Chocolate Case, which focuses on the premise of the purchase of a candy bar fueling the child slave industry. Allison Argo, who has worked on documentaries for nearly 25 years, follows a pig farmer through his final season with The Last Pig. Italian director Sandra Vannucchi has the North American premiere of her film Girl in Flight, about "almost 11-year-old" Silvia' who pleads for a family trip to Rome. But when her father backs down yet again, she takes off on her own from their home outside Florence to fulfill her dream.
Other films include Alexandra Dean’s Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Jessica Thompson’s The Light of the Moon, Catherine Eaton’s The Sounding, Windy Borman’s Mary Janes: Women of Weed, Beth Aala’s Supermensch, and Nancy Buirski’s The Rape of Recy Taylor.
“This year’s lineup is one that challenges our creative and intellectual boundaries and brings important social issues into focus, both locally and globally" said Blaustein. "In today's political climate it is particularly important to celebrate our differences and find our commonalities. This year's participating filmmakers have gone above and beyond in capturing diverse moments of humanity that personify fierce independence.”
The only disappointment when it comes to the amount of female representation is the panels. Women represent the monitors on various panels, but there aren’t any female panelists.
Nancy Abraham, SVP, Documentary Programming for HBO will be monitoring Through Their Lens: The American Condition. Abraham is responsible for the development and production of HBO Documentary Films and was Director of Film Acquisition and spent three years in Budapest as Director of Programming for HBO Hungary.
Doreen Ringer Ross, Vice President of Film, TV & Visual Media Relations at Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), is monitoring Music in Film: Case Study: Symphony of Hope. Ross has established key programs for composers, including the Sundance Composers’ Lab and the BMI Film/TV Composers Conducting Workshop. She also serves as Vice Chairman of the Board for The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, is a member of the Peabody Awards Board, Advisory Board of the American Youth Symphony, Advisory Board for the IFP Filmmaker Labs, and is on the Board of the World Soundtrack Award.
For clarity purposes, Woodstock is not where the famous 1969 concert actually took place – that was in Bethel Woods, New York. However, if you’re traveling to the festival, make sure you take a side trip to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and Bethel Woods Museum. It’s so worth it.
For more information on the Woodstock Film Festival and to order tickets which are on sale now, visit their website at http://woodstockfilmfestival.org/ or call 845-679-4265.
Spotlight on Women 2017 (all feature films):
- BECKS, Directed by Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell - East Coast Premiere
- GIRL IN FLIGHT, Directed by Sandra Vannucchi - North American Premiere
- THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, Directed by Jessica M. Thompson
- THE SOUNDING, Directed by Catherine Eaton
- THE STRANGE ONES, Directed by Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein
- THEY, Directed by Anahita Ghazvinizadeh - East Coast Premiere
- 32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE, Directed by Hope Litoff - New York Premiere
- ARTHUR MILLER: WRITER, Directed by Rebecca Miller
- BEAN, Directed by Emilie Bunnell - East Coast Premiere
- BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY, Directed by Alexandra Dean
- LA CHANA, Directed by Lucija Stojevic - New York Premiere
- THE LAST PIG, Directed by Allison Argo
- MARY JANES: THE WOMEN OF WEED, Directed by Windy Borman
- MY NAME IS PEDRO, Directed by Lillian LaSalle - World Premiere
- ROLL WITH ME, Directed by Lisa France - World Premiere
- THANK YOU FOR COMING, Directed by Sara Lamm - East Coast Premiere
- THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS, Directed by Barbara Kopple
- TO A MORE PERFECT UNION: U.S. V. WINDSOR, Directed by Donna Zaccaro - World Premiere
© Lisa Iannucci (10/4/17) FF2 Media
Photos: Hope Litoff’s 32 Pills: My Sister's Suicide, Documentary filmmaker Benthe Forrer’s The Chocolate Case & Rebecca Miller’s film Arthur Miller: Writer.
Photo Credits: Woodstock Film Festival