Woodstock film festival spotlights local filmmaking

John Leguizamo and Julia Stiles are among the supporting cast of 11:55, filmed in Newburgh. The movie stars Victor Almanzar as Nelson Sanchez, an Afghan War veteran returning to the economically depressed town that left him few options but to enlist after accidentally killing a dealer from a rival gang. Directors Ari Issler and Ben Snyder, lead actor Almanzar and producer Matthew Thurm will appear at the screenings, 11:55’s New York premiere.

John Leguizamo and Julia Stiles are among the supporting cast of 11:55, filmed in Newburgh. The movie stars Victor Almanzar as Nelson Sanchez, an Afghan War veteran returning to the economically depressed town that left him few options but to enlist after accidentally killing a dealer from a rival gang. Directors Ari Issler and Ben Snyder, lead actor Almanzar and producer Matthew Thurm will appear at the screenings, 11:55’s New York premiere.

Each year, as befits its close partnership with the Hudson Valley Film Commission, the Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) does its part to promote movies that were shot in our region. Here’s a peek at the locally produced films slated to be screened at WFF 2016:

11:55, Ari Issler and Ben Snyder,
filmed in Newburgh – Saturday,
October 15, 9:30 p.m., Bearsville Theater; Sunday, October 16, 12 noon, Rosendale Theatre

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John Leguizamo and Julia Stiles are among the supporting cast of this fiction feature starring Victor Almanzar as Nelson Sanchez, an Afghan War veteran returning to the economically depressed town that left him few options but to enlist after accidentally killing a dealer from a rival gang. Nelson’s happy homecoming turns bitter when, immediately confronted by his past, he must decide if he will flee or stay and face what’s coming.

Directors Issler and Ben Snyder, lead actor Almanzar and producer Matthew Thurm will appear at the screenings, 11:55’s New York premiere.

Halfway to Zen, Toby Poser
and John Adams, filmed in Delaware County_ Friday, October 14, 1 p.m., Upstate Films Woodstock; Sunday, October 16, 6:30 p.m., Upstate Films Rhinebeck

Ex-con short-order cook Nick has a lot on his plate: a fragile live-in father descending into Alzheimer’s, an ex-wife who left him for a Frenchwoman and an 11-year-old daughter whom he hasn’t seen since she was a baby and who now identifies as a boy. Eking out a living in a crumbling town where both sides of the tracks are bad, Nick embarks on a crash course in fatherhood when his ex has a stroke and her partner needs to leave town on business.

The discussions at these world premiere screenings will include directors Adams and Poser and their actress daughter Zelda Adams, cast members Claire Denis and Robert Lund and several other principals of Wonder Wheel Productions.

Liner Notes, Gregg Bray,
filmed in New Paltz

Wednesday, October 12, 8:15 p.m., Coykendall Science Building Auditorium SUNY-New Paltz

When Alice’s estranged rock-star father Jake turns up dead, she seeks out Jake’s original guitarist, George – a man noticeably absent from her Dad’s funeral. Together, Alice and George take a road trip to Montreal, to visit Jake’s resting place, and learn along the way that the past is only as amazing as those who write it down.

SUNY-New Paltz faculty member Gregg Bray based the screenplay on a stage play by John Patrick Bray. Both will appear live at the WFF screenings.

Little Boxes, Rob Meyer,
filmed in Newburgh

Thursday, October 13, 7:30 p.m., Rosendale Theatre; Sunday, October 16, 11:45 a.m., Woodstock Playhouse

When Mack, Gina and 11-year-old Clark uproot their lives and relocate to a small, predominantly white town outside of Seattle, everything familiar becomes uncertain. Neighborly curiosity turns an African American father and son into oddities and a white mother into a novelty, and they are all forced to figure out how to fit in without trying too hard.

Janeane Garofalo is among the cast members of this fiction feature by Meyer, whose previous work, A Birder’s Guide to Everything, featuring Ben Kingsley, screened at WFF in 2013. The director will be in attendance.

My First Kiss and the People Involved, Luigi Campi, filmed in Roxbury
and Margaretville

Friday, October 14, 4:15 p.m., Rosendale Theatre; Sunday, October 16, 4:45 p.m., Upstate Films Woodstock

Delicate beauty and a fragile soul characterize the nonverbal yet desperately expressive Sam, a young woman living in a group home for the mentally and physically challenged. When her caretaker disappears after a seemingly violent confrontation, Sam’s inability to communicate inhibits her from convincing anyone of the meaning of the clues that she has discovered.

These screenings, the film’s East Coast premiere, will feature live appearances by director Campi.

Stray Bullets, Jack Fessenden,
filmed in Woodstock and Stone Ridge

Friday, October 14, 9:15 p.m., Woodstock Playhouse

Two upstate teenagers, tasked with cleaning out an abandoned mobile home, would rather be doing anything else. They wander the countryside, practicing favorite movie battles with their beloved paintball guns, unaware they are in for a rude awakening: three petty thieves on the run from Brooklyn mobsters have taken refuge on their turf.

Director Fessenden will appear in person for the North American premiere of his first feature film, made when he was 16 years old.

Thirsty, Margo Pelletier, filmed in Saugerties, Kingston and Hudson

Friday, October 14, 7 p.m., Saugerties Performing Arts Factory

This featurelength documentary tells the compelling story of Scott Townsend, a/k/a Thirsty Burlington, who grew up as a girl/boy in a public housing project and eventually became a revered drag queen, delighting clubgoers with her spot-on impersonation of Cher.

This New York premiere will include a discussion with Thirsty Burlington herself, director Pelletier, producer Lisa Thomas, cinematographer Shawn Greene, production designer Lex Grey and art director Tim Bruno.

The Ticket, Ido Fluk,
filmed in Accord and Kingston

Friday, October 14, 9:30 p.m., Upstate Films Woodstock; Sunday, October 16, 2:30 p.m., Rosendale Theatre

Dan Stevens of Downton Abbey stars as James, a man who, blind since childhood, regains his physical vision, only to become metaphorically blinded by his ambition. Unintended consequences befall his wonderful marriage, beloved son, successful career and life-sustaining friendships.

This is the first American-made film for Israel-based director Fluk. He will appear along with producer Lawrence Inglee and screenwriter Sharon Mashihi at the WFF screenings.

Several pieces in WFF’s short film programs were also shot locally, including Theo Sena’s Nuts, filmed in Kingston, and Serendipity: The Genius Behind Electric Lady, filmed in Highland and Bearsville by SUNY-New Paltz students Alyssa DeRosa, Catherine Kaczor, Alec Cafaro and Meagan Sullivan. This year’s Woodstock Film Festival will also feature two movies that star Ulster County-based actors: Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo in Burn Country, directed by Ian Olds, and Michael Cristofer in Year by the Sea, selected for this year’s Andretta Carpe Diem Award.

For more info and to order tickets, visit www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.

 

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