Woodstock Film Festival hits the screens October 10-14

Among the documentaries, One-Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das traces the path of Jeffrey Kagel, who turned down an offer to record with the future Blue Öyster Cult, moved to India and became a world-renowned chant master.

Director Anton Verstakov is coming from Moscow for the showing of Rolan Makes Movies, about a Siberian-based filmmaker determined to make a Hollywood movie on a budget of zero.

Virgin Tales takes a look at sexual abstinence before marriage as seen through the eyes of a Midwestern evangelical family.


The World’s Finest Chef is about high-stakes competitive haute cuisine and the race to win the Bocuse d’Or, a world championship for chefs.

Also of interest are the panel presentations, covering topics in distribution, fundraising and production. People who have worked in both independent film and television will discuss the crossover between the two media. “In some ways, TV these days is more groundbreaking than film,” notes Blaustein. “It takes more chances, and the financial security is much better.” Another kind of crossover will be elucidated by producers in the forefront of the gaming industry, Web content and film. “From Reel to Real” will examine the impact of film on our lives, asking whether movies can really make a difference.

There will also be a master class on the subject of Facebook for filmmakers and other artists. “It’s about how to promote projects in ways that are not traditional Facebook methods,” says Blaustein. “Anybody in the arts who’s developing a project and looking to market it can learn a lot.”

Aside from the deluge of customers that the Festival brings to Woodstock businesses five day a year, Blaustein feels that WFF, with the support of the Hudson Valley Film Commission, has had a far-reaching effect on the region’s economy. “Thirteen years ago, people would have to go to the City to make a living in film. Now there’s a ton of film production here,” she says, including postproduction houses, sound stages and jobs in film for young people and seasoned professionals. Filmmakers who attend the Festival often end up shooting in the area. “They have a good time while they’re here, they come back on vacation, buy a second home, work and make a movie.”

Despite a budget of less than $400,000, the not-for-profit Festival has become increasingly professional in its operation, providing training for a slew of young people who pass through the organization, often starting as interns and graduating to yearlong paid positions. “It makes me happy that all these young people come with potential, and they really learn,” Blaustein says. “Many of them leave to get serious jobs in the field.”

Blaustein longs for a bigger budget, an endowment that would raise the effort financially to a new level. “The budget should be at least a million,” she sighs. “We’re struggling big-time.”

Despite the hard work, she persists. “This is my baby. It’s not necessarily easy to be a parent, but you don’t just walk away. We’ve created it with our blood, sweat and tears. I care very much about it.”

As for the benefit to the audience, it’s clear from the success of the event over the years that the work is appreciated. Blaustein adds, “People come out and learn a lot. I hope they will be inspired to go and follow their dreams and make good things.”

The Woodstock Film Festival will take place Wednesday, October 10 through Sunday, October 14 with screenings, panels, concerts and other events taking place in Woodstock, Rosendale, Rhinebeck, Saugerties and Kingston. For schedules and other details, see ulsterpub.staging.wpenginefilmfestival.com.