Woodstock Film Fest hands out awards

Actors’ panel; Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Mark Boone Jr., Talia Balsam, Tim Guinee and Martha Frankel. (Photo by Dion Ogust)

The 20th Anniversary of the Fiercely Independent Woodstock Film Festival has passed, and everyone’s still a bit breathless. Who won what?

The big Saturday night awards ceremony held at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston saw opening remarks by screenwriter Ron Nyswaner and festival co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein, followed by a reading of the Declaration of Independence by noted entertainment lawyer and film producer Jonathan Gray. Director Julie Taymor presented producer, activist and philanthropist Abigail Disney with the WFF’s Trailblazer Award for her work creating film and television programming centered around social justice. 

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Local Congressman Antonio Delgado was on hand, drawing the most selfies from the crowd. Could we be entering a big political year?

As for the awards not previously announced, Best Narrative Feature went to Swallow, by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, with an honorable mention to Haroula Rose’s Once Upon a River. Best Documentary Feature went to 17 Blocks, directed by Davy Rothbart with honorable mentions to Claudia Sparrow’s Maxima and Eunice Lau’s Accept the Call.

Best Narrative Short went to The Neighbor’s Window, directed by Marshall Curry with an Honorable Mention to Tattoo, directed by Farhad Delaram. A Sister’s Hope, directed by Michael Marantz, won Best Short Documentary. Best Student Short went to Marriage Material, the Musical!, directed by Oran Zegman, with an Honorable Mention to Miller & Son, directed by Asher Jelinsky. Seneca, directed by Jason Chaet, won the Ultra Indie Award, while Tawny Cypress won an Ultra Indie acting award for her role in Inez & Doug & Kira. The Animation Award went to Sweet Night by Lia Bertels, with an Honorable Mention to The Opposites Game.

The Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography went to Joseph Schweers for his work on Andrew Huculiak’s Ash; the James Lyons Editing Award for Narrative Feature went to Daren Navarro and Tom Quinn for Colewell, with Honorable Mentions for Alex Lora and Frank Dale Arroyo for The Garden Left Behind; while Jennifer Tiexiera won the James Lyons Editing Award for Documentary Feature for her work on 17 Blocks. Youssef Delara won the Carpe Diem Andretta Award for his film Foster Boy. 

Acting prizes went to Haley Bennett for best female performance in Swallow and Tim Guinee for best male performance in Ash. 

Finally, audience awards went to Jon Swab’s Run with the Hunted in the narrative category, while the documentary award went to Parkland Rising, Cheryl Horner McDonough’s story about the movement built from the February 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, FL, whose artist/activist Manuel Oliver created a live art work in Woodstock for the occasion.

As for stars…they popped up at panel discussions, one-on-one discussions, and at select screenings throughout the week.

On to the 21st.

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