The Woodstock Museum continues its Labor Day weekend tradition with its 23rd Free Film Festival on the grounds of the Woodstock Museum located at1 3 Charles Bach Road in Saugerties. This year offerings are full of independent films featuring a wide variety of subjects within this year’s theme of Behavior, as each submission interprets it in its own way.
The venue features an indoor theater and two open-air screening areas. Not to be confused with the museum in Bethel, the Woodstock Museum is a living museum featuring the concept, culture and history of Woodstock.
“We reject hundreds of applications. We choose the ones we love,” said Nathan Koenig, who runs the museum and film festival with Shelli Lipton. Koenig and Lipton enjoy viewing the films that don’t make the cut when they spend part of the year in Mexico.
Like the museum, the film festival is supported by donations.
Films range from the lighthearted family-friendly variety to those that tackle serious subjects. This is the first year the festival, run by Nathan Koenig and Shelli Lipton, will show two films for mature audiences only. The 2nd Act, directed by Victor Fontoura, is about a young actor who was sexually assaulted by a talent agent and decides to take matters into his own hands.The Coronation is a wordless, experimental film about a powerful goddess and her sexuality.
Other festival highlights
Hidden Wounds, directed by MSNBC anchor Richard Lui, is a compassionate film about the importance of mental health for patients and caregivers. Three families find triumphs when dealing with the challenges of the body and mind.
Over My Dead Body, directed by Meital Cohen Navarro, is about a Jewish Persian-American woman with a Muslim fiancé who battles with her parents over the taboo subject of interracial marriage.
Town Band, directed by Alice Elliott is a personal tribute to a small-town story of a woman’s childhood and vanishing rural life in Sullivan County. One week a night, the town comes together to form a community band. Teenagers are playing alongside septuagenarians.
“It’s been going on since the early 1900s. It’s an amazing feeling of comradeship in a rural community,” Lipton said. Director Elliott will be at the screening for a Q&A session.
Waiting in the Wings, directed by Josie Andrews, is about two non-profit California theaters and their struggle to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Globes, directed by Nina de Vroome, is about the bond between humans and bees, and their role in the global economy. Bees are so vital for pollination that beekeepers are stealing from each other’s hives.
This year’s festival starts September 2 with an opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m. and runs through September 4. The full schedule and descriptions are at woodstockmuseum.com. For more information, call 845-246-0600.