Stage & Screen

Upstate Films founders Steve and DeDe Leiber step down after 48 years

Upstate Films founders Steve and DeDe Leiber step down after 48 years

The theater has been closed since the pandemic came crashing down last spring, with no plans to reopen for the foreseeable future, leaving a big hole in many a mid-Hudson film buff’s heart. That makes it an auspicious time for a changing of the guard. Steve and DeDe Leiber – who founded Upstate Films as a not-for-profit in 1972 with a third partner, Susan Goldman, and have been running the operation in a very hands-on way ever since – have decided to retire and pass the torch to a new director whose identity they say they are not yet ready to announce.

Film about Esopus Creek streaming for a limited time

Film about Esopus Creek streaming for a limited time

About 30 minutes long, the film details the history and ecology of the lower portion of the creek, with a focus on Saugerties, where the Esopus meets the Hudson. Sweeping overhead shots of the creek and surrounding woodlands, as well as historic postcards and paintings, help illustrate interviews with a dozen or so local historians, artists, naturalists, and others whose lives and work have brought them into contact with and contemplation of the creek. 

New Zappa doc in Rosendale

New Zappa doc in Rosendale

The Music Fan Film Series welcomes you warts and all to Zappa. A holiday gift if ever there was, director Alex Winter, granted unprecedented access to family history, makes Zappa a rock doc with a fun fact for any level Zappa head.

Thriller shot in Saugerties, Follow Her, seeks finishing funds

Thriller shot in Saugerties, Follow Her, seeks finishing funds

Jess Peters (Dani Barker), the female lead of Follow Her, a new independent feature film shot largely in the Hudson Valley, is one of those Millennials whose sense of worth depends on how many people watch and like her YouTube videos. Her specialty is setting up assignations for a little consensual kinkiness on Craigslist, secretly filming and livestreaming the encounters under the handle J-Peeps. The provocative footage quickly finds a growing audience.

Shot largely in Ulster County, The Undoing premieres on HBO

Shot largely in Ulster County, The Undoing premieres on HBO

The Wurts Street Bridge over the Rondout was the focal point for a dramatic sequence – including helicopter shots – in The Undoing, a miniseries starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant that has finally premiered on HBO, following extended delays on account of Covid-19. This production also involved temporary closure of Route 209, and some greenscreen scenes requiring more than 250 crew at TechCity.

Covid regulations challenge small cinemas as megaplexes reopen

Covid regulations challenge small cinemas as megaplexes reopen

Requirements include enhanced cleaning, assigned seating, touchless payment or pay-ahead options. It’s also recommended that theater staff be available to accompany patrons to their seats, in order to ensure that ample distancing between groups arriving together is maintained. These rules bring increased costs that small community cinemas and art houses are typically not in a financial position to bear.

21st Woodstock Film Festival shifts gears to mix virtual, drive-in screenings

21st Woodstock Film Festival shifts gears to mix virtual, drive-in screenings

It’s something of a miracle that the annual Woodstock Film Festival is happening at all, and nothing short of astonishing that it’s happening on a scale rivaling past years. More than 100 films will be presented between September 30 and October 4, including 19 world premieres, three North American premieres, five US premieres, 14 East Coast premieres and 30 New York premieres.