Stage & Screen

White Feather Farm is incubator for Woodstock Film Festival’s first residency program

White Feather Farm is incubator for Woodstock Film Festival’s first residency program

There’s some serious creativity taking root this spring at an organic farm on the eastern outskirts of Woodstock. Thanks to a new partnership between the White Feather Farm Foundation and the Woodstock Film Festival, four young independent filmmakers are using a monthlong residency to cultivate the concepts behind their latest projects, with assistance from some impressive mentors. Two are working on documentaries, two on narrative features, and all four represent constituencies who rarely get to tell their own stories in the Hollywood-dominated entertainment media realm.

Mid-Hudson theaters take baby steps toward reviving live performance as pandemic wanes

Mid-Hudson theaters take baby steps toward reviving live performance as pandemic wanes

The reopening of live theater perches anxiously on the cusp of a reintroduction of in-person performances in 2021, awaiting signals that audiences can feel safe sitting in the same indoor space. Long-suppressed desire for the collective experience of art remains at war with lingering fear of contracting an illness that can turn the lining of one’s lungs to the consistency of concrete. But spring is here, summer looms nearer and presenting venues need to make decisions, pronto.

Renovated, winterized Byrdcliffe Theater set to reopen by June

Renovated, winterized Byrdcliffe Theater set to reopen by June

As with most other performing arts venues in our region, the flow of live concerts at Woodstock’s Kleinert-James Arts Center and stageworks at the Byrdcliffe Theater dried up more than a year ago, due to the pandemic. But the gradual arrival of the Covid vaccines has got hosts for such events thinking about their resumption. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on March 3 that theaters and concert halls could begin admitting audiences at 33 percent capacity effective April 2, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 outdoors. Not every venue will be able to break even presenting live performances under those limitations, but it’s clear that a process has begun that will make it possible for us all to see plays and hear music again, up close and personal, in the foreseeable future. Even for introverts and homebodies, that’s happy news.

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.