3.10.2010

Woodstock festival shows power of small films

Woodstock festival shows power of small films

New, young filmmakers' efforts score
Scores of film fanatics crowded the streets of Woodstock Saturday, as the 2010 Woodstock Film Festival hit a climax with powerful films and a mix of programming.
As always, celebrities come out on film festival Saturday. This year was no different, with actors Edie Falco and Keanu Reeves arriving in the area with their films in tow.
Falco co-stars in "3 Backyards," which received its second screening Saturday night in Woodstock, while Reeves' film, "Henry's Crime," screened for the first time.
Reeves was honored with an Excellence in Acting award Saturday night at the Maverick Awards. The annual celebration — held at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston — also honored director Bruce Beresford, whose "Peace, Love and Misunderstanding" was filmed in Ulster County.
Beresford's 1983 film "Tender Mercies" was screened Saturday, and there also was a conversation with him and actress Tess Harper.

Small films have big impact

Some small films with big dreams really stood out. The U.S. premiere of "Inuk" at Upstate Films Rhinebeck garnered a long ovation and much interest during a question-and-answer session. The film looks at realities facing Greenland's Inuit culture.
Also screening Saturday was Hudson Valley film "Stake Land," about a post-apocalyptic vampire world, and "Norman," a coming-of-age story about a teen coping with his father's illness.
Other small films, such as "The Tested" and "Stranger Things," showed that young filmmakers can roll with the big stars, too. Both films, helmed by first-time filmmaker teams younger than 40, premiered Friday night.
"You only have one world premiere. You don't want to get bogged down by anxiety and nerves," said "The Tested" director Russell Costanzo.
He and his wife, "Tested" producer Melissa B. Miller, were reveling in Woodstock, arriving Monday and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere from a rented home.

Let's do this again
As for audience members? They too found the Woodstock Film Festival to be a peaceful retreat.
"We want to come back next year and make it an annual girls' outing," said Christine Tierney, who came from Philadelphia for her first Woodstock Film Festival. She said she hopes to see the whole festival next time around.
As for this year's festival, Sunday is the final day, featuring the always entertaining Actors' Dialogue panel (with Falco) and the closing-night film, screenings of the highly anticipated thriller "Stone," starring Robert De Niro.
-- Deborah Medenbach and Matt Connolly contributed to this report.

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