Tuesday, May 19, 2020


May 15th Woodstock, NY:

From the editing process behind THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, to the directing of UNORTHODOX, the producing of A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE  NEIGHBORHOOD, and a discussion on the state of the movie industry during and post-coronavirus, the Woodstock Film Festival’s robust online programming during the COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping audiences and industry members alike. Offering free weekly live online chats with top-tier film professionals along with streamable movies with filmmaker intros and Q&As, the Festival is remaining engaged and relevant with its audience members amidst an unprecedented crisis.


The Virtual Films & Conversations program, curated and moderated by the Festival’s Co-Founder & Executive Director Meira Blaustein and produced by Festival’s staff Zach Bell, Avery Davenport and Sage Higgins, is a free online series of talks born out of the global social distancing restrictions. The series showcases industry leaders, actors, producers, filmmakers and editors and is open to the public via Zoom and Facebook Live simulcast. Audience members engage in the lively Q&A sessions with the speakers through Zoom’s Q&A feature or by leaving their questions under the Facebook livestream.

Since inception, each talk has been increasingly well-attended with an installment featuring Maria Schrader, the director of Netflix's hit new miniseries UNORTHODOX and a conversation with IFC Films’ Executive Vice President Arianna Bocco, New York Film Festival Executive Director and Film at Lincoln Center Deputy Executive Director Eugene Hernandez, and Magnolia Pictures’ Executive Vice President Dori Begley both virtually “selling out”.

Previous talks, including one with actor, writer, director Tim Blake Nelson (WATCHMEN, O BROTHER WHERE ART THOU?, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, JUST MERCY) about his work behind and in front of the camera, and another with Ted Hope, Co-Head of Movies at Amazon Studios were also well attended. Nelson spoke extensively about his projects with the Coen brothers and work behind the scenes as a writer and director, while Hope focused on methods, practices, and artistic visions for filmmakers and artists trying to get their voices heard, their visions seen, and lifting the good into great. This week the Festival also hosted an online panel focusing on leading women currently working in the film and media fields featuring Academy Award winning filmmaker Carol Dysinger, President of Distribution at NEON Elissa Federoff, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Debra Granik, producer & President of New York Women in Film & Television Jamie Zelermyer, and veteran casting director Ellen Chenoweth.

Upcoming installments promise to bring more of Hollywood and the indie circuit's top strata to the living rooms of audience members, including online talks with THE HALF OF IT's director Alice Wu and producer Blair Breard as well as with actor/producer/director Fisher Stevens scheduled for May 19th and May 21st respectively. Rounding out the month of May will be a conversation with director Ira Sachs, screenwriter Oren Moverman, and producer Bill Horberg who will discuss their collaboration on the 2007 film MARRIED LIFE.

Notable past guests include: Peter Saraf (Producer & CEO, Big Beach Films, speaking about A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD), John Sloss (Founder, Cinetic Media, speaking about BOYHOOD and more), composer David Torn & producer Bill Horberg (speaking about LARS AND THE REAL GIRL), actor, writer & director Michael Berry (speaking about STUCK), editors Kate Sanford & Brian Kates (speaking about THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL) and writer/director Carlo Mirabella-Davis, producer Mollye Asher, and cinematographer Katelin Arizmendi (speaking about SWALLOW).

Below are some quotes from the attendees:

"Last evening was terrific. You host the most well presented and intelligent talks ... I'm glad I was there, thank you." - Denise Grayson, Attendee

"Well done, you are thinking outside the box and moving forward!” - Kiira Benzing, Attendee

"Today was such an uplifting moment. The discussion of fear was something many of us have to deal with to live fully. I will put these meetings on my calendar. Even though we are sequestered there are so many things to get done.” - Rita Taggart, Attendee


Lovingly curated by Woodstock Film Festival staff, programmers, and alumni, the Alternative Projections program delivers free-to-stream short and feature length films weekly. With so many community members confined to their homes, the goal of this initiative is to provide a source of artistic entertainment to break the monotony of quarantined life. The program features animated shorts selected by Woodstock Film Festival animation programmers Noelle Melody & Joy Buran, accompanied by Q&A sessions between the curators and the animators. The program also features full-length documentaries and narratives by festival alumni, including introductions from the filmmakers.

The Festival recently hosted the online premiere of Constant Van Hoeven's short documentary A CLOCKWORK BETA to our mailing list subscribers. The film follows artist Matthew Pleva into his workshop, where he creates an elaborate diorama of You can view all of the films highlighted in the series on our website here.

"... I teach a high school film class for seniors. The [info] you have been sending through with some films that are available online are a TREMENDOUS help. I hope you will send more through and often." -Beth Shewell, Attendee

Submissions for the 2020 film festival are still open!




The Woodstock Film Festival, now celebrating its 21st year, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music, and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity. Founded in 2000 as a grassroots arts organization driven by a sheer love for film and community, Woodstock has quickly become one of the premiere independent film festivals in the US.

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