Set in the heart of autumn in beautiful upstate New York, this year’s eight annual Woodstock Film Festival impressed with a blend of small town charm, prestigious films, and great music. There was a little bit of something for everyone, even those who aren’t your average film fest attendees.
The Woodstock musical legacy vibe carried over extremely well to the festival which included nightly musical performances, including a set from Woodstock’s own Mechanical Bull and the soon to be famous (and rightfully so), Felice Brothers, who will be on tour all November with Bright Eyes. The music added a nice and invigorating nightcap to some pretty busy days of film going.
The film choices each day were plentiful with the interesting and diverse options. The film highlights included Morgan Neville’s The Cool School, an entertaining and insightful film documenting L.A.’s underground art movement of the 1950’s and 60’s centered around the infamous Ferus Gallery, to Julian Temple’s sly take on punk rock pioneer, Joe Stummer: The Future Is Unwritten. The crown jewel of the festival though, was Todd Haynes’ highly anticipated I’m Not There, which very cleverly chronicles the interesting and strange life of one of Woodstock’s most famous residents, Bob Dylan. In fact Dylan’s influence was displayed, very proudly, everywhere in Woodstock, most prominently though, was in a gallery exhibit from rock photographer Elliott Landy.
Closing night featured the super funny Super High Me, a different take on the concept of the mega-popular Super Size Me. Basically the film follows comedian Doug Benson on his 30 day journey to find out the medical effects of extreme marijuana use. The festival’s director introduced the film by proclaming, “We couldn’t think of a better film to close this year’s Woodstock Film Festival!” After viewing it, I’d have to agree.
Check back with Glide next week for an exclusive interview with musician and composer David Torn, who was a participant at the festival’s Music In Film panel and also scored the new comedy Lars and The Real Girl.