The Giving Back Award - A sneak peek at next month's Woodstock Film Festival

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal
August 23, 2011

The Woodstock Film Festival will open its 12th cinematic extravaganza Sept. 21 with the U.S. premiere of a new Jane Fonda film — that was shot locally — at the recently renovated Woodstock Playhouse.

"Peace, Love & Misunderstanding," which features scenes shot in Woodstock, Rhinebeck and Rosendale, will be shown at the historic playhouse, which re-opened in June.

The Woodstock Film Festival has released a "sneak peek" of its 2011 lineup and will release a full schedule Aug. 30. The festival is set for Sept. 21-25 and will feature nearly 150 films, panels, performances and special events in Woodstock, Rhinebeck, Rosendale and Kingston.

"Peace, Love & Misunderstanding" also stars actress Catherine Keener. Keener plays a conservative lawyer who takes her two teenage children to meet their estranged, hippie grandmother, played by Fonda, in Woodstock.

"This is a special film," said Woodstock Film Festival Executive Director Meira Blaustein, who along with many local residents appears in the film as an extra. "It's an ode to Woodstock and the region."

Actor Mark Ruffalo will receive the Woodstock Film Festival's First Annual Meera Gandhi Giving Back Award; actress Ellen Barkin will receive the Woodstock Film Festival 2011 Excellence in Acting Award; and Robin Bronk, chief executive officer of The Creative Coalition, will receive the 2011 Trailblazer Award.

For the first time, the film festival is collaborating with the Consulate of Spain in New York. Spanish filmmaker Emilio Aragón will attend a screening of his film, "Paper Birds," and a gala celebration of Spanish culture will be held Sept. 23. The film festival also announced a collaboration with the Consulate of Israel that will feature two screenings, "Fat Cows Lean Cows" and "Dolphin Boy."

Other films set to be screened include "Another Happy Day" starring Barkin; "Giving Back," directed by Gandhi; and "Coming Up Roses" with Bernadette Peters.

The film festival's long-running concentration on music continues with the addition of School of Rock founder Paul Green as music director.

"I'm crazy about him," Blaustein said of Green. "He's totally awesome."

The band Betty will perform in Woodstock Sept. 24. Additional bands will be announced, with live music set for each night of the festival.