The 2016 Woodstock Film Festival continues its international film tradition with a wide range of feature films from Chile, Israel, Libya, the Netherlands, South Africa,Trinidad, Tobago, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The variety of topics and points of view from around the globe educate, inform, and entertain.
My Feral Heart, directed by Jane Gull, is a UK narrative feature that subtly explores the drives of the heart in a group home setting. Film representatives will come to Woodstock to introduce the film in person. Of the documentaries, The Confession, directed by Ashish Ghadiali, examines the definition of terrorism by reviewing the life of a long-term Guantanamo Bay detainee. The Islands and the Whales, directed by Mike Day, looks at the cultural significance of whaling to the people of the Faroe Islands. Stronger than Bullets, (USA-UK-Libya), directed by Matthew Milan (who will be in attendance), shows music’s triumph over violence in war-torn Benghazi. Narrative and documentary features from Israel also dig into the impact of music and friendship in a community: Palestinian hip-hop in Junction 48, directed by Udi Aloni and written by this year’s Fiercely Independent Award Winner Oren Moverman, and The Promised Band, directed by Jen Heck, in a reality show designed to unite Palestinian and Israeli musicians. Heck and the subjects of her film will be at Woodstock to talk about the film and also participate in the Feminism in the Middle East Panel Discussion on Oct. 16.
The documentary film, Freedom Runners, directed by David Wachsmann, shows how an inspiring teacher returned dignity and self-identity to young African refugees in Israel through track competitions. Wachsmann will attend the screening and Q&A with the audience.
The international flavor is rounded out by a Chilean film, Neruda, directed by Pablo Larrain, South African death row trials in Apartheid in Shepherds and Butchers, directed by Oliver Schmitz, and the confrontation with the inner self in Maria Govan’s Play the Devil, from Trinidad and Tobago. By contrast, the chill winters of Eastern Europe are the backdrop for Women of Maidan, directed by Ukrainian journalist Olha Onyshko, showing the role of women during the 2013-14 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. Both Govan and Onyshko will be at Woodstock for their screenings, with Onyshko also participating in the documentary film panel.
The focus on films of the Netherlands first begun in 2015 and this year offers three of the most outstanding dramas of recent Dutch cinema.
A representative of Oscar-winner Mike van Diem (The Surprise), along with Golden Calf Award recipient André van Duren (The Fury) and Tjebbo Penning (Clean Hands) plan to be on hand to introduce their work, along with representatives from the Netherlands Consulate General of New York City. New York-based producer Bruce Weiss of Ironworks Productions helped organize and curate the selection.
“This year’s focus on Dutch film is a collaboration to promote creative, cultural and educational exchange between Dutch and American filmmakers,” said Jan Kennis, Cultural Attache for the Netherlands consulate. ”Dutch Culture USA, the cultural department of the Netherlands Embassy tasked with the promotion of Dutch arts and culture the United States, is delighted to announce our collaboration with the Woodstock Film Festival.”
“Woodstock will enable a select group of influential Dutch filmmakers to share their ideas, skills and talent with a diverse public and professional audience, which might lead to a more sustainable program in the following years, whilst putting both talent and film (co)production opportunities in the Netherlands on the map.” added Kennis.
“We are thrilled to once again be working with the Dutch Consulate,” stated WFF co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. “Bringing outstanding films from around the world is an important part of our mission. Having these great Dutch films and their filmmakers here with us this fall is a wonderful addition to what is already a diverse and exciting program”.