Woodstock Film Festival (WFF) announced the full lineup of 45 feature films and 85 shorts for its 22nd Anniversary, taking place September 29 – October 3, 2021 at indoor and outdoor venues in the Hudson Valley towns of Woodstock, Kingston and Saugerties, and online.
Flee, winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival is the Centerpiece film; and the festival closes with The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, the heartbreaking and touching biographical story of British artist Louis Wain.
Counter-culture and a passion for music are baked into the history of Woodstock, and WFF programming encompasses this spirit with over 10 music-centric films, including documentaries focusing on artists like all-female, Filippina-American garage band Fanny, The Velvet Underground, Cuban scat singer, songwriter and tropical soul man Francisco Fellove, Alanis Morissette, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis, and more.
The Woodstock Festival also supports local film production in the Hudson Valley, with four of the feature films in this year’s program filmed primarily in the region including The Shuroo Process, directed by Emrhys Cooper; Porcupine, directed by M. Cahill; Foxhole, directed by Jack Fessenden; and The Winter House, directed by Keith Boynton.
The line up also pays tribute to two legendary filmmakers the world has recently lost: Academy Award-winning documentarian Leon Gast with the film When We Were Kings and Emmy Award-winning editor Lewis Erskine for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, directed by Stanley Nelson.
Dedicated to gender parity, over 40% of the films in this year’s festival are directed by women.
The festival will also present a series of intimate panels with prominent industry figures, as well as live musical and comedy performances and other special events.
“In thinking of the scope of this year’s lineup, I see a clear reflection of the challenging world of the past year, where resilience has been a requirement for survival and a unifying force for people pulling together,” said Meira Blaustein, Woodstock Film Festival Co-Founder & Executive Director. “Filmmakers dive deeply into the myriad ways people face the unknowns and the unknowables, opening a window into new and uncharted discoveries. We are excited to be showing the work of these talented and dedicated filmmakers at this year’s festival.”
2021 Woodstock Film Festival Lineup
AFTER ANTARCTICA | Tasha Van Zandt | New York Premiere
Eyewitness to the greatest changes in our polar regions, Will Steger embarks on a solo expedition through the polar region– a thousand-mile crossing in seventy-five days
CAPTAIN COUNTER CULTURE | Michael P. Nash | US Premiere
Follow avant-garde filmmaker/photographer, Larry Moyer, who shunned “work” for a counter-culture lifestyle, living in the legendary houseboat community of Sausalito for 50 years.
DAUGHTER OF A LOST BIRD | Brooke Pepion Swaney
This film deftly explores the role of identity as Lummi Nation Native Kendra, adopted at birth by a white family, meets her long-lost ancestors and discovers her heritage.
EL GRAN FELLOVE | Matt Dillon | East Coast Premiere | *Focus on Music
Directed and narrated by Academy Award-nominee Matt Dillon, this film reconstructs the story of Cuban scat singer, songwriter and tropical soul man Francisco Fellove.
FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK | Bobbi Jo Hart | East Coast Premiere | *Kick-off Film *Focus on Music
Kicking off the Festival will be FANNY: THE RIGHT TO ROCK, directed by Bobbi Jo Hart. This documentary tells the story of an all-female, Filipina-American garage band that paved the way for many famous female rock artists, then seemingly disappeared. Until now. A live musical performance by Fanny members June Millington, Brie Darling along with guest musicians John Sebastian, Gail Anne Dorsey and other surprise guests will follow the screening.
FLEE | Jonas Poher Rasmussen | *Centerpiece Film
FLEE, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Documentary section, tells the extraordinary true story of Amin Nawabi, a man on the verge of marriage, compelled to reveal his hidden past for the first time. Recounted mostly through animation by director Jonas Pher Rasmussen, Nawabi recounts his harrowing journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan to the life he leads today.
HERE. IS. BETTER | Jack Youngelson | World Premiere
This film interweaves the inspiring stories of four veterans of vastly different wartime and life experiences, while undergoing the most effective trauma psychotherapies for PTSD.
HORTON FOOTE: THE ROAD TO HOME | Anne Rapp | East Coast Premiere
The famous writer Horton Foote tells his story through personal reflection, offering an intimate view of his 70-year career which resulted in some of America’s most beautiful plays and movies.
JAGGED | Alison Klayman | US Premiere | *Focus on Music
JAGGED explores how Alanis came to be that empowered woman so many admire, and what happens when a 21-year-old becomes a worldwide phenomenon.
JULIA | Julie Cohen & Betsy West | East Coast Premiere
JULIA brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar, Julia Child, who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women.
LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER: THE RETURN OF MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN | Jesse Lauter | World Premiere | *Focus on Music
Discover the complete story of Joe Cocker’s legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, through the lens of the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band’s reunion of the Mad Dogs.
LIFE & LIFE | NC Heikin
The story of Reggie Austin, talented musician and convicted murderer, throughout his 35-year prison term, documenting the cycle of injustice of America’s prison system.
MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL | Stanley Nelson | Special Tribute to Lewis Erskin, *Focus on Music
This film skillfully unpacks the man behind the horn, shedding new light on the jazz legend’s illustrious career. This will be screened as a tribute to the late beloved film editor Lewis Erskine, who brought rhythm to the film with on-the-beat editing style that brings the documentary to life. Director Stanley Nelson will speak in person about the film.
MY SO-CALLED SELFISH LIFE | Therese Shechter | World Premiere
This entertaining and thought-provoking film draws upon culture, science, history, and moving personal stories to unveil the rich and diverse lives of people who said NO to having children.
NUCLEAR FAMILY | Ry Russo-Young | East Coast Premiere
At a time when being gay or lesbian meant you gave up the right to have children, this film focuses on the lawsuit that culminated in a landmark decision that would change the way gay families are viewed evermore.
OUR AMERICAN FAMILY | Hallee Adelman & Sean O’Grady | World Premiere
Our American Family provides an honest, unfiltered look into the world of addiction, following a close-knit Philadelphia family dealing with generational substance abuse.
RANGER | Austin James Peck | World Premiere
Set amongst Kenya’s Samburu and Maasai communities, an intimate and contemporary tale of self-discovery unfolds, as 12 women become East Africa’s first all-female anti-poaching unit.
STORM LAKE | Beth Levison & Jerry Risius | New York Premiere
This film follows Storm Lake Times editor and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Cullen and family as they navigate the coverage of the 2020 Democratic Primary race and the outbreak of COVID-19.
THE FORBIDDEN STRINGS | Hasan Noori | New York Premiere | *Focus on Music
Raised in Iran, four young Afghan immigrant musicians take a dangerous journey into the heart of Afghanistan in order to make a dream of performing their first concert come true.
THE RESCUE | E. Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin | New York Premiere
The story of determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during the heroic mission to rescue 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave.
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND | Todd Haynes | *Focus on Music
Experience the iconic rock band’s legacy in the first major documentary to tell their story.
WHEN WE WERE KINGS | Leon Gast | *Special Tribute to Leon Gast
The 1997 Academy Award-winning portrait of Muhammad Ali will be screened as a tribute to the late Leon Gast, a Woodstock local and a longtime friend of the Woodstock Film Festival. In 2016 Leon received the Woodstock Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA | Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler | New York Premiere
Criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.
18 ½ | Dan Mirvish | World Premiere
A raucous 1970s-era Watergate conspiracy thriller/dark comedy about a woman in the Nixon White House who tries to leak the missing 18½ minute tape to a reporter.
AMERICANISH | Iman K. Zawahry
Career-driven sisters Maryam and Sam and their newly-immigrated cousin Ameera must navigate the sometimes conflicting demands of romance, culture, work, and family in this romantic comedy.
BAD LUCK BANGING OR LOONY PORN | Radu Jude
School teacher Emi’s career and reputation are threatened when a sex tape is leaked on the Internet. Explicit sex.
CATCH THE FAIR ONE | Josef Kubota Wladyka
A desperate quest by a young fighter to retrieve her sister from the clutches of an insidious trafficking kabal, starring world champion boxer Kali Reis.
FALLING FOR FIGARO | Ben Lewin | East Coast Premiere | *Focus on Music
This dramedy follows Millie (played by Danielle MacDonald) as she forges a path toward her dream of becoming an opera singer.
FOXHOLE | Jack Fessenden | US Premiere | *Made in the Hudson Valley
This film follows five soldiers confined in a foxhole in three wars, as they grapple with morality and futility. The roles of race and gender change with each war, yet the story remains the same.
HUDA’S SALON | Hany Abu-Assad | East Coast Premiere
Described as a “feminist thriller,” a young mother, married to a jealous man, goes to Huda’s salon for a haircut in Bethlehem. But this ordinary visit turns into a nightmare when the owner blackmails her into working for the secret service of the occupiers, thus betraying her people.
KENDRA AND BETH | Dean Peterson | World Premiere
Two women unexpectedly cross paths in a small Midwestern town and quickly develop an unlikely relationship. An emotion-filled film with awkward humor that often mirrors our own lives.
L’INDIVISION | Melanie Delloye | World Premiere
Eighty-year-old Philippe lives alone in a mansion that his children want to sell and developers plan to tear down against his will. A suspenseful family drama.
MASS | Fran Kranz | East Coast Premiere
Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents (Reed Birney and Ann Dowd, Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton), agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward.
MY DEAD DAD | Fabio Frey | World Premiere
Lucas, a brooding young loner, is forced to reexamine the negative image of his estranged-father after his death.
OLD HENRY | Potsy Ponciroli | US Premiere
Tim Blake Nelson plays an unassuming farmer whose true identity is revealed when he’s forced to defend his home from a gang of ruthless outlaws. A beautifully crafted celebration of the wild west.
ONE SECOND | Yimou Zhang | US Premiere
Set during the Chinese cultural revolution, a man who has escaped from a re-education camp hunts for the reel of film that might contain a shot of his long-lost daughter.
PETIT MAMAN | Céline Sciamma
This film explores the blooming friendship between two young girls– Poignantly portrayed by real life sisters– in what is described as a deeply emotional fairy tale.
PORCUPINE | M. Cahill | US Premiere | *Made in the Hudson Valley
Fired from her job and potentially losing her apartment, Audrey stumbles upon “adult adoption,” she forms an unlikely bond with the misanthropic patriarch of her adoptive family.
SON OF MONARCHS | Alexis Gambis
Genetic manipulation. Global warming. Border politics. Profound questions are explored in this stunning film about a geneticist studying the wings of Monarch butterflies.
THE BLAZING WORLD | Carlson Young | East Coast Premiere
Decades after the accidental drowning of her twin sister, a self-destructive young woman returns to her family home, finding herself drawn to an alternate dimension where her sister may still be alive.
THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN | Will Sharpe | New York Premiere | *Closing Night Film
The heartbreaking and touching biographical story of British artist Louis Wain famous for his distinctive, surreal large-eyed cat paintings that inspired hearts and minds around the world. Starring Oscar-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch as Wain, and Claire Foy (Emmy Award-winning Elizabeth in THE CROWN), as the love of his life.
THE SHUROO PROCESS | Emrhys Cooper | World Premiere | *Made in the Hudson Valley
When a frustrated journalist becomes infatuated with a charismatic self-help guru, the result is a witty and poignant examination of self-help culture and psychedelic intrigue.
THE SPACE BETWEEN | Rachel Winter | *Focus on Music
Kelsey Grammer plays Micky Addams, an eccentric, burnt out musician who’s losing his grip on reality.
THE WINTER HOUSE | Keith Boynton | World Premiere | *Made in the Hudson Valley
Lili Taylor and Francois Arnaud star in this performance-driven story of a grieving novelist who rents a remote lake house in northern New Hampshire, where she is confronted by a young drifter with troubles – and secrets – of his own.
THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD | Joachim Trier | *Spotlight Film
Julie, played by Renate Reinsve, is an impulsive young woman whose life is spinning out of control. Experience charm and humor, an intense soundtrack, and fully alive scenes of sex, social awkwardness, professional screw-ups, and just plain fun.
MY OWN REALITY
IDOLIZED, by Steven Ross
RESURRECTION! AIRTO MORIERA & THE PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND, by Dale Djerassi (World Premiere)
SHOOT FROM THE HEART, by Joan Churchill & Alan Barker (World Premiere)
SUPERMALO, by Matthew Seger
HUNGER WARD, by Skye Fitzgerald
OCTOBER 27th, 2020, by Hannah Price (East Coast Premiere)
THE BLACK DISQUISITION, by Quincy G. Ledbetter (New York Premiere)
THE BOX, by Shal Ngo & James Burns
WHAT YOU’LL REMEMBER, by Erika Cohn (World Premiere)
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
ÁGUILAS (EAGLES), by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan & Maite Zubiaurre (New York Premiere)
DESDE QUE LLEGASTE, MI CORAZÓN DEJÓ DE PERTENECERME (SINCE YOU ARRIVED, MY HEART STOPPED BELONGING TO ME), by Erin Semine Kökdil (New York Premiere)
GIVE AND TAKE, by Gareth Smit
KINDERLAND, by Amy Grappell (World Premiere)
THE BEAUTY PRESIDENT, by Whitney Skauge
AL-SIT, by Suzannah Mirghani
ARE YOU STILL THERE?, by Rayka Zehtabchi & Sam Davis (New York Premiere)
FISH TO THE LAKE, by Youngdae Lee (World Premiere)
TALLAHASSEE, by Darine Hotait (New York Premiere)
THE BLACK KITE, by I-hui Lee
UNTIL, by Kyra Sedgwick & Kevin Bacon
FIGHT OR FLIGHT
DYE RED, by Vittoria Campaner
INHERITANCE, by Annalise Lockhart
LEAD ME HOME, by Julien Hosmalin (East Coast Premiere)
SIZE UP, by Rigo Garay (World Premiere)
THE CRIMINALS, by Serhat Karaaslan (East Coast Premiere)
VICTIM NO. 6, by Nancy Menagh
SHITS & GIGGLES
A PUFF BEFORE DYING, by Michael Reich & Mike Pinkney (New York Premiere)
BREAK UP, BABY, by Fareeha Khan and Alec Cohen
CHERRY COLA, by Amandine Thomas (New York Premiere)
CUPIDS, by Zoey Martinson
GIRL WITH A THERMAL GUN, by Rongfei Guo
HELEN’S NOSE, by Andrea Rosen (World Premiere)
STILL STANDING, by Elizabeth Zephyrine McDonough
THE COCKTAIL PARTY, by Jessica Sanders
THE UNCONSCIOUS CONSCIOUS
DUET, by Mika Orr (East Coast Premiere)
FEELING THROUGH, by Doug Roland
MARBLEHEAD, Kevin Walker & Jack Auen (World Premiere)
POPS, by Lewis Rose (East Coast Premiere)
THE TREES REMEMBER – MAINTENANCE, by Angela Tucker (East Coast Premiere)
THE TRUCKER, by Raven Johnson
WOMEN ON TOP
BLAME THEM, by Eliza McKenna (New York Premiere)
DO YOU THINK JESUS LIKED HARD BOILED EGGS, by Ben Kujawski (World Premiere)
GOD’S DAUGHTER DANCES, by Sungbin Byun (New York Premiere)
UNDERCUT, by Kelly Pike (New York Premiere)
WE WON’T FORGET, Lucas Elliot Eberl & Edgar Morais (East Coast Premiere)
WIGGLE ROOM, by Sam Guest & Julia Baylis
CREATIVE COALITION SHORTS
[FAT] LIFE, by David Gallo (World Premiere)
SAINT NICK, by Greg DePaul (World Premiere)
UNTITLED WEIGHT AND COMEDY PROJECT, by Stephen Kessler (World Premiere)
YOU JUST BIG BONED, by Kelly Jenrette (World Premiere)
BEAUTIFUL, by Mulan Fu
CONVERSATIONS WITH A WHALE, by Anna Samo (East Coast Premiere)
COCKPERA, by Kata Gugic
DEMI’S PANIC, by Bill Plympton (New York Premiere)
FALL OF THE IBIS KING, by Mikai Geronimo & Josh O’Caoimh (North American Premiere)
HORACIO, by Caroline Cherrier (New York Premiere)
LAUNCH, by Leah Shore (East Coast Premiere)
MY AUNTIES, by Richard O’Connor
NUEVO RICO, by Kristian Mercado Figueroa
THERE YOU ARE, by Rui Huang
YAY, by Anne Isensee (US Premiere)
FILM SCHOOL SHORTS
DREAMWORLD: PINE BUSH, NY, by Rose Felice (World Premiere)
GENERATION 328, by Nika Nikanava (East Coast Premiere)
LA MUJER DE HÉCTOR (HÉCTOR’S WOMAN), by Ricardo Varona
LITTLE SKY, by Jess X. Snow
THE BINDING OF ITZIK, by Anika Benkov
THE SETTLER, by Henry Nelson (World Premiere)
UNMOTHERED, by Urvashi Pathania (New York Premiere)
TEEN SHORT FILMS
EVERYTHING WE NEVER SAID, by Haley Gabelsberg
IT ALWAYS IS, by Tristan Cohen (World Premiere)
OVERLOOKED, by Hudson Price
QUARANTINE SUPERHERO, by Starla Bollé (New York Premiere)
SCRIBBLED, by Olivia Siegel
THE HUMANITY TEST, by Samuel Mitchell
THE OTHER, by Nolan Hieu Trifunovic (New York Premiere)
THINK LIKE A FILMMAKER, by Eli Berliner (World Premiere)
EQUINOX, by Jonah Haber
LETTER TO A NATION, by Taylor Kampia
MOTHER EARTH, by Pratheek Shetty (World Premiere)
“NO WHERE IS SOME WHERE” THE BLUES MAGOOS, by Peppy Castro (World Premiere)
OUR LOVE IS OVER, by Namewee
THE BLUESTOCKING – NEVER READY, by Egor Gavrilin
VISCERAL, by Pedro Alvarenga