Fair Play directed by Chloe Domont
Alden Ehrenreich as Luke and Phoebe Dynevor as Emily in Fair Play. (Netflix)

The critically-acclaimed Sundance hit Fair Play directed by Chloe Domont will kick off this year’s Woodstock Film Festival, now in its 24th year, taking place from September 27 to October 1, 2023, across the Hudson Valley towns of Woodstock, Rosendale and Saugerties.

This year’s lineup features new films including Steve Buscemi’s The Listener; The Kill Room directed by Nicol Paone and starring Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson; The New Boy directed by Warwick Thornton and starring Cate Blanchett; Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Pawo Choyning Dorji’s The Monk and the Gun; Oscar®-nominee Bill Plympton’s Slide.

Documentaries include Wim Wenders’ Anselm; Oscar®-winner Roger Ross Williams’ Stamped from the Beginning; Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky and Maeve O’Boyle’s Joan Baez I Am Noise; Oscar®-nominated director Karim Amer’s Defiant; Madeleine Gavin’s Beyond Utopia; Oliver English’s Feeding Tomorrow and a special 40th anniversary screening of When The Mountains Tremble by Saugerties-based master documentarian Pamela Yates.

This year’s festival features 23 films directed by women, including Jane Weinstock’s personal 1960s-set drama Three Birthdays; Brittany Snow’s directorial debut Parachute; I Used to Be Funny by Ally Pankiw and starring Rachel Sennot; and Irena’s Vow by Louise Archambault, adapted from the hit Broadway play of the same name. Highlights of the documentary section directed by women include the 40th anniversary screening of When The Mountains Tremble by Pamela Yates, Beyond Utopia by Madeleine Gavin, The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution by Ondi Timoner; Razing Liberty Square by Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Katja Esson; and Finding the Money by Maren Poitras.

Honoring its local and diverse musical legacy, the Woodstock Film Festival will screen documentaries featuring musicians including, Joan Baez I Am A Noise by Miri Navasky, Maeve O’Boyle and Karen O’Connor, The Tuba Thieves by Alison O’Daniel and With Peter Bradley by Alex Rappoport. Feature films A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari and Hung Up on a Dream: The Zombies Documentary by Robert Schwartzman will have adjacent concerts with their respective film participants at the newly-renovated Bearsville Theater. Additionally, the feature film Texas Music Revolution by Troy Paff will have an accompanying concert with Kiefer Sutherland at the Levon Helm Barn.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to renowned filmmaker James Ivory. Ivory was the directing partner with the legendary producer Ismail Merchant, in their independent company Merchant Ivory Productions. In the forty eight years they worked together as a team, usually accompanied by the writer and novelist Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, they created 28 feature films including the classics A Room With a View, Maurice, Howards End and The Remains of the Day. Ivory also wrote the screenplay for Call Me By Your Name, for which he received an Academy Award in 2018. A tribute screening of Ivory’s film The City of Your Final Destination, will take place on Saturday, September 30, followed by a conversation with Ivory and novelist Peter Cameron.

The Woodstock Film Festival is an Academy Awards® qualifying festival in the categories of Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Documentary Short Film.

The shorts programs includes works from auteurs Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson with Black Girls Play, Ramin Bahrani with If Dreams Were Lightning, Joan Churchill with Who Tells the Story? and Yann Mounir Demange with Dammi starring Riz Ahmed.

Meira Blaustein, Woodstock Film Festival Co-Founder and Executive Director, said, “We are thrilled to continue our tradition of bringing together world class talent from our own Hudson Valley community and extraordinary works of cinema from all over the world. We are once again proud to amplify the work of a group of filmmakers whose ingenuity and innovative storytelling is exemplary. As the Hudson Valley establishes itself as an epicenter of artistry and industry for the creative film community in the United States, we are proud to be at the forefront of generating experiences, audiences and conversations that give directors, actors, writers and people practicing all forms of filmmaking a place to flourish.”

2023 Woodstock Film Festival line up of narrative features and documentaries follows.

Narrative Features

Alien Intervention, by Janet Grillo, U.S.
Asleep in My Palm, by Henry Nelson, U.S. — World Premiere
At the Gates, by Augustus Meleo Bernstein, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
Blackout, by Larry Fessenden, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
The City of Your Final Destination, by James Ivory, U.S. —Tribute Screening
Crumb Catcher, by Chris Skotchdople, U.S. — NY Premiere
Eileen, by William Oldroyd, U.S. — NY Premiere
Fair Play, by Chloe Domont, U.S. — Opening Night
Fairyland, by Andrew Durham, U.S.
Finestkind, by Brian Helgeland, U.S. — Closing Night
Goodbye Stranger, by Aaron Rookus, Netherlands — U.S. Premiere
I Used to be Funny, by Ally Pankiw, Canada — NY Premiere
Irena’s Vow, by Louise Archambault, Poland, Canada — U.S. Premiere
The Kill Room, by Nicol Paone, U.S. — World Premiere
The Listener, by Steve Buscemi, U.S.
Mascot, by Remy van Heugten, Netherlands — NY Premiere
The Monk and the Gun, by Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan — NY Premiere
Narcosis, by Martijn De Jong, Netherlands — NY Premiere
The New Boy, by Warwick Thornton, Australia — U.S. Premiere
No Right Way, by Chelsea Bo, U.S. — NY Premiere
Parachute, by Brittany Snow, U.S. — NY Premiere
Rachel Hendrix, by Victor Nunez, U.S.
Slide, by Bill Plympton, U.S — NY Premiere
Stockade, by Eric McGinty, U.S. — World Premiere
Summer Solstice, by Noah Schamus, U.S. — NY Premiere
Three Birthdays, by Jane Weinstock, U.S. — World Premiere
Tótem, by Lila Avilés, Mexico, Denmark, France
Which Brings Me to You, by Peter Hutchings, U.S. — World Premiere

Documentary Features

Another Body, by Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn, U.S. — NY Premiere
Anselm, by Wim Wenders, Germany — NY Premiere
Beyond Utopia, by Madeleine Gavin, U.S. — NY Premiere
Defiant, by Karim Amer, Ukraine, U.K., U.S. — NY Premiere
Down By The Riverside, by Jodie Childers and Dan Messina, U.S. — World Premiere
Feeding Tomorrow, by Oliver English, U.S. — NY Premiere
Finding the Money, by Maren Poitras, U.S. — World Premiere
Fioretta, by Matthew Mishory, U.S., Czechia — World Premiere
Food & Country, by Laura Gabbert, U.S. — NY Premiere
Gumbo Coalition, by Barbara Kopple, U.S.
Hollywoodgate, by Ibrahim Nash’at, U.S., Germany — NY Premiere
Hung Up On A Dream: The Zombies Documentary, by Robert Schwartzman,
U.S. — NY Premiere
In the Shadow of Beirut, by Stephen Gerard Kelly and Garry Keane, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
Invisible Nation, by Vanessa Hope, U.S. — U.S. Premiere
Joan Baez I Am A Noise, by Miri Navasky, Maeve O’Boyle and Karen O’Connor, U.S.
Mùsica!, by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, U.S. — NY Premiere
The New Americans: Gaming A Revolution, by Ondi Timoner, U.S. — NY Premiere
No Accident, by Margot McMaster, Canada, France — World Premiere
Razing Liberty Square, by Katja Esson, U.S.
A Song Film by Kishi Bashi: Omoiyari, by Kishi Bashi and Justin Taylor Smith,
U.S. — NY Premiere
Stamped from the Beginning, by Roger Ross Williams, U.S. — NY Premiere
Texas Music Revolution, by Troy Paff, U.S. — NY Premiere
The Tuba Thieves, by Alison O’Daniel, U.S.
Unseen, by Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, U.S. — NY Premiere
When the Mountains Tremble, by Pamela Yates, Guatemala, 40th Anniversary Tribute
With Peter Bradley, by Alex Rappoport, U.S.

Highlights from the shorts program include:

American Santa, by Avi Weider, U.S. — NY Premiere
Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games, by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, U.S.
Dammi, by Yann Mounir Demange, France
Funnyface, by Jude Harris, U.S.
I Am What You Imagine, by Matthew Modine, U.S. — NY Premiere
If Dreams Were Lightning, by Ramin Bahrani, U.S.
Maria Schneider, 1983, by Elisabeth Subrin, France
Peccadillo, by Sofia Garza-Barba, Mexico
Who Tells the Story?, by Joan Churchill, U.S. — World Premiere

The festival will feature stimulating panels with distinguished filmmakers and industry mavericks including:

A conversation with prolific documentary producer Sheila Nevins moderated by two-time Oscar®-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple. The two pioneering women will discuss their impactful careers, the state of documentary filmmaking and their current and future projects.

Actors Who Direct with Brittany Snow, first-time director of Parachute; Steve Buscemi, director of The Listener; Matthew Modine, director of I Am What You Imagine, and moderated by Mary Stuart Masterson.

The Picket Line: A Road to Pay Equity and Sustainability, presented by New York Women in Film & Television, with Neil Gaiman, author, writer and showrunner; Dana Weissman, Director of Programs at the Writers Guild of America East, Jo Miller, writer, The Daily Show, Full Frontal, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction and moderated by film critic Thelma Adams.

Creating Climate Stories to Rewrite Our Future, with Meredith Milton, Creative Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Lydia Dean Pilcher, leader of the PGA-WGA Climate Storytelling Initiative and moderated by producer Peter Saraf.

John Sloss, founder and CEO of Cinetic Media, together with Eugene Hernandez, Director of the Sundance Film Festival and head of public programming, and Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse, will discuss the current and future state of independent film.

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