Fall Fun in the Catskills
Fall foliage, festivals and cool activities make the Catskills the perfect place to enjoy autumn. Blazing colors ignite the hillsides. Cozy camp fires keep you warm in cool, crisp temperatures. Apple and pumpkin picking from local farms while sipping homemade brews. Film, music and culture abound during festivals or intimate gatherings. This time of a year is a favorite for many, but when it's spent in the Catskill mountains it becomes magical.
24th Annual Woodstock Film Festival
One such festival is the now famous Woodstock Film Festival which attracts filmmakers, actors and aficionados from around the world. The whole region lights up with excitement with movie showings, discussion panels, and events.
Founded in 2000, the Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit organization that nurtures and supports emerging and established filmmakers, sharing their creative voices through an annual festival and year-round programming to promote culture, diversity, community, educational opportunities and economic growth.
The Woodstock Film Festival is an Oscar®-qualifying festival in the short film categories - Live Action Short Film, Animated Short Film, and Documentary Short Film.
Celebrating Music Through Film
This year's lineup of films is a good one, and includes a few music focused films. The festival kicks off on 9/26 with Texas Music Revolution - an annual festival designed to showcase and introduce new musicians to local listeners. Filmed during the Covid-19 pandemic, Texas Music Revolution trails Jones as he works to mount the festival’s 25th anniversary. Packed with country and rock ’n roll performances by Ray Wylie Hubbard, Charley Crockett, Joshua Ray Walker, Kiefer Sutherland, The Derailers, and more, this documentary is a celebration of Texan musicianship and provides a colorful glimpse at the efforts that go into putting together a music festival. —Ben Rendich. With a special acoustic music performance to follow by actor/musician Kiefer Sutherland.
Hung Up on a Dream: The Zombies Documentary - Filmmaker Robert Schwartz sets the vinyl record straight with Hung Up on a Dream: The Zombies Documentary. The film recounts the Zombies’ ups and downs, split-ups, reunions and, humorously, the fake bands that cynical record companies created during some of the band’s hiatuses. The Zombies reflect on paving 60 years and counting of their musical path from teenage friends to legends in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Neither a conventional biopic nor a traditional concert film, JOAN BAEZ I AM A NOISE is a raw and intimate portrait of the legendary folk singer and activist that shifts back and forth through time as it follows Joan on her final tour and delves into her extraordinary archive, including newly discovered home movies, diaries, artwork, therapy tapes, and audio recordings.
Spotlight on Women in Film & Media
This year's lineup of films also has a strong focus on female directors, writers and actors. This festival marks the premier of Catskill local Uma Thurman's newest film The Kill Room. Made by Director, writer, and comedian Nicol Paone and starring Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Joe Manganello, and Maya Hawke, the film comedy, drama and action to explore the seedy underbelly of the art world. A hitman, his boss, an art dealer and a money-laundering scheme that accidentally turns the assassin into an overnight avant-garde sensation, one that forces her to play the art world against the underworld.
Alien Intervention by Janet Grillo - An alien visitor entrusts a powerful device to a young girl before he disappears with government officials. When he comes back 25 years later to reclaim it so he can return to his home planet, he finds her grownup and struggling to keep her business and marriage alive. But with the alien’s return, her purpose is redefined and she is finally able to find inner peace.
I Used to Be Funny by Ally Pankiw - follows stand-up comedian and former au pair as she navigates PTSD in the wake of the search for missing teen Brooke, the girl she used to nanny. Cutting back and forth between a chilling past and heartbreaking present, I Used To Be Funny is a slow-burn dramady, building tension and anxiety that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Powerful Dramas & Documentaries
Finestkind starring Tommy Lee Jones is a family drama set against the backdrop of commercial fishing. Desperate circumstances lead to dangerous circumstances that threaten relationships.
Eileen starring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie is based on the book of the same name by literary powerhouse Ottessa Moshfegh. Eileen depicts a woman's friendship with a new co-worker at the prison facility where she works that takes a sinister turn.
Another Body is a documentary which follows a college student's search for justice after she discovers deepfake pornography of herself circulating online. In the age of A.I. and ChatGPT, this film feels all too relevant as it illustrates yet another malevolent use of digital technology.
The festival also includes interesting shorts and animations. There is too much to list here. To see a full listing of the lineup and to purchase tickets click here.
In-between film hopping you can enjoy great hikes, food and shopping by supporting small businesses like idPearl. By supporting the festival you also support local community. For more things to do for your visit click here.
- by Mary Vukovic'