2010 festival poster, created by Portia Munson, using flowers from her Catskills garden
Five years ago this weekend, we discovered the Hudson Valley for the first time, when we came to the Midnight Ramble at Levon Helm's.
We fell in love with everything about the area on that trip: the people, the food, the leaves, the Catskills, the music and art scene, the small towns, and especially the way we felt when we were here. We felt like we were home.
Now, we are home.
We've made the Hudson Valley our home, and we fall more in love with it every day.
We had no idea the Woodstock Film Festival was going on that first weekend, it was a happy accident we discovered as we wandered around Woodstock.
The small town of Woodstock makes this event a very personal, informal and intimate gathering. It's the epitome of independent as it sets itself apart from other festivals like Sundance, Telluride, etc -- this is a place where passionately creative people are relaxed and having fun while working their tails off all day long.
This event became our focus for a return trip every fall since then. So tonight, as we head to the first film of our fifth Woodstock Film Festival: LennonNYC, a film by Michael Epstein, it'll be a staycation for us.
We'd ducked into Oriole9 in Woodstock for a cup of coffee that Saturday five years ago, and found ourselves surrounded by filmmakers, composers, locals, writers, actors, and all sorts of friendly people, all buzzing about the festival.
We were taken with the cozy, funky vibe of OR9 and the warmth that surrounded us.
We walked down the street and met Barry Feinstein, the brilliant photographer, at his show at Lotus Gallery. Wavy Gravy was there too. We just kept laughing at how great it was.
photo courtesy Lotus Gallery, Matt Dillon and Barry Feinstein, Lotus Gallery, 2006
Since then, through the film festival, we've met so many people and seen some wonderful films.
Here's a quick highlight reel from our years here.
- Discovering the Bearsville Theatre and the Bear Cafe
- Seeing the Felice Brothers at the Colony Cafe
- Attending Martha Frankel's actors' dialog every year, meeting such diverse people there as Steve Guttenberg, Melissa Leo, Lucy Liu, Patricia Clarkson -- brought together in a way only Martha can bring people together
- Meeting Elliot Landy, the famous Woodstock rock photographer, at his opening at Lotus Gallery
- Meeting Jonathan Demme and seeing his great Neil Young movie, Neil Young Trunk Show
- Hanging out in the towns of Rosendale, Saugerties, Phoenicia and more
But soon it's time to head across the river on this most glorious fall day.
I'm going to try to bring you some interesting tidbits from each day's festival events.
When welcoming attendees to films last year, Meira Blaustein, Co-Founder/Executive Director of the festival, offered that the allure of Woodstock could be explained in the words of a Catskills folk legend:
If you spend more than two days in the shadow of Overlook Mountain, your heart stays there forever.
And so, just like that, here we are.