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Woodstock Film Festival Award Winners

Written by: FFT Webmaster | October 8th, 2009

Woodstock Film FestivalFilmmakers, industry mavens, film critics and local film buffs gathered last evening at the historic Backstage Productions Arts and Entertainment Complex in Kingston, NY for the awards ceremonies of the 10th edition of the Woodstock Film Festival. The film event closes today, celebrating 10 years of exceptional independent film, panels, concerts, events and parties, with the best of the best in the indie film world.

Emceed by actor/director Giancarlo Esposito, the WFF Awards ceremony guests, presenters and award recipients included Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Ted Hope, Jonathan Demme, John Sloss, Geoff Gilmore, Jonathan Gray, Nancy Abraham, Peter Saraf, Ira Sachs, Barbara Kopple. Among other lumuniaries attending the 2009 festival included Uma Thurman, Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Vera Farmiga, John Ventimiglia, Kevin Corrigan, and Brian Geraghty.

The Lee Marvin BEST FEATURE NARRATIVE AWARD was won by DON’T LET ME DROWN, directed by Cruz Angeles. DON’T LET ME DROWN tells the story of a blossoming friendship between two New York City high school students whose immigrant families must endure turmoil just after 9/11. The film was a major hit at the Sundance Film Festival and also won the Audience Prize at the San Francisco Film Festival.

Image from DON'T LET ME DROWN

The Maverick Award for BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY was given to JUNIOR, directed by Jenna Rosher. JUNIOR chronicles the life of Eddie Belasco, a 75-year-old San Francisco native with a classic Italian-American upbringing who is now facing his future as a retiree.

The Haskell Wexler Award for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Juan Carlos Rulfo, THOSE WHO REMAIN (LOS QUE SE QUESDAN), directed by Carlos Hagerman and Juan Carlos Rulfo. The award was presented by cinematographer Michael Simmonds.

The James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE NARRATIVE was presented to Andrew Hafitz for his work on DON’T LET ME DROWN, directed by Cruz Angeles, with an HONORABLE MENTION to Anna Boden for her work on CHILDREN OF INVENTION, directed by Tze Chun. The James Lyons Award for BEST EDITING of a FEATURE DOCUMENTARY was won by Kate Hirson and Jessica Reynolds for their work on GARBAGE DREAMS, directed by Mai Iskander.

Industry insiders and pioneers were also honored at the event. The HONORARY TRAILBLAZER AWARD was given to producer Ted Hope, who has been responsible for some of the most significant American indie films of the past few decades, including AMERICAN SPLENDOR, IN THE BEDROOM, THE ICE STORM, HAPPINESS, 21 GRAMS and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. The Award was presented by Geoff Gilmore, chief creative officer at Tribeca Enterprises.

The HONORARY MAVERICK AWARD was given to writer/director Richard Linklater by his longtime colleague, collaborator and friend, actor/director Ethan Hawke. Linklater has been a major force in American indie film since his astonishing debut SLACKER in 1991. Since then, he has worked prolifically, creating such instant classics as DAZED AND CONFUSED, BEFORE SUNRISE, WAKING LIFE, SCHOOL OF ROCK, BEFORE SUNSET, A SCANNER DARKLY and FAST FOOD NATION. His most recent film ME AND ORSON WELLES screened at the Festival this weekend.Others honored at the ceremonies included Honorary Mavericks Mira Nair (THE NAMESAKE), Barbara Kopple (WOODSTOCK: NOW AND THEN), actors Woody Harrelson and Steve Buscemi, and Trailblazer recipient John Sloss.

The Festival wraps up tonight with the Closing Night screening of the much-anticipated UP IN THE AIR, directed by Jason Reitman, and featuring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga. The film concludes five days of celebrating “fiercely independent” film, art, music, and free expression in the arts colony of Woodstock, NY and the neighboring towns of Rhinebeck, Kingston, and Rosendale. Nearly 150 screenings, panels, concerts, and special events will have been featured, including 11 world film premiers. Special guests included Lucy Liu, Vera Farmiga, Uma Thurman, Woody Harrelson, Richard Linklater, Ted Hope, Jonathan Demme, Ethan Hawke, Ben Foster, Kevin Corrigan, and Tom Dicillo. 

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