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October 31st, 2012

Movies and music at Woodstock Film Festival

By Reneé Ruwe & Ed McCarthy
WOODSTOCK - The town of Woodstock was bustling with excitement as the Woodstock Film Festival made a return appearance for the 13th year in a row. A temporary pyramid installation was the centerpiece in the middle of town, projecting kaleidoscopic images to music and drawing people in to watch the show as well as some dancing around the pyramid.

 Attendees have a variety of events and films to choose from at this year’s film festival. Viewers have come from all walks of life, from the appreciator of films to the students who have an opportunity to study and be involved with panels about filmmaking, as well as numerous filmmakers and artists from around the world. As always the event brings people from all over into the Hudson Valley and provides a great economic boom to the county.

One of the main highlights of the festival was the Woodstock premiere of “Soul of America”, a documentary on the life of Charles Bradley. The film chronicles the life and struggles of Bradley, who began a career as a James Brown impersonator and went on to recently debut his first CD solo project at the age of 62. Bradley was discovered by Gabriel Roth of Daptone records. His debut album, “No Time for Dreaming,” was listed in Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 50 albums of 2011. Anyone who was ever a fan of James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding or any Watt/Stax/Volt artists, should consider Charles Bradley a must see act for sure.

Immediately following the documentary, Charles Bradley himself took the stage, where he performed songs from his album, as well as soul classics from James Brown and Clarence Carters, “Slip Away.” Bradley also performed his version of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.”

 Another live music highlight was local Woodstock artist Simi Stone, who performed with million-selling recording artist Natalie Merchant at the Woodstock Playhouse. Congressman Maurice Hinchey joined the two on stage after the anti-fracking documentary, “Dear Governor Cuomo.”   Stone also performed her solo show later that evening at the Colony Cafe.

The Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Show was held on Saturday at Kingston’s Back Stage Productions. Noted Hollywood director Jonathan Demme, best know for “The Silence of the Lambs”, received this year’s Maverick Award. The show was MC’d by executive director and founder of the Woodstock Film Festival, Meira Blaustein.

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