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January 1st, 2014

Record Number of Hudson Valley films head to SUNDANCE



2013 was a record setting year for feature film production in the Hudson Valley but it looks like the Hudson Valley will also break records by having FIVE films that were produced in the region, world premiering at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The films include:

•THE BETTER ANGELS

THE BETTER ANGELS (formerly known as The Green Blade Rises) will screen in the NEW FRONTIER section. Produced in the HUDSON VALLEY in October 2012, the film was directed by A. J. Edwards and stars Jason Clarke, Diane Kruger, Brit Marling, Wes Bentley and many local extras!

Indiana, 1817. The entire nation, only 40 years old and a few years removed from a second war of independence, is still raw. Men and women must battle against nature and disease to survive in log cabins. This is young Abraham Lincoln’s world. Spanning three years of the future president’s childhood, The Better Angels explores his family, the hardships that shaped him, the tragedy that marked him forever, and the two women who guided him to immortality.

Written and directed by A.J. Edwards, The Better Angels delves into visual and narrative poetry to express the Lincolns’ world. The stark wilderness they inhabit comes alive in stunning black-and-white cinematography, and the story follows the lyrical course of the characters, who struggle physically and emotionally. They are forced to take on new additions to the family, learning what acceptance and empathy really mean. With an elegant touch, Edwards shows the austerity of the era and shows us what shaped one of history’s most distinctive leaders.

One of the producers is Terrence Malick, best known as the director of BADLANDS, DAYS OF HEAVEN and TREE OF LIFE.
Featured locations include the Mohonk Preserve

• HITS

HITS by director, screenwriter, comedian David Cross features Julia Stiles, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter, David Koechner Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, Amy Carlson, James Adomian, Jake Cherry Derek Waters, Wyatt Cenac and HUNDREDS of Hudson Valley extras!

HITS is a comedy about a paranoid municipal worker named Dave, his The Voice–obsessed 19-year-old daughter, a wannabe teenage rapper who has an unrequited crush on the daughter, and their neighbors in a small, working-class town in upstate New York. Dave finds fame when videos of his rants at City Hall go viral and hordes of appallingly well-meaning hipsters from Brooklyn descend on their town to make sure Dave’s rights aren’t trampled by ‘the man.’

A writer, comedian, and actor perhaps best known for his work on Mr. Show and Arrested Development, David Cross makes his directorial debut with a sharp-witted satire that pokes fun at the absurd nature of fame in the Internet age. Featuring an impressive collection of some of the funniest comedians around, HITS unabashedly skewers contemporary culture into a delicious shish kebab of laughs. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance)

Featured locations for HITS included the Sullivan County Office Building in Monticello, (where the hysterical - often improvised rants, were films).

• COLD IN JULY

Jim Mickle’s Texas based COLD IN JULY, starring Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici and Wyatt Russell was produced in Kingston, Woodstock, Esopus and other Hudson Valley towns during summer 2013. In addition to featuring many regional locations (including the Kingston City Hall and Esopus Farms) COLD IN JULY will feature hundreds of local extras.

How can a split-second decision change your life? While investigating noises in his house one balmy Texas night in 1989, Richard Dane puts a bullet in the brain of low-life burglar Freddy Russell. Although he’s hailed as a small-town hero, Dane soon finds himself fearing for his family’s safety when Freddy’s ex-con father, Ben, rolls into town, hell-bent on revenge.

Michael C. Hall brings a shell-shocked vulnerability to his portrayal of Dane that contrasts perfectly with the grizzled badasses portrayed by Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. Directed with an excellent eye for the visual poetry of noir, this pulpy, southern-fried mystery is a throwback to an older breed of action film, one where every punch and shotgun blast opens up both physical and spiritual wounds. Twists and turns accelerate as the film reaches its inevitable destination: a gore-soaked dead end. Cold in July is as muggy, oppressive, and hard to shake as an east Texas summer. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance)
From it’s home base at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Kingston, the COLD IN JULY crew enjoyed Sunday’s off with a very non competitive pick up softball game by the Kingston Plaza. Wyatt Russell’s shoe attire? Flip flops.

• JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD

Carter Smith’s JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD, starring Woodstock native Liv Tyler, was produced in February/March 2013 in the Hamlet of Parksville, Liberty, Middletown, Mongaup Valley, Bloomingburg, Monticello, Woodburne, Goshen, New Hamburg and Fort Montgomery, NY. During production, the film commission received emails asking us to verify that a film was indeed in production because some residents were concerned the lights might be the result of UFOs (no kidding).

In a wintry small town, the body of a teenager named Jamie Marks is found by the river. Adam, the star of his cross-country team, becomes fascinated with Jamie—a boy nobody really knew or interacted with, except occasionally to bully him. When Jamie’s ghost begins to appear both to Adam and Gracie, the classmate who discovered the body, Adam is caught between two worlds. He has a budding romance with Gracie, but he also feels a deep connection to Jamie, who brings him closer to the world of the undead.

Based on the novel One for Sorrow by Christopher Barzak, Jamie Marks Is Dead is a love story, infused with elements of horror and the supernatural. Sundance Film Festival alumnus Carter Smith (his short film, Bugcrush, won the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking in 2006) creates an atmosphere that is both gentle and creepy amid the stark, snowy wasteland of dilapidated barns and rusted iron bridges. A poetic, metaphoric tale of sexuality and difference, Jamie Marks Is Dead is about the choices one boy must make to help another free himself and accept his fate. (synopsis courtesy of K.Y.  at Sundance)

• I ORIGINS

Mike Cahill’s I ORIGINS, which features Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi, was filmed in Dutchess County in February 2013.

Ian Gray, a PhD student studying molecular biology with a specialty in eye evolution, leaves his lab to go to a party and has an intense but fleeting encounter with a mysterious, masked model who escapes into the night. With only a picture of her stunning and iconic eyes, he tracks her down and they fall in love. Their fundamentally different beliefs about life only serve to intensify their connection, and they vow to spend forever together. Years later, Ian and his lab partner, Karen, make a stunning discovery with profound existential implications. He must risk his life’s work and his family to travel across the world to find the truth behind what he has found and what it may mean.

Writer/Director Mike Cahill returns to Sundance (Another Earth screened at the Festival in 2011) with a new, enthralling exploration of the connective tissue between love and science. He casts Brit Marling again, as well as Michael Pitt and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, and utilizes their onscreen chemistry to vigorous effect. As emotionally moving as it is intellectually stimulating, I Origins solidifies Cahill’s position as a distinctive cinematic voice. (synopsis courtesy of Sundance)


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