By Marybeth Cale, Living Rhinebeck Magazine and Cale Communications
Photos courtesy of M. Salamone of Carrick Photography, http://www.carrick-photo.net/
Carrick/ M. Salamone photo blog – https://gr8full.wordpress.com/
Kingston, NY (The Hollywood Times) 10/16/17 – The 18th annual Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Awards Ceremony took place last night at Backstage Studio Productions in Kingston, NY, where more than 500 filmmakers, film industry members, community leaders, and audience members gathered to recognize the tremendous talent represented through the festival’s lineup of films. Presenters and attendees alike noted the importance and need the world has for independent films which tell stories that may not otherwise be told, but can make a true impact on the world.
Tightrope walker Philippe Petit opened the evening, and introduced community visionary, festival Co-Founder and Executive Director Meira Blaustein.
The ceremony continued with music by the Paul Green Rock Academy, recognition of the countless sponsors and volunteers who make the festival possible, and then of course festivities began to honor the tremendous work of producer, talent manager, and film agent Shep Gordon, who was presented with the Trailblazer Award, and actor Bill Pullman, who received the Excellence in Acting Award, among many other honorees (noted below).
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
The GIGANTIC PICTURES’ FEATURE NARRATIVE AWARD went to Bob Byington for INFINITY BABY.
In this absurdist comedy set in the near-future, Ben, a perpetual dater who is incapable to commit to any relationship, portrayed in a wonderfully wacky performance by Kieran Culkin, works for a company tasked with finding a forever home for genetically modified babies who don’t age, cry, eat or soil diapers. So-called Infinity Babies are a stylistic choice for parents who don’t want the responsibilities of raising a child. But somewhere along the way, one of these care-free babies almost dies of neglect and one of our characters discovers a need and knack for parenting. Featuring such supporting comedic veterans as Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally (both from Parks and Recreation) and Martin Starr (Freaks and Geeks, Silicon Valley), whose hilarious performances are essential to the whole, and assuredly directed by Bob Byington with beautiful black and white imagery, Infinity Baby is about trying to find our place in a world that is becoming increasingly artificial and the human relationships and connections that we hone along the way. — Evan Thomas
Honorable Mention went to Bruce Thierry Cheung for DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON.
A Special Award for Excellence in Acting by an Ensemble went to SUBMISSION. Jury members included Katherine Dieckmann, Tim Guinee and Lori Singer.
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
The Best Documentary Feature, sponsored by Films We Like, was presented to director Angelos Rallis for SHINGAL, WHERE ARE YOU?
In 2014, the Yezidis, a persecuted minority in Iraq, were driven from their ancestral land by ISIS during a campaign of genocide in which more than 3,000 women and children were kidnapped. Caught in raw, sweeping cinematography, SHINGAL, WHERE ARE YOU? weaves together the dramatic stories of the remaining young boys and their families, relegated to an abandoned coal mine on the Turkish border and longing for their lost home.
Honorable Mention to director Lillian Lasalle for MY NAME IS PEDRO. Jury members included Lee Hirsch, Wendy Ettinger, and Roger Ross Williams.
Best Narrative Short Sponsored by Gigantic Pictures, went to director Laura Beckner for (LE) REBOUND.
Honorable Mention went to THE FOSTER PORTFOLIO. Jury members included Janet Grillo and Jonathan Burkhart.
Best Student Short Sponsored by Gigantic Pictures, went to director Kevin Wilson, Jr. for MY NEPHEW EMMETT.
Honorable Mention went to TV IN THE FISHTAIL. Jury members included M. Blair Breard, Logan Hill, and Isil Bagdadi.
The Woodstock Film Festival Ultra Indie Award, sponsored by Gray, Krauss, Stratford, Sandler, Des Rochers, LLP and Blackmagic Design, was presented to Harris Doran for BEAUTY MARK. Jury members included Philippe Petit, Alex Smith, and Richard Abramowitz.
Best Animated Short was Presented to Patrick Smith for PITTARI. Jury members included Joy Buran, Noelle Melody, and Peter Ahern.
Best Short Documentary, sponsored by Markertek.com, went to Kyle Morrison for MOTT HAVEN. Honorable mention to Jon Bunning for THE TABLES. Jury members included Jon Greenhalgh, Emily Rothschild, and Cynthia Kane.
The Haskell Wexler Award for Best Cinematography, sponsored by Panavision, went to David Kruta for THE SOUNDING. Ellen Kuras served as the juror.
The James Lyons Editing Award For Narrative Feature, sponsored by Technicolor Postworks NY, was presented to editor Joe Murphyfor DON’T COME BACK FROM THE MOON. Jury members included Katharine McQuerrey, Oriana Soddu, and Sabine Hoffman.
The James Lyons Editing Award For Documentary Feature, sponsored by Technicolor Postworks NY, was presented to editor Toby Shimin for 32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE. Jury members included Fiona Otway, Melody London, and Sabine Hoffman.
The World Cinema Award, presented to Sandra Vannucchi for GIRL IN FLIGHT. The jury would also like to give a special mention to the young actress Lisa Ruth Andreozzi for her breakthrough performance. Jury members included Claude Dal Farra, Maria Govin and Emily Russo.
The Carpe Diem Andretta Award, sponsored by The Vincent J. Andretta Memorial Fund and presented to the film that best represents living life to the fullest, was awarded to director Lisa France and subject Gabriel Cordell for ROLL WITH ME.
The Trailblazer Award was presented by Michael Lang to Shep Gordon
Shep Gordon received the 2017 Trailblazer Award for his work in the independent film, music and culinary entertainment industries. Gordon founded one of the first independent film companies and film distributors Alive Pictures/Island Alive, and has represented musicians and celebrity chefs like Alice Cooper, Luther Vandross, Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, among many others.
EXCELLENCE IN ACTING AWARD RECIPIENT
Excellence in Acting Award Recipient was presented by Jared Moshe to Bill Pullman
Bill Pullman received the 2017 Excellence in Acting Award. In addition to receiving the award, the Woodstock Film Festival screened THE BALLAD OF LEFTY BROWN (courtesy of A24) in which Bill Pullman gives a tour de force performance as the title character. Bill Pullman’s versatile acting spans from dramatic roles to comedic roles, including A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN, INDEPENDENCE DAY, RUTHLESS PEOPLE, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, and SPACEBALLS. Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with Pullman at the annual Actor’s Dialogue on Sunday, October 15.
Congratulations to all of this year’s honorees!