October 16, 2021


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Hot documentary shopping for deals at Woodstock Film Festival

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WOODSTOCK, NY – Indie film distributor Neon is expected to issue a statement with plans to consider its award for the animated documentary “Escape.”

Neon co-founder Tom Quinn said Diversity The story of Jonas Poher Rasmussen, a gay refugee who fled from his home in Afghanistan to Denmark safely as a child, will be considered for Oscar Best Picture in addition to the documentary, animation and foreign language section. Neon and participants “ran away” after premiering at Sundance in January, where it won a Grand Jury Award.

“I think now is the time for a non-fiction feature film to be part of the best film category,” Quinn said in an interview at the 22nd annual Woodstock Film Festival. The “turn” is timely and unfortunately more relevant than ever. It’s a film that resonates culturally, but it’s also pure cinema. It’s also a personal one that makes it political and I want to do what I can to convince others that it’s (a film) that denies categories.

“Escape” has been invited to every major awards season film festival, including Telluride, Toronto and New York. In addition to being the official selection for Cannes 2020, the film has appeared at local film festivals, including Woodstock and Camden Interley. Movies. The October “Race” will appear on The Hampton Interline. Movies.

Quinn, who received Woodstock’s Trailblazer Award at the festival’s closing night, proved that neon films can actually deny categories. In 2020, Neon’s “Parasite” from South Korean writer-director Bong Jun-ho became the first foreign film to win Best Picture, winning awards for direction, original screenplay and international features. Also that year Neon’s Macedonia documentary “Honeyland” made history when it was nominated for both an Oscar documentary and a foreign film.

The five-day festival (September 2-October) in Hudson Valley, New York, about 100 miles north of Manhattan, also paid tribute to Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams, who received the Maverick Award.

“A disguised person who goes against the grain who fights against the system and establishment and what I’m going to do is too much,” said Williams, who was on the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. 201 since 2016. Much of the work I’ve done with my production company is giving voice to representative filmmakers who didn’t have the opportunity and funding. There are incredibly talented BIPOC filmmakers out there. I’m a BIPOC filmmaker who didn’t have a chance after winning an Oscar, so now that I’m establishing, I can open the door for other filmmakers like me.

Prior to receiving his award, Williams was out and about promoting a film titled “Ranger” which had its world premiere in Woodstock. The film tells the story of 12 women from the Samburu and Masai communities in Kenya. Williams brought in Josh Brown of Submarine Entertainment to help sell the documents. Brown, who is responsible for selling “Honeyland” to Neon after the 2019 Sundance premiere, also shopped Haley Adelman and Shawn O’Grady’s documentary “Our American Family” during the festival.

Anne Rap and Jack Yangelson came to Woodstock to find their respective documents “Horton Foot: The Road to Home” and “Here”. Is. Good. “

Rapp has been working on “Horton Foote” for the past 15 years about the famous author and screenwriter of “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Tender Mercies”. A script supervisor and screenwriter, he met Footy on the set of the 1983 “Tender Mercy” rap.

“I didn’t make this film to start my career in documentary filmmaking,” Rapp said. “This film was made to honor Horton because there are a lot of people who don’t know who he was and I believe he is one of the most important writers of the twentieth century.”

Yangelson’s “Here. Is. Even better was the labor of love. About four elderly people who have gone through trauma psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder, Yangelson said building trust with the film’s core themes has proven to be the biggest challenge in filmmaking.

“During the development phase, we spoke to dozens of male and female seniors, many of whom were the weakest and rawest of them, who were just starting PTSD therapy or coming out on the other side,” Yangelson said. “We wanted to make sure they were comfortable with the goal of taking visitors into our team, our process and the therapeutic process.”

Another woodstock documentary that the distributor is looking for is “El Gran Fellow.” Directed by Matt Dillon, the film stars Cuban Scott singer and songwriter Francisco Fellow. “El Gran Fellow” premiered at San Sebastian International last year. Was part of the film festival and the line-up of Telluride last month. Dillon and “El Gran Fellows” producer Jonathan Gray came to Hudson Valley to screen the dock and take part in a panel discussion.

“It’s a wonderful thing when a sale happens and for many years when it happened but that’s not what we expect,” said Mira Bluestain, Woodstock’s executive director and co-founder. “We aspire for high quality; Thoughtful films and we are interested in supporting filmmakers.

Stephen Kessler – director of the 2011 document “Paul Williams Still Alive” – ​​was one of those filmmakers. The town of Helmer had an untitled short dock with comedians and comedians funded by the Creative Coalition. Kessler screened the short during Woodstock to see if it should be turned into a feature-length documentary.

In addition to “Turn”, Woodstock 2021 featured Oscars featuring Todd Haynes’s “The Velvet Underground”, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelli and Jimmy Chin’s “The Rescue” and Betty West and Julie Cohen’s “Julia”.

Since West and Cohen couldn’t go to the festival, the “Julia” producer – Sarah Bernstein and Justin Wilkes of Imagine Entertainment – came to town to present a documentary about the famous chef Julia Child.

“Woodstock is such a great festival because unlike some big festivals, the audience here just likes the movie,” Weeds said, adding that there was no industry screening. It’s just that the locals were coming to see a great movie, which I think we’re all longing for now, since we’ve all been sitting at home for the last two years.

(Photo: “Escape”)

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