The 2008 Woodstock Film Festival

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I’ve been so busy and distracted lately that I neglected to mention my contribution to The 9th Annual Woodtsock Film Festival that is currently taking place in Woodstock, New York October 1-5.

Most people are familiar with Woodstock thanks to the infamous music festival that was held there in 1969. The 3 day concert featured live performances by artists such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Santana, Crosby Stills & Nash and Sly and the Family Stone. This historic event was made into an award winning film by Michael Wadleigh in 1970.

Currently Woodstock is home to the annual Woodstock Film Festival that brings together “film and music lovers from around the world.” So they can enjoy a “variety of films, first-class concerts, workshops, celebrity-led panels, an awards ceremony, and fantastic parties.” This year renowned cinematographer Haskell Wexler (The Thomas Crown Affair, The Loved One, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, In the Heat of the Night, Medium Cool, Faces, Coming Home, Bound for Glory, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, etc.) and director Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma, etc.) will be receiving awards and musical artists Donovan and Bela Fleck will be performing live.

Recently The Woodstock Film Festival renamed their Maverick Award for Best Narrative Feature to the Lee Marvin Award for Best Feature Narrative. According to the festival’s executive director Meira Blaustein, the name change was brought about by Lee Marvin’s iconic status in the Woodstock community. From the film festival’s website:

“Lee Marvin, a decorated U.S. combat marine in World War II, moved to Woodstock at war’s end in 1945. By 1947 he had discovered what he wanted to do; become an actor. Mr. Marvin’s first professional appearance was at the summer stock theater on the outskirts of Woodstock, at the Maverick Playhouse. His celebrated Hollywood career began in 1951, with films such as Eight Iron Men, The Big Heat and The Wild One. In 1965 Mr. Marvin received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his dual role as a drunken gunfighter and his evil, nose less brother in the western comedy Cat Ballou, which placed him in the upper tiers of Hollywood leading men. Many more leading roles followed in films such as Point Blank, The Dirty Dozen, and Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One. Throughout, Mr. Marvin’s ties to Woodstock remained constant for the rest of his life. ”

This year the festival will be showing a special screening of John Boorman’s 1967 film Point Blank in honor of the newly named Lee Marvin Best Feature Narrative Award and the actor’s wife Pamela Marvin will be announcing the prize in person during the October 4th Awards Ceremony. Pamela Marvin has said that “I know Lee would be happy and very honored to have this award for Best Feature Narrative in the Woodstock Film Festival be given in his name”

I’m personally honored that The Woodtsock Film Festival contacted me about using a piece that I wrote last year about Point Blank called Lee Marvin: A Sensitive 17-Year-Old Boy as part of the festival program. The festival coordinators were very kind and I was truly humbled by their compliments about my article on the film and its star. It meant a lot to me because this year the festival was organizing the event with the approval of Marvin’s family.

Unfortunately I couldn’t attend the festival myself, but if you’re on the East Coast, please consider attending The Woodstock Film Festival this weekend. For the first time in the festival’s 9 year history, the Awards Ceremony will be open to the public.

Links:
The Woodstock Film Festival
Information about the Lee Marvin Best Feature Narrative Award
Lee Marvin Articles at Cinebeats

18 thoughts on “The 2008 Woodstock Film Festival

  1. Adam Ross says:

    Congratulations Kimberly, what a fantastic honor for your piece to be selected! “Point Blank” is one of my favorite movies and your essay is one of my favorite articles on the film. I keep returning to the movie because of its mysterious elements that you touched on (I examined them myself this year), frankly I can’t wait to watch it again.

  2. Bob Turnbull says:

    That’s terrific Kimberly! Congrats…

    Too bad you can’t attend. Not only for the obvious reasons, but also because Bela Fleck is just awesome live.

    I hope this leads to bigger and better things – like programming your own festivals…Imagine an entire Giallo Film Festival. Damn, that would be great!

  3. Neil says:

    Congratulations indeed, and, I agree, it’s a great piece (about a great movie). I think I said that in the day, if I didn’t it’s because there’s something wrong with me!

  4. Marilyn says:

    Congratulations, Kimberly. Now a lot more people will know what an awesome writer/film enthusiast you are.

    I just watched Gorky Park the other night and think it contains one of Lee Marvin’s overlooked performances. He is really perverse in it.

  5. cinebeats says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words. It was a real honor to be part of the festival in some way and it’s great to see Lee Marvin’s work as actor being celebrated like this.

    Adam – Point Blank is the kind of film that I enjoy revisiting again and again too. I often find new things to admire about it as well.

    Brian – Great to see you! And yep, teleportation would be a great superpower to have.

    Bob – I’m not familiar with Bela Fleck’s music but your enthusiasm leads me to believe I should be. A giallo film festival would be amazing! I would love to program something like that and write the program notes for it.

    Neil – I totally agree that Point Blank is an amazing film and I really enjoyed writing about it since I wanted to touch on aspects of the movie that I hadn’t seen covered by a lot of critics.

    Peter – That would be pretty neat! I had the pleasure of meeting Nick Cave and interviewing him during a book-signing tour he did for And the Ass Saw the Angel and I bumped into Tom Waits at a comic book convention once (the music of both men, as well as Iggy Pop, gets a lot of play in my home) but I’d love to have the opportunity to chat with Jim Jarmusch since he’s one of my favorite American filmmakers. I briefly mentioned the Sons of Lee Marvin in this post. It would be fun to start a “Daughters of Lee Marvin” group but I’m not sure that I look anything like Lee Marvin and I don’t think I’d get many members.

    Marilyn – You’re making me blush. I haven’t seen Gorky Park in about 15 years but I really liked that film and thought it was rather creepy. There were a lot of great actors in the film but I remember Marvin’s standout performance the most.

    Thanks again everyone!

  6. steve langton says:

    Many congrats on this well-deserved recognition. Wish I could be there, but I can’t even get to fests over here at the moment.
    Good to see Gorky Park mentioned. Marvin is also terrific in this.

  7. Vanwall says:

    That’s some serious compliment to your hard work here – not only was the piece a wonderful tribute to a great film and a fantastic actor, it deserved this kind recognition. My Dad and a buddy of his had dinner with Lee Marvin and Jack Palance once, and what a pair to draw to. Congrats!

  8. Jonathan Lapper says:

    Late to the game but congratulations from me too! You’re getting recognized more than any other blogger I know. It shouldn’t be long before you’re paid to write, which I hope is soon. Congrats again!

  9. cinebeats says:

    Steve – Thanks a lot! And I completely know what you mean. There are ton of great films playing locally this month but I just can’t afford to get out much lately and I’ve been so busy with work and school that I rarely have any free time.

    Vanwall – Thanks for the very kind words. How cool it must have been for your father to have dinner with Marvin & Palance?! That’s almost too much macho at the same table.

    Jonathan – Thanks! I’m not so sure about the recognition but it would be nice to be able to do some freelance writing again. After freelancing on and off for 25 years for various magazines and zines, it seems like there’s just not a lot of opportunities for writers anymore. I also have rather eclectic tastes so the audience I write for is extremely small in the scheme of things. If I was smarter I’d try and take super sexy pics of myself and post them all over my blog. And in between my cam-whore escapades I’d spend my time writing rapturous praise full of sarcasm about hot new movies like The Dark Knight. I bet Ain’t It Kewl News would hire me then! 😉

    Ann – Thanks a lot for the nice words about my blog, but I don’t have a film showing at the festival. If you read my post again you’ll see that I only contributed the program notes for John Boorman’s 1967 film Point Blank.

  10. Jonathan Lapper says:

    If I was smarter I’d try and take super sexy pics of myself and post them all over my blog.

    Hey, I should try that! Look for pictures of Jonathan Lapper in a red satin thong soon!

  11. Keith says:

    Hey Kimberly. That’s great. Congrats! I’m happy for you.

    The festival sounds fantastic. I’m a big fan of Lee Marvin. I really love Point Blank.

    I hope you’re doing well.

    I started a new blog called That Black Magic. It will focus on black entertainers in the world of cinema, music, and television, both in the past and present. It’s at:
    http://thatblackmagic.blogspot.com

    Thanks. Take care. Have a great week.

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