Woodstock Museum Film & Video Festival this weekend

Still from The Mirror

Still from The Mirror

Nathan Koenig and Shelli Lipton’s Woodstock Museum is as unique as its namesake town and generation, just as their annual free film festival – formerly based in the old Woodstock Town Hall, but now at their museum property in the shadow of the Catskills out West Saugerties way – has been presenting an ever-widening array of film and video talents for 14 years.

Remember hearing about (or possibly living through) that time when film and music and literature were all judged on their effectiveness at community enhancement and political awareness? When we were all certain that a better life could be had if only we could work harder and more purely at what we could imagine as a better world? That’s the spirit behind the Woodstock Museum and its free film festival, running this Friday, August 29, through Monday, September 2. More specifically, as the loquacious and openhearted couple notes, it’s also part and parcel with their festival theme of “Life!” this time around.

Among the works to be shown will be video documentation of the recent Two Row Wampum Renewal’s gathering at the United Nations, following its pass through the Hudson Valley; quite a few works from the Australian community of Nimbin, founded in the spirit of the Woodstock Festival in the early 1970s (and now a sister community to Woodstock); and a host of innovative animations, documentary shorts and longer works, all drawn by Koenig and Lipton’s effervescence and perspicacity.

Highlights include a Saturday-evening screening of Nicole Quinn’s locally produced Racing Daylight; a series of works from visiting filmmakers Crisanta de Guzman and Nina Rosenblum; a biopic about the leader of the iconic ‘60s San Francisco rock band It’s a Beautiful Day; several symposia with Rosenblum and Emmy Award-winning producer Dennis Watlington (including a screening of their new work about The Black West); and a 20-minute documentary about the Yangshuo Liu Sanjie Lightshow on the Li River in China, which annually sees 600 performers come together on the largest natural stage in the world under the directorship of Zhang Yimou, who also created and directed the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics.

All throughout, there will be swimming in the Woodstock Museum’s eco-friendly pool, healthy snacks and refreshments from Lipton’s Woodstock Museum Café and loads of talk centered around the Museum’s collections, mission and memories. Talk about living up to the festival’s long-held motto, “Inspiration through Film.”

14th annual Woodstock Museum Film & Video Festival, Friday, August 30, 8 p.m.-Monday, September 2, free, Woodstock Museum, 13 Charles Bach Road, West Saugerties; (845) 246-9995, (845) 246-0600, www.woodstockmuseum.org.

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