Woodstock Film Fest Wows


By Marybeth Cale, writer/publicist/certified life coach, Living Rhinebeck magazine and calecommunications.com

Photos by M. Salamone of Carrick Photography, http://www.carrick-photo.net/

Carrick/ M. Salamone photo blog – https://gr8full.wordpress.com/


Rhinebeck, NY (The Hollywood Times) 10/12/17 – The 18th annual “Fiercely Independent” Woodstock Film Fest is underway in New York State’s exquisite, vibrant Hudson River Valley Region with an incredible lineup of screenings, parties, music, and panels in Rhinebeck, Kingston, Saugerties, Woodstock, and Rosendale.

Locals would say that it is kind of in the region’s DNA to host the celebration of all things creative year after year, and there is definitely consensus among the actors, filmmakers, movie lovers, and directors with whom we have spoken since people starting arriving this past Wednesday. The area is home to a rich history of culture, film, music, and art, and today attracts celebrities, writers, and producers who are working collaboratively to strengthen the film industry in WFF’s native Ulster County and surrounding areas. (Read more about Mary Stuart Masterson’s efforts here.)

Looking forward to enjoying a number of films over the next few days, but here’s the first review:

My Name is Pedro (World Premiere, Upstate Films, Rhinebeck, New York 10/12/2017)

From the moment Pedro Santana walks across the screen in the first scene of this uplifting, eye-opening documentary, you feel as if he is walking right into your heart. His effervescent personality, candor, honesty, unwavering love for life, and contagious optimism is captured beautifully, skilfully, and deliberately throughout the film as first-time director and longtime talent manager Lillian LaSalle and her brilliant team follow Pedro, a former special education student, through his unexpected rise to a powerful position as school administrator, his near-demise in the face of brutal, devastating bureaucracy, and his ongoing quest (and innate ability) to connect deeply with students, and all humans, in a way that transforms the way they see themselves and the world. With a captivating, authentic, larger-than-life presence, Pedro illuminates the fact that successful educators must first speak to the hearts of their students if they are truly going to shape their minds. He describes early learning experiences with Ms. Torres, a teacher who believed deeply in him and who loved him like a son; Torres surprised the filmmaker, crew, and audience during the Q&A when she vocalized the joy she felt as a result of the relationship she developed with Pedro – a reminder that ultimately, the teacher-student relationship is most successful when it is a symbiotic one.

Pedro embodies everything beautiful about humanity, and throughout the film’s twists and turns (some of which were totally unexpected), the team captured his essence, clearly embracing the opportunity to give his story the justice it deserves. As LaSalle shared in the Q&A following the premiere, “(When I was with Pedro), I felt like a better version of myself but couldn’t explain why.” Everyone in the theater felt the same way as we watched his journey take shape; it was the main topic of discussion at the after-party.

This film sheds light on our social responsibility to build an education system designed to inspire our children, teachers, and communities to be the best version of themselves as well; Pedro’s captivating, moving story deserves to be shared far and wide with school districts across the country and beyond. Gratitude to LaSalle and her exceptional team for giving our country the gift of Pedro’s wonderfully told story; indeed, it is a powerful and empowering documentary that could be a “change agent” as its subject was.



The team who created MY NAME IS PEDRO

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.

L-R: Michael Lang, Meira Blaustein, Shep Gordon

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).



Shep Gordon

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

Bill Pullman

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.


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 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!

September 2017 in New York photos from the water on the Mighty Hudson River, including Chelsea Piers,ONE WORLD OBSERVATORY

Hudson River Park offers a tremendous variety of exciting and unique activities throughout its 500-acre footprint.  You’ll find things to do here that you can’t do anyplace else in Manhattan.  From mini golf to carousel rides, and from historic walking tours to boat building, Hudson River Park has something for everyone


Hell’s Kitchen

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The fun doesn’t end on land in Hudson River Park. More than 400 of the Park’s 550 acres are located in the Hudson River. Park planners have already built three dedicated non-motorized boathouses, and a fourth is under construction in Tribeca. Paddle-boarding, kayaking, sailing, boat building, and just relaxing and being a passenger are all possible here. On the operations side, our licensed 100-ton boat captain helps oversee safe boating operations throughout the Park.


READ ON: https://www.hudsonriverpark.org/explore-the-park/locations/pier-86

Remember to exercise caution whenever having fun on the water. Visit Boating Safety to review safety guidelines before heading out!


The one and only Chelsea Piers! https://www.chelseapiers.com/


FREEDOM TOWER: Positioned on top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, on levels 100, 101, and 102 of the 1,776 foot tall One World Trade Center building, One World Observatory™ provides unique, panoramic views of New York City, its most iconic sites, and surrounding waters.


READ ON :https://oneworldobservatory.com/en


Liberty at its best!


The Statue of Liberty is a figure of a robed woman representing Libertas, a Roman goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

Tickets : http://www.statueoflibertytickets.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwr53OBRCDARIsAL0vKrNwtiTT6JqLsuS0niCAzfGDoH49ca05k_TsV8RthqdqmgHH-VDkxpMaAtZZEALw_wcB



Ever-changing world perfect fodder for photographs by Maggie Salamone


Editor’s note: Portrait of the Artist is a regular feature in Enjoy! that spotlights artists with exhibits in the Hudson Valley. If you are an artist in a current or upcoming exhibit and would like to be included in this feature, email bfarrell@poughkeepsiejournal.com. This week’s Portrait of the Artist features Maggie Salamone, whose photographs are on display at Starr Library in Rhinebeck through Sept. 28.


Tell us about the photographs on display at Starr Library and what inspired you to select them.

Because I am a freelance photographer, I photograph everything. So I’ll be bringing just that, a little of everything — Urban NYC, scenic beauty of the ADK and Outer Banks, and Upper Hudson Valley. How I chose the photographs is strictly on how I felt at the time of taking the picture. The energy and happiness it brought me.

What type of camera do you use?

I have three different Nikon digital cameras that I use with very little post-production editing.

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a photographer?

I think the greatest strength that any photographer can have is a good eye. The ability to catch a moment in time, with clarity and focus. The world is becoming very visual, with cellphone and camera technologies, I’m literally running to keep up.

What do you hope viewers come away with after seeing your work?

I would love for my audience to feel as if they’re standing with me while I took the photograph. I hope for them to see it in their own perspective right next to me.

Who are some of you favorite photographers?

There are a few standout photographers I cannot get enough of: Diane Arbus,
Ansel Adams, Elliott Erwitt, David LaChapelle and Sally Mann. And now you have people from all walks of life and every inch of the globe photographing. I see amazing stuff every day on social media, from everyday people with cellphones. I’m loving it all!

What are you working on now?

Recently I’ve been taking a lot of photos of musicians of the Hudson Valley. This area is chock full of great and talented musicians young and old. I also will continue doing freelance work, exhibits and shows. I’ll be up and down the East Coast photographing.

How does your background contribute to your process as a photographer?

Growing up I always looked at things a little differently. I would put a mental frame around things and click a picture in my head; I remember saying to myself that would make a great photo. Everything was intriguing and beautiful. And I shot millions of mental photos before I even picked up a camera.

What excites you about photography and what keeps you interested?

I am in love with life, secondly I love to capture it in a photo. The world is ever-changing — its people, its places, things. I want to be there to see it all and capture it all. Technology is running through the veins of most everyone. I’m excited for the future. It’s a beautiful world.

How was your artistic vision changed over the years?

I wait for the universe to turn pages, so every shot and every shoot is different. Being influenced by the world and all of its cultures, my vision changes with every click of the shutter. How the photograph feels influences how it’s edited, if at all. My vision changes on how the world changes.

Hudson Valley resident Maggie Salamone is a freelancer photographer. Visit her blog