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October 23rd, 2013

Hollywood arrives for Woodstock Film Festival

Sonny Rollins in Woodstock at the Woodstock Playhouse for a Q &A session after viewing of the film "Sonny Rollins Between the Notes," during the 14th Annual Woodstock Film Festival. Photo: Ed McCarthy

By Reneé Ruwe and Ed McCarthy

WOODSTOCK - The Woodstock Film Festival kicked off its 14th season with a spectacular documentary film directed by Dick Fontaine entitled "Sonny Rollins: Beyond the Notes" about jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins. Rollins was in the audience at the Woodstock Playhouse to view the film in person for the first time with the rest of the excited crowd. A standing ovation and a question and answers session with Sonny followed the film.

Rollins, a long time civil rights activist, remarked, "I am a Planetarian." The film highlights his early career and begins with his 80th birthday reunion concert at the Beacon Theatre with many jazz greats joining him on stage.

Among the many films featured were "The Forgotten Kingdom", set in Johannesburg, South Africa; "Go For Sisters", a story of two friends who were close as sisters as teens before reuniting twenty years later when one is the other's parole officer; "Orenthal: The Musical", in which an eccentric artist puts together a musical about O.J. Simpson; and "God Loves Uganda", a documentary exploring the role of the American evangelical movement in Uganda.

On Saturday evening at Backstage Productions in Kingston, the 14th Annual Maverick Awards Ceremony was held. This years Lifetime Achievement Award winner was Kingston-born actor, writer, and director Peter Bogdanovich. In his remarks, Bogdanovich said about directing films that they should always "Start with a bang and end with a snap". He also recalled a couple of conversations with movie giants Orson Welles and John Ford, who once told Bogdanovich that "most good things happen by accident" in the filming process.

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