4 films not to miss at the Woodstock Film Festival this year

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Forty-eight feature films and 85 short films are screened at this year’s Woodstock Film Festival, which kicks off tonight, September 29, in a mix of indoor and outdoor venues in Woodstock, Kingston, Saugerties and Online.

The options are strong and diverse – including several films by female directors, 11 world-premiering films and 10 music-centric films. Where to start? Here is a cheat sheet of films not to be missed to watch during the five days of the festival, in order of time.

Director Alison Klayman explores the origins and legacy of Alanis Morissette’s successful debut album “Jagged Little Pill” in the documentary “Jagged”, which premieres at the 2021 Woodstock Film Festival.

Courtesy of the Woodstock Film Festival

“Shredded” (American premiere)
Thursday, September 30, 11 a.m., Bearsville Theater in Woodstock
Friday, October 1 at 7 p.m., The Lot @ BLUEprint in Kingston

If you are a “Behind the Music” fan, this is for you. According to media reports, Canadian singer Alanis Morissette is not thrilled by the documentary which explores her fame at age 21 with the 1995 release of “Jagged Little Pill”, the second best-selling album of the 90s. But Morissette gives incredible access to director Alison Klayman – note the trip to her storage unit where the rocker digs through relics from her past, including a bag of old letters from love. The film stands out for its sometimes raw take on a woman’s rise in music with an entirely unique, non-pop flair, and the painful moments that accompanied this celebrity, including Morisette’s reveal that she was raped early in her career, when she was 15.


Dr Kimya Dennis, who appears in the documentary "My so called selfish life" on Women Who Choose to Forgo Maternity, studies childless women in the African Diaspora, and teaches at Salem College in North Carolina.

Dr. Kimya Dennis, who appears in the documentary “My So-called Selfish Life” about women who choose to forgo motherhood, studies childless women in the African diaspora and teaches at Salem College in North Carolina.

Therese Shechter

“My so-called selfish life” (World premiere)
Thursday, September 30, 4:45 p.m., Bearsville Theater in Woodstock
Friday October 1, 11 a.m., Orpheum Theater in Saugerties

Told through a mixture of interviews; film, television and music clips; and social and historical analysis, this feature-length documentary by feminist Therese Schechter celebrates the lives of childless women. The third installment in the filmmaker’s trilogy of films addressing social norms about what it means to be a woman today, “My So-called Selfish Life” is at times both hilarious and heartbreaking, like Marcia Drut-Davis’ tale about her experience appearing in a “60 minutes” segment in 1974 about not having children and the fallout that followed.


The feature documentary "Tidy" tells the story of a dozen East African women seeking to become rangers in Kenya, thus opening a new path for young women in their culture.

The feature documentary “Ranger” tells the story of a dozen East African women seeking to become rangers in Kenya, thus opening a new path for young women in their culture.

One-story productions

“Tidy” (World premiere)
Friday, October 1, 8 p.m. at the Bearsville Theater, Woodstock

Set in Kenya, this visually striking documentary feature captures the one-year journey of 12 young women who defy cultural norms and train as rangers to become East Africa’s first all-female anti-poaching unit. . The experience is as physical as it is emotional, creating moments that are difficult to watch, such as when trainees face verbal slurs in an exercise to build their inner courage, en route to triumphantly creating their own version of what it means to be a Maasai. warrior. Directed by Austin Peck and produced by Roger Ross Williams, who is the festival’s Honorary Maverick Award recipient this year.


Nearly 8 million Americans struggle with PTSD, and military veterans are twice as likely to suffer from it as civilians.  The film "HERE.  IS.  BETTER." by Emmy Award-winning director Jack Youngelson documents the stories of four veterans.

Nearly 8 million Americans struggle with PTSD, and military veterans are twice as likely to suffer from it as civilians. The film “HERE. IS. BEST. ”By Emmy-winning director Jack Youngelson documents the stories of four veterans.

Jenni Morello

“HERE. IS. BETTER.” (World premiere)
Saturday, October 2, 12:45 p.m., Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, Q&A to follow
Special screening for veterans: Sunday October 3, 11:30 am, Orpheum in Saugerties

A powerful feature documentary exploring the trauma of PTSD told through the interspersed personal stories of four American veterans who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam. Among the veterans who share their stories is Jason Kander, a promising Missouri politician running for mayor in Kansas City who has dropped out of the race to overcome his PTSD. First-hand accounts of life after the fight and feelings of isolation are especially grim when viewed against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic and the United States’ difficult evacuation from Afghanistan. Talents at the Saturday screening: Veterans Jason Kander and Teresa Aldridge, Dr Kathleen Chard, Director Jack Youngelson, Composer David Baron

The full programming of screenings, events and ticket sales is available now online. Interested festival-goers can also visit the ticket office, located at 13 Rock City Road in Woodstock.

Hudson Valley Art, Music and Culture




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