The Musical Highlights of Woodstock Film Festival 2019 | Sponsored | Film | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

A film festival is more than just moving pictures on a screen. Woodstock is a town of music connoisseurs, and among the myriad of films and events, the Woodstock Film Festival also offers first-rate performances (October 2-6).

Renowned Palestinian oud and violin virtuoso and composer Simon Shaheen plays on the kick-off night, after the world premiere of Tarik Benbrahim’s documentary on his life. Singer-songwriter Janis Ian will sing and discuss her recent memoir Society’s Child. Billy Martin will attack his drum set after the world premiere screening of Not Not Jazz, a film documenting his instrumental supergroup Medeski, Martin & Wood. Charismatic singer-guitarist Robert Burke Warren performs a David Bowie tribute before each showing of the sci-fi/comedy/romance Speed of Life.

  • Photos Courtesy of Woodstock Film Festival

A Night at Switch n’ Play documents a performance of a Brooklyn drag collective that uses burlesque to question assumptions about gender. Afterwards, the actual performers will strut and strip at The Colony in Woodstock.

To honor their 20th anniversary, the festival presents a free screening of a documentary about the Apollo Theater, epicenter of African-American music. “The Apollo amateur night was the first competition where the audience picked the winner. It was the precursor to American Idol,” explains director Roger Ross Williams. “The Harlem audiences, you knew you would get the truth from them.” The Apollo will be shown October 1 at the Ulster Performing Arts Center in Kingston.

  • Photo Courtesy of Woodstock Film Festival/Reggie Chelsom

The 11 Jane Street Gallery in Saugerties will host a virtual reality lounge with four programs, including Gloomy Eyes, an animated love story between a zombie and a mortal girl that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Woodstock Film Festival is at numerous venues October 2-6. (845) 810-0131. For more information, visit

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