The 13th annual Woodstock Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday night with a screening of David Bromberg: Unsung Players. Before the festival wraps up on Sunday with their closing night film Casting By, directed by Tom Donahue, they'll have shown 130 films including 19 World Premieres, 6 US Premieres, 3 North American Premieres, 10 East Coast Premieres and 15 New York Premieres. The festival also features often sold out panels with insider views on different aspects of the art and business of film making.
One of the centerpiece films of this year's Woodstock Film Festival is The Sessions, written and directed by Ben Lewin and starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. The Sessions won the Audience Award and the Special Jury Award at this year's Sundance International Film Festival. The movie is based on the true story of journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, who spent his life in an iron lung as a result of surviving polio as a child. In the film - as in real life - Mark works with his therapist to hire a sex surrogate so that he can feel like a full man despite his disabilities. John Hawkes plays Mark, Helen Hunt plays Cheryl, his sex surrogate.
John Hawkes is also in the film Arcadia, written and directed by Olivia Silver. In Arcadia, John Hawkes plays Tom, father of 3 children who he is moving across the country to pursue a new job. He's a manic sort of man and the circumstances around the move are sort of shady and are slowly revealed throughout the film.
John Hawkes was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of Teardrop in the 2009 film, Winter's Bone. Recent credits in his more than 25 year career include last year's Martha Marcy May Marlene; Miranda July's 2005 film You and Me and Everyone We Know; and he plays Robert Latham in Steven Speilberg's upcoming film, Lincoln. He's also starred in two HBO series, playing Dustin Powers on Eastbound and Down and Sol Star on Deadwood.
Arcadia is screening at the Williamstown Film Festival.
The Sessions is screening at FilmColumbia Festival.