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Woodstock hawks ‘Walls’ as fest opener

Fest highlights include Maverick, Bernstein, Wexler awards

The Woodstock Film Festival will open this year with the U.S. premiere of Ethan Hawke’s feature directorial debut “Chelsea Walls.”

Pic bowed earlier this year at Cannes and stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Natasha Richardson, Kris Kristofferson and Uma Thurman. The digital ensemble piece focuses on the legendary New York hotel and its latest batch of artistic guests. Tyro’s previous credits include the short “Straight to One” and music video “Stay” for Lisa Loeb.

Fest’s sophomore year runs Sept. 20-23 and will host more than 80 features, documentaries and short films.

Among this year’s highlights will be the 2001 Maverick Award to documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, and two new awards: the Elmer Bernstein award for musical score and Haskell Wexler award for cinematography. Both Bernstein and Wexler are expected at the festival. Musical performances will tie in to several films and a program on musicvideos with cinematic appeal. Skedded performers include Chris Thomas King, Marshall Crenshaw and Uncle Funk and Kate Pierson.

Official festival lineup will be revealed Aug. 20 at a Gotham kick-off party with special musical guests Dominic Chianese (“The Sopranos”) and the Billy Naylor Show..

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