'Assassin' makes killing
“Interview With the Assassin,” directed by first-time writer-director Neil Burger, snagged feature kudos as the third annual Woodstock Film Festival came to a close Sunday.
Fest, which ran five days in venues in and around Woodstock, N.Y., attracted a high film-biz quotient, with Ismail Merchant, Tim Robbins, Parker Posey, Marcia Gay Harden, Zachary Sklar, United Artists topper Bingham Ray, critics Amy Taubin and Owen Gleiberman, producer Jason Kliot and attorney John Sloss among those who took part in a series of sold-out panels at music venue the Colony.
Producer Christine Vachon, writer-director Todd Haynes and composer Elmer Bernstein were on hand for the fest’s closing-night pic, Haynes’ lyrical “Far From Heaven,” which screened at the Tinker Street Theater, followed by a lively post-pic Q&A with Haynes and Woodstock resident Bernstein.
Doc, short kudos
Producer-director Jeff Blitz’s “Spellbound” nabbed the docu nod. Patrick Downs’ “Broken” took short film kudos.
Short doc award went to “Howrah, Howrah,” directed by Till Passow, while Tanaz Eshaghian and Sara Nodojoumi won a short doc mention for “I Call Myself Persian.” Catherine Tingey took home the student film trophy for her short “A Girl’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
Haskell Wexler presented the cinematography award, which bore his name and which he judged, to Luc Montpellier for the feature “Khaled.” David Russo’s “Populi” walked off with the animation nod.
Feature honorable mentions went to “Khaled,” written and directed by Asghar Massombagi, and to Karen Moncrieff’s “Blue Car.”
The Columbia Film School was well repped at Woodstock: Both Tingey and Downs come from the school’s MFA program, as do shorts filmmakers Marie Regan (“Traveler”), Deborah Chow (“Daypass”), Todd Smith (“The Gulf”) and Federico Gonzalez Runnebaum (“hi-YAH”). Competition feature “Washington Heights” was directed by Columbia alum Alfredo de Villa.
“Interview With the Assassin,” which will be released by Magnolia Pictures in November, is a doclike conspiracy drama centered around the JFK assassination.