New program to showcase films about music, musicians

The third annual Woodstock Film Festival, unspooling Sept. 19-22, has launched Focus on Music, an annual program for the exploration of music and film.

Program will showcase films about music and musicians and will actively explore music in film, with an emphasis on scoring, composers labs and sound and vision workshops. Live concerts linked to the music featured in pics will be presented, along with a series of innovative musicvids.

Cueing up movies

Fest, which will screen more than 100 films, has programmed Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz,” released by United Artist Pictures; Paul Justman’s “Standing in the Shadow of Motown — The Story of the Funk Brothers”; Mike Gordon’s “Rising Low”; and Greg Ross’ “Into the Night: The Benny Mardones Story.”

“The establishment of Focus on Music is particularly appropriate given the history of the town of Woodstock, long known as a musical mecca of all genres,” said Laurent Rejto, WFF’s director of development. “For the past two years, the Woodstock Film Festival has been multidisciplinary with its emphasis on all of the arts. This year marks Woodstock’s 100th anniversary as the Colony of the Arts, and we look forward to establishing a forum for innovative films, exciting performances, and imaginative music workshops and panels.”

Concerts to be held in association with the festival and its music pics include Arlo Guthrie headlining the fest’s opening-night concert, “Arlo Guthrie & Friends,” a tribute to the legendary Woody Guthrie, celebrating his legacy of grassroots activism. Oscar-winning Woody Guthrie biopic “Bound for Glory” will be screened during the fest; and its cinematographer, Haskell Wexler, and producer, Harold Leventhal, will be special guests at the concert.

Reaching new ‘Low’

“Rising Low,” directed by Phish bassist Gordon, documents what happens when 25 accomplished bass players unite to record with Government Mule, a power trio headed by Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band. The accompanying concert will feature Woodstock’s Tony Levin, among others.

Doc “Into the Night” also comes with a concert by its subject, Mardones.

Fourteen years in the making, “Standing in the Shadow of Motown” tells the saga of the Funk Brothers, the studio musicians behind the Motown sound. Doc includes 12 new live performances of Motown hits, with the band backing up Chaka Kahn, Bootsy Collins, Ben Harper, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Montell Jordan and Gerald Levert.

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