“It’s time we stop being gypsies,” Blaustein said of she and Film Commission director Laurent Rejto’s decision to purchase 11-13 Rock City Road, the old Heckeroth Plumbing building they’ve been renting for box office and other uses over the last two years.
A binder’s already been signed for the building and negotiations underway for a mortgage. The festival, currently a flurry of activity at its long-held but cramped offices in Playhouse Plaza, on Mill Hill Road, is planning to pay rent towards their purchase over the coming weeks before the 11th Annual Woodstock Film Festival kicks off for its Wednesday September 29 through Sunday, October 3 run.
The new Film Center Blaustein and Rejto envision will be used as a central base for operations, box office, with a souvenir shop, communications and tech headquarters, and upstairs spaces that could be rented out to productions seeking space from which to run film shoots in the area. In addition, they foresee utilizing the building’s garage area as a perfect location for workshops and intimate film screenings.
“For 11 years, the Woodstock Film Festival has brought renowned filmmakers, actors, directors, behind-the-scenes industry members and international press to the Hudson Valley, but we have been hampered by not having our own facility,” Blaustein noted. “We spend an enormous amount of time, energy, and a ton of money scrambling to find and renovate space each year to fulfill our needs, so the new Film Center offers us the opportunity to consolidate and grow to continue providing extraordinary programming and economic benefit to the region.”
“The Film Center will enhance our ability to continue creating, assisting and promoting sustainable, clean, economic development by bringing jobs, educational opportunities and revenue to the community via film, video and media production,” added Rejto. “We provide those services for free and with state and county grants falling by more than forty percent, financial support is critical to our continued success.”
In terms of jobs and the economy, both pointed out that the Woodstock Film Festival attracts tens of thousands of people each year to the Hudson Valley in several local communities, and the Hudson Valley Film Commission continues to attract film production and hundreds of jobs to the region, resulting in millions of dollars of sustainable economic revenue.
The goal of the Capital Campaign is $600,000 to help pay down the mortgage and to begin renovations to the facility. As part of the campaign, many special benefits are being offered including a one week Tortola Getaway and a series of special events to start unrolling, in earnest, once the festival unspools…and for announcement during its run.
“This is going to involve pulling a lot of teeth,” Blaustein admitted. “But it’s a great building that’s centrally located and a good time for us to do this, in terms of our life cycle.”
As for changes expected once a move is made into the middle of town, Blaustein admitted that everyone would miss Lori’s Takeout, a few doors down, but will likely keep coming back…as well as hitting YumYum Noodle Bar, Maria’s Bazaar, and other locations closer by to their new pad.
Also, she was looking forward to being able to accumulate more equipment over the coming years.
And getting settled and losing those so-called gypsy ways.
Blaustein and Rejto noted that all contributions for the new Capital Campaign will be tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.++
Information about the building, the Capital Campaign and how to make an online or mail-in contribution is available at http://www.woodstockfilmfestival.com/cart/capitalcampaign.php
Interested donors can also get more information by contacting Meira Blaustein and Laurent Rejto at 679-4265 or by emailing email@example.com.
Donations can be made online or sent directly to Woodstock Film Festival, PO Box 1406, Woodstock, NY 12498, or in person at 86 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock, NY 12498.
Film boot camp
Woodstock Film Festival presented a week-long Youth Initiative Bootcamp Filmmaking Workshop at Kingston’s Center for Creative Education. Twelve Kingston youth made two films in one week, a short documentary and a short fiction. Supervising teacher was filmmaker Annie Nocenti with guest teachers and mentors Sabine Hoffman and Jordan Matthews (editing), Jeff Kantor (tech), Ron Nyswanner (screenwriting) and Peter Wetzler (music). The Bootcamp was made possible thanks to a federal judiciary grant secured on behalf of the Woodstock Film Festival by Congressman Maurice Hinchey and an Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation Award Grant.++