Festival vignettes, from Fright Night to Ochs

It’s been a whirl of a weekend, but there are some really precious moments that really make me smile that I haven’t had a chance to share:

–Arriving at the Catamount for the Fright Night screening of “Don’t Go in the Woods”, I encountered Vincent D’Onofrio sitting comfortably at the top of the stairs, casually smoking a cigarette. We were having a nice chat about the film’s musicians when a woman approached him.

“You shouldn’t be smoking here. I don’t think it’s allowed.”

D’Onofrio looked at her, took a deep drag and, with a rebel’s soul showing, replied “Let them tell me I can’t.”

Y’know what? No one ever did!

I sat next to a woman at the screening who’d driven all the way from central New Jersey for the festival. She owned 22 of D’Onofrio’s films and was thrilled to be able to walk by him several times, but could never bring herself to say so much as “hello, I like your films.” Even at the Q&A she couldn’t raise her hand, but she was probably the happiest person in the pavilion on that blustery night.

The band from the film played in the Catamount after the screening. It was very interesting to see how Sam Bisbee’s music had an entirely different feel to it when there wasn’t the threat of psychotic murder attached. You could easily listen to these songs in your car without getting creeped out. Probably even like it a whole lot!

The afterparty at the Emerson Resort was packed with about 300 filmmakers, actors and festival attendees. As much as I enjoyed the beautiful rooms that threaded from salon to salon, I found myself out in the lobby with a frustrated video crew who’d completely given up on trying to do interviews because of the warring acoustics. Even private conversations required shouting head to head. I circled through the rooms a few times and made some connections for the following day, but exhausted by the shouting, trailed down a hallway to the main entrance. There, sitting on a couch was Lucy, the grandmother of actor Cassandra Walker whose performance opens and closes the “Don’t Go in the Woods” film.

“So, was it upsetting to you to see your granddaughter getting knocked off kind of gruesomely in this film?” I asked. Lucy laughed…she loves her granddaughter and supports everything she does. The dark secret of this Long Island grandmother is that she adores horror films. Gory is great, and Cassandra’s performance did her proud!

On Saturday night I had a chance to see the Phil Ochs documentary in Rhinebeck. I’d heard Ochs songs in the 60s but never knew he suffered from mental illness. This compassionate documentary, compiled by his brother Michael Ochs and Kenneth Bowser, includes a huge amount of original footage of Ochs. Michael said that shortly after Phil died, he tried to collect as much footage as he could and came up with about two hours worth of film performances and interviews. When making this documentary, with the help of the internet, he was able to track down a full additional hour.

Imagine…30 years after your brother’s suicide, you are able to receive a full extra hour of visual time with him. It was a restorative experience for Michael to frame his brother’s life with original footage. Ochs was once considered second to Bob Dylan in activist influence but some say has been relegated to a footnote because of his spiraling final days. Michael’s film rectifies that.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Blog Author

    Deborah Medenbach

    Deborah Medenbach brings her multimedia coverage talents to the film shoots, stage productions, celebrity stories, film festivals and basic business of film and theater in the Hudson Valley. Read Full

    Timothy Malcolm

    Timothy has been the arts and entertainment editor of the Times Herald-Record, based in Middletown, N.Y., since 2008. He covers a wide array of topics, focusing on performing arts, film and the visual arts. Read Full
  • Categories

  • Archives