Audience Award winners announced

The Woodstock Film Festival has announced its Audience Award winners, judged through post-screening balloting.

Feature:
Winner: “White Irish Drinkers”
Honorable Mention: “Inuk”

We gave “White Irish Drinkers” 2.5 stars (review below) for being good but not overpowering. Seems like your typical indie exercise film – safe and about a topic that will draw people (the title alone can draw).

“Inuk,” meanwhile, was a highly buzzed-about film at the festival, thanks in part to the presence of American-French filmmaker and Inuit lead actor. The picture was just stunning, while the story was told delicately without schmaltz. I gave it four stars. In retrospect, maybe 3.5. Either way, I thought it was terrific.

Documentary
Winner: “Grace Paley: Collected Shorts”
Honorable Mention: “Marwencol”

I sort of wonder how much of this award is thanks to locale. “Grace Paley” is right up the Woodstock wheelhouse, a film about a poet and activist long revered by other poets and activists. She was even pseudo-local. Like the Phil Ochs film, this film is the kind of piece that holds a special place for many Woodstockians. No surprise, really, that it won.

“Marwencol” is local, too, but it won the Maverick for Best Doc, so I’d guess the audience got it right, here. We gave it three stars.

***

As a separate note, the worst review we gave out was for “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!” And it’s not really surprising – people to whom I spoke during the festival, who saw the film, didn’t have a great reaction to it. Most gave a face that … well, yeah, you get it.

A few clunkers every year, of course. But I will note that Woodstock has an incredible slate of films. Most of the 160 are solid productions, and if they’re not up to quality, they say something. It’s a tribute to the programmers for not only selecting great films, but for being able – after 11 years – to attract these films. The premieres, in general, were very good movies, and most of them fit for the festival in one way or another.

More on that soon.

But for now, congratulations to all the audience favorites.

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