In 1969 hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Woodstock, New York for a concert that would go down in American history. Featuring artists such as Sweetwater, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane, the legendary Woodstock Music Festival brought about a revolution in artistic freedom that was hard to beat. Hard to beat, that is, until the Woodstock Film Festival began eight years ago. This year the popular annual cinema retreat lived up to its hometown’s most famous event by honoring historic musician and town denizen Bob Dylan with closing night selection I’m Not There, the alternative biopic by Todd Haynes. Tickets for the highly anticipated screening sold out during the first day’s sales.

“Creating a unique gathering of all these wonderful creative forces is what we look forward to,” says festival co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein. Growing bigger with each event, this year’s fest featured 15 New York, seven U.S., two North American and eight world premieres. It honored producer Christine Vachon (Boys Don’t Cry, Infamous) with the Honorary Maverick Award for her “courageous films which challenge, provoke and hold true to the independent spirit” and Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, with the Honorary Trailblazer Award for his “unwavering dedication and innovative approach to industry that opened a window of opportunity for filmmakers and niche production companies, enabling smaller and more alternative projects to be widely distributed.”

“The Woodstock Film Festival has a [reputation] of being fiercely independent, putting quality over quantity and artistic merit over premiere status and fame,” explains Blaustein. With some of independent cinema’s most highly recognizable names in attendance, including Mary Stuart Masterson, Bingham Ray, Aidan Quinn and Patricia Clarkson, the town has fast become a gathering place of not just music merit, but cinematic efforts as well. “That true love for the high quality filmmaking lends itself to a gathering of many of the most exciting filmmakers and industry members in the independent film world. Together, young and old, emerging and accomplished, intermingle in Woodstock to inspire and empower each other and truly experience and enjoy their love and talent for film.”

Winners at the October 10-14, 2007 Woodstock Film Festival included Best Feature Narrative August Evening, by Chris Eska, Best Feature Documentary The Cool School by Morgan Neville, Best Student Short Film Aquarium by Rob Meyer and a special “Animation Diva” award to Teat Beat of Sex by Signe Baumane.

To check out more winners and a photo gallery from this year’s event, check out