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click to enlarge _Racing Daylight_, with Jason Downs and David Stratharn, will be shown at the Rosendale Theater, May 5.
  • _Racing Daylight_, with Jason Downs and David Stratharn, will be shown at the Rosendale Theater, May 5.

The premier screening of Racing Daylight, a slice of magic realism filmed in Ulster County and starring David Strathairn, anchors a summer film series by The Woodstock Film Festival.
Also showing is Gracie, an upbeat family film by Davis Guggenheim. But do not expect a Disneyfied sugarfest; the director’s last outing was the landmark Al Gore documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Rounding out the series is The Mitch Show, a group of comic shorts by Mitch Rose.
The series is sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, who, according to WFF co-founder and executive director Meira Blaustein, acknowledges the income and prestige brought to his district by both the festival and the Hudson Valley Film Commission. Cahill himself will introduce the screenings on May 5, May 12, and June 3.
Filmed last July in Accord by local director Nicole Quinn, Racing Daylight is a lyrical but off-kilter Southern Gothic tale spanning two centuries and exploring the difficult task of finding love, honor, and redemption during the Civil War. Written by Quinn following the death of family members, Daylight was a labor of love; actors and crew either worked for scale or waived their fees. The impressive cast headed by Strathairn includes Ulster County residents Melissa Leo (The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, 21 Grams) and Denny Dillon (“Saturday Night Live,” “Dream On”), and veteran stage and screen actor Giancarlo Esposito (Bob Roberts, Do the Right Thing). Boasting hypnotic cinematography and the scrappy spirit of an independent film, Racing Daylight also features Jason Downs, Leclanche Durand, and a haunted antique cupboard.
The May 5 screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with cast and crew members, moderated by US Weekly film and DVD critic Thelma Adams.
Before its mainstream release on June 1, Gracie will screen in Woodstock on May 12. The film examines sexism in high school soccer in the 1970s and a young underdog who fights for her right to play alongside the boys. The film stars Carly Schroeder, Dermot Mulroney, Andrew Shue, and Elisabeth Shue. The story was based on a Shue family incident.
Following the screening, producer Lemore Syvan and cast and crew members will take questions, in a session hosted by Peter Bowen, senior editor of Filmmaker magazine.
Comic filmmaker Mitchell Rose, whom the New York Times has likened to a cross between Woody Allen and Abbie Hoffman, has been churning out a series of shorts over the past few years. A sampling of his measured insanity and deadpan neurosis comprises The Mitch Show, which will screen on June 3 at a showing co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Programmers Group.
The Woodstock Film Festival presents Nicole Quinn’s Racing Daylight on May 5 at 1pm at the Rosendale Theater; Davis Guggenheim’s Gracie on May 12 at 1pm at the Tinker Street Cinema; and Mitchell Rose’s The Mitch Show on June 3 at 7:30pm at the Bearsville Theater. All shows are free, but tickets are limited and reservations are required. (845) 679-4265; www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.

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