Following is a collection of the short films available free on our website that we have produced on topics relating to the arts, music, culture, architecture, and industry of the Hudson Valley.
General Short Films
Kingston Model Train Club
The Kingston Model Railroad Club was founded in 1937 and celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2017, when filmmaker Stephen Blauweiss honored them by creating a short film. Meet Bob Haines, who grew up in a train family—both his father and grandfather were engineers—as he provides a glimpse into his 50 years in the club, delving into the intricate art of building, maintaining, and running an impressive collection of model trains as well as detailed miniature reconstructions of buildings and street scenes. Tom Scrivani, a member since 1986, describes the club's various departments, his passion for the engine shop, and his addiction to finding new collections at expos and on Ebay. Learn about the club's museum of train artifacts and its longstanding tradition of opening to the public on November weekends, a favorite childhood memory of so many. Travel by model train through the created landscape in this intimate portrait of a hobby struggling to stay relevant in today's technological world.
Music in the Woods: 100 Years of Maverick Concerts
Created for the Maverick Concert Hall's centennial in 2016, Stephen Blauweiss' short film Music in the Woods covers the history of the Maverick Concert Series in Woodstock, presented by curator Susana Leval, in association with an art exhibition held at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum (WAAM) in partnership with Byrdcliffe. The film also covers Hervey White himself and the history of the iconic horse sculpture by sculptor John Flannigan, a memorable feature of the concert hall.
Group 212: An Intermedia Arts Colony
The 212 project ran summer retreats from 1967 to 1969 in the old Holiday Country Inn midway between Saugerties and Woodstock on Route 212. It was briefly home to professionals in the visual arts, music, performing arts, filmmaking and sciences. The collective fostered a collaborative meeting point and simplified time and space constraints for the participating artists. It encouraged them to experiment with the diverse new media and helped them to explore and synthesize the exploding potentials then being articulated through happenings, expanded cinema, environmental music, and multimedia theater, dance and sculpture.
In this day and age, as we easily record videos on pocket-sized devices, we stand on the shoulders of the Video Freex who led the way using large, bulky, and primitive analog technology. Before there was cable television, there was pirate television, which was pioneered by Video Freex, whose origins date back to the 1969 Woodstock Festival. The Freex settled in the tiny hamlet of Lanesville, just outside Phoenicia in Greene County. At a time when most people didn't have access to any video equipment, the Freex captured everything from the most mundane aspects of daily life to important national events. As member Bart Friedman commented while roaming around with their "Lanesville TV Newsbuggy" looking for action, "sometimes [you get] peanuts and sometimes shells." The group developed educational projects for children and created one of the first ever museum exhibitions of video art. They documented social events such as the May Day protests against the Vietnam War in Washington DC which took place from May 3–5, 1971 and led to the largest mass arrest (12,000 people) in U.S. history.
Lost Rondout: Sample Clip
Lost Rondout: A Story of Urban Removal is a documentary film by Stephen Blauweiss and Lynn Woods that chronicles the destruction of the waterfront district in Kingston, NY by a federally funded urban renewal project in the late 1960s. Interviews with former residents, historians, and urban renewal experts bring the destroyed neighborhood back to life and illustrate the impact of urban renewal's problematic legacy that destroyed hundreds of similar working-class urban communities across America.
Rappin' For Godot
Rappin' For Godot written and performed by Mikhail Horowitz and Gilles Malkine, presents the breakthrough play of Samuel Beckett as it might be performed by a hapless pair of academic rappers. The entire three hour play is condensed into four minutes of nonstop hip-hop, with no intermission. Rappin' For Godot aired on PBS, screened at the LA Comedy Film Festival 2012, London Independent Film Festival 2013, NYC Downtown Short Film Festival 2013, Williamsburg Film Festival 2013, and appears on a special music video section of the Woodstock Film Festival website in 2013.
Artist Profile Films
Robert Hessler: Ceramicist
Robert Hessler's pieces have unique shapes, stunning colors, and an extraordinary quality. He delights in improvising and experimenting with both the clay and glazes and is fascinated with the unknown aspect of what might emerge from the kiln. "My aim is to always try and surprise myself and come up with results that I find visually intriguing and exciting," says Hessler, "a constant quest to discover something new." Blauweiss spent a good part of the day documenting the process of creating a single piece, watching it grow from a lump of clay into one of Hessler's signature shapes: a very round base embellished with a magnificent long, thin neck. He then captured the beauty of a variety of ceramics with their intriguing one-of-a-kind glazes. Blauweiss crafted the narrative in which Hessler describes his passion and his process, and completed the film by finding a perfect fit with the music of Claude DeBussy.
Carolyn Marks Blackwood: Photographer
Carolyn Marks Blackwood photographs nature within a several mile radius of her house, with most of her photos taken just a few steps from her door above a cliff along the Hudson River, facing the Catskill mountains. Blackwood particularly loves skies, clouds and water, and depicts them with surreal abstraction. "I find my photographs," she says. Using almost no manipulation other than cropping, her photographs burst with color and depth. Sometimes they are in gray tones, such as ice breaking up into beautiful cubist patterns in the Hudson River, and she is also a fan of abstraction.
The Sculpture of Larry Kagan: Shape & Shadow
Larry Kagan is a sculptor who uses steel, light, and cast shadow as a creative medium. Kagan's challenge is to induce viewers to actually look at the shadow rather than solely at the steel. His works of art appear to be abstract metal sculptures, and even when viewers see them close-up, they have difficulty understanding how his metal constructions cast these incredible shadow images. He explains that "we are more or less aware of the presence of shadows, since they tell us something about our environment, but we do not actually look at them, unless they call attention to themselves by some unfamiliar or unexpected behavior."
Barbara Masterson: Painter
A lifelong plein air painter, Barbara Masterson lives on a farm in the heart of the Hudson Valley's apple orchard region. Captivated by the sight of migrant workers who came into the scenes she painted, Masterson began incorporating them into her colorful paintings— first at a distance, but soon cultivating personal relationships and gaining a deep insight into the crucial work they perform in an increasingly harsh political environment. Her intimate, large-scale portraits of those who often remain "unseen" by society are unforgettable. Masterson was able to invite the subjects of her paintings to see their portraits exhibited in a gallery show and even meet the patrons who purchased the artwork. Audiences remember her stunning paintings long after viewing this artist profile film and have sought out her exhibitions around the region. The filmmakers had the opportunity to visit the orchards and meet the workers with whom Masterson has developed friendships over the years while creating this film in 2017 and were thrilled to watch the expert at work in her studio. Enjoy!
Grey Ivor Morris: From Mosaics to Illustration & Beyond
Grey Ivor Morris is both a mosaic artist and an illustrator, using an eye for color and detail to create stunning animals, human faces, and fantastical scenes. Morris enjoys getting lost for hours in the meditative process of putting together mosaic "puzzles" and finding ways to convey the essence of an image using swaths of color. Similarly, he finds that "illustration is a way of distilling an entire story within one image," and finds older people much easier to draw due to the extensive history written into their faces. Watching Morris' expressive human faces come into being with the stroke of his pencil is a truly mesmerizing experience.
Elisa Pritzker: Spirit of the Selk'nam
Inspired by nature and the interconnectedness of all things, artist Elisa Pritzker wants the viewer to take time to see beyond what catches their eye at first glance. Drawing abstract designs on bones and other naturally beautiful objects, her studies of Native American culture, in particular the Selk'nam tribe in Argentina, have seeped deep within her being so that the images flow and her marks come to life.
Elizabeth Zunon & Her World of Books
Elizabeth Zunon is a book illustrator and author who specializes in African and African-American subject matter. After creating a book about Harlem Renaissance artist Romare Bearden, Zunon was deeply influenced by his style. She often uses both collage and painting in her artwork. One of her books tells of women in Africa who developed a creative solution to the problem of discarded plastic bags in the streets and rivers which were harming children and animals. The women collect and clean the bags, cut them into strips, crochet them into purses, and sell them. The inspiring story tells of both environmental protection and women's empowerment. Zunon also recently wrote and illustrated a book about her grandfather who cultivated cocoa beans in the Ivory Coast, a story her father recounts while baking a chocolate cake with his daughter. This short film gives a glimpse into Zunon's influences, unique style, and beautiful work on these three delightful books.
Karen Berelowitz: Karmabee Style
Karen Berelowitz doodled through three decades of school and an international development career before launching Karmabee in 2007. She prints her hand-drawn black & white designs on note cards, baby clothes, kids and adult T-shirts, cork coasters, tote bags, face masks, and more. Karen works out of her home studio in Kingston, NY, where she does everything from artwork to silkscreening to managing the retail, wholesale, and online aspects of her business. "I didn't go to business school or art school, says Karen, "and it's really fun just to come up with ideas and then figure out how to make them happen." Growing up in South Africa and spending much of her previous career in Latin America, Karen's designs have an ethnic quality to them that she feels is more subconscious than anything intentional. "I've never known how to describe my style," says Karen, "I've always just doodled...I don't think about it." Karen also teaches small business classes, licenses her drawings, and creates custom logos and designs.
Gene Dauner: Photographer
Gene Dauner has a keen eye for capturing the ever-changing architectural landscape of the Hudson Valley, staying "one step ahead of the wrecking ball." He considers himself a documentary photographer rather than an artist, and brings his passion for trains, bridges, and landscapes to his vast collection of thousands of photographs dating back to early 1960s, before much of the area's pre- and post-Civil War buildings were lost to urban renewal.
Robert Lipgar: A Life in Photography
Robert Lipgar was a psychiatrist with a lifelong passion for photography. Trained by his father as a boy, he traveled extensively and shot locally as well. The approach to his vision is to make something iconic out of the commonplace. His use of color is intrinsic to the image and he avoids it as decoration. Lipgar photographed everything from street scenes to architecture, the new and ancient, and people.
Mickey Mathis Photographer
Mickey Mathis has been shooting all subjects for 50 years. In fact he says, "all subjects matter," He's always ready with his camera by his side ready for the image around the next corner. He has created a wide variety of photographs in color as well as black and white. Mathis, a Kingston native, moved to New York City to work in the early 1970s and subsequently settled in Jersey City. Mathis speaks about growing up in Kingston; the film includes dozens of his stunning images of people and places. After taking thousands of photographs, Mathis remains as enthusiastic as ever.
Michael Oatman - Delight & Destroy
Michael Oatman calls his practice "the poetic interpretation of documents." His collages and installations integrate thousands of found, modified, and handmade components, including artifacts of material culture, painting, drawing, video, and food. These architectural "unvironments" have been installed in museums, public spaces, and private homes.
Ze'ev Willy Neumann: Love Knot
Ze'ev Willy Neumann creates sculptures out of wood. This film documents his Love Knot project, which used 40 sheets of plywood and took a year and a half to complete. The premise is to link two neighboring towns in upstate New York—Woodstock and Saugerties—via identical sculptures to help bring the towns closer by encouraging each town to visit the other. He designed these love seats as a knot in the shape of a heart, incorporating the infinity sign. Visitors are encouraged to see both. "To bring forth the idea of conceptual art is a wonderful way of actually translating a daily object into a story," says Neumann.
Elliott Landy: Photographer of a Generation
Elliot Landy is best known for his iconic photographs from the 1960s classic rock period, including at The Filmore East in Manhattan and the Woodstock Festival in Bethel. He began his photographic career working with the underground newspaper The Rat in support of the rising tide of anti-war sentiment during the late '60s. His press pass and camera not only gave him access to the political scene but also provided him a personal entry into the new rock music counterculture, capturing Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Eric Clapton, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker, and many others.
Corrugated - Art by Wayne Montecalvo
This film is about visual artist Wayne Montecalvo's unique work with cardboard. Working with a banal medium and making raw but carefully constructed post-modern urban facades. He is a multi-disciplinary artist whose wide-ranging works include mixed media, printmaking, paintings, sculpture, video and collaborative street performance. Wayne lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York, He is an adjunct professor of art at SUNY New Paltz. Aired on PBS, June 16th, 2014. Click below to see an interview with filmmaker Stephen Blauweiss that was part of the broadcast. http://video.wmht.org/video/2365264799/
Women's Studio Workshop
Founded in 1974, Women's Studio Workshop sits in a historic building just outside Rosendale surrounded by mountains, trees, and the vibrant artist community of the Hudson Valley. Specializing in classic techniques such as etching, letterpress, silkscreen, ceramics, and papermaking, WSW houses artists in residence from all over the world, offers a broad array of classes including to high school students, and maintains fully stocked studios. WSW is the largest publisher of handmade books in North America. The artists' books produced at the studio cover a range of topics from the political to the personal. The books come in a variety of forms, ranging from interactive puzzles that must be assembled to accordion-folded books to those made with a variety of mixed media. Every page of every book is posted online so that the beautiful work of these women artists can be seen by a worldwide audience.
It's A Big World In There
This film is about a multi-media art installation called Big World In There which turned a former church space into a participatory experience of art and music with larger-than-life flowing garments. These could be manipulated by the audience using ropes, reminiscent of sailing technology. The creators chose the image of a shirt because it's reminiscent of “shelter, it's a doorway you can enter into, it has a front opening, and it has arms that will enwrap you... it's very warm and benevolent.” With music combining bells, organs, folk songs, a heartbeat, and psalms, and words projected upon the walls, the piece provided the audience a multi-faceted audio-visual immersion into a unique world. The installation was created by three artists: sculptor Kate Hamilton, video artist Tona Wilson, and composer Jonathan Elliott.
Center For Metal Arts
Center for Metal Arts is run by Laurie Marshall and Patrick Quinn, who provide a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into the world of metal arts, in which they create and teach others to make not only beautiful and unique metal sculptures, but the very tools used to create them.
The Photographs of Catherine Sebastian
Catherine Sebastian has a broad approach to her photography: she sees it as a collaboration between her and the image. She loves that viewers can appreciate her images for very different reasons. Her photos fall into a wide variety of styles, from "sometimes a shot is just there" to abstracts to a full portfolio of music photography. Sebastian feels composition is one of the main pillars of her work, not just the placement of objects, but the placement of light as well.
Frank Spinelli: From Human Nature to Mother Nature
This film focuses on Frank Spinelli's Burning Man: Into a 21st Century Utopia project. He attended the event for three consecutive years. It takes place in the desert, in a very inhospitable environment with no water, superstructure or electric grid. Spinelli feels there is a direct connection between Woodstock's Maverick Festival in the 1920s and the present day Burning Man. He calls himself a photographic opportunist. Following his curiosity and passion, he focuses on human nature and nature herself.
John Unger - Old Glory
John Unger has often worked with recycled material and especially likes when the material speaks to the piece. Old Glory is an American flag created from over 20,000 Budweiser bottle caps and required hundreds of thousands of hammer swings, measuring 10-feet tall by 16-feet wide for a total of 160 square feet. What inspired this project was how deeply iconic it is—one can't get more "American Made" than a flag made from Budweiser caps. Whether people choose to see Old Glory as folk art or fine art, he feels the real beauty of the piece is how open it is to personal interpretation. One can choose to view it as a monument to America, a critique of consumerism, a beautiful object, or trash given new life.