Monday, August 17, 2009

'The Messenger' opens Woodstock Film Festival Oct. 1

The film "The Messenger" - starring Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton and Steve Buscemi - will open the 10th Woodstock Film Festival on Oct. 1, organizers announced Monday.

"The Messenger" marks the directorial debut of award-winning screenwriter Oren Moverman (from the Bob Dylan biopic "I'm Not There") and features two past Woodstock Film Festival honorary Maverick Award recipients, Buscemi (2005) and Harrelson (2003).

The movie will be screened at the Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock on Oct. 1 and will be followed by a question-and-answer session and reception with the director and select cast.

Foster ("3:10 to Yuma," "Liberty Heights," "Hostage," "X-Men") stars as Will Montgomery, an American Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army's Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband's death, Will's emotional detachment begins to dissolve.

"'The Messenger' is a brilliant film, destined to be a classic, in which the darkest side of war is depicted without a single shot being fired," said Woodstock Film Festival organizer Meira Blaustein in a prepared statement. "Grappling with all the pains and ethical dilemmas that war brings to the human spirit, this film is the perfect opener for the Woodstock Film Festival. We are thrilled to have it and are looking forward to share its perfectly nuanced and delicate composition with our audience."

"The Messenger" had its world premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Silver Bear Award for Best Screenplay and the Peace Film Award at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. Oscilloscope Laboratories will be releasing the film in theatres on Nov. 6.

The Woodstock Film Festival runs from Sept. 30 through Oct. 4.

The full schedule of events will be announced in Mid-September.

For more information, visit, or call (845) 679-4265.