Special Events

Please check back frequently to view Specials at Upstate Films!

A Short History of Decay

July 27
Sunday 3:00
(USA / 2013 / Directed by Michael Maren)
In Person: Writer/Director Michael Maren
Generational differences provide both insight and humor in this unusual story about a failed Brooklyn writer who visits his ailing parents in Florida.
Soon after Nathan’s (Bryan Greenberg) girlfriend dumps him, he learns that his father has had a stroke. Flying home to his parents’ spacious home in Florida, where his dad is recovering and his mom is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, Nathan brings with him a New York City ennui. While he spends most of his time sitting around feeling sorry for himself, to spice things up he chats up a French girl at a bar, has lunch with his mother’s sunny manicurist, and bickers with his visiting older brother. As Nathan gradually begins to question the emptiness of his idleness, director Michael Maren’s story subtly transcends its particulars to become a resonant and revelatory film.
R / 94 mins.
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Cold in July

In Woodstock 
July 26
Saturday 2:00
(USA / 2014 / Directed by Jim Mickle)
Filmed locally in the Hudson Valley! A special presentation by the Hudson Valley Programmers Group, this screening will be followed by Q&A with director Jim Mickle.
How can a split-second decision change your life? While investigating noises in his house one balmy Texas night in 1989, Richard Dane puts a bullet in the brain of a low-life burglar, Freddy Russell. Although he’s hailed as a small-town hero, Dane soon finds himself fearing for his family’s safety when Freddy’s ex-con father, Ben, rolls into town; hell-bent on revenge. However, not all is as it seems.
Shortly after Dane kills the home intruder, his life begins to unravel into a dark underworld of corruption and violence. Twists and turns continue to pile up as the film reaches its inevitable destination: a gore-soaked dead end. Michael C. Hall brings a shell-shocked vulnerability to his portrayal of Dane that contrasts perfectly with the grizzled “badasses” portrayed by Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. Directed with an excellent eye for the visual poetry of noir, this pulpy, southern-fried mystery is a throwback to an older breed of action films; one where every punch and shotgun blast opens up both physical and spiritual wounds. Cold in July is hard to shake as an east Texas summer. — Hudson Valley Programmers Group
R / 109 mins. 
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Celebrate 100 Years of Charlie Chaplin’s “Tramp” … with live music by David Arner

August 3
Time TBA
(USA)
Unrated 
* With live musical accompaniment by David Arner. 
In 1914, a funny looking man wearing a funky bowler hat and carrying a cane wandered into The Kid Auto Races in Venice, California and ended up delighting the confused crowd with his antics.
An early version of guerilla filmmaking (no permits were issued, no one knew who he was), Chaplin’s performance was recorded on film and exhibited in theaters for the first time as the beloved character “the Tramp.” In celebration of the character’s 100th anniversary, we’re bringing a selection of newly restored Tramp shorts to Upstate Films, with live accompaniment provided by David Arner. Selected titles forthcoming.
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Martin Scorsese presents Masterpieces of Polish Cinema

scorsese
Series begins Sunday Aug 10 with ASHES AND DIAMONDS
(Poland/1950s into the 1980s)
“In 2011, I had the opportunity to visit the Polish National Film School in Łódź, Poland, at the invitation of the great director, Andrzej Wajda. It was a trip I had wanted to make for years as I had long been drawn to the school and to Polish cinema from the time I was a film student at NYU, studying under my teacher and mentor, Haig Manoogian. It was at NYU—a school modeled after the legendary film program at Łódź – that I learned not just how films are made, but why.The school nurtured in me an unshakable belief in artistic expression grounded in Italian Neorealism, the French New Wave, the surreptitious poetry of the old Hollywood masters, and Polish cinema: the great, sweeping, humanistic, intimate and profound movies that were an integral part of what, looking back, seems more and more like a golden age of international cinema.”

 There are many revelations in the “Masterpieces of Polish Cinema” series and whether you’re familiar with some of these films or not, it’s an incredible opportunity to discover for yourself the great power of Polish cinema, on the big screen in brilliantly restored digital masters. — Martin Scorsese

“… This is a cinema of personal vision, social commitment and poetic responsibility from which we’ve all learned and which sets a high standard that, as a filmmaker, I strive to achieve with every film, every time out. Each of the films in this special series embodies what Wajda called “the ‘impertinent freedom of creativity in the cinema” These are films that have great emotional and visual power—they’re “serious” films that, with their depth, stand up to repeated viewings. The subtext of great conflict and cultural identity is universal, even if you don’t know the history of Poland, the themes in these films will resonate, as they did profoundly for me. There are many revelations in the “Masterpieces of Polish Cinema” series and whether you’re familiar with some of these films or not, it’s an incredible opportunity to discover for yourself the great power of Polish cinema, on the big screen in brilliantly restored digital masters. I hope you will enjoy these great films as much I do.Thanks to The Film Foundation and Milestone Films in the United States, and Propaganda Foundation, DI Factory and KinoRP in Poland for making this magnificent series possible.”

 When I first saw ASHES AND DIAMONDS one of the many highlights in this series and arguably one of the greatest films ever made – Polish or otherwise, I was overwhelmed by the film: the masterful direction, the powerful story, the striking visual imagery, and the shocking performance by Zbigniew Cybulski, considered the “Polish James Dean” with his electrifying presence. I was so struck by the film, it affected me so deeply, that I paid small homage by giving Charlie a pair of similar sunglasses in MEAN STREETS. – Martin Scorsese

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A Will for the Woods

August 24
Sunday, Time TBA
(USA / 2013 / Directed by Amy Browne, Tony Hale, Jeremy Kaplan, and Brian Wilson)
In Person: co-directors Jeremy Kaplan, Amy Browne, Tony Hale, and Brian Wilson
In A Will for the Woods, a man’s passionate wish for a green burial inspires a profoundly affecting and optimistic portrait of people finding meaning in death.
Musician, folk dancer, and psychiatrist Clark Wang battles lymphoma while facing a potentially imminent need for funeral plans. Determined that his last act will not harm the environment and may even help protect it, Clark discovers the movement to further sustainable funerals and helps move a local cemetarian to establish the first natural burial ground in North Carolina. As Clark and his family play out their lives, we watch like a fly on the wall – from their home movies, through Clark’s medical tests and treatments, his final visits with family in Ann Arbor, and his funeral. The result is an undeniably moving documentary with a compassionate, personal approach.
Unrated / 93 mins.
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