Director’s Statement

When I moved to Woodstock NY over 30 years ago, like most people, I believed the name Woodstock was synonymous with the 1960ʼs of political activism, social rebellion and rock n roll music. But what I found was a town that uniquely linked these cultural paradigms with a long history of social experimentation. It seemed that perhaps it wasnʼt sheer accident that these events were associated with this place and that there was a broader story to tell.

My journey began in 1985 when I interviewed several important artists who had come to Woodstock as rebels in the 1920ʼs in their search of personal freedom and artistic expression; a life unhampered by social restrictions. All of them settled at the famous Maverick Art Colony. The founder of this art colony, Hervey White, had first come to Woodstock in 1902 with the same ideas in mind under slightly different circumstances. At the turn of the twentieth century White was a hired hand of wealthy Englishman Ralph Radcliffe Whitehead and his wife Jane when they built their long dreamed of Arts and Crafts utopian community. It became known as Byrdcliffe and set in motion many events that have shaped and defined the community till this day. At the same time I  interviewed author and historian, Alf Evers, amassing hours of footages as Evers crystalized his definitive book on Woodstock, what he began to call his contemplation on this unique town, which he published in 1987.

It was not until  2009 as the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival re-surfaced in the American conscience that I felt compelled to piece this story together. I wanted to steer away from a traditional historical narrative and instead chose to use  a video “contemplation” , in homage to Alfʼs book, in which I marry the experiences of past generations with the thoughts and aspirations of the young people today. What I hoped to achieve is finally seeing Woodstock in all its complexity and hope, a place where people can be more natural in all their varied pursuits, hopefully creating a better world for all.