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    PRESS RELEASE: How “Taking Woodstock” Found Its Voice

    Date: Wednesday May 6, 2009

    Written by: Phil Sauers,

    Ang Lee’s new movie “Taking Woodstock” is based on a book of the same title written by Elliot Tiber. What’s interesting is how Lee’s enthusiasm for bringing the story to the screen was peaked and the work, subtitled “A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life”, would soon be a major motion picture celebrating the Woodstock Generation.

    The book launch party on the 38th Anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival was held just blocks from my home in Greenwich Village. Many of Elliot’s friends gathered that evening to congratulate him on finally publishing the facts of how, were it not for him, the birth of the Woodstock Nation at the Yasgur Farm would not have happened, which is why Elliot is known as the “Father of Woodstock”.

    Two months later Elliot happened by chance to meet Ang Lee in San Francisco while on his book signing tour and gave him the book. Shortly thereafter, Elliot called to tell me he had given him a copy of “Taking Woodstock. Knowing my son’s business partner, Pat Cupo, was a close friend of Ang Lee, I told Elliot I would see what I could find out which resulted in learning that Ang had left the book in San Francisco and had not read it.

    David Sauers, my son, gave a copy of the book to Pat Cupo, who, having been at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, enjoyed reading Elliot’s humorous autobiography. Pat decided to send another copy to Ang who was on tour promoting “Lust, Caution”. That copy was not read by Ang either and was left in a hotel room. Pat and David then enlisted me to hand deliver “Taking Woodstock” directly to Ang’s mailbox at his New York home. Interestingly, the book I left in his mailbox was the copy Elliot had autographed to me the evening of the launch party.

    By mid-November Ang had finally read “Taking Woodstock” after Pat continuously urged him to explore how a generation began in Elliot’s backyard. Coincidently, during the Thanksgiving holidays Ang and Pat planned to be in New York. Once again, I was enlisted to work out giving them a tour of Yasgur Farm, the home of the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

    On Saturday, November 24th, Ang, Pat, and Ang’s Executive Producer James Schamus came to Yasgur Farm to meet me. Since I am a friend of the owners’ we were able to spend the next 3 hours touring the entire property. We all hoped this might set in motion Elliot’s book becoming a film directed by Ang Lee.

    Our hopes were realized and by October 2008 the filming was completed. On May13th “Taking Woodstock” will debut at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

    The USA premier of “Taking Woodstock” is set for August 14th, the 40th Anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Obviously the film is destined to become the leading attraction of the greatest hippie birthday party to date.

    So these two imaginative guys, David Sauers and Pat Cupo, who in the end became the Associate Producers for the film, thru their persistence, created the interest to help bring about the soon to be blockbuster, “Taking Woodstock”.

    Phil Sauers

    World Water Rescue Foundation

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