Lifestyle: Spotlights

The 25th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival

By Ruth Thomas - September 19, 2017

The 25th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will take place on October 5-9, 2017. The festival was originally founded to celebrate Independent Filmmakers in the genres of long, short, fiction, and documentary films. Approximately 25,000 visitors will attend HIFF with over 150 films and 21 events in 14 venues across the East End. Cash and in-kind prizes will total $225,000. Many local businesses in the Hamptons benefit from partnering with HIFF. Some of these include Rowdy Hall, The Baker House, and The Hedge’s Mulford Farm in East Hampton. The Hamptons International Film Festival’s varied and interesting programs attract folks from around the world as well as locals who share a love of film and also enjoy experiencing the Hamptons.

Alec Baldwin and Randy Mastro are now in their second year as Co-Chairs of HIFF. Alec Baldwin has been a HIFF board member for the past decade and a longtime supporter of the festival, hosting its SummerDocs series for the past nine years, presenting new and groundbreaking documentary filmmaking and leading conversations after each screening. This year’s documentaries included NOBODY SPEAK: TRIALS OF THE FREE PRESS, TROPHY, TAKE EVERY WAVE: LAIRD HAMILTON, WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME,” and ICARUS. Randy Mastro, on HIFF’s board for the past decade, is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group.

The Opening Night film on Thursday, October 5 at Guild Hall in East Hampton, will feature the World Premiere of director Alison Chernick’s compelling documentary ITZHAK. The film depicts the extraordinary life and music of renowned violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, widely considered to be the world’s greatest living violinist. Chernick creates a portrait of a man whose remarkable will to survive and passion for music allowed him to find a platform for personal expression against difficult circumstances. Itzhak Perlman, an East End resident, will be in attendance.

In a recent press release, HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent said, “We are thrilled to announce Allison Chernick’s ITZHAK as our opening night feature, and to have the talented Itzhak Perlman himself join us for our anniversary year.”

Oscar®-winning actress Julie Andrews will be the recipient of this year’s HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award. HIFF and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will co-present a special screening of  VICTOR VICTORIA on Saturday, October 7, in East Hampton, starring Julie Andrews. Julie Andrews will participate in a post-screening conversation with Alec Baldwin and an award presentation with special guests.

In another press release, HIFF Executive Director Anne Chaisson said, “We are thrilled to honor Julie Andrews, whose incredible and diverse career speaks for itself. We look forward to celebrating the milestone of our 25th anniversary, and welcoming back The Academy for this special celebration.”

On Sunday, October 8, the Centerpiece film in East Hampton will feature the U.S. premiere of BREATHE, with the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, who will attend the festival. Starring Academy Award® nominee Andrew Garfield and Golden Globe® winner Claire Foy, this inspiring true love story portrays the struggles of a couple, Robin and Diana Cavendish, who in the face of Robin’s devastating disease polio, passionately fulfill their lives together by choosing to help other polio patients.

HIFF will feature seven other World Premieres including: 11/8/16, curated and produced by Jeff Deutchman, documenting Election Day with footage from across the country. Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah’s THE FIRST TO DO IT, recounting the life of Earl Lloyd, the first African-American to play in the NBA. Ben and Orson Cummings’ KILLER BEES, following the local Bridgehampton High School basketball team as they try to defend their state championship title, produced by Shaquille O’Neal and executive produced by Larry Gagosian. Tiffany Bartok’s LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY, profiling the life of iconic makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin. Onur Tukel’s THE MISOGYNISTS, following the tales of hotel guests on the night of the 2016 general election. Brendan and Emmett Malloy’s THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES, a drama about a family who move to the affluent Los Angeles suburb, Palos Verdes. Josh Klausner’s WANDERLAND, about a man lost on a surreal, all-night musical odyssey of misadventures, filmed on the East End.

HIFF will also present its Signature Programs including A Conversation With…; Films of Conflict & Resolution, dedicated to showcasing films that deal creatively with the complex issues and societal effects of war and violence; Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights, now in its third year, presenting films that support social justice issues and animal rights; and now in its second year Air, Land & Sea, highlighting films that bring awareness to global man-made environmental issues.

This year’s, A Conversation With… will feature renowned Emmy®-award winning actor and Oscar®-nominated director Rob Reiner, who directed LBJ, which stars Woody Harrelson as President Lyndon B. Johnson. The New York Premiere of LBJ will also screen at HIFF.

Each year, the HIFF Awards Competition honors emerging narrative and documentary directors from all over the world. HIFF also features Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch. This year’s honorees will be celebrated in Variety’s October 9th issue. This marks the sixth year Variety has collaborated with HIFF to present 10 Actors to Watch.

Anne Chaisson remarks, “A silver Anniversary denotes a quarter century of consistency and commitment to the community where most of us live, connecting the Hamptons with the art of cinema all year long. This year’s festival line-up showcases the same caliber of stellar programming we’ve provided year over year. Join us for films from locals you know to new voices from across the globe.”

HIFF takes place on Columbus Day weekend, a beautiful time to explore the Hamptons. In between films, stroll around town, dine at a gourmet restaurant, or shop at a quaint boutique on Main Street in one of the villages. Sit back, relax, and let your imagination go as you enjoy the world-class Hamptons International Film Festival.

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