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The 23rd Annual International Film Festival

New Signature Programs, World Premieres, and Partnerships 

The 23rd Annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will take place October 8-12, 2015. 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 the Film Festival with about 130 films and over 20 events in 14 venues across the East End. Over 30 countries are represented in the slate of films with cash and in-kind prizes totaling $170,000. The festival’s diverse programs attract celebrities from around the world to the Hamptons as well as those interested in film, culture, and the famed East End.

Stuart Match Suna, a founding board member of the festival in 1992, will be stepping down from his Chairman position after this year’s festival, but will continue to support HIFF as Chair Emeritus. Newly elected Co-Chairmen of the HIFF Board of Directors, Alec Baldwin and Randy Mastro, will assume their roles after the end of this year’s festival. A gala honoring many industries and celebrities will highlight Stuart Match Suna and his 18 years of service, on Sunday, October 11.

Alec Baldwin has been a HIFF board member for the past decade and a longtime supporter of the festival, producing its SummerDocs series for the past seven years. Randy Mastro, on HIFF’s board for the past nine years, is a partner in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group.

East Hampton Opening Night, Thursday, October 8, will feature James Vanderbilt’s Truth, starring Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Topher Grace, and Elisabeth Moss. The film follows news anchor Dan Rather (Redford) during his final days at CBS News, after he broadcast a report revealing how President Bush relied on privilege and family connections to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.

Southampton Opening Night, Friday, October 9, will feature Paolo Sorrentino’s, Youth, starring Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda, and Paul Dano. The film explores the lifelong bond between two friends vacationing in a luxury Swiss Alps lodge as they ponder retirement. It examines how the most important and life-changing experiences can come at any time – even late in life.

HIFF presents Signature Programs such as In Conversation With Series, Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch program, and The Awards Competition for Narrative and Documentary feature films. This year’s Narrative Competition feature films include Matt Sobel’s Take Me To The River, Ciro Guerra’s Embrace of the Serpent, Avishai Sivan’s Tikkun, Grímur Hákonarson’s Rams, and Diastème’s French Blood. Documentary Competition feature films include the World Premiere of Jon Fox’s Newman, David Shapiro’s Missing People, Jean-Gabriel Périot’s A German Youth, Michael Madsen’s The Visit, and Ilinca Calugareanu’s Chuck Norris vs. Communism.

HIFF Executive Director Anne Chaisson observes, “We are back with smart, intriguing, and stimulating films from around the globe that continue to position our festival on a competitive landscape, while still staying faithful to our audience.”

The Conflict and Resolution (C&R) program will feature the World Premiere of Nick Louvel and Michele Mitchell’s The Uncondemned, Dalibor Matanic’s The High Sun, Davis Guggenheim’s He Named Me Malala, Camilla Nielsson’s Democrats, Abigail Disney’s The Armor Of Light, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman’s Last Day Of Freedom, Yasir Kareem’s Kingdom Of Garbage, Dress Code’s Plamen, and Enric Ribes and Oriol Martínez’s Take Me To The Moon.

Other programs include Family Films, Oscar Contenders, Indie Films, Films for Women, and the Views From Long Island program, which will present the World Premiere of Marc Levin’s The Class Divide, Ron Davis’ Harry & Snowman, Alexandra Shiva’s How To Dance In Ohio, Robert Edwards’ When I Live My Life Over Again, and Pippa Bianco’s Picturing Barbara Kruger.

This year HIFF has added a new signature program, the Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights program, which will provide filmmakers the opportunity to support social justice issues and animal rights. “This new signature program will allow the festival to join the important film movement that brings justice to animals, an effort that has been increasing impact and visibility worldwide,” commented David Nugent, HIFF Artistic Director, in a HIFF release.

The Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights program will feature the World Premiere of Darcy Dennett’s The Champions. The documentary describes the plight of the pit-bulls rescued from the brutal fighting ring of NFL quarterback star Michael Vick, and those who risked everything to save them, despite pressure from PETA and The Humane Society to euthanize the dogs.

Also, this year HIFF has renamed the popular morning talks called Rowdy Talks to Winick Talks at Rowdy Hall in honor of late film director and producer Gary Winick. Winick has premiered multiple films at the festival and won the HIFF Audience Award in 1999 for his drama The Tic Code. The Gary Winick Memorial Fund will support the Winick Talks at Rowdy Hall, held on October 9-11 from 10-11 a.m. featuring guest artists in moderated conversation, with audience participation.

In addition, HIFF will also partner with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival to focus on the themes of migration, diversity, and social inclusion. Approximately 25 films are selected from a pool of over 200 submissions by youth from all over the world.

HIFF also benefits many local businesses in the Hamptons. As Chaisson notes, “We partner with local businesses including Pierre’s, Bridgehampton, The Stephen Talkhouse, Amagansett, Nick & Toni’s, Serafina, Smokin’ Wolf, Rowdy Hall and c/o The Maidstone, in East Hampton, our official headquarters venue.” She remarks, “We are so fortunate to have been able to showcase a world class film festival in the Hamptons every fall for the past 23 years. The Hamptons is not only a place where people go in the summer, it has something to offer year-round.”

The Hamptons International Film Festival attracts many people to the Hamptons as fall arrives. They come for the Film Festival and enjoy strolling through the villages, visiting farmstands, or taking a walk on the beach. Fall is a great time to become submerged in the culture and beauty of the East End.