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Hamptons gearing up for the 12th edition


One hundred miles to the east of New York City, at the tip of Long Island, the various villages of the Hamptons are world renowned as the summer playground for the rich and famous. Now that Summer is over and the first chill of the Fall season is in the air, the Hamptons are gearing up for what has become another celebrated event….the 12th edition of the Hamptons International film Festival.

Running from October 20th through the 24th, this annual celebration of films and filmmakers will take place in the legendary locations of East Hampton, Sag Harbor, Southampton and Montauk on the tip of the East End.
The Festival will be presenting an exciting program of American Independent and International Cinema that includes an impressive array of World and US Premieres.

In a crowded field of New York-area film festivals, the Hamptons has its own unique niche. “We see our mission as cultivating, stimulating and expressing the art of international independent film.”, according to Executive Director Denise Kasell, “and to be a forum for new artistic voices.”

Slated less than two weeks before the Presidential election, there is a strong political bent to the films to be showcased. “Without premeditation, many of our films are political even though not always about politics”, Kasell stated, “and will play to our knowledgeable and sophisticated audiences who have the election and politics in the forefronts of their minds.”

Festival Programmer Rajendra Roy echoes this sentiment. “In crafting this year’s program, there has been a conscious effort to embrace the spectrum of intelligent and serious views contemporary filmmakers are projecting in their films”, Roy said. “I believe that we have found an amazing group of films that harmonize brilliantly with the times”, Roy concluded.

The Festival opens on October 20th with the East Coast premiere of Kinsey, the drama of the notorious sex therapist starring Liam Neeson and directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters), and will close with the US Premiere of The Assassination of Richard Nixon, featuring a tour de force performance by Oscar winner Sean Penn as a man driven to thoughts of murder by the injustice of his personal and professional lives.

Unlike the New York Film Festival, which is currently in progress in New York City, the Hamptons International Film Festival runs a number of Competition sections, as a way of bringing much needed attention (and cash awards) to its slate of winners.

The heart of the Festival‘s commitment to American Independent filmmaking are the Golden Starfish Award for Best Narrative Feature (with cash prize of over $180,000 in goods and in-kind services), the Spike TV Best Documentary Award ($10,000 in cash and in-kind services) and the Short Film Award ($5,000 in cash). Other Awards given at the Festival include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Prize in Science and Technology ($25,000 in cash); the Films of Conflict and Resolution Award ($10,000 and the Kodak Award for Cinematography ($6,000 of goods and in-kind services).

This year, for the first time, the Festival is inaugurating the Golden Starfish International Award Competition with a prize of $10,000 for the Best International Film. This will allow the Festival to highlight its growing international film section.

Films competing for the Golden Starfish Feature Award include the world premieres of Illusion (directed by Michael Goorjian), Living ‘Til The End (Amanda Goodwin) and The Tollbooth (Debra Kirschener) and the East Coast premieres of Fighting Tommy Riley (directed by Eddie O’Flaherty) and Most High (Marty Sader).

The five films competing for the Golden Starfish Documentary Award include the world premieres of Hardwood Dreams (directed by Frederic Golding), Following Sean (Ralph Arlyck) and The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till (Keith Beauchamp), and the US premiers of A Touch of Greatness (directed by Leslie Sullivan) and Army Of One.

The Golden Starfish International Film Competition includes on includes the US premieres of Capricciosa (directed by Reza Bagher, Sweden), After The Day Before (Attila Janisch, Hungary), Calling Hedy Lamarr (Georg Misch, Germany/Austria), Niceland (Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Iceland) and Marriages (Velérie Guignabodet, France).

Other anticipated programs at the Festival include a tribute to film industry veteran Marcie Bloom, most recently the co-President of arthouse distributor Sony Pictures Classics, the return of a film section devoted to Films of Conflict and Resolution, and a new section of innovative cinema called “Gray Matter”, dedicated to the memory of filmmaker and storyteller Spalding Gray.

Sandy Mandelberger
Industry Editor

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