Thursday, September 27, 2007



The Closing Night film, August Rush

Trainwreck: My Life As An Idoit

The 2007
Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) runs from October 17th through 21st, 2007, centered in East Hampton, New York with additional events in Southampton, Sag Harbor and Montauk.

Josh Koury has returned for his fifth year of programming with the Festival, joined by David Nugent, who comes as a special consultant from the Newport International Film Festival.

This year’s event features 103 films including - 17 World Premieres, 11 US Premieres, 17 East Coast Premieres and 13 New York Premieres.

The festival has several prize categories:

and new this year,

Opening night, Wednesday, October 17th, features the World Premiere of Bob Balaban’s Bernard and Doris (US), written by Hugh Costello and starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, which focuses on the twilight years of tobacco billionairess Doris Duke and her relationship with her gay butler, to whom she left her fortune.

Closing the festival on Sunday the 21st is the music-driven drama August Rush (US), starring Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard and Robin Williams. Written by Nick Castle and James V. Hart, directed by Kirsten Sheridan, the film follows a guitarist (Meyers) and cellist (Russell) who fall in love and have a child, yet circumstances tear them apart before their son is born. Years later, the child (Highmore) uses his musical talent to seek the parents from whom he was separated at birth. August Rush opens nationally November 21.

Among the actors, directors, and other celebrities expected to attend are:

Lauren Ambrose, Bob Balaban, John Cusack, Phil Donahue, Alison Eastwood
Chris Eigeman, Ralph Fiennes, Alex Gibney, Marcia Gay Harden, Hannah Herzsprung Famke Jansen, Harvey Keitel, Yun Jin Kim, Lisa Kudrow, Frank Langella, Blake Lively Sidney Lumet, Sirio Maccione, Al Maysles, Gretchen Mol, Jeff Nichols, Amanda Peet Scott Prendergast, Vanessa Redgrave, Keri Russell, Susan Sarandon, Sean William Scott Lili Taylor, Egbert Jan Weeber, Jess Weixler, Gahan Wilson, Alec Baldwin, and Lauren Bacall.

There will be special "conversations" with legendary actress Vanessa Redgrave, moderated by Alec Baldwin and celebrated director and East End regular, Sidney Lumet, moderated by journalist Adam Green (The New Yorker, Vogue) - on Oct 18th & 19st at the Bay Street Theatre.

I've seen Sidney Lumet's new film, "Before The Devil Knows You're Dead," and it's absolutely terrific. In his mid-eighties, Lumet is at the top of his form!

At Miss Redgrave’s ‘Conversation,’ The Hamptons International Film Festival will honor her with this year’s Golden Starfish Award for Career Achievement in Acting.

Rising Stars: There is a special program for "rising stars," young actors in important new films. There is also a panel with the Rising Stars.

This year’s Rising Stars are Hannah Herzsprung (Four Minutes), Jess Weixler (Teeth), Blake Lively (Elvis and Anabelle), Egbert Jan Weeber (Vivere).

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation hosts a panel discussing issues raised by the film they have selected.

Here is a breakdown of the different sections in the film festival, with some brief notes on the films.

Golden Starfish Narrative Competition:

Elvis and Anabelle (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Will Geiger – with Blake Lively & Max Minghella. Elvis is a mortician in his family’s funeral parlor. Anabelle is a beauty queen who has dropped dead. An innocent kiss brings a corpse back to life, and romance ensues.

Just Buried (Canada, US Premiere) Dir. Chaz Thorne – with Jay Baruchel, Graham Greene & Rose Byrne. A young man inherits a nearly bankrupt funeral home from his estranged father. He falls in love with the alluring young mortician, only to find out she's offing people to keep the place in business!

Kings (UK, US Premiere) Dir. Tom Collins. In the mid 1970s, a group of six young men left their homes in the West of Ireland, took the boat out of Dublin Bay and sailed across the sea to England in the hope of making their fortunes and returning home. Thirty years later only one, Jackie Flavin, makes it home - but does so in a coffin. Jackie’s five friends reunite at his wake where they are forced face up to the reality of their alienation as long term emigrants who have no longer have any real place to call home.

Turn The River (US, World Premiere) Dir. Chris Eigeman – with Famke Janssen. As this story of a pool-hustling mother and physically abused son hell-bent on fleeing from their terrible lives builds to its inevitable climax, the two desperate characters must take their one last shot at escape, against the odds, and without regard to the possible consequences.

Valerie (Germany, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Birgit Möller. The camera follows Valerie throughout a week in her life as she stumbles through Berlin trying to scrape her life back together.

Golden Starfish Documentary:

Do You Sleep in the Nude? (US, World Premiere) Dir. Marshall Fine. Featuring celebrity testimonials and footage of Rex Reed's television appearances, this documentary reveals many of the same characteristics of journalism’s enfant terrible that have fascinated the public and frightened celebrities for decades.

Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still WEIRD (US, World Premiere) Dir. Steven-Charles Jaffe. This portrait of legendary cartoonist Gahan Wilson offers a fascinating and candid glimpse into the artist’s life and work, simultaneously reveal a nightmarish perspective on modern adult life. Featuring interviews with Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert, Hugh Hefner and Stan Lee, among others.

I Am an Animal: This Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA (US, World Premiere) Dir. Matthew Galkin. The most well-known and controversial animal rights organization, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), is as equally reviled as it is esteemed.

Pool Of Princesses (Germany, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Bettina Blümner. Docudrama about three teenage girls struggling for personal identity and freedom in urban Germany brilliantly captures the bittersweet moments of youth as each girl talks of her hopes, desires, and fears.

Resolved (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Greg Whiteley. This film will destroy every stereotypical thought you’ve ever had about kids who engage in debating, the reasons they do it, and how level the debate playing field really is, or isn’t.

Spotlight Films:

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (US) Dir. Sidney Lumet – with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei & Albert Finney. "May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead," or so goes the Irish toast from which Sidney Lumet’s latest tour de force borrows its title. (Highly recommended!!! See the story below.)

Body of War (US, US Premiere) Dir. Ellen Spiro & Phil Donahue. This powerful documentary confronts the physiological and psychological effects of war as it follows Tomas Young, a wounded soldier who served in Iraq and is now speaking out against the war.

Grey Gardens: From East Hampton to Broadway (US, World Premiere) Dir. Albert Maysles. A documentary on the transition of Maysles’ 1976 documentary Grey Gardens from film to a Broadway musical.

Kabluey (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Scott Prendergast – with Lisa Kudrow, Scott Prendergast, Christine Taylor & Conchata Ferrell. 32-year-old loner Salman is the ne’er-do-well brother-in law of Iraq War bride and mother Leslie. In this poignant satire, Salman tries to save his brother’s family even as the children threaten his life, their mother deceives him, and the world in general abuses him.

Martian Child (US, World Premiere) Dir. Menno Meyjes – with John Cusack, Joan Cusack, Bobby Coleman, Amanda Peet & Oliver Platt. Crushed by the death of his fiancée, a writer adopts a 6-year-old boy in an effort to create a family. The boy, who desperately wants a father, is troubled by the idea that he's from Mars.

My Sexiest Year (US, World Premiere) Dir. Howard Himelstein – with Harvey Keitel, Frankie Muniz, Amber Valletta, Karolina Kurkova & Haylie Duff. The coming-of-age story of Jack Stein, a Brooklyn kid who is sent to Miami to live with his horse race-betting father. As Jack tries to adapt to Florida and to his eccentric father, he meets Marina, a model who sets Jack’s future on course.

Rails & Ties (US) Dir. Alison Eastwood – with Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden & Miles Heizer. Unable to face the possibility of losing his wife to illness, Tom Stark buries himself in his job as a train conductor. But when Tom’s train hits a car on the tracks, a young woman is killed and her son, Davey, is left to cope with the loss of his mother. The accident puts the Starks and Davey on their own collision course. But instead of leading to tragedy, this crossing could mean new hope for a woman who has only one chance left to fulfill her dreams, for a man who must learn to open his heart before it is too late, and for a boy who has never known the true meaning of family.

The Savages (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Tamara Jenkins – with Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. A sister and brother face the realities of familial responsibility as they begin to care for their ailing father.

The Shell Seekers (US, World Premiere) Dir. Piers Haggard – with Vanessa Redgrave, Maximilian Schell, Victoria Smurfit & Victoria Hamilton. A tender tale of romance, remembrance and renewal. The Shell Seekers spins a cautionary tale of true love and profound loss, while preferring a harsh lesson for those who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

Starting Out in the Evening (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Andrew Wagner – with Lauren Ambrose, Frank Langella, Lili Taylor & Adrian Lester. Heather Wolfe convinces Leonard Schiller, a past-his-prime writer, that her graduate thesis can resurrect his career. How far will Heather go in her quest to revive a man who’s been her idol? And what will her digging reveal about Schiller’s past?

Table in Heaven (US, NY Premiere) Dir. Andrew Rossi – with Sirio Maccioni, Marco Maccioni, Mauro Maccioni & Woody Allen. Sirio Maccioni, owner of the world-renowned New York restaurant Le Cirque, is the star of this delectable documentary, which chronicles the closing of Le Cirque 2000 in the Palace Hotel and its reopening in midtown’s Bloomberg building. Will the impending move turn out to be a recipe for disaster?

Teeth (US, NY Premiere) Dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein – with Jess Weixler, John Hensley, Josh Pais, Hale Appleman & Ashley Springer. Sure to be one of the most talked-about movies this year, Teeth features an unforgettable performance by rising star Jess Weixler as a teenager who discovers – quite accidentally – that her body can be used as a weapon. Underneath the movie’s sunny, comic surface lurks a darker story about sexual power.

Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Tod Harrison Williams – with Gretchen Mol, Sean William Scott, Deirde O’Connell, Kevin Conway & Jeff Garlin. A dramatic comedy about a self-induced attention-deficit disordered, learning disabled, Tourette's syndrome suffering, balance impaired, ex-alcoholic young man from the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the gold-digging girl who inspires him to try to get it together. Based on the memoir The Little Yellow Bus by Long Island native Jeff Nichols.

The Walker (US) Dir. Paul Schrader – with Woody Harrelson, Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Ned Beatty & William DeFoe. An escort who caters to Washington D.C.'s society ladies becomes involved in a murder case.

World Cinema Features:

Caramel (Lebanon, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Nadine Labaki. Lebanon’s entry for the 2007 Academy Awards, this romantic comedy is centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women in Beirut.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France) Dir. Julian Schnabel. This is the story of Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, in 1995 at the age of 43, suffered a stroke that paralyzed his entire body, except his left eye. Using that eye to blink out his memoir, Bauby eloquently described the aspects of his interior world, from the psychological torment of being trapped inside his body to his imagined stories from lands he'd only visited in his mind.

Four Minutes (Germany, NY Premiere) Dir. Chris Kraus – with Hannah Herzsprung. An unlikely bond grows in an all-women's prison between a solitary piano teacher and a troubled but very talented young murderess.

House of Life: The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague (US, World Premiere) Dir. Allan Miller. This documentary tells of The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, the site of layer upon layer of buried members of the once-vibrant Jewish community of the Ghetto.

Irina Palm (Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, UK and France, NY Premiere) Dir. Sam Eduard Garbarski – with Marianne Faithfull. A middle-aged Maggie must find enough money for her grandson’s lifesaving medical treatment. When a "Hostess Wanted" sign catches her eye, she naively stumbles into a sex club.

Jump! (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Helen Hood Scheer. A fervent documentary about stunningly talented young athletes who are devoted to an underappreciated yet attention-deserving sport: competitive jump roping.

Please Vote For Me (China) Dir. Weijun Chen. A classic election drama, although the 60 year-old candidates have been replaced with 7-year-old versions.

The Substitute (Denmark, US Premiere) Dir. Ole Bornedal. The story of a group of Danish 6th graders who discover their new substitute teacher is not merely peculiar, but an extraterrestrial.

Taxi to the Dark Side (US) Dir. Alex Gibney. This film examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. Academy Award Nominee director Alex Gibney takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.

The Unforseen (US) Dir. Laura Dunn. Executive producers Robert Redford & Terrance Malick. A documentary about the development around Barton Springs in Austin, Texas and nature's unexpected response to being threatened by human interference.

Vivere (Germany, Netherlands) Dir. Angelina Maccarone – with Egbert Jan Weeber. Fate entangles the lives of two sisters and a lonely older woman, after the younger sister runs away from home.

Wade in the Water (US, World Premiere) Dir. Elizabeth Wood and Gabriel Nussbaum. A New Orleans YMCA class put digital cameras in the hands of eighth-grade students whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Yella (Germany, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Christian Petzold. Yella is plagued by a mysterious post-traumatic stress disorder, and finds herself teaming up with a handsome, roving banker named Philipp, to unlock a secret to try to put together a new life.

Films of Conflict and Resolution in Competition:

AFR (Denmark, North American Premiere) Dir. Morten Hartz Kaplers. AFR is a mockumentary that questions the public's consumption of modern media. When the Prime Minister of Denmark is killed by a terrorist bombing, all sorts of suspicions emerge. Combining existing press materials of actual political leaders with fictional interviews, Kaplers composes the perfect investigative piece.

AmericanEast (US, North American Premiere) Dir. Hesham Issawi – with Sayed Badreya & Tony Shalhoub. Mustafa is a widowed Egyptian immigrant who dreams of opening an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant with his best friend Sam, who's Jewish. But their religious differences are just the first of many obstacles present in post-9/11 Los Angeles.

Behind Forgotten Eyes (US, East Coast Premiere) Dir. Anthony Gilmore. During World War II over 200,000 Korean women were forced to work as sex slaves by the Japanese Army. Decades later, they are fighting to tell their story before history forgets them.

Soldiers Of Conscience (US, NY Premiere) Dir. Gary Weimberg. An in-depth look at the conscientious objector experience concerning the war in Iraq, Soldiers of Conscience is an important film for anyone attempting to understand human beings engaged in violent conflict. T

To Die In Jerusalem (Israel, US Premiere) Dir. Hilla Medalia. In this powerful documentary we follow a mother who has lost her daughter in a suicide bombing as she meets the parents of her daughter's killer. One hopes that differences could be set aside to grieve, but To Die in Jerusalem shows us just how hard that can be.

Films Of Conflict And Resolution Out Of Competition:

Beyond Belief (US) Dir. Beth Murphy. A journey with two women who lost their husbands on 9/11, and decide to harness something positive through their suffering, in the form of a spiritual and literal journey: charity work in Afghanistan.

India Untouched (India). Dir. Stalin K. Motivated by ancient religious edicts, no amount of governmental encouragement has been able to stem the tragic custom that separates human beings according to their birth.

Steal a Pencil for Me (US) Dir. Michele Ohayon. Jack and Ina are Jewish, they have fallen in love in 1943 and they are prisoners in a concentration camp.


Golden Starfish Shorts:

Shorts Program 1 - Gray Matter:

Shorts Program 2 – Comedy:
Shorts Before Films:

Descriptions and synopses of short films are available on the web-site and the festival catalogue.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Film/Video Awards:

Ticket Information:

Passes and tickets can be ordered on-line through the festival website, or through the new East Hampton Box Office location at Design Within Reach - 30 Park Place, East Hampton.

Tickets by phone – 631-747-7978. Founders Pass- $1000; Spotlight Package $350, Southampton Package $150, Film Discovery Package $100, Opening Night Package $100, Starfish Screening Member $100, Opening Night party - $75; Saturday Night Heineken Filmmakers’ Reception $75, A Conversation With - $25; Spotlight Films - $20 - $35; Panel Discussions- $10; Films- $12; Early Bird Screenings - $9, Children 12 and under –$8.

Festival Venues:
No festival can survive without sponsors. Here are some principal sponsors of HIFF:

Presenting Sponsors: American Airlines and Altour International.
Host Sponsors: Fox 5 New York.
Patron Sponsors: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New Line Cinema, Prudential Douglas Elliman, Regal Entertainment Group; Silvercup Studios, Newsday, 91 East Productions, The Hallmark Channel, OK! Magazine, Heineken, Time Warner Cable Media Sales, VOX Magazine,, WVVH Hamptons Television

For further information on the 2007 Hamptons International Film Festival please visit .

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