omplete QPORIT: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

 

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR FILM AT HIFF (AND OTHER FILM FESTIVALS)


I'm covering The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) for QPORIT, and I've also covered the Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Film Festival, The Stony Brook Film Festival, New Films / New Directors and others. Here's what I've learned from good examples, and bad examples, of how you -- the film producer, director, actor, or other involved filmer -- can help your film (and you, yourself, too) get noticed.


The following stuff is pretty basic, yet I see many films that have done none of these things, and few -- except big studio films -- that have done very many of these things. Most of these suggestions are neither very hard nor very expensive, and they can pay off big.

1 -- Hire a good publicist. They should be able to spend a lot of time for you, and come to HIFF with you. And they should know their way around. They should be able to help with all the following:

2 -- Have a good press kit, including bios, info describing the film, and lots of great pix. I prefer essays (by the Producer, Director, Actors etc --PDAetc) -- that can be quoted to copies of interviews, because someone else's interview is of little use to anyone writing an original story.

3 -- The press kit should be available online (see below for online suggestions), and in print form at the festival HQ and at the screenings.

4 -- Send a note to all the accredited press (and industry pros!) before the festival alerting them to your film -- including some info about the film, and possibly a picture-- offering screeners, and alerting them to possible interviews.

5 -- Take as many people to the festival as possible (including the publicist, director, producers, actors, etc...). Make sure you co-ordinate with the PR Group handling the festival! Go to all the parties with everyone from the film. Having identified the look of a press badge, split up and have everybody zero in to schmooze with anybody from the press... and anyone else, too. Make yourselves available for every possible photo and video opportunity.

5A -- Of course, be at all the screenings of the film with people from the film. Be available for photos, video and interviews before and after. Introduce the film before it screens, and hold a Q & A after. Hang around with people after the Q & A.

6 -- All the PDAetc should send a note to everyone they know inviting them to the screenings at the festival.

7 -- Follow up after the festival with anyone you met (or should have met).

HERE'S WHAT SHOULD BE ONLINE

YOU SHOULD CREATE OR PROVIDE INFORMATION FOR THE FOLLOW TYPES OF ONLINE PRESENCE:

These sites should contain (as appropriate for the type of site)

To sum it up, everyone involved with the film should let as many people as possible know about the film, and then make it as easy as possible for journalists to write great stories (and for buyers to buy, & viewers to come see your film)!

NOTES OCT 10 -- Here are some additional thoughts I've had after several days here in the Hamptons.

1 -- At the Opening Night Party, photographers and journalists with cameras are hungry to take pictures, and editors are most likely to use some great picture from Opening Night. Moreover, not many of the big stars seem to show up at this party, and they don't stay long. SO... Come to the Opening Night Party looking fantastic, and step in front of the Picture Background. Make sure the photographers and cameras all find you. Be sure to carry around business cards and postcards for the film. The postcard should have a compelling picture on one side, and lots of info on the other side (Name --yes, people have forgotten to put the name on the postcard -- Tagline, Short Synopsis, Director and Star credits, SCREENING TIMES AT THE FESTIVAL!, PR contact, etc.)

2a -- Always carry around a business card and postcards (as described above).

2b -- Put postcards anywhere people will be.

3 -- If you schedule an interview, especially on weekends, make sure the press has a phone number to contact in case some problem arises at the last minute. (OK, I couldn't find the place an interview was to take place, and it took frantic work to chase down and hook up with the subjects.)

4 -- People make schedules in advance. Send advisories to the press early, and keep following up. If you wait till the festival starts, people will have already planned something else. If you don't remind them, they'll forget about you and impulsively change their plans.

5 -- When you meet a journalist be sure to give them a business card and postcard. Be sure to get one from them. Don't forget to send them a note after the festival. Find out when their article is published. Make sure they keep in touch as your film moves toward release, and as you move to other projects.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

 

OTHELLO



John Ortiz as Othello, Jessica Chastain as Desdemona, and
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago in OTHELLO
Photo by Armin Bardel


The LAByrinth production of Othello, (here's the text) directed by Peter Sellars, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Iago, John Ortiz as Othello and Jessica Chastain as Desdemona, is a feast for students and directors of Shakespeare, but quite skimpy on the delivery of emotion, especially in (what is usually) the cataclysmic conclusion.

There are many strange features in this production, some of which help illuminate the richness of the play, some of which confuse the audience and dissipate the power of the story and some of which actually do both.

Peter Sellars, of course, is best known for opera productions which have a reputation for quirky originality.

The first striking feature of the production is the slow pace at which the actors speak. This allows an audience unused to Shakespearean language to understand and process far more than is ever possible when the actors (as Hamlet suggested) speak their words trippingly on the tongue. Audience members (and actors) are allowed to savor and appreciate the poetry and the words.

For audiences used to the rhythms of modern films, and more interested in the experience than the details, however, this rich but 4 hour long presentation can seem plodding and tedious.

A second feature of the production is that Desdemona's father Brabantio is cut out of the play, characters are combined, and suddenly the characters pull out cell phones and start talking to each other across the room and on microphones. This gets the play off to a shaky start (not to mention the fact that the sound system seemed to be flaky for a while the night I saw the show). People new to the play, and those who know the play by heart are equally able to be confused about who is who and why they say what they say, at the beginning. (Not surprisingly, the appearance of the cell phones provoked some not very supportive laughter from the audience.)

The play is set (mostly) in a military base in Cyprus. This provides a universal, timeless environment in which to enact the tragedy.

However, Sellars does not seem to take this setting seriously. Hoffman, with a pot belly, and casual clothes, never in uniform, is vocally a great Iago, but physically impossible to imagine as a candidate for Othello's next in command. Other characters are in and out of uniform, and the set design does not evoke a military base, except fleetingly.

In most productions, Desdemona is a problem: The relation between Othello and Desdemona (O & D) is vapid and unconvincing. Here, Desdemona is a strong, though naive character. And there is a lot of physical communication between Othello and Desdemona. They kiss a lot, and lie next to each other a lot. This is a big improvement over most productions. Yet it still seems like puppy love. Because of the open set design, the other characters can freely observe Desdemona and Othello making out on a super-modern, stylized electronic bed. But what they see and what we see is not what Iago describes to Brabantio, Desdemona's father:

IAGO: Even now, now, very now, an old black ram
Is topping your white ewe
.


This -- if taken to be an accurate representation of the O & D affair -- suggests that any glimpses we see of their physical relationship should be torrid passion, not innocent necking.

(If, in Sellars version, the intention is for Iago to be misleading Brabantio about the nature of Othello's affair, and the relation between Desdemona and Othello is intended to be depicted as almost High-Schoolish, then it takes away much of the urgency of the whole play. Note -- Since Brabantio is not in this production at all, I was a little confused at the time these lines were delivered, and it is hard to remember how these lines were used in this production.)

It was Sellars intention to create an Othello for the Obama generation. Sellars seems to consider most productions of Othello as demeaning to blacks in general and Othello in particular. It seems to have been Toni Morrison who changed his mind about the play (
see the video interviews -- click on see all!)

In assessing the treatment of Othello in the play, realize that here is a black man, in white Europe, hailed as a great soldier, loved by a beautiful white woman for his character, having sex with her (and possibly other women), marrying her despite some objection by her father, and commissioned for an important military expedition. This is in a play written more than 400 years ago. How many modern plays, TV shows or movies treat a black character in an interratial sexual/romantic relationship and interratial career, with such importance?

Othello, the man, the general, is not a puppet for a simple anti-black propaganda play; he should be taken seriously by the director, the audience and the world. He is a great man and a terrible killer. And his interratial marriage is at the center of the play. The play is about the reaction of all the characters to Othello, his position, and his beautiful wife.

So I think it is a mistake, even in accentuating other aspects of the play, as Sellars does brilliantly, to minimize the importance of the basic thread. The relation -- the interracial relation -- between Othello and Desdemona should not be minimized. Indeed it should be maximized to the extent of exhibiting a physically provocative -- rather than timid -- passion. (In the "pre-Obama world" a black man would not be shown coupling with a beautiful white woman. The "post-Obama world" should portray these people as they are created in the play.)

Generally speaking, the casting of a Latino as Othello, and a black man as Cassio, and a big black woman as a combination of characters, does support Sellars stated ambition of making the play more about universal issues, and less about a stupid, credulous, murderous black man than is perhaps (he believes) usually the case. Liza Colón-Zayas as Emilia, Iago's wife, excellently carries Sellars' idea of how her character's silence is as important as Iago's deception in deluding Othello, and how her courage in revealing the deception unwinds the plot. (However, casting Philip and Liza as a couple is dubious; they are not convincing as a married couple.)

Indeed Sellars'
essay and video interviews about the production are extremely interesting. He did accomplish what he set out to do. But, as so often happens, it is what he did not do and did not focus on and therefore did not do, that cause the weaknesses in the production.

It is at the end that the play has the greatest and strangest lapses:

1-- The classic line:

OTHELLO: Put out the light, and then put out the light

is not matched with any action that makes sense of the line. Othello is walking in meaningless circles around the bed.

2 -- The stylized electronic bed does not allow or evoke the emotions raised by the lines:

DESDEMONA: Prithee, tonight
Lay on my bed my wedding sheets: remember;


The wedding sheets, which should carry enormous emotional power, are missing from the bed, and can not deliver the message they should carry to Othello (and to the audience).

3 -- And finally, Ortiz simply does not produce the physical or vocal strength necessary to convey the powerful emotions that would illuminate this twisting of Othello from lover to killer and then convey the cosmic remorse that suddenly erupts when he realizes what horror he has committed; how he has been deceived, betrayed and destroyed.

So, all in all, I enjoyed this production and learned much from it, but did not exit from the theater emotionally devastated!



This is only the beginning of the "Othello Project," for Peter Sellars. According to the
notes distributed at the theater, Sellars and Toni Morrison are discussing a prequel to Othello, called "Desdemona," starting from the stories that Othello told Desdemona so that she fell in love with him. And Sellars is planning to return to Othello as well as Toni Morrison's "Desdemona," in part with the idea of developing a film. This project should be exceptionally illuminating to all those who love Shakespeare.


In addition, on Sunday October 4, there will be a free panel discussion about Othello:

OTHELLO DISCUSSION EVENT
FREE OTHELLO DISCUSSION SUNDAY October 4:


"Is It Possible?": Othello in the Age of Obama

Luis Argueta, documentary filmmaker;
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of Tisch School of the Arts;
Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx; and
Carmen Peláez, playwright and actress.

Moderated by Dr. Avery T. Willis, who has collaborated with Peter Sellars as an assistant director and dramaturg since 2006.

OTHELLO Sunday Speakers Series

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 3:00-4:00PM

General Admission Lobby opens at 2:15PM

NYU Skirball Center
566 LaGuardia Place & Washington Square South

Here are some interesting links:

WEB VIDEO -- James Earl Jones -- Othello's Testimony:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJybA1emr_g&feature=related




Kenneth Branagh's version:


Paul Robeson as Othello & Uta Hagen as Desdemona:


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

 

OLIVER STONE'S SOUTH OF THE BORDER


Oliver Stone's
South of the Border is a movie that should be widely seen. It is informative, even eye-opening; it's entertaining, interesting, and very well made.

Here is a gallery of pictures from the Premiere:


Evo Morales(L) Oliver Stone (C) and Hugo Chavez (R)
Arriving at the Premiere of South of the Border
Photo by Eric Roffman
Evo Morales
President of Bolivia
At the Premiere of South of the Border
Photo by Eric Roffman
Hugo Chavez
President of Venezuela
At the Premiere, talking with the Press
Photo by Eric Roffman
Danny Glover
Co-Producer of Bamako
At the Premiere, with the Press
Photo by Eric Roffman
Director Oliver Stone
With Hugo Chavez looking on
Photo by Eric Roffman


The film is not fair and balanced. Rather, it is designed to balance a great deal of unfair and unbalanced reporting on Hugo Chavez and other South American leaders.

Now I have to stop for a moment and mention who these leaders are. Too few people know. That is perhaps the best reason of all to see this film. Americans are woefully ignorant about the rest of the world. Whoops. I said "Americans." We are all of us Americans: North Americans, Central Americans, South Americans. We actually need a word for us residents of the US.

In a comedy piece, Theodore Bikel once described the findings of archeologists digging our remains. Finding the words, "We, the people" and many references to "US" among the ruins, these future archeologists called us the "Weans" (pronounced WEunz).

So, for the benefit of us Weans (at least the non-South-American-aware among us) we have...

Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia
Fernando Lugo, President of Paraguay
Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador
Lula Da Silva, President of Brazil
Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina
Néstor Kirchner, former President of Argentina
Raul Castro, President of Cuba

(Note -- anyone who checks and reads these links will already be among the most highly South-American-knowledgeable Weans.)

These are all popular and populist leaders. As pointed out in the film, unlike an earlier set of rulers in South America, for the most part these leaders "look like the people they represent."

South of the Border is (the fact this title has been used for Disney and other films is -- perhaps intentionally -- ironic) a record of a journey Oliver Stone made through these countries in South America, chatting with the leaders. It's extremely well photographed by a team headed by the justly celebrated Albert Maysles.

In a way, this is a beautifully photographed home movie, of a journey to visit some really interesting people.

In counterpoint to the (favorably slanted) conversations with the leaders and a recounting of the history of these countries, Stone gives us a view of the way these leaders are demonized in the media. The media, however, are represented almost entirely by the entirely over-the-top Fox News. In context, these bits are hard to be taken seriously. It's a milder form of The Daily Show presenting Fox News bits.

So a totally serious, balanced study of these leaders, their policies, and their relations with the US is still needed. This film makes a compelling case for how important such a study would be.

Also touched on is the extremely important issue of the proper role of capitalism, socialism, globalization, imperialism, free trade, the IMF and democracy. I say "issue" rather than "issues" because it appears that all these things and more are intimately interconnected.

(Another film, Bamako, by Abderrahmane Sissako and co-produced by Danny Glover addresses very similar problems in Africa. Danny Glover was a guest at this screening, and chatted with the Press, in eloquent terms, about the importance of these issues to ordinary people in developing countries.)

Other problems these leaders are dealing with -- the legacy of previous governments and foreign economic interests -- are: corruption, political instability, poverty, unbalanced economies, health and the skewed distribution of wealth.

There is one incredible, shocking moment in the film when Néstor Kirchner, former President of Argentina claims to quote President Bush saying to him in a discussion of the economy to the effect that: the only way for a country to achieve economic prosperity is through war. (As described by Kirchner, Bush's statement goes way beyond the frequently made assertion that the US did not pull out of the depression until WW 2.) Stone asked him in the film to re-affirm this quote, and Kirchner did. But Stone apparently did not press this issue any further. Coming out of the men's room after the screening and Q&A, I managed to ask Oliver Stone if there was more to the story than is in the film, and he said: it is "on the record," but he had no more about this. (Note-- Journalists, critics, and even politicians should not underestimate the importance of rest rooms as a place to gather information.) If true and taken in context, this quote would seem to have very dark implications for the foundation of Bush's policies.

In the film, with the press, and in the Q & A, Chavez was extremely polite and friendly, expressed great warmth for America, and seems exceptionally intelligent. Here is a clip from the Q&A in which Chavez discusses democracy and progress in Venezuela.



While I was preparing this story, I listened to Chavez being interviewed by Larry King, where he was less sympathetic.

Chavez is trying to create a form of native, Venzuelan "socialism" in contrast to the kind of capitalism he has observed which -- in its resemblance on steroids to the ugliest union busting, assasinations, monopolies, and wicked business cycles of Wean capitalism -- has served native populations in South America very badly.

Evo Morales, who rose to power as a union leader, seems a much more gentle leader. In the Q & A, he gave an impassioned statement about the importance of protecting "Mother Earth:" Earth will survive without people. People can not survive without the Earth. The rights of the Earth must take precedence over the "rights" of people and companies and governments whose policies and actions could destroy the Earth for all of us.

Chavez seems genuinely interested in good relations with the United States. He is cultured, courageous, very charismatic, and passionate about baseball.

All the leaders interviewed in the film seem to be genuinely interested in the welfare of their people.

To cultivate a relationship with Chavez, it might be a good idea for...

1-- a sympathetic figure to take him on a visit to Israel to see the threat that people there face from incoming rockets and hostile neighbors;

2-- to give him a summer sabbatical at Harvard, Yale or Princeton to learn diplomatic rhetoric. (His statement at the podium of the UN that he could still sense the lingering smell of Sulphur after Bush's visit comes across in the film as more akin to a Daily Show bit than true ferocity, but it is profoundly undiplomatic rhetoric);
and most of all

3-- invite him to throw out the first pitch at the World Series, especially if it is in Yankee Stadium.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

 

HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2009 PREVIEW


THE 17TH ANNUAL
HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
THURSDAY OCTOBER 8TH - MONDAY OCTOBER 12TH 2009

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
Closing Night Film

The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) is always one of the most interesting and enjoyable of the big New York area film festivals. 107 films are squeezed into 5 days, in addition to lots of interesting and enjoyable people! It is one of the best places to meet and talk with young emerging talent, as well as older, already emerged talent… informally, sitting next to them at a restaurant; informally, at parties; semi-formally, in impromptu interviews; and formally, at scheduled events.

This year there seems to be more than the usual number of engaging films, compelling events, and special visitors.

HIFF is more than just films! Here – in outline form – are the main features (pun not intended) of the festival…

LINKS:

Home Page:
http://www.hamptonsfilmfest.org/
(Note, by the way, that it’s filmfest not filmfestival!)
Film & event info & ordering: http://www.tribecacinemas.com/filmguide-hamptons


FILMS
Documentaries, Narrative Features, Shorts
A Scandinavian Cinema Focus series
An Israeli Cinema Focus series
Films for families, films made on Long Island, films by women
Golden Starfish Award competitions, including audience awards
Q & A after (many) screenings

CONVERSATIONS
Alan Alda, Sharon Stone, Marty Bregman, Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi

SCIENCE:
Readings of science and technology related works in progress
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize in Science and Technology
A tribute to the work of the Sloan Foundation promoting science and technology in cinema

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMERS:
Rising Stars (US) --Emmy Rossum, Emma Stone, Zach Gilford, Rooney Mara
Shooting Stars (EU) -- Alba Rohrwacher, Cyron Melville

SPECIAL EVENT:
Benefit for Mira Nair’s Foundation, Maisha, for developing African Cinema

PANELS & SPECIAL FEATURES:
Sloan Panels
Green Production Technology for Films
Making Your First Short Film
New York Film Critics
Breakthrough Performers
Cinematography Master Class
Independent Filmmakers Today

PARTIES:
Opening Night
Reception for the filmmakers
Reception for the breakthrough performers
And more!

Among the celebrities expected to attend – in addition to all the breakthrough performers, all the CONVERSATIONalists, and Mira Nair -- are Ethan Hawke, Bob Balaban, Rachel Dratch, Neve Campbell, IM PEI, Pierce Brosnan, and more….

(Note: And more… applies to almost everything here.)

Mira Nair’s foundation and benefit is an especially interesting event. Mira Nair is a brilliant filmmaker. (I saw her first at the presentation of Salaam Bombay at the New York Film Festival long, long ago, and she was conspicuously exceptional.) 8 – which will be shown at the event -- is a collection of short segments by 8 exceptional directors: Abderrahmane Sissako, Mira Nair, Wim Wenders, Jane Campion, Gaspar Noe, Jan Kounen, Gus Van Sant and Gael Garcia Bernal.

Sissako directed Bamako, which was shown at the New York Film Festival a couple of years ago. It critiques the IMF and the World Bank for the way they handle financing for developing nations. (This is a theme which Oliver Stone is also talking about in his current “South Of The Border” interviews with South American leaders.) I videotaped a panel at the NYFF after the presentation of Bamako in which Sissako, Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz, Harry Belafonte, and others discussed this issue – an excerpt from this video is on the Bamako DVD.


In this video clip from the panel,
Sissako discusses the effects of IMF & World Bank policies on film culture,
and his response, together with some thoughts on making Bamako.

Some of the people at the festival are returning from previous years or doubling up in more than one film or event this year. Amy Redford is doing both: she presented The Guitar last year, and this year is speaking on both the Filmmaking Today panel and a Sloan panel. Hannah Herzsprung, who was a Rising Star at HIFF in 2007 & a Shooting Star at HIFF in 2008 is appearing with Daniel Bruhl – who was here at HIFF a few years ago – in the German film My Words, My Lies, My Love (Lila, Lila is the original title). Bruhl is also in John Rabe. Rooney Mara is in Tanner Hall and Dare. Her sister, Kate Mara, was a Rising Star at HIFF last year.

MAJOR FILMS---

OPENING FILM: The Greatest, the directorial debut by Shana Feste, starring Susan Sarandon and Pierce Brosnan, who is the producer and star of the film and will be in attendance. It’s the story of a family that’s disintegrating as they deal with the death of their child and their surviving son’s drug use. The Greatest explores the ways in which love can persist and life can re-assert itself in the face of seemingly all-consuming tragedy.

CENTERPIECE FILM: Solitary Man (US Premiere) Director(s) Brian Koppelman, David Levien – with Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Mary-Louise Parker, Danny DeVito, and Jenna Fischer. Michael Douglas's masterly ability to delve into complex characters shines in SOLITARY MAN, a tale of a New York businessman experiencing a mid-life slump so severe that it is more catastrophe than crisis.

CLOSING FILM: US Premiere of Heath Ledger’s last film, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus. Directed by Terry Gilliam and starring the late Heath Ledger, as well as Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell who stepped in to assume Mr. Ledger’s role after he passed away during production. Doctor Parnassus is the proprietor of a traveling “Imaginarium” in which paying customers are invited to cross into a hallucinatory otherworld to uncover their true selves. Terry Gilliam gives free rein to his signature whimsicality in the Imaginarium’s rich, cartoonish, constantly shifting landscape, and the adventurous film brims with affectionate nods to its late star.

This year’s Festival features 107 films including - 15 World Premieres, 10 North American Premieres, 18 US Premieres, 14 East Coast Premieres and 10 New York Premieres.

THE COMPETITIONS AND AWARDS–

Golden Starfish Awards and competitions for:

-Best Narrative Feature (over $165,000 in goods and in-kind services),
-Best Documentary Feature ($5,000 in cash)
-Best Conflict and Resolution Film and
-Best Short Film ($5,000 in cash)

-The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize in Science and Technology ($25,000 in cash);
-The Kodak Award for Cinematography ($6,000 of goods and in-kind services);
-The Zicherman Family Foundation Award for Screenwriting ($5,000 in cash);
-Best Undergraduate and Graduate Student Films (five $500 cash awards);
-RoC® Gold Standard Award for Female Feature Director ($5,000 cash award); and the newly created
-Conflict and Resolution Development Award ($5,000 in cash) given to a work in progress by the Brizzolara Family Foundation.

No film festival is possible without sponsors.

Before going to the detailed description of the films and events, Here are the people, companies and organizations that helped to make this festival possible. It may be untraditional to acknowledge the sponsors in a news article. But they are among the most important factors in keeping a good festival going.

Presenting Year Round Sponsors: American Airlines and Altour
Host Sponsor: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Patron Sponsors: RoC® Skincare, Fox 5 New York, Silvercup Studios, IndieWire, Lincoln-Mercury, Saunders, Bablegum, Ford
Founding Sponsors: WVVH, Hampton Jitney.
Contributing Sponsors: Kodak, Nespresso, Visa Signature, Worldwide Biggies
GSA Sponsors: Arenson Props, Feature Systems, Greenburg Traurig, LLP, Hamptons Locations, Indiepay, JFA Film Production Accounting, K/A/S Lighting, Kits & Expendables, Liman Video Rental, Mark Forman Productions, Mechanism, Digital, Motion Picture Enterprises, Inc., On Location Education, Panavision, Post Works, Qube Cinema, Refinery New York, Silvercup Studios Wits End Group Inc., Writers Bootcamp


Here’s some more information, from HIFF, about the festival:

Alec Baldwin
at a Sloan sponsored panel in 2007
Photo by Eric Roffman

Programs and Special Events

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Where Science and Technology Meet Film: The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at the Hamptons International Film Festival

This year, the Hamptons International Film Festival celebrates the tenth anniversary of our partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, whose dedication to the public understanding of science and technology through the arts has had a profound effect on the film community. HIFF was the first film festival to partner with the Sloan Foundation, and each year the $25,000 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize is awarded at the festival. The cash prize is presented to a feature-length film that explores science and technology themes in fresh, innovative ways, and depicts scientists and engineers in a realistic and compelling fashion. HIFF and The Sloane Foundation are proud to present Alejandro Amenabar’s historical drama Agora, starring Rachel Weisz, which chronicles the life of philosopher and scientist Hypatia of Alexandra, with this year's Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize.

The Alfred P. Sloan Screenplay Reading
Two science and technology-themed screenplays from the 2009 HIFF Screenwriters' lab are selected to be performed as staged readings at the festival. This year's featured screenplays are THE TRANSFORMATION, by Kirk Davis and Sam Sloves and CHARM SCHOOL FOR PRIMATES, by Karen Odyniec. THE TRANSFORMATION is based on the true story of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, the innovative Hungarian physician who makes a radical discovery of the cause and cure of Childbed Fever, a disease killing thousands of poor pregnant women in the hospitals of 19th Century Europe. In CHARM SCHOOL FOR PRIMATES, a lovelorn primatologist with acute social anxiety must present her ape research to a board of executives and defeat brilliant, socially adept scientists in order to win a coveted grant. The screenplay readings will take place on Sunday, October 11th at 4:00 PM at the First Presbyterian Church Hall in East Hampton.

The Sloan Science In Film Tribute: Celebrating Ten Years Of Innovative Films at The Hamptons International Film Festival
Friday, October 9th 6:00 PM, Guild Hall, East Hampton
To celebrate our ten-year partnership with Sloan and the tenth edition of this award, on Friday, October 9th the festival will hold the Sloan Science In Film Tribute, taking place at Guild Hall and hosted by Bob Balaban. This special evening will be a celebration of the feature films that have received Sloan recognition at the Hamptons International Film Festival over the past 10 years. Our onstage event will include a number of special guests, including Alan Alda, Amy Redford and past Sloan Prize Winners Marc Abraham (FLASH OF GENIUS), Su Rynard (KARDIA) and Maggie Greenwald (SONGCATCHER), among others. Tickets and more information will be available at the festival box office.

“8” - A Special Benefit Evening with Mira Nair
The Hamptons International Film Festival is proud to present a special benefit screening and US premiere of the film '8', an unprecedented collection of short films by 8 world-renowned directors (including Mira Nair, Wim Wenders, Jane Campion and Gus Van Sant) each taking on one of the 8 “Millennium Development Goals” for 2015, adopted by 191 countries. Director Mira Nair will be with us to present the film and share the work of MAISHA, her non-profit African Film Lab established to empower emerging artists in the region.

Please join us for this premiere screening with Mira Nair present for a post-screening Q&A moderated by Rajendra Roy, Chief Curator of Film at MoMA, at our regular Spotlight price. Or support the Maisha Foundation with a $75 package which includes the film screening and an exclusive cocktail reception from 4-6pm at a private residence in East Hampton with Mira Nair and special guests.

100% of the proceeds for this evening will be donated to Maisha Film Lab. Maisha (which means ‘life’ in Kiswahili) is a groundbreaking filmmakers’ training program founded by acclaimed director Mira Nair and based in Kampala, Uganda. Maisha’s mission is to nurture and support emerging film professionals from East Africa by offering intensives in screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, editing, sound, and acting. Our motto is:
“if we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.”

A Conversation With…
Each year, the Festival presents A Conversation With…
Past guests have included the late Robert Altman, Gena Rowlands, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and more. This year the Hamptons International Film Festival is thrilled to announce four conversations. “A Conversation with…” Sharon Stone (Casino, Basic Instinct), Alan Alda (The Aviator, M*A*S*H), Steve Buscemi (Saint John of Las Vegas, The Messenger)and Martin Bregman (Carlito’s Way, Dog Day Afternoon) interviewed by Alec Baldwin

Anamaria Marinca and Hannah Herzsprung
Brilliant actresses
Shooting Stars 2008
Photo by Eric Roffman

Breakthrough Performers:
This year the Hamptons International Film Festival will again pair their Rising Stars Program with European Film Promotions renowned Shooting Stars initiative in the festival’s Breakthrough Performs Program to honor up and coming actors from both the US and Europe. Sharon Stone is this year’s mentor to the Breakthrough Performers and will spend time with the Rising Stars/Shooting Stars at a mentoring brunch (past mentors have included Gena Rowlands, Joan Allen, Ellen Burstyn, Robert Altman, Miranda Richardson and Alec Baldwin), Breakthrough Performers Party, Red Carpet event and a public symposium.

Rising Stars (US)
Emmy Rossum (Dare), Zach Gilford (Dare), Rooney Mara (Tanner Hall), Emma Stone (Paper Man)

Shooting Stars (Europe)
Alba Rohrwacher (Due partite), Cyron Melville (Love and Rage)

Golden Starfish Narrative Competition:

A Rational Solution (North American, Premiere) Director Jorgen Bergmark with Rolf Lassgard, Pernilla August, Stina Ekblad, Claes Ljungmark, Magnus Roosman - Against his better judgment, married Erland has fallen in love with his best friend's wife. His rational solution is for all four to move in together until the passion inevitably subsides. Insightfully observed and superbly acted, Jorgen Bergmark's film begins as simple and ordered, only to mature into a nuanced, heartbreakingly authentic portrait of love, fidelity, marriage and monogamy.

Applause (United States Premiere) Director Martin Pieter Zandvliet with Paprika Steen, Michael Falch, Sara Marie Maltha, Shanti Roney, Otto Leonardo Steen Rieks, Noel Koch-Sofeldt, Malou Reymann - Recently divorced Thea is struggling to give up drinking and regain custody of her two boys. But staying on the wagon isn't easy when every night she receives clamorous applause from audiences for stage performances that all-to-closely resemble the former self that she is trying to leave behind.

Jaffa (United States Premiere) Director Keren Yedaya with Dana Ivgy, Moni Moshonov, Ronit Elkabetz, Mahmoud Shalaby, Roy Assaf, Hussein Yassin Mahajneh, Lili Ivgy - Following up her international success with Cannes Camera D'Or winning film OR (MY TREASURE), director Keren Yedaya introduces another stunning and complex family drama with JAFFA. A star-crossed secret romance develops between a Jewish girl and an Arab man, but tragedy interrupts the young lovers' intentions to elope and escape their intolerant families.

The Misfortunates (United States Premiere) Director Felix van Groeningen with Kenneth Vanbaeden, Valentijn Dhaenens, Koen De Graeve, Wouter Hendrickx, Johan Heldenbergh - This Flemish seriocomedy ruminates over Gunther Strobbe's ribald, troubled adolescence amongst three bawdy uncles, an ever-boozing dad, one put-upon grandmother, and more dysfunction than you can shake a keg at. Adapted from an acclaimed novel by Dimitri Verhulst and directed with deftness, verve and pathos by Felix Van Groeningen.



Golden Starfish Documentary:

Big River Man (East Coast Premiere) Director John Maringouin with Martin Strel, Borut Strel, Matthew Mohlke -
John Maringouin intrepidly follows unlikely long distance swimming champion Martin Strel on his journey to complete the world's longest ever swim: the Amazon River. The adventure of a lifetime, the film follows the swimmer and his team on their wildly dangerous and life-altering journey.

Long Distance Love (US Premiere) Director(s): Magnus Gertten, Elin Jonsson with Alisher Sultanov, Dildora Sultanov
Alisher and Dildora are in love in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. To support his new family, Alisher is forced leave his new bride to try to make it big in Moscow. While the newlyweds’ earnest love has a sweetness stronger than their 3,500 mile divide, their relationship is now beset by challenges more dire than distance alone.

Mugabe and the White African Director(s): Lucy Bailey & Andrew Thompson with Michael Campbell, Ben Freeth
"Is it possible to be a white man and African?" This daring film follows the story of Mike Campbell who, in 2008, took the government of Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe to international court for violation of human rights in an effort to preserve his farm amid state-sanctioned "Land Reform" initiatives tantamount to the ethnic cleansing of whites.

Videocracy (US Premiere) Director Erik Gandini - A jolly, Mussolini-loving agent, an aspiring martial artist/singer, a paparazzo wrangler-cum-outlaw and the prime minister of Italy are just a few of the outlandish personalities in this documentary that explores the mad world of Italian television.

Waking Sleeping Beauty (East Coast Premiere) Director Don Hahn with Roy Disney, Jeffrey Katzenberg, John Musker, Glen Keane, Howard Ashman - By the mid-1980s, the once mighty Disney Animation Studios was in a slump. By the end of 1990s, however, Disney had produced a string of bona fide hits from WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT? to THE LION KING. Director Don Hahn's juicy behind-the-scenes tell-all of this transitional period is an encyclopedia of the tragic lows and elating highs of the Disney renaissance.


Golden Starfish Short Film Competition:

Committed (World Premiere) Director Isold Uggadottir with Dora Johannsdottir, Jorundur Ragnarsson, Darri Ingolfsson, Johanna Fridrika Saemundsdottir - Eva and Vidar have decided to take their relationship to the next level by moving in together. COMMITTED is a subtle portrait of young love on the cusp of maturity from the director of the Icelandic Academy Award-nominated short FAMILY REUNION.

Dust Kid (North American Premiere) Director Yumi Jung - While cleaning her apartment, Eujin comes across a tiny replica of herself. She tries to dispose of the little creature, only to find another in every corner. A minimalist pencil animation direct from this year's Cannes Film Festival Directors' Fortnight.

Missing (US Premiere) Director Jochem de Vries with Lotje Molin, Gitta Fleuren
A mother and daughter prepare for a big day in this poignant, keenly observed portrait of good intentions and family dynamics.

Slaves (New York Premiere) Director David Aronowitsch - Abuk and Machiek, Sudanese children abducted from their homes and forced into slavery, calmly relate the enormity of their experiences with a maturity and eloquence that belies their young ages in this multiple award-winning animated documentary.

Sparks (East Coast Premiere) Director Jospeh Gordon-Levitt with Carla Gugino, Eric Stoltz
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut is based on a short story by novelist Elmore Leonard. With large sums of money on the line, a vixen-ish declining rock star is being investigated for arson.

Spotlight Films:

CON ARTIST Dir. Michael Sladek – with Mark Kostabi, Michel Gondry, Glenn O'Brien, Baird Jones, Pope Benedict XVI. Mid-level collectors and art fans around the world clamor to buy Mark Kostabi's canvases, but his involvement in those creations is controversial. Collaborating with painters and designers, he often lends no more than his signature to a work. Intimate footage of Kostabi at home and interviews with friends and celebrities investigate the unusual motivations of this art establishment outsider.

DARE (NY Premiere) Dir. Adam Salky – with Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford, Ashley Springer, Anna Gasteyer, Rooney Mara, Sandra Bernhard, Alan Cumming. In this Sundance hit, uptight A-student Alexa (Emmy Rossum) and her best friend Ben (Ashley Springer) befriend popular jock Johnny (Zach Gilford), after which their relationships take on surprising new dimensions. Featuring terrific support from Ana Gasteyer, Sandra Bernhard, Alan Cumming and Rooney Mara, DARE is that rare "teen movie" with a provocative twist.

DESERT FLOWER (North American Premiere) Dir. Sherry Hormann with Liya Kebede, Sally Hawkins, Craig Parkinson, Meera Syal, Soraya Omar-Scego, Anthony Mackie, Juliet Stevenson. The unbelievable true story of Waris Dirie, a Somalian nomad who would become a top supermodel, and use her influence to affect the lives of countless women all over the world. Tracing Dirie’s path from traumatized child to triumphant adult, the film is an incredible tale of one woman's remarkable courage.

DIRTY OIL (Canada, US, England, World Premiere) Dir. Leslie Iwerks with Neve Campbell (narration), Lester Brown, Kevin Timoney, Andrew Nikiforuk. The oil sands in the Canadian Providence of Alberta are a source of a vast supply of petroleum, but the effects of extracting it are highly controversial. This probing documentary explores the environmental, health and moral ramifications of this booming business, offering hard statistics, sobering forecasts and frightening cautionary tales.

JOHN RABE (Germany, France, China, North American Premiere) Dir. Florian Gallenberger with Ulrich Tukur, Daniel Bruhl, Anne Consigny, Dagmar Manzel, Zhang Jingchu. John Rabe's spent years in Nanking building a career, remaining steadfastly loyal to his wife, his company, his country and the National Socialist party. When Japanese forces begin their brutal occupation of the city, Rabe's conscience is awakened and he joins with a cynical American doctor and a motley group of expatriates to save the citizens of Nanking.

LEARNING FROM THE LIGHT: THE VISION OF I.M. PEI (USA, World Premiere) Dirs. Bo Landin, Sterling Van Wagenen. One of the most distinguished architects of our time, I.M. Pei has spent his storied career creating designs for some of the world's most treasured structures. LEARNING FROM LIGHT chronicles Pei's adventures through a recent and historically monumental challenge: his commission to design the Museum of Islamic Art for Doha, Qatar.

THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND (USA, USA Premiere) Dir. Jodie Markell with Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Ellen Burstyn, Mamie Gummer, Ann-Margret, Jessica Collins. Fisher Willow, an impulsive, wistful heiress, falls in love with righteous, "simple" Jimmy Dobyne after hiring him as an escort to Memphis debutante parties. The loss of a priceless earring, however, stirs unforeseen emotions in this handsomely photographed drama, produced from an unrealized Tennessee Williams screenplay.

PAPER MAN (USA, East Coast Premiere) Dirs. Michele Mulroney & Kieran Mulroney with Jeff Daniels, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Kieran Culkin, Hunter Parrish, Lisa Kudrow. Richard Dunn is a failed writer, husband and adult who adjourns to a cottage in the Hamptons to complete his latest novel. Unfortunately, he's followed everywhere by Captain Excellent, an imaginary friend he has been unable to shake since childhood. Richard finds comfort in an unlikely friendship with a neighborhood teen. A darkly comic "coming-of-middle-age" story set against the picturesque backdrop of Montauk in winter.

TANNER HALL (USA, USA Premiere) Dirs. Francesca Gregorini, Tatiana von Furstenberg with Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson, Amy Ferguson, Chris Kattan, Amy Sedaris, Tom Everett Scott. A vivid peek into the private world of an all-girls boarding school. The knot of adolescent complexity is unraveled through the coming-of-age stories of four teenage girls when their friendship is jeopardized by the arrival of a new girl.

STOLEN LIVES (USA, World Premiere) Dir. Anders Anderson with Josh Lucas, Jon Hamm, Rhona Mitra, James Van Der Beek, Jimmy Bennett. Cutting back and forth from present day to the 1950's, STOLEN LIVES weaves together the stories of two missing boys. Detective Tom Adkins is obsessed by the disappearance of his son eight years ago. When the remains of a child buried alive fifty years ago are discovered they seem to shed new light on the mystery of his own son's vanishing.

TENURE (USA, World Premiere) Dir. Mike Million with Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol, David Koechner, Bob Gunton, Rosemarie DeWitt. In this comedic and romantic send-up of academia, Associate Professor Charlie Thurber begrudgingly prepares for one more attempt at a tenure position. Just as he starts to feel the long awaited promotion is within his grasp, an impressive new professor is brought on staff. Charlie's best friend convinces him the only solution is to sabotage his new competition, but Charlie soon finds his professional aspirations and personal emotions leading him down different paths.

UNCERTAINTY (USA, USA Premiere) Dirs. David Siegel, Scott McGehee with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lynn Collins, Assumpta Serna, Olivia Thirlby, Louis Arcella, Nelson Landrieu, Manoel Felciano. Scott McGehee and David Siegel's latest film explores the very different directions our lives can take with just one decision. Perched atop the Brooklyn Bridge, young lovers Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins flip a coin and send the film's narrative down two separate tracks that are alternately thrilling and moving: just like life itself.

World Cinema Features:

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector (North American Premiere) Director Vikram Jayanti - Phil Spector is a pioneer of American music, a legendary producer to John Lennon and Tina Turner, and, as of April 13th 2009, a convicted murderer. Director Vikram Jayanti overlays unprecedented personal interviews with harrowing court footage and original music recordings to create a dizzying portrait of genius and insanity, and a profound insight into a notorious subject.

Corso: The Last Beat (North American Premiere) Director Gustave Reininger with Gregory Corso, Ethan Hawke, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith - Gregory Corso, the youngest of the influential Beat Poet movement, is given his own spotlight in Gustave Reinenger’s affectionate documentary. Reinenger's long friendship with Corso late in his life affords him an intimacy with his iconic subject and Corso’s larger-than-life character is captured like lightning in a bottle.

The Crimson Wing; Mystery of the Flamingos (East Coast, Premiere) Director(s): Matthew Aeberhard & Leander Ward
On Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania, an island of salt emerges from the water. Set against the lush and dramatic colors of the African landscape, elegant flamingos struggle against predators and the environment to ensure that the next generation makes it back to the salt shore. THE CRIMSON WING is gorgeous and moving nature documentary for the whole family.

Daniel and Abraham (World Premiere) Director Ryan Eslinger with Gary Lamadore, David Williams
To spread his father's ashes, Daniel's traveled to the mountains of upstate New York. There he meets Abraham, a mysterious man whose condescending helpfulness becomes increasingly sinister. This small feature recalls the work of Samuel Beckett and Jack London, contrasting the natural beauty of its winter setting with sudden violence.

Deliver Us From Evil (US Premiere) Director Ole Bornedal with Lasse Rimmer, Lene Nystrom, Jens Andersen, Pernille Valentin, Mogens Pedersen, Bojan Navojec, Sonja Richter - Ole Bornedal- THE SUBSTITUTE (HIFF í07), NIGHTWATCH- delivers again with this dynamic social thriller. When local lout Lars runs down a beloved neighborhood woman, he tries to shift the community’s wrath onto taciturn Bosnian refugee Alain, careening the viewer towards a shocking conclusion as the whole town becomes implicated in a rampant moral corruption.

Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (East Coast Premiere) Director Greta Olafsdottir with Edie Windsor, Thea Spyer - Hamptons residents Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer share a fairy tale romance they fell in love at first sight in the West Village nearly fifty years ago and their passion for each other would endure for decades. Yet as a lesbian couple, they would have to wait their entire adult lives to be able to legalize their union.

Five Hours From Paris (United States Premiere) Director Leon Prudovsky with Dror Keren, Elena Yaralova, Vladimir Freedman - Mid-life quandaries are candidly addressed with both authenticity and humor in FIVE HOURS FROM PARIS, a refreshingly sincere and mature romance. When he unexpectedly falls for his son's music teacher, Yigal (Dror Keren), a painfully passive taxi driver on the eve of mid-life, feels compelled to take charge of his future more than ever before.

Forbidden Fruit (Kielletty hedelma) (North American Premiere) Director Dome Karukoski with Marjut Maristo, Amanda Pilke, Malla Malmivaara, Joel Mäkinen, Jarkko Niemi
When Raakel’s best friend Maria leaves their cloistered religious community to experience life in the city, she follows, ostensibly to protect Maria from the predations of “The Arch Fiend” and, hopefully, bring her back to the fold. As the two young women explore their new surroundings both of them change in unexpected ways in this quiet, affecting drama.

Here and There Director Darko Lunuglov with David Thornton, Mirjana Karanovic, Cyndi Lauper, Branislav Trifunovic, Antone Pagan, Fedja Stojanovic, Goran Radakovic - Robert is a middle-aged musician barely getting by in New York when he meets Branko, a young Serbian immigrant desperate to bring his girlfriend to America. On the promise of five grand Robert travels to Belgrade for a quick green card marriage. But a simple plan becomes complicated when Branko fails to pay and Robert falls for Branko's beautiful mother.

How To Live Forever (World Premiere) Director Mark S. Wexler Director Mark Wexler embarks on a worldwide trek to investigate just what it means to grow old and what it could mean to really live forever. Featuring interviews with everyone from a chain-smoking, beer-drinking centenarian marathoner to an elder porn star and health, fitness, and life-extension experts, Wexler’s engaging new documentary challenges our notions of youth and aging with comic poignancy.

In My Hands: A Story of Marfan Syndrome (World Premiere) Director(s): Brenda Siemer Scheider, Emma Morris
It is estimated that 1 in 5000 people in the United States have Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder of the body's connective tissue. IN MY HANDS follows the inspirational stories of a group of children and adults living with Marfan.

Little Soldier (East Coast Premiere) Director Annette K. Olesen with Trine Dyrholm, Finn Nielsen, Lorna Brown, Rasmus Botoft, Jens Jorn Spottag - Tough and masculine Lotte (Trine Dyrholm) has just returned from military service in Afghanistan to the town in Denmark where her father runs an underground brothel. Offered employment as driver for her father's mistress and top earner, Lily, the two women start out at odds, but soon the two women bond and their lives become unpredictably intertwined.

Love and Rage (US Premiere) Director Morten Giese with Cyron Melville, Sara Hjort, Dejan Cukic, Charlotte Fich
Daniel is a gifted young piano student, a loner until he meets Sofie, another young music student who opens his life to more than just music. But as his affection grows, so does an all-consuming jealousy which begins to rip him apart and expose the pent-up rage that has always been simmering beneath.

The Ladies Get Their Say (US Premiere) Director Enzo Monteleone with Margherita Buy, Isabella Ferrari, Marina Massironi, Alba Rohrwacher
Four women in the 1960s and their four daughters in the present day experience parallel joys and woes in their personal lives.

The Messenger Director Oren Moverman with Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker - THE MESSENGER is a superbly crafted new drama that feels like an instant classic. Ben Foster gives a stunning performance of a lifetime as Will Montgomery, an injured soldier who returns from Iraq to serve his last few months of active duty notifying families of the deaths of loved ones lost in combat.

The Men Who Stare At Goats (Special Screening) Director Grant Heslov with George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacy, Stephen Lang, Nick Offerman, Tim Griffin
In a comedic look at real life events that are almost too bizarre to believe, a reporter discovers a top-secret wing of the U.S. military when he accompanies an enigmatic Special Forces operator on a mind-boggling mission.

Mammoth (North American Premiere) Director Lukas Moodyson with Gael Garcia Bernal, Michelle Williams, Marife Necesito, Sophie Nyweide, Run Srinikornchot, Tom McCarthy, Jan Nicdao - MAMMOTH revolves around successful New York couple Leo (Gael Garcia Bernal), the creator of a booming website, and Ellen (Michelle Williams), a dedicated emergency surgeon. Their daughter Jackie spends most of her time with her nanny and Ellen is starting to question her priorities. When Leo travels to Thailand on business, he unwittingly sets off a chain of events that will have dramatic consequences for everyone.

Max Manus (US Premiere) Director(s): Joachim Roenning & Espen Sandberg with Aksel Hennie, Kyrre Haugen Sydness, Mads Eldoen, Christian Rubeck, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Agnes Kittelsen, Ken Duken - Based on the true story of the famed resistance fighter, MAX MANUS follows the exploits of the title character as hejoins the Norwegian resistance movement and becomes one of the most important members of the so-called Oslo Gang, carrying out spectacular raids against German ships in Oslo harbor, including the sinking of the slave ship Donau.

Millenium: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US Premiere) Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Sven-Bertil Taube, Peter Haber, Lena Endre - Stieg Larsonís The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the first in the three-part Millenium trilogy, is one of the decade’s major literary success stories. The first book in the series is brought to the big screen by acclaimed filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev, whose WE SHALL OVERCOME won our Audience Award in 2006.

My Words, My Lies, My Love (North American Premiere) Director Alain Gsponer with Daniel Bruhl, Hannah Herzsprung, Henry Hubchen - The proverbial Death of the Author theory is taken literally in this fresh rags to riches romantic comedy starring Daniel Bruhl (GOODBY LENIN!, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS). A timid waiter named David Kern (Bruhl) has become a sudden and unlikely literary star with the publication of a best-selling novel. The catch? He didn't actually write it.

Racing Dreams Director Marshall Curry with Brandon Warren, Josh Hobson, Annabeth Barnes
BRACING DREAMS follows the lives of Annabeth (11 years-old), Josh (12), and Brandon (13), as they race around a concrete track at speeds of up to 70 mph in the World Karting Association's National Championship, learning about the adult worlds of love, money, family troubles and corporate sponsorship along the way.

Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags (US Premiere) Director Marc Levin with Bruce Raynor, Charles Kernaghan, Joe Raico, Stan Herman, Irving Rousso - Produced by HBO Films, filmmaker Mark Levin chronicles the century-long story of the American garment industry, from its Lower East Side sweatshop beginnings to its booming post-WWII rise as an emblematic American/New York City institution and its devastating fall at the hands of a post-Reagan global economy.

Serious Moonlight
With Meg Ryan

Serious Moonlight Director Cheryl Hines with Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell, Justin Long
After she arrives at her country home for a romantic weekend getaway, things don't go exactly as planned for high-powered Manhattan lawyer Louise (Meg Ryan). First, her husband of 13 years, Ian (Timothy Hutton), tells her that he's leaving her for a younger woman (Kristen Bell). Then, one thing leads to another, and pretty soon Ian finds himself held captive by an oddly cool Louise who explains that she won't release him until he professes his love for her and commits to working on their marriage. And that's when things REALLY start to go wrong. The unexpected arrival of an opportunistic young gardener (Justin Long) and Ian's impatient mistress only serve to complicate the crisis even further, while somehow forcing Louise and Ian to reckon with their past and realistically deal with their future.

Seven Minutes in Heaven Director Omri Givon with Reymonde Amsellem, Eldad Prives, Ndav Nates
An ethereal mystery story about tragedy and love, SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN tackles the weighty notion of fate with rare artistry. Grieving and injured by a suicide bomber, young Galia tries to piece her life back together with the help of Boaz, a kind stranger who enters her life when she most needs him.

Shadow Billionaire Director Alexis Manya Spraic - After DHL founder Larry Hillblom failed to return from a flight in his vintage Seabee over the Pacific, bar girls throughout Southeast Asia came forward claiming to have had children by him. SHADOW BILLIONAIRE unravels the scandalous life of this reclusive tycoon as the battle over his estate takes on epic proportions, pitting impoverished, teenage prostitutes against Larry's former business associates and several of the largest law firms in the world.

Surrogate
Israeli Focus

Surrogate (North American Premiere) Director Tali Shalom Ezer with Amir Wolf, Lana Ettinger, Rosina Kambus, Liat Glick, Yonatan Swriski - Suffering from deep-seated sexual trauma, Eily chooses to undergo a highly unusual form of therapy to help him overcome wounds that prevent him from experiencing any kind of intimacy. A sensitive portrait of a damaged soul, SURROGATE delicately explores the profoundly personal course of psychological recovery.

Tears of April (East Coast Premiere) Director Aku Louhimies with Samuli Vauramo, Pihla Viitala, Eero Aho, Eemeli Louhimies, Riina Maidre - At the end of Finland's civil war in 1918, the government-supported Whites are rounding up the Social Democratic Reds. Private Aaro Harjula cannot tolerate the cruel abuses he has witnessed and insists on taking Miina Malin, a young Red platoon leader, to await trial. Along the way Aaro and Miina develop a connection that will force Aaro to make an agonizing choice.

Van Diemen's Land (US Premiere) Director Jonathan auf der Heide with Oscar Redding, Arthur Angel, Paul Ashcroft, Torquil Neilson, Mark Winter, Thomas Wright, Greg Stone - When Alexander Pearce and a group of fellow convicts stage a escape from their penal colony and take flight across the forbidding landscape, they are unprepared for the lengths they'll have to go to in order to survive. This harrowing re-telling of an infamous true story is a chilling depiction of the growth of evil.

War Against the Weak (New York Premiere) Director Justin Strawhand with John Hockenberry, Ashley Lazarus
WAR AGAINST THE WEAK is the terrifying history of eugenics, arguably the most dangerous pseudoscience of all time, conceived by American scientists and put into practice in the US for the greater part of the twentieth Century. The goal of eugenics was to create a master race of humans, and eliminate those considered "unfit."

Wild Art: Olly & Suzi (US Premiere) Director Rupert Murray - Olly, a man with a lust for the outdoors, teams up with Suzi, once a rising star in the art world, in the pursuit of an extreme and authentic artistic creation. They create under the most extreme conditions, channeling the clarity of that moment onto the paper in front of them. Director Rupert Murray offers a view into the lives, adventures and creative processes of two remarkable artists.

Films of Conflict and Resolution in Competition:

City of Life and Death (US Premiere) Director Lu Chuan with Liu Ye, Hideo Nakaizumi, Fan Wei, Gao Yuanyuan, Qin Lan - Acclaimed director Lu Chuanís much-anticipated Nanjing drama resists the swelling music and overwrought melodrama of so many depictions of war, shifting the focus from a top-down, authoritative history lesson to an unprecedented personal epic. This visually arresting realist masterpiece offers a genuine, affecting portrait of humanity in war that moves the fraught Nanjing narrative one step nearer to closure.

The Good Soldier (World Premiere) Director(s) Lexy Lovell, Michael Uys with Will Williams, Jimmy Massey, Perry Parks, Edward Wood, Michael McPhearson - Directors Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys bring together veterans from each of the American wars of the last century who marched eagerly to defend their country in 1944, 1966, 1991, or 2003 only to return conflicted by the atrocities they saw and participated in, and questioning what true service to your nation really means.

How to Fold a Flag (US Premiere) Director Petra Epperlein - "We were asked to believe that the war was over. We laughed - for we were the war." So begins Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein's (GUNNER PALACE) haunting tapestry of young Iraq veterans coming home. When the American flag is folded at a memorial service, each fold is sent to represent a virtue. Tucker and Epperlein unpack this symbolism, Tucker and Epperlein unpack this symbolism as they, along with the soldiers they follow, reconcile the idealized and abstract discourse of war with its heartbreakingly reality.

My Neighbor My Killer (US) Director Anne Aghion - Seven years after the Tutsi genocide, the Rwandan government put in place the Gacaca óopen-air hearings with citizen-judges meant to try their neighbors and rebuild the nation. As part of this experiment in reconciliation, confessed genocide killers are sent home from prison, while survivors are asked to resume living side-by-side. Filming for close to a decade, Anne Aghion has charted the emotional journey to coexistence.


Rabbit a la Berlin Director Bartek Konopka - Winner of a top prize at this year's prestigious Hot Docs documentary film festival, RABBIT A LA BERLIN is the charming true story of a community of wild rabbits that found safe haven within the confines of the Berlin Wall.

Forbidden Fruit
Scandinavian Focus

Spotlight on Scandanavian Cinema

Scandinavian films have always thrived at our festival, most recently in 2008 when the superlative Norwegian feature TROUBLED WATER swept both our jury and Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature. To celebrate all the popular and critical success Scandinavian films have achieved, the festival has carefully curated a selection of work from all 5 Nordic countries (Norway, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden) across all sections of our program. This unique sidebar will open with the US Premiere of the Norwegian WWII resistance epic MAX MANUS, and close with the highly anticipated feature film adaptation of Stieg Larsson's bestselling GIRL WITH A DRAGON TATTOO. We are also proud to partner with Swedish-owned Hamptons landmark c/o The Maidstone to host a reception in honor of these noteworthy filmmakers. Please join us as we honor all the Scandinavian film industry’s achievements, and toast their future success both here in the Hamptons and beyond.

Denmark:
Deliver Us From Evil, Ole Bornedal
Love and Rage, Morten Giese
Little Soldier, Annette K. Oleson
Applause, Martin Pieter Zandvliet

Finland:
Tears of April, Aku Louhimies
Forbidden Fruit, Dome Karukoski

Iceland:
Committed, Isold Uggadottir

Norway:
Max Manus, Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg

Sweden:
Instead of Abracadabra, Patrik Eklund
Long Distance Love, Magnus Gerrten and Elin Jonsson
Mammoth, Lukas Moodyson
Millennium: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
A Rational Solution,
Jorgen Bergmark
Slaves, David Aronowitsch and Hana Heilborn
Videocracy, Erik Gandini

Films For Families
HIFF invites Children and families to celebrate Festival season together with a host of youth-created media offerings and an exciting selection of family-friendly films!

One of this year’s sure highlights is THE CRIMSON WING: MYSTERY OF THE FLAMINGOS, a stunning documentary which comes to the festival from the talented and innovative group at Disney Nature. In the tradition of EARTH and MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, THE CRIMSON WING tells the incredible story of the birth, life and death of the crimson-winged flamingos of Tanzania.

Adults and kids alike will be amazed and inspired by the feats of the preteen racecar prodigies of RACING DREAMS, a documentary about the kids who take part in the fiercely competitive World Karting Association National Pavement Series. Both an exciting tale of striving for glory and a powerful story about growing up, RACING DREAMS is a wonderful choice for the whole family.

A special treat for youth and adults alike is the Youth Shorts Program, an entertaining and enlightening collection of films by, about and for young adults. This diverse selection of short films from all over the world is appropriate for ages 10 and up.

David Schwartz, the Chief Curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, will moderate an in-depth discussion with this year’s guest. This intimate event is sure to provide both filmmakers and film aficionados with a rare view into the creative process. The event will feature clip presentations, trade secrets, and tips on lighting for film.

Kodak Cinematography Master Class
Saturday, October 10th 12:00 PM
East Hampton UA 6 Theater

View From Long Island:
At the Hamptons International Film Festival we are committed to showcasing films rooted in our community, and this year brings an exceptionally strong lineup of work by and about Long Island. Come out and support work by local filmmakers including Brenda Siemer Scheider’s affectionate portrait of Marfan Syndrome IN MY HANDS and ode to the work and life of Roy Scheider SMILES, Bruce Weber’s new short film LIBERTY CITY IS LIKE PARIS TO ME, former Ross School artist-in-residence Darko Lungulov’s feature HERE AND THERE, and local student filmmakers Eric Striffler and Megan Vinciguerra’s award-winning short films in our Youth Shorts Program.

For those interested in seeing the Hamptons’scenery light up the big screen, be sure to catch indie dark comedy PAPER MAN, set against a picturesque winter Montauk backdrop, and Alec Hirschfeld’s short doc OUT HERE IN THE FIELDS exploring issues of farming and land ownership in East Hampton.

The Hamptons International Film Festival is grateful for the funding and support for this program from the Suffolk County Office of Economic Development and Cultural Affairs

To The Point: Women Telling Stories through Media:
This is a joint venture of the Hamptons International Film Festival and New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT). In its sixth year, this series of shorts honors women’s voices and visions through film — narratives, documentaries, animated and experimental and video. No more than 20 minutes long, these works explore the unique, personal stories of women — past, present, and future.

Abbie Cancelled, Dir. Jessica Burstein;
Birth, Dir. Signe Baumane;
Everything Is Ordinary, Dir. Noelle Brower;
Omelette, Dir. Nadejda Koseva;
Sister Wife, Dir. Jill Orschel;
Speed Grieving, Dirs. Jessica Daniels, Alysia Reiner
This Is Her, Dir. Katie Wolfe

Comedy Shorts
All My Dreams On VHS (East Coast Premiere) Dir. Timothy X Atack;
Captain Coulier (SPACE EXPLORER) Dir. Lyndon Casey;
Instead of Abracadabra (New York Premiere) Dir. Patrik Eklund;
The Last Supper (East Coast Premiere) Dir. Angus Sampson;
Runaway Producer(s): Michael Scott, Derek Mazur

Youth Shorts
The Fizzy Incident, Dir. Eric Striffler;
The Happy Duckling (New York Premiere) Dir. Gili Dolev;
The History of Aviation (East Coast Premiere) Dir. Balint Kenyeres;
Live Music (East Coast Premiere) Dir. Yair Landau;
Naming Pluto (New York Premiere) Dir. Ginita Jimenez;
Netherland Dwarf, Dir. David Michod;
No Way Out, Dir. Megan Vinciguerra;
Photograph Of Jesus, Dir. Laurie Hill

Shorts Program: Best Served Cold
Concerto, Dir. Filippo Conz;
Eli's Boy (North American Premiere) Dir. Cameron Fertitta;
Make Up (World Premiere) Dir. Scott Tuft

Shorts Program: Local to Global
Crossing Midnight, Dir. Kim A. Snyder;
The Last Dragon Kingdom (North American), Dirs. Aine Carey, David Emery;
Lost Paradise (New York Premiere), Dir. Mihal Brezis;
No Special Incidents (North American Premiere) Dir. Lennart Ruff;
Out Here in the Fields: The Field on Beach Lane (World) Dir. Alec Hirschfeld; Something Left To Sea (World Premiere), Dir. Harry Schleiff.

Shorts Before Features
Beloved (USA) Director Will Frears;
The Berlin Wall (Germany) Director Paul Cotter;
Liberty City is Like Paris to Me (USA) Director Bruce Weber;
Looking At Animals (USA) Director Marc Turtletaub;
Smiles - A story of Roy Scheider (English) Director Brenda Siemer Scheider;
Ten: Thirtyone (English) Director Lev Gorn, Gabe Fazio;
Wagah Director Supriyo Sen

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Film/Video Awards:

Akash (United States), Dir. Ash Bhalla;
Akash lives with his mother, father, grandmother and five sisters in rural India. He is approximately 13 years old, and the people of his village believe that he has the ability to invoke the goddess Durga. This documentary follows Akash's transition from boy into deity, a process that has never before been witnessed by an outsider or been committed to film.

Blackwater (East Coast), Dir. Konstantinos Frangopoulos
Brief Synopsis: A male nightmare. Living under the shadow of your loved one isn't a safe thing.

Christopher Dispossessed, Dir. Matthew Watts
He ís too late to stop the wedding, but not too late to stop the marriage.

Sinkhole (East Coast), Dir. Eric Scherbarth
A salesman approaches a mysterious landowner with an offer to buy the manís smoldering abandoned coal mines but finds that there is more at stake than the land.

Tran si tions (World), Dir. Mark Lee
A young man tapes a mentally ill woman on a subway train and believes that she may be his long-missing mother.

Cinematography Master Class
Each year, The Hamptons International Film Festival and Kodak partner present a Master Class with a leading cinematographer during the festival. Past guests have included Michael Ballhaus (GOODFELLAS, THE DEPARTED), Frederick Elmes (THE ICE STORM, WILD AT HEART, THE NAMESAKE) and Ellen Kuras (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, SUMMER OF SAM)

Visions of An Old New Land: Israeli Films on Tel Aviv’s 100th
2009 marks the 100th Anniversary of the city of Tel Aviv, the artistic and cultural capital of Israel. Not only is Tel Aviv the center of Israel’s film production, it is a richly diverse and ever changing city that reflects the modern face of Israel and the plurality of backgrounds of the Israeli people. The films chosen for The Hamptons International Film Festival Tel Aviv Anniversary program reflect the faces and cultures of contemporary Israel, featuring Tel Avivian directors and varying portraits of this extraordinarily unique city.

Seven Minutes In Heaven, Omri Givon
Surrogate, Tali Shalom Ezer
Jaffa, Keren Yedaya
Five Hours From Paris, Leon Prudovsky
Lost Paradise, Mihal Brezis & Oded Binnun

Festival Panels

Green Production for the Frugal Producer - Many movie and TV producers are making progress in their efforts to reduce the carbon emissions and environmental impacts of their productions, while increasing efficiency and cutting costs. Across all aspects of production – energy, transportation, lighting, craft services, set construction, waste and recycling -- some amazing innovations have come out of recent on-set experiments, which will intrigue producers and moviegoers alike.

Breakthrough Performers Panel - Join the international group of Rising and Shooting Stars in an informal and intimate discussion about the craft of acting, how the process compares in different countries, and what their experiences were with each of their films in the 2009 Festival.

New York Film Critics Circle Panel Discussion - This year, HIFF is thrilled to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the New York Film Critics Circle and its longtime commitment to championing excellence in filmmaking. Join four prominent members of the circle for a timely and intimate discussion as they share the story of the NYFCC, and shed light on the current state of film criticism since the advent of the internet age.

Making your First Short - Using the Short Film as a Route to Features - The students in this years Student Awards shorts program will take part in this informative roundtable discussion about short filmmaking. The panel will take place immediately following the Student Awards short program, and admittance is free with your ticket to the Student Awards program.

Two From the Sloan Screenwriters Lab: Charm School For Primates and The Transformation - HIFF, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, presents staged readings of two featured screenplays from their annual screenwriters lab. Charm School For Primates, by Karen Odyniec and The Transformation, by Kirk Davis and Sam Sloves. Jay Anania (DAY ON FIRE, HER NAME IS CARLA) will direct a selection from each screenplay, which will be performed by a cast of guest actors from New York City.

Ticket Information:
Passes and tickets can be ordered on-line through the festival website, www.hamptonsfilmfest.org or through the new East Hampton Box Office location at Design Within Reach - 30 Park Place, East Hampton. Tickets by phone 1-888-329-6877. Founders Pass $1200; Industry Pass $250, Special Events Package $275, Filmmakers Discovery Package $125, Opening Night Package $100, Sloan Science in Film Tribute $40, Closing Day Package $50, Regular Screenings $15, Spotlight Films $27, Early Bird Spotlight (before 5pm) $20, “A Conversation With…” $30, Panel Discussions $10, Opening Night Film $35, Opening Night Reception $75, Sunday Night Filmmakers Party $75, Closing Film $30.

Keri Russell
At the end of HIFF 2007
With a Golden Starfish Award For August Rush
Photo by Eric Roffman


Festival Venues:
c/o The Maidstone – Festival Headquarters – East Hampton – 207 Main Street
Guild Hall – 158 Main Street, East Hampton
United Artists Cinemas - 30 Main Street, East Hampton
Bay Street Theatre - Corner of Bay & Main (on the Long Wharf, opposite the Windmill), Sag Harbor
Gurneys Inn - 290 Old Montauk Highway, Montauk
Festival Headquarters& Press Office – c/o The Maidstone – 207 Main Street, East Hampton
First Presbyterian Church Session House, 120 East Main Street, East Hampton
Montauk Movie - 3 Edgemere Road, Montauk
Southampton Regal Cinema - 43 Hill Street, Southampton


For further information on the 2009 Hamptons International Film Festival please visit
http://www.hamptonsfilmfest.org/
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