From December 6 through 8, the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival transforms Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor into a haven for filmmakers to showcase their movies about life, politics, love and the environment, highlighting the works of young, up-and-coming talents.
It’s also an event that gives attendees the chance to enjoy the works of such legendary filmmakers as Susan Lacy, Richard Leacock and many others. Featuring a healthy mix of short-subject pieces amid feature-length documentaries, there’s truly something for everyone, a key goal of Jacqui Lofaro, documentary filmmaker and executive director of Take 2.
“Has it been a year already?” Lofaro asks, recalling our chat last autumn about the 2012 event, when Susan Lacy was an honoree for her work in crafting one of the finest documentary series in the history of television, the critically acclaimed American Masters series on PBS.
“We keep growing. The good part is that Bay Street is an intimate environment, we don’t have people running all over to different theaters,” Lofaro says, talking about the increased number of films highlighted as part of the 2013 program. “We’ve only got the one screen, so we go from 10 a.m. to 10 at night. It creates an energy that’s just terrific.”
Lofaro’s passion for documentary filmmaking makes her the perfect person to run a festival like this. Her love for the medium is undeniable, and listening to her talk about this year’s festival is infectious. “There are a few highlights for me. One is our gala—we’ll be celebrating an icon, highlighting D.A. Pennebaker and his wife Chris Hegedus and the 40 years they’ve been making films in their cinéma vérité style,” Lofaro says. “Pennebaker was one of those guys who got his start with other talented filmmakers, like Richard Leacock, and really helped develop the documentary medium into the eclectic and exciting form of filmmaking it is today.”
Pennebaker is perhaps best-known for directing the film Don’t Look Back, which featured Bob Dylan. He would later go on to direct such films as Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, with David Bowie, as well as The War Room, which centered on Bill Clinton’s bid for president in 1992 and would go on to receive an Academy Award nomination.
“We’re going to be screening The War Room,” Lofaro says. “It’s a wonderful film. They were given unfettered access and shot for about 35 hours. Susan Lacy will be back and do some introductory remarks, then we’ll screen the film, then Lacy will have a short discussion with Pennebaker and Hegedus about their careers. That’s for our Saturday night gala.”
Another featured film, The Only Real Game, takes America’s pastime and juxtaposes it against an Indian backdrop. The city of Manipur, which is under a constant military presence becomes a haven for baseball through the First Pitch program. “The bringing of baseball to India was an extraordinary idea,” Lofaro says. “The children and adults in the community really take to the sport, and the complexion of their lives changes. Sports, like music, is a universal language. It’s really wonderful.
“This is a festival that keeps growing—we love to see the crowd come out.”