The Hamptons Is Immersed in Film for 21st Annual Festival

The Hamptons International Film Festival at the East Hampton movie theater.
The Hamptons International Film Festival at the East Hampton movie theater. Photo credit: Brendan J. O'Reilly

It’s Columbus Day weekend in the Hamptons, which means one thing to me: the Hamptons International Film Festival has begun!

Celebrating its 21st year in the Hamptons, HIFF has over 100 films from all over the world with this year’s focus on films from the UK. Screenings are held throughout the day in the cinemas of East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton. Introducing and often debuting some of the best the film industry has to offer, in the past five years HIFF has shown us four films that have gone on to win Oscars for Best Picture—not too shabby!

Along with the films, HIFF brings us up close and personal with celebrities and some of the best talent in the industry offering us conversations and Q&As with the filmmakers, producers, directors and actors. I attended the conversation with actress Helena Bonham Carter at Bay Street Theatre on Saturday. She was delightfully witty, poignant and eccentric, but very personable. Bonham Carter is currently starring in the HIFF film Burton & Taylor about Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s rocky 13-year relationship.

Actor/director Ralph Fiennes appeared at the screening of his film The Invisible Woman on Friday night at Guild Hall. The film is based on the secret affair of author Charles Dickens.

Notable director Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jone’s Diary and War Horse) was available for Q &A in Southampton after his opening night film, About Time, starring Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy and Domhnall Gleeson. Clearly a frontrunner in the Audience award!

Director/actor Ralph Macchio (The Karate Kid and most recently a contestant on Dancing with the Stars) was in East Hampton to promote his short film, Across Grace Alley. I actually bumped into him as we both raced down the sidewalk on Main Street in East Hampton.

The film festival hosts several genres of films, Spotlight and Special presentations, World Cinema including Conflict & Resolution, Sloan Films (focusing on science an technology) and films from the UK, The Golden Starfish films for emerging directors that can be narratives or documentaries and finally short films.

One of my favorite categories and most revealing is the Documentaries, and this year HIFF does not disappoint. Running From Crazy, a film narrated by Mariel Hemmingway deals with her families struggles with alcohol, drug addiction and suicide. Being the granddaughter of Ernest Hemmingway and sister of Margot, she openly discusses the challenges.

Some other documentary highlights are the film The Armstrong Lie, detailing the rise and fall of notorious athlete Lance Armstrong and American Masters, the story of composer and musician Marvin Hamlisch, (A Chorus Line, The Way We Were and The Sting).

There are so many great films to see dealing with so many topics, so get out and see them while they are here in your own back yard of the Hamptons.

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