Hilary Swank, Bob Balaban to Appear at 2014 HIFF

Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank in The Homesman
Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank in "The Homesman," Photo Courtesy HIFF

The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), October 9–13, announced its first round of selections on Tuesday, including Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman, starring Hilary Swank, as the festival’s centerpiece film. HIFF also revealed that renowned Hamptonite and actor Bob Balaban has been tapped to be Honorary Chairman of this year’s 22nd annual festival.

Directed by Jones, The Homesman is based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize nominee Glendon Swarthout. When three women living on the edge of the American frontier are driven to the brink, the task of saving them from their surroundings falls to the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank). Transporting the women by covered wagon to Iowa, she soon realizes just how daunting the journey will be, and employs a feisty low-life drifter, George Biggs (Jones), to join her.

The unlikely pair and the three women (Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter) head east, where a waiting minister and his wife (Meryl Streep) have offered to take the women in. But the group first must traverse the harsh Nebraska Territories, marked by stark beauty, psychological peril and constant threat.

Swank will attend the East Coast premiere at HIFF and will participate in this year’s popular “A Conversation With…” series at the festival. Roadside Attractions and Saban Films will release The Homesman on November 14, 2014.

Anne Chaisson, Executive Director of the Festival, says the inclusion of Jones’ film and Swank’s inclusion in the festival is “just the tip of what HIFF will showcase this year.”

This year’s Honorary Chairman, Balaban, has a long history with HIFF, having been awarded the 1994 Audience Award for a film he wrote, produced and directed called The Last Good Time. He was named a member of the Honorary Board that same year. This fall he will star in the Broadway revival of Hamptonite Edward Albee’s play A Delicate Balance, with Glenn Close and John Lithgow.

“This is a great festival in a great location. It’s a joy to attend for the viewers. And the prefect place to launch your independent film or doc,” Balaban says.

HIFF also announced selections from its “Views from Long Island” section, which focuses on local films and filmmakers with geographic ties to the Hamptons. Showtime Networks, soon to be airing the Montauk-set drama The Affair, has joined HIFF as lead sponsor for the Views from Long Island section this year, and for the sixth year, the Suffolk County Film Commission will present their annual Next Exposure Award (with a cash value of $6,000) to one of the full-length features in the section.

Film selections for Views From Long Island include:

Still from HIFF Views from Long Island Selection "Gabriel"
Still from HIFF Views from Long Island Selection “Gabriel,” Photo Courtesy HIFF

Lou Howe’s Gabriel (much of which was filmed in the Hamptons) stars Rory Culkin as Gabriel. Longing for stability in the throes of mental illness, Gabriel will stop at nothing until he proposes to his high school girlfriend–never mind the fact that they haven’t seen each other in years. A sure-footed portrait of a young man on the edge, Howe’s debut feature examines our fixation with the nuclear household, and whether or not it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Still from HIFF Views from Long Island Selection "Diplomacy"
Still from HIFF Views from Long Island Selection “Diplomacy,” Photo Courtesy HIFF

The festival will hold the New York premiere of Amagansett resident Volker Schlöndorff‘s Diplomacy. At the end of World War II, General Dietrich von Choltitz, the governor of Nazi-occupied Paris, received an order to destroy the city if the Nazis were to lose it to Allied Forces. Adapted from the stage and directed by legendary German filmmaker Schlöndorff, Diplomacy is deeply connected with its moment in history, yet resounds with timeliness in its study of diametrically opposed ideologies and the necessary search for common ground.

HIFF Views from Long Island Selection Weenie
Still from HIFF Views from Long Island Selection “Weenie,” Photo Courtesy HIFF

The short film Weenie will mark its world premiere at the Festival. Weenie was filmed in East Hampton, and filmmaker Dan Roe lives in Sag Harbor, and teaches at The Ross School. The film’s main character, Weenie, is 16. Weenie wants to go to a party. Weenie has just been grounded. Weenie’s mom just doesn’t understand. What will Weenie do?

Select passes and packages are now on sale for the 22nd Annual Hamptons International Film Festival. A limited number of Founders Passes are currently discounted 15 percent until Labor Day. Visit hamptonsfilmfest.org for more info.

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