The 26th annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) is less than a month away, and there are plenty of features to get excited about, with more yet to be announced. The love letter to cinema kicks off with Sara Colangelo’s The Kindergarten Teacher on Thursday, October 4. In it, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Parker Sevak, Rosa Salazar and Gael García Bernal, portray the story of a kindergarten teacher who seeks to cultivate the poetic talents of one of her students with questionable methods. Maggie Gyllenhaal & Colangelo will both be in attendance.
“To be able to include so many completed feature films from our prestigious Screenwriters Lab is truly a dream come true, especially for our opening night,” said Anne Chaisson, Executive Director of HIFF. “For eighteen years our lab has mentored over 75 screenwriters, and these three films from female directors offer diverse perspectives and have all garnered critical acclaim this year.”
Saturday’s Centerpiece film is La La Land director Damien Chazelle’s First Man. Starring Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, the film portrays the ambitious mission by NASA to put a man on the moon, starring Gosling as Neil Armstrong, Foy as Janet Shearon and Corey Stoll at Buzz Aldrin. Chazelle and screenwriter Josh Singer will be in attendance.
Roma, from Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón, will screen in the Spotlight category on Sunday. Inspired by the early 1970’s Mexico City, Cuarón shares this semi-autobiographical look at a middle-class family making a life for itself among political turbulence and patriarchal rule. Producer Gabriela Rodriguez will be in attendance.
In the World Cinema Narrative category, the slate includes Cathy Yan’s Dead Pigs, which follows the true events affecting the interwoven lives of five individuals in Shanghai and Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum; making its American premiere, it focuses on a 12-year-old boy in Beirut who launches a lawsuit against his negligent parents. Other American premieres include Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto, Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx and Benedikt Erlingsson’s Women at War.
Christina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s Birds of Passage—Colombia’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar—will see its New York debut, while Rachel Carey’s Ask for Jane makes its world premiere. Other films include Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, Gustav Möller’s The Guilty, Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters—Japan’s Foreign Film Oscar entry—and Madeleine Olnek’s Wild Nights with Emily.
The World Cinema Documentary category includes the world premiere of Peter Jones’s Henri Dauman: Looking Up, the East Coast Premiere of Ken Wardrop’s Making the Grade and the New York Premiere of Maxim Pozdorovkin’s The Truth About Killer Robots. Additional films include Barbara Kopple’s A Murder in Mansfield, Jill Magid’s The Proposal, Nancy Schwartzman’s Roll Red Roll and Sandi Tan’s Shirkers.
In the Conflict and Resolution category, Ísold Uggadóttir’s And Breathe Normally, tells the story of a blossoming relationship between two women in Iceland—one an airport worker, the other a detained refugee.
The Views from Long Island category, which focuses on local filmmakers and the East End’s unique landscapes, features Michael Dweck’s documentary The Last Race, about a Long Island stock car race track trying to maintain the tradition and history of the sport.
The Air, Land and Sea category is designed to generate awareness around man-made environmental issues, and this year, it does so with American premiere of Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade’s Grit, chronicling the work of a young social and environmental activist in Indonesia after her village was buried by a toxic mudflow as a result of oil drilling.
The festival includes many more films throughout the weekend, such as the American premiere of Eva Trobisch’s All Good, starring Aenne Schwarz, a nuanced and powerful look at the destructive instinct to refuse to define oneself as a victim. Ali Abbasi’s Border, starring Eva Melander and Eero Milonoff, takes a hard look at an individual’s struggle to realize her place in the world. Rupert Everett’s The Happy Prince, starring Everett, Colin Firth and Emily Watson, is a biopic about the final years of renowned author Oscar Wilde’s life. Everett is set to attend the screening.
During the festival, M*A*S*H actor Alan Alda will become the second person to ever receive The Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award—the first being Dick Cavett himself—to honor his lifetime of artistic achievements and contributions to the industry. “Alan Alda is one of those now rare actors who in his career continues to distinguish himself on Broadway, in films and on television,” said HIFF Co-Chairman Alec Baldwin.
HIFF will take place over Indigenous Peoples Day weekend, October 4–8, across several Hamptons venues, including Guild Hall, East Hampton Middle School, UA East Hampton Cinema 6, UA Southampton 4 Theatres and Southampton Arts Center. Passes and packages are on sale now, and individual tickets go on sale on Monday, September 24. Mark your calendar, because they sell out very quickly each year.
Before the much anticipated event, HIFF presents Jane Fonda in Five Acts, a special screening at Guild Hall on Saturday, September 22 at 6 p.m. This intimate look into the Oscar-winning actress’ life and career includes interviews with Tom Hayden, Ted Turner, Robert Redford, Lily Tomlin and others. The film is presented by Alec Baldwin, who will moderate a Q&A with director Susan Lacy afterward.