First it was the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival, which is quite a mouthful by anyone’s standards. But founder and executive director Jacqui Lofaro has rebranded the event as Hamptons Doc Fest as it heads into its second decade. The new name also boasts a new logo, created by Walter Bernard Design, and a new website, www.hamptonsdocfest.com.
“Entering our 11th year, with an ‘all docs, all year’ mantra, we are proud to stake our claim to a new, more succinct name that reflects our passion for the non-fiction film genre,” said Lofaro. This year’s five-day festival, with a full slate of outstanding films, runs from Thursday, November 29, through Monday, December 3, all at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.
At 8 PM on Thursday, the opening night film Every Act Of Life, directed by Jeff Kaufman, will play. Paying tribute to Terrence McNally, the multiple award-winning playwright, librettist, screenwriter, and ardent fighter for LGBTQ rights, is an apropos choice, since McNally has been intimately associated with Bay Street since it opened as a theater in 1992, is a Sag Harbor resident, and once tutored the Steinbeck children. His four Tonys were awarded for Kiss of the Spider Woman, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Ragtime, and Master Class. Filmgoers will be able to see McNally in person at Bay Street for the post-film Q&A, in conversation with actor Harris Yulin.
Friday night’s spotlight film, also at 8 PM, is Carmine Street Guitars. Co-presented with the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, it features a cast of prominent musicians and artists captured during five days in the life of Carmine Street Guitars, a shop in Greenwich Village, where custom guitar maker Rick Kelly (guitar maker for the likes of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed) and apprentice Cindy Hulej build hand-crafted guitars out of reclaimed wood. A Q&A follows the screening, with Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan, artistic director of the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, interviewing the film’s award-winning director Ron Mann and legendary guitarist G.E. Smith of Amagansett.
Sheila Nevins will be honored with the Lumiere Career Achievement Award at the festival’s gala on Saturday, after a wine and buffet reception that begins at 7 PM. Hamptons Doc Fest is proud to welcome Nevins as a producer and executive producer of more than 1500 documentaries that have won a total of 33 Primetime Emmy Awards, 36 News and Documentary Emmys, 42 George Foster Peabody Awards, and 26 Academy Awards. After the award presentation, Nevins will be interviewed by award-winning filmmaker Mark Levin, followed by two of her executive-produced films: Triangle: Remembering the Fire, about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, and short film The Number on Great Grandpa’s Arm, about an Auschwitz survivor.
Sunday night’s spotlight film, at 8 PM, is To A More Perfect Union: U.S. v Windsor, directed by Donna Zaccaro, Geraldine Ferraro’s daughter and founder/president of New York media production company, Dazzling Media. The film features octogenarian Edie Windsor’s fight, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, to have the U.S. government recognize, for estate tax purposes, her 40-year relationship with a female spouse. On hand for the Q&A will be Windsor’s spouse, Judith Kasen-Windsor.
Monday night’s closing film, Free Solo, centers on free soloist climber Alex Honnold’s journey to achieve his lifelong dream of climbing the face of the 3000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without a rope. The film is presented at no charge, as part of Monday’s free Douglas Elliman Community Day.
There are other festival awards, and a full slate of films every day to suit every taste, including for students. Saturday will bring Jane Fonda in Five Acts at 3 PM, followed by a Q&A with director Susan Lacy, hosted by Jules Feiffer. On Monday, see Pick of the Litter, which follows a litter of puppies from the moment they are born through their two-year quest to become guide dogs for the blind. Afterward there is a Q&A with Sally Scranton, a longtime guide dog raiser with the Guide Dog Foundation.
To see the full roster, and for ticket information, visit the website at www.hamptonsdocfest.com.