Celebrate Earth Day with Hamptons Doc Fest’s Doc Equinox

Film still of Valerie Taylor from “Playing With Sharks,” screening April 24 at Sag Harbor Cinema
Film still of Valerie Taylor from “Playing With Sharks,” screening April 24 at Sag Harbor Cinema

Just in time for Earth Day, the Hamptons Doc Fest presents its annual Docs Equinox celebration, and this year, it’s bigger than ever. Now expanded to four days of thought-provoking programming, the festival includes three virtual and live documentary film screenings with special guests and more. Festivities begin on Earth Day, April 22, and continue through Sunday, April 25.

“Hamptons Doc Fest is celebrating Earth Day in a big way this year with three highly illuminating environmental films that shed a clear light on the human connection to our planet,” Hamptons Doc Fest founder/executive director Jacqui Lofaro says in a statement. “Plus, we’ve scheduled a conversation centerpiece with inspiring, local eco-advocates, the new keepers of our planet.”

The first of the three virtual offerings available for the duration of the festival is Watson. Lesley Chilcott ‘s 2019 documentary is about Captain Paul Watson, the renegade founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a co-founder of Greenpeace, who has spent 40 years sailing the globe, fighting to end the destruction of the ocean’s marine life and its habitat. The exciting Q&A that follows includes both the director and Captain Watson, interviewed by documentary filmmaker Roger Sherman, co-founder of Florentine Films.

The next film available is And We Go Green, directed by Oscar winner Fisher Stevens and Malcolm Venville, and produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. The 2020 film follows the brash professional drivers on the international Formula E circuit, all with eco-friendly electric cars, as they race across 10 cities. The online interview with Stevens will also be hosted by Sherman of Florentine Films.

Last of the four-day virtual offerings is the East End Green Team’s Conversation Centerpiece, a panel discussion moderated by radio host Gianna Volpe. The panel of local environmental activists will include artist Scott Bluedorn, who sits on the East Hampton Energy and Sustainability Committee; Daniela Kronemeyer, national indigenous rights consultant; John Robertson, landscape manager of Wainscott Farms; Alexandra Talty, award-winning international journalist on agriculture and social justice; and Shane Weeks, Shinnecock Nation artist and educator. They will all share their thoughts and action plans for the planet and East End local neighborhoods.

Docs Equinox culminates in a special live screening of National Geographic Documentary Films’ Playing with Sharks at the newly reopened Sag Harbor Cinema on April 24 at 7 p.m. One of the hottest films at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Playing with Sharks captures the life of Valerie Taylor, a fearless diver, cinematographer and pioneering conservationist whose work would forever change the world’s understanding of the ocean’s most magnificent apex predators. The screening is followed by a Zoom conversation with Taylor, writer/director Sally Aitken, producer Bettina Dalton and Sag Harbor Cinema Artistic Director Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan. The documentary and Q&A will also be available online from Saturday, April 24, 9 p.m. to Sunday, April 25, midnight.

“With its intrepid heroine, toothy co-stars and beautiful underwater cinematography, mostly rare and archival, Playing with Sharks is the perfect film to salute the wonders of wildlife,” D’Agnolo Vallan states. “We are delighted by this new collaboration with Hamptons Doc Fest.”

For tickets to all Docs Equinox offerings, visit hamptonsdocfest.com.

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