Local Heroes: The Long and Short of HIFF Films from East End Filmmakers

"Soul of a Farmer" Courtesy HIFF
“Soul of a Farmer” Courtesy HIFF

Kelcey Edwards curates art on the East End. And makes films. Her latest, The Art of Making It, is getting its world premiere at the 29th annual Hamptons International Film Festival this Sunday.

Edwards, who also made the doc Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Super Heroines in 2012, follows a group of upcoming artists to see how they might break into the art world. It’s a tough business. Then COVID happened.

“When we began filming in 2019, little did we know our film would literally capture the final months of the art world as we knew it,” Edwards reveals. “Completing our final interview in 2021, our film captures the rethinking of the art world’s most entrenched systems in real-time.”

Edwards holds an MFA from Stanford in documentary filmmaking. But Making It questions the value of degrees, gallery representation and how new artists can establish themselves post-pandemic.

“I began to wonder how the new artists were navigating this upended art world,” she says. “They depend on their own fortitude, the whims of an unregulated market, and support from institutions with a history of barriers to entry based on race, gender and socio-economic class.”

The artists highlighted in the film, several of whom are New Yorkers, include Felipe Baeza, Andrea Bowers, Lisa Corinne Davis, Sebastian Errazuriz and professor Charles Gaines. Edwards, who founded her first gallery at the age of 25 in Austin Texas, now lives year-round in Quogue and founded Iron Gate East to produce art shows throughout the Hamptons.

“Even as a child I understood artists to be extraordinary visionaries who at once could mirror our culture and challenge it,” she says. If you’ve often wondered “Where are the new artists coming from?” look no further.

"The Art of Making It" Courtesy HIFF
“The Art of Making It”
Courtesy HIFF

Short Notice

Along with Kelcey Edwards’ world premiere, four other local short films get a first look together during the festival. Featuring shorts ranging in length from 11 to 35 minutes, the HIFF series “Views from Long Island Showcase” has been a yearly inclusion since 2002.

With a little help from the Suffolk County Film Commission, this year’s entries include The Glass from director Tom Van Scoyoc, Nastasya Popov’s Good Grief, Radical Love from William A. Kirkley and, because one of the short showcase’s missions is to focus on area landscapes and politics, Roger Sherman’s The Soul of a Farmer literally defines “homegrown.” Local farmer Patty Gentry harvests vegetables from her three-acre garden for top chef clients. Warning: It’s not always as pretty as the plating.

The “Views from Long Island Shorts Showcase” will be shown on Sunday, October 10, 11 a.m., at Sag Harbor Cinema. The Art Of Making It (95 minutes) will be shown on October 10, 1:15 p.m., at Guild Hall. For tickets, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.

Bill McCuddy contributes to Dan’s Papers, GoldDerby.com, the NY Post and cohosts a podcast “Sitting Around Talking Movies” with film vets Neil Rosen and Bill Bregoli that records several episodes from HIFF each year. Bill is the “funny one” he tells us.

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