HIFF 2022 Concludes with Winners, Oscar Hopefuls & More

Scene from "Return to Seoul," HIFF 2022 audience pick fro Best Narrative Feature
Scene from “Return to Seoul,” HIFF 2022 audience pick fro Best Narrative Feature

And that’s a wrap. The longer, location-challenged and finally in-person 30th Hamptons International Film Festival, aka HIFF, concluded Sunday night, October 16.

“The highpoint for me this year was seeing packed audiences and having people get enthusiastic about the films,” HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent says on closing night. He’s just finished a Q & A for one film and he’s a few minutes from introducing the last.

It’s an early look at the Daniel Craig Netflix whodunnit Glass Onion. The buzz has been good enough to lure almost the entire HIFF board.

Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc in "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" at HIFF 2022
Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc in “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”Courtesy of Netflix © 2022.

“We’ve had standing ovations and good vibes all week,” Nugent adds. He missed Guild Hall but said it was nice to have East Hampton Middle School. “I think people really loved The Whale, Till, and She Said and Living and Banshees of Inisherin, so there are a lot of films this year that depending on the mood of Oscar voters in two months, we’ll see where they land.”

HIFF 2022 Winners, Highlights & More

Forget Oscar voters. Hamptons audiences picked Return to Seoul as the Best Narrative Feature.

Written and directed by Davy Chou, the film revolves around a 25-year-old French adoptee who goes to South Korea to find her biological family. This one got my vote.

Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in "Banshees of Inisherin" HIFF 2022 film
Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson in “Banshees of Inisherin”Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2022 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved.

Best Doc Feature was Bobi Wine: The People’s President. This was also a hit in Venice, so Hamptons voters are in good company. The Sentence of Michael Thompson was the audience’s favorite short.

Voting this year was done with QR codes as you left the theater. I miss scribbling the little paper ballots, but the new method probably skews younger and avoids dangling chads and recalls.

As far as the jury was concerned, Lukas Dhont’s Close was the Best Narrative Feature. I didn’t see it. It’s about two 13-year-old best friends and people who did see it were raving.

Best Documentary Feature went to Pray for Our Sinners about the Catholic Church. Rap my knuckles with a ruler, I missed this one, too.

Rocco and his dad at Navy Beach from Rocco Up at HIFF
Rocco and his dad at Navy BeachJohn Madere

Awards for shorts went to When the LAPD Blows Up Your Neighborbood, probably not a Chamber of Commerce film. I was pulling for local favorite Rocco Up about a Montauk 9-year old-boy surfer with Autism.

The film’s exec producer told me the family was so taken with the whole festival — including a cover story in Dan’s — that they’re opening up their house to anyone who wants to drop by. I’ll leave their address out here so they can come to their senses. But it’s a charming thought nonetheless. Welcome to show business.

Mariska Hargitay accepted HIFF's Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award on Saturday
Mariska Hargitay accepted HIFF’s Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award on SaturdayCourtesy HIFF

Easily one of the highlights was a Saturday luncheon for Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award honoree Mariska Hargitay. The clubby Pridwin Hotel on Shelter Island was like sitting in someone’s living room when a famous name drops by.

The laid back Hargitay told me her first accolade was “Sophomore Class President at Marymount High School.” She added “I’ve done a lot since then.”

Her work to combat sexual abuse has included documentaries and a foundation. She tears up at the top of the Q & A after a lengthy intro about her efforts on and off camera for what she calls “survivors, not victims.”

She is off the cuff, friendly and glad to see people like Blythe Danner in the audience.

Sunday I’m polling pals who saw various films. “Seoul,” “Inisherin” and Till are thumbs up. “Living” and “Whale” are mixed.

Scene from "Triangle of Sadness" at HIFF 2022
Scene from “Triangle of Sadness”

And the Projectile Vomiting Film Award goes to the most controversial film — some loved some hated — Triangle of Sadness. Think a very rocky Love Boat with bad plumbing. “It’s social commentary with a sledgehammer, we get it, enough,” said one patron headed for the exit.

So the 30th is history. If I’m tired, Nugent and HIFF Executive Director Anne Chaisson must be exhausted. But no, he’s already upbeat about next year.

When do they start planning?

“In a sense, next week when we do all our wrap meetings,” he says with a smile. “We start to think about what worked and what didn’t work. But more specifically, in January.”

Roll the credits.

Visit hamptonsfilm.org for more info about the recent festival and what’s next.

Bill McCuddy is a frequent Dan’s contributor. He also cohosts a movie review show on PBS/AllArts and has three podcasts including “Sitting Around Talking Movies” and “The Accutron Show.” He is also a voter in the Critic’s Choice Awards. He lives in Bridgehampton.

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