HIFF Celebrates 30 Years with ‘Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues’

"Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues" is screening as part of HIFF's 30th anniversary celebration - Hamptons International Film Festival
“Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues” is screening as part of HIFF’s 30th anniversary celebration
Courtesy HamptonsFilm

The Hamptons International Film Festival is celebrating its 30th year, and 2022 festival, with a special evening of fun and culture in Southampton, including a screening of Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues and an afterparty on Saturday, October 8 hosted by HIFF chairman Randy Mastro and his wife Jonine Bernstein, an attending epidemiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC.

Directed by Sacha Jenkins, and also screening as part of the World Cinema Documentary lineup, Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues is playing at Sag Harbor Cinema at 6:30 p.m. and Southampton Arts Center at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday. Event ticket holders can attend either screening before the 30th anniversary celebration party.

In his illuminating portrait of the iconic artist, Jenkins honors legendary trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong’s legacy as a founding father of jazz, one of the first internationally known and beloved stars, and a cultural ambassador. Showing sides of Armstrong, also known as “Satchmo,” that few have had the privilege of seeing, Jenkins’s film paints a comprehensive picture of his extraordinary life.

Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues chronicles the musician’s story from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, illustrates how he became a lightning rod figure throughout that turbulent era. On one hand, Armstrong risked his career by speaking out against inequality and injustice, specifically targeting Arkansas governor Orval Faubus’s efforts to block nine Black children from integrating at Little Rock’s Central High School by sending the National Guard in 1957.

On the other side, the movie explores how he had to fight for acceptance from more radical activists who criticized Armstrong of being an “Uncle Tom” who gave too much deference to his white listeners.

Director Sacha Jenkins is longtime journalist who’s covered the hip-hop, graffiti, punk and metal scenes, and more, for magazines such as Rolling Stone and Spin. He was the music editor of Vibe magazine, has produced and directed television programs — The (White) Rapper Show, Ego Trip’s Race-O-Rama — and is also an accomplished musician with The White Mandingos rock band, making him a great fit for this doc.

Jenkins’ other films and documentary series include Fresh Dressed (2015), Word is Bond (2017), Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (2019), Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (2021).

Presented through a lens of archival footage, never-before-heard home recordings and personal conversations, Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues offers an intimate and revealing look at a musician who changed the world.

The HIFF screenings give viewers an early look at this Apple Original film, which will premiere on Apple TV+ on Saturday, October 22. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard are among the executive producers.

It’s a great way to start your week at the Hamptons International Film Festival, which begins on Friday, October 7 and continues through Sunday, October 16.

Visit filmguide.hamptonsfilmfest.org/events/hiff-30th-anniversary-celebration-in-southampton for info and tickets. To contact the box office directly, call 631-825-0050 or email [email protected].

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