Hamptons Doc Fest Celebrates 15th Year with 6 Days of Films

“The Treasure of His Youth: The Photographs of Paolo Di Paolo" screens Sunday
“The Treasure of His Youth: The Photographs of Paolo Di Paolo” screens Sunday at Hamptons Doc Fest
Courtesy Hamptons Doc Fest

Hamptons Doc Fest returns to Sag Harbor this Thursday, celebrating its 15th year with a six-day, in-person festival featuring 25 engaging and impactful documentary films, screening December 1-6 at Sag Harbor Cinema and Bay Street Theater.

And Hamptons Doc Fest’s slate of films this year covers a wide range of topics, such as the arts — visual art, music, photography and fashion design — nature, environmental issues, social justice, investigative reporting, biography, history and more.

“Our December program is a rich trove of compelling films, and we know that our documentary devotees will love the 2022 anniversary line-up,” Hamptons Doc Fest founder and executive director Jacqui Lofaro, said, noting earlier, “2022 celebrates our 15th year bringing you the best documentaries with the best story power you’ve come to expect from Hamptons Doc Fest.”

This year’s event includes more awards and tributes to films and directors, such as the Pennebaker Career Achievement Award, the Environmental Award, Filmmaker Impact Award, Art & Inspiration Award, Human Rights Award, and the popular Audience Award.

“The festival will also pay tribute to National Geographic Documentary Films for their provocative documentaries from the world’s very best filmmakers,” Hamptons Doc Fest’s artistic director Karen Arikian added. “We are thrilled to present two of their most recent films at this year’s festival.”

Another special feature is a 40th anniversary screening of Say Amen, Somebody, which includes a live, pre-film performance of contemporary gospel music.

And, as always, the festival presents its annual Young Voices Program for local middle and high school students, where this year, award-winning filmmaker Roger Sherman will conduct a hands-on workshop after the screening of a short film.

D.A. Pennebaker
The great D.A. PennebakerIndependent/David Corio

HAMPTONS DOC FEST 2022 AWARDS

Pennebaker Career Achievement Award – Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power

Filmmaker Sam Pollard will receive the Pennebaker Career Achievement Award at Bay Street Theater on Saturday, December 3 starting with a reception at 7 p.m. The award is named in honor of long-time Sag Harbor resident and documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker who died in August of 2019.

After the ceremony and interview with Sam Pollard by documentary filmmaker Julie Anderson, a member of the Hamptons Doc Fest Advisory Board, the festival will screen Pollard’s latest film Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power (2022, 90 min.), co-directed by Geeta Gandbhir, about the courageous men and women in Lowndes County, Alabama, who risked their lives to win suffrage in 1960 for residents, 80% of whom were black and unregistered to vote.

HDF Environmental Award – Fashion Reimagined

Fashion Reimagined (2022, 92 min.), which will be screened at Bay Street Theater on Thursday, December 1 at 5 p.m., will receive the HDF Environmental Award. The film follows fashion designer Amy Powney, of the London brand Mother of Pearl, who’s the daughter of environmental activists, and sets out on an historic quest in 2018 to produce a fashion collection from field fiber to finished garment, that is both ethical and sustainable. In the film, she travels from Uruguayan sheep pastures to an Austrian garment factory, along the way exposing the amazing waste in the global fashion industry.

Director Becky Hutner, a Canadian who lives in England, has spent the past five years in London creating fashion and culture work for DUCK Productions. She will participate in a virtual Q&A after the screening.

Opening Night Film – Still Working 9 to 5

The Hamptons Doc Fest Opening Night Film, Still Working 9 to 5 (2022, 96 min.), directed by Camille Hardman and Gary Lane, screens at Sag Harbor Cinema on Thursday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. As its name suggests, the film takes a fresh look at the 1980 comedy cult classic 9 to 5, that starred Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman and Lily Tomlin, and includes its various incarnations as TV shows and Broadway musicals. It explores the evolution of gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace since 1980 and traces the history of the women’s movement, revealing that little has changed over the past four decades.

Susan Lacy of Sag Harbor, a Hamptons Doc Fest Advisory Board member and creator/director of the American Masters series, 1993–2020, will do the post-film Q&A with co-directors Camille Hardman and Gary Lane, executive producer Larry Lane (Gary’s twin brother), and Ellen Cassedy, co-founder of the 9 to 5 National Association of Working Women.

National Geographic Documentary Films Tribute – The Territory, The Flag Makers

In a special program at Sag Harbor Cinema on Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m., National Geographic Documentary Films is being honored with a tribute in recognition of the notable, worldwide films it has produced over the years, each featuring outstanding documentary filmmakers. Accepting the award will be Chris Albert, Executive Vice President of Global Communications for the company.

The award presentation will be followed by a screening of The Territory (2022, 85 min.), directed by Alex Pritz, which premiered at Sundance, winning both the Audience Award and Special Jury Award for Documentary Craft. Pritz will be on hand after the film for a Q&A.

This film provides a deep look into the tireless fight of the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people of the Brazilian Amazon over three years as they risk their lives to battle against the encroaching deforestation caused by farmers and illegal settlers who burn and clear their protected native lands.

In addition to The Territory, this year’s tribute to National Geographic Documentary Films will also include The Flag Makers (35 min.) as part of the Shorts Program at Bay Street Theater on Monday, December 5 at 3 p.m.

HDF Filmmaker Impact Award – Last Flight Home

Recipient of the Hamptons Doc Fest’s 2022 Filmmaker Impact Award at a screening on Saturday, December 3, 1:30 p.m. at Sag Harbor Cinema, will be Ondi Timoner, director of Last Flight Home (2022, 101 min.), who will participate in a Q&A after the screening.

The film tells the story of her father Eli Timoner, who founded Air Florida, the fastest growing airline in the world in the 1970s. Through stunning footage, she follows her father’s life to the end, involving both incredible successes, devastating setbacks and the power of human connection.

HDF Art & Inspiration Award – Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums

The documentary Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums (2022, 99 min.) will receive Hamptons Doc Fest’s Art & Inspiration Award from The Tee & Charles Addams Foundation at Bay Street Theater on Monday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m. Accepting the award and participating in a post-film Q&A will be the director Soren Sorensen.

Cuban-born pianist and composer Omar Sosa is one of the most versatile jazz artists on the scene today, fusing a wide range of jazz, world-wide music and electronic elements with his native Afro-Cuban roots to create a fresh and original rhythmic sound. In his over 25 years as a solo artist, Sosa has released over 30 albums and received four Grammy nominations and three Latin Grammy nominations. He often performs as many as 100 concerts annually, across six continents.

HDF Human Rights Award – Four Winters

Receiving the Hamptons Doc Fest’s Human Rights Award in a screening at Bay Street Theater on Tuesday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m. will be Four Winters (2022, 96 min.) about the Jewish resistance in World War II.

Through first-person interviews, family photographs and rare archival footage, the last surviving partisans tell their stories of fighting back against the Nazis and their collaborators from the forests of Belarus, Ukraine and Eastern Europe—engaging in acts of sabotage, blowing up trains, burning electric stations and attacking armed enemy headquarters.

Director Julia Mintz will participate in a Q&A afterwards.

Closing Night Film – All That Breathes

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at Sundance 2022, and also the Golden Eye award for the best documentary at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, All That Breathes (2022, 97 min.) will serve as Hamptons Doc Fest’s Closing Night Film at Bay Street Theater on Tuesday, December 6 at 8 p.m.

Directed by Shaunak Sen, who will appear in a virtual Q&A afterwards, the film tells a tale of two brothers in New Delhi, India, who have a bird hospital in their tiny basement in which they rescue and care for thousands of black kites—birds of prey that drop from the sky because of the smog-choked skies and other environmental toxins. As civil unrest escalates, the relationship between this Muslim family and the neglected kite forms a chronicle of the city’s collapsing ecology and rising social tensions.

Hamptons Doc Fest Closing Night film “All That Breathes"
Closing Night film “All That Breathes”Courtesy Hamptons Doc Fest

ALSO PLAYING AT HAMPTONS DOC FEST

Thursday, December 1 Bay Street Theater

2 p.m.
Subject (2022, 93 min.)

Through fascinating and revealing interviews with documentary film protagonists, Subject examines the impact of being the “subject” of a documentary film, of having your life turned upside down afterwards, and of the ethical concerns that documentarians face in making their films. Directors are Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall. Appearing for the post-film Q&A will be Jesse Friedman, a participant in the 2003 award-winning documentary Capturing the Friedmans.

Friday, December 2 Bay Street Theater

2 p.m.
The Thief Collector (2022, 94 min.)

Sure to be of interest to artists, art lovers and East Hampton residents, where Willem de Kooning lived until he passed away in 1997, the film, directed by Allison Otto, tells of the puzzling art theft in 1985 of de Kooning’s valuable painting “Woman-Ochre,” which vanished into the Arizona desert after being cut from its frame at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. Thirty-two years later, the $160 million painting was rediscovered in the unlikeliest of places. Participating in the virtual Q&A will be director Allison Otto and producer Caryn Capotosto.

Friday, December 2 Sag Harbor Cinema

5 p.m.
Patrick and the Whale (2022, 72 min.)

This film, directed by Mark Fletcher, had its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Using stunning underwater cinematography and whale songs of click and whistle sounds, it follows marine videographer, diver and whale lover Patrick Dykstra, who for 20 years dedicated his life to traveling the globe, swimming with and attempting to communicate with whales. In the film, we also see Patrick returning to Dominica in search again of a special sperm whale he had named “Dolores” that he had felt in communion with. Both director Mark Fletcher and diver Patrick Dykstra will be on screen for the virtual Q&A.

Saturday, December 3 Bay Street Theater

11:30 a.m.
Say Amen, Somebody (100 min.)

This special 40th anniversary screening program opens with a live performance of contemporary Gospel Music by Jeff Roberson and Nulife Singers of Long Island, followed by the film, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 1982.

Directed by George T. Nierenberg, who will participate in a post-film Q&A, the documentary is a joyful tribute to black performers who first began combining the heart and soul of Negro spirituals with the infectious rhythms of jazz and blues. It specifically follows the careers of Thomas A. Dorsey, considered the father of Gospel Music, and his associate Willie Mae Ford Smith, who trained many 20th century gospel singers even though she remained relatively unknown.

Also interviewed at the Q&A will be the film’s cinematographer Don Lenzer of East Hampton.

"The Quiet Epidemic” Hamptons Doc Fest screening is Saturday at Sag Harbor Cinema
“The Quiet Epidemic” screens Saturday at Sag Harbor CinemaCourtesy Hamptons Doc Fest

Saturday, December 3 Sag Harbor Cinema

11 a.m.
The Quiet Epidemic (2022, 102 min.)

This film launches a call to action at thequietepidemic.com to host community screenings to spread the word that Chronic Lyme Disease, caused by the black-legged tick, is a real thing.

The story follows Julia, a young girl from Brooklyn, who endured years of symptoms in a wheelchair, and a Duke University doctor, who needed a heart transplant after mis-diagnosed Lyme, and the controversies and medical debates that occurred over whether Lyme can survive antibiotics and become chronic.

The directors Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch, who were introduced to each other by the doctor treating them for Lyme, will be on hand for a Q&A after the film, along with producer Chris Hegedus of Sag Harbor.

4 p.m.
Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy (2022, 101 min.)

This film, directed by Nancy Buirski, is not about the making of Midnight Cowboy, the 1969 film co-starring Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman, which was the first X-rated film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Instead, it combines film clips, archival material and interviews with the actors, director John Schlesinger and others, to show how the film captured the essence of New York City in the 1960’s, in the midst of the Vietnam War, black, gay and women’s liberation and other cultural upheavals. “In essence,” though, “it’s a film about friendship and loyalty,” said Schlesinger, between hustler Joe Buck (Voigt) and ailing loner Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman).

The post-film Q&A will feature Buirski and Susan Margolin, one of the film’s producers. Previously the festival screened two of Buirski’s award-winning films— The Loving Story (2011) and The Rape of Recy Taylor (2017).

Co-presented with NYWIFT (NY Women in Film & Television).

“The Grab" Hamptons Doc Fest screening is Sunday at Bay Street Theater
“The Grab” screens Sunday at Bay Street TheaterCourtesy Hamptons Doc Fest

Sunday, December 4 Bay Street Theater

11 a.m.
The Grab (2022, 104 min.)

A virtual Q&A with the director Gabriela Cowperthwaite will follow the screening of this film which examines the investigative reporting by Nathan Halverson of The Center for Investigative Reporting and his colleagues. After first uncovering the 2013 sale of U.S. pork-supplier Smithfield Foods to a Chinese company, they soon learned that this was not an isolated incident, leading them to follow a money trail and probe into the covert actions of China and other powerful nations, as they grabbed lands and resources in other countries. One of Cowperthwaite’s earlier films — Blackfish in 2013 — which resulted in reforms at SeaWorld, was one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time.

Sunday, December 4 Sag Harbor Cinema

2 p.m.
The Smell of Money (2022, 84 min.)

Directed by Shawn Bannon and co-produced by Jamie Berger, both of whom will be present at the post-film Q&A, The Smell of Money premiered at this year’s Sarasota Film Festival, winning the Documentary Feature Jury Prize. It follows Elsie Herring, who battles for nine years against the powerful pork industry in rural North Carolina, which moves in, uninvited, to the land her grandfather had purchased after his freedom from slavery, and threatens their right to clean air, pure water and freedom from the stench of pig waste.

4 p.m.
Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb (2022, 112 min.)

This film, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, explores the remarkable 50-year relationship between two literary legends—writer Robert Caro, 86, who has a house in East Hampton, and his longtime editor Robert Gottlieb, 91, as they work to finish Caro’s monumental five-volume masterpiece, The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Gottlieb had also edited Caro’s earlier Pulitzer Prize-winning biography The Power Broker, about Robert Moses. The film title, “Turn Every Page,” refers to Caro’s exhaustive method of research. The film’s unique double biography reveals the work habits, peculiarities and professional joys of both men with humor and insight.

Both Caro and the film’s director Lizzie Gottlieb, Robert Gottlieb’s daughter, will be present for the Q&A. Co-presented with Sag Harbor Cinema.

7 p.m.
The Treasure of His Youth: The Photographs of Paolo Di Paolo (2022, 105 min.)

This film is a biography of Italian photographer Paolo Di Paolo, whose photos were hidden away for 50 years until they were found by his daughter who was surprised he had photographed some of the most important creative people in Italy. The photos of luminaries such as film director Bernardo Bertolucci, actress Anna Magnani, actor Marcello Mastroianni, and novelist Alberto Moravia were a revelation to American photographer and film director Bruce Weber, who directed this elegant black-and-white film. Both Weber and Di Paolo’s daughter Sylvia Di Paolo will participate in the Q&A.

“Real Fur” Hamptons Doc Fest screening is Monday at Bay Street Theater
“Real Fur,” screens Monday at Bay Street TheaterCourtesy Hamptons Doc Fest

Monday, December 5 Bay Street Theater

12 p.m.
Real Fur (2022, 89 min.)

Directed by Taimoor Choudhry, Real Fur is an eye-opening undercover investigative film that includes interviews with animal activists about the true cost of the fur farming industry in Canada. Choudhry had led a life of glamour, rubbing elbows with celebrities and fashionistas as he grew his family’s fine jewelry empire in Pakistan, until he witnessed animal cruelty in a market not only in Pakistan but also in Canada, where he moved to pursue a film degree. In response, he founded Arise Productions, dedicating the past five years to promoting animal rights through film. Choudhry will be on hand for a Q&A.

3 p.m.
Shorts Program (98 min.)

The Flagmakers (2022, 35 min.), a National Geographic Documentary Film by award-winning directors Sharon Liese and Cynthia Wade, is a meditation on the American Dream as it follows workers, including locals, refugees and immigrants, at the company in Wisconsin which is the largest maker of American flags.

54 Miles to Home (2022, 26 min.) This film, directed by Claire Haughey, is about the three black farming families (the Halls, the Steeles and the Gardners) who risked their lives in 1965 to provide campsites for thousands of voting rights marchers in the historic five-day, 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. There’s a movement now to preserve the campsites, as they had been placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2021 list of America’s most endangered historic places.

Footsteps (2022, 12 min.) Directed by Jeremy Benning, this film peeks into the ingenuity of a team of exceptional Foley artists and the work that goes into the creation of soundtracks for feature films, TV series and video games at the renowned Ontario facility founded in 2005 by Andy Malcom.

Pony Boys (2022, 25 min.) In the summer of 1967, two young Massachusetts brothers, aged 9 and 11, set off on an improbable 350-mile journey with their family pet, a Shetland pony named King, pulling their cart at 5 mph to visit Expo ’67 in Montreal. Director Eric Stange will be at the Q&A.

5:30 p.m.
COVID Century – The Pandemic Preparedness Dilemma (2022, 98 min.)

This investigative film by director Michael Wech highlights key moments of the first 10 weeks after the discovery of COVID-19, that were crucial to the pandemic’s global spread, showing how Chinese authorities withheld crucial information from the international community. Jeremy Farrar, one of the world’s leading scientists says, “We could have stopped the pandemic.” Following the film, director Wech and producer Leopold Hoesch will be on screen for a virtual Q&A.

“Playing in the FM Band: The Steve Post Story” is screening with Hamptons Doc Fest at Bay Street Theater Tuesday
“Playing in the FM Band: The Steve Post Story” is screening at Bay Street Theater TuesdayCourtesy Hamptons Doc Fest

Tuesday, December 6 Bay Street Theater

10 a.m.
Young Voices Program (for students, faculty & family)

This year, the annual Young Voices Program for local middle and high school students, will feature award-winning filmmaker Roger Sherman who will conduct a hands-on workshop following the screening of a short film.

3 p.m.
Playing in the FM Band: The Steve Post Story (2022, 90 min.)

Both director Rosemarie Reed and executive producer Caryl Ratner will appear for the Q&A about their film, which recounts the life and career of the New York radio icon Steve Post and gets its title from his autobiography. Though Post (1944-2014) had a hard childhood, losing his mother when he was 10 years old, and enduring terrible bullying at a boarding school, back at home he escaped from his existence by surreptitiously using his father’s reel-to-reel tape recorder to create and host radio programs. Eventually in 1966 he realized his dream, becoming a successful cult radio personality with a Saturday all-night, free-form broadcast at WBAI-FM in New York City for 15 years, and later working at WNYC.

Visit hamptonsdocfest.com for festival passes, tickets and additional info, including prices for awards events and more.

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