HIFF Returns to the East End

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

Where can you look over an extensive list of soon to be released feature and international films, shorts, and lectures and pick which ones you want to see, practically in the same location? It is at The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) that will soon open its 31st edition. The festival days are extended the second year now and runs from October 5-12, 2023 as a live and in-person event. Passes and Package started to go on sale September 5th. On top of these fantastic selections, you will have an opportunity to meet actors, screenwriters, producers and those directly involved with these creations. Any questions you have about the film, the actors or the artistic process can be answered directly by “those in the know” that worked on the cinematic masterpieces, once again proven to be a gigantic drawn to thousands of visitors from near and far.  The beauty of the area beckons guests to be entertained by the film offerings, the fabulous shops and dining experiences that is already well known to residents and summer visitors. More than two hundred films are in the competition, vying for the prestigious Golden Starfish Award, which is symbolized, by four golden starfish. This is a natural design for the town that is situated on the Atlantic Ocean. The HIFF has become an important venue for both established and emerging filmmakers from across the international scene.

Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Todd Haynes will attend HIFF31 to screen his latest narrative feature MAY DECEMBER, a Spotlight film, and will receive the festival’s Achievement in Directing Award. Haynes will also take part on Monday October 9th in our A Conversation With… series, sponsored by The Macallan. Samir Hussein – Wire Image. Todd Haynes is a screenwriter, director, and producer whose work has spanned more than four decades. Haynes’ critically lauded films include POISON (1991; Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize recipient), SAFE (1995), VELVET GOLDMINE (1998; Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize recipient), FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002; Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay), I’M NOT THERE (2007), CAROL (2015), DARK WATERS (2019), and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (2021), his first feature length documentary.

Ticket Selections: Ticket purchase is often selected in advance, however, there are last minute tickets available to some performances, if seats open shortly before the movie begins.  However, I would strongly recommend choosing your films and events in advance so as not to be disappointed.  Here is a link where you can browse the film guide: https://filmguide.hamptonsfilmfest.org/events-grid/.

Reading their website or leafing through the literature, one finds an outline of panel discussions, listings for conflict and resolution films, children’s film entries, shorts, student awards program, world cinema choices, youth media, and the highlight of the festival, “Spotlight Films”. These are films known as “high profile” that are shown to HIFF audiences in advance of their public release in theatres. This year on opening night, the East Coast Premiere is NYAD, a film that tells the remarkable story of American marathon swimmer Diana Nyad (played by Annette Bening), also starring Jodie Foster as her best friend and coach, Bonnie Stoll, and is based on Nyad’s 2015 autobiography Find a Way. Nyad, at the age of 64, became the first person to complete the “Everest of swims,” executing a 53-hour, 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, through dangerous open ocean, without a shark cage. Another film guaranteed to attract a large audience is the New York Premiere of Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney’s IN RESTLESS DREAMS: THE MUSIC OF PAUL SIMON will screen as this year’s festival Centerpiece presentation on Friday, October 6, sponsored by UBS.  Simon, consider a local, with a summer residence in the East End, has written and sung music that listeners of all ages still enjoy and dance to when they hear his songs. The extensive list of films and special events is too long to detail in this space, so readers can find out more information at www.hamptonsfilmfest.org Additional programming will continue to be announced in the coming weeks, so revisit the HIFF website frequently for the latest updates and expanded schedules.

Volunteers Wanted…Would you like to have an immersive, behind-the-scenes experience at the Hamptons International Film Festival? As a volunteer, gain access to the inner workings of the festival engine, meet fellow film lovers, and receive FREE movie tickets in exchange for your work. This Festival could not happen without the hard work provided by their volunteers. HIFF is fully committed to making sure both their Volunteers and Staff feel protected and safe, and to accomplish that will require that all staff and volunteers wear masks when inside venues. If you are interested in joining the HIFF team of motivated, hardworking, committed and reliable volunteers for HIFF31, or have questions, check their website volunteer@hamptonsfilmfest.org  Once responses are gathering HIFF will reach out to finalize the benefits and dates being offered.

Autumn on the East End if a beautiful time of year! Make it a mini getaway and plan to spend several days out in the Hamptons. There are many packages offered for guests attending the HIFF festival. Contact the Chamber of Commerce in the town you would like to stay and book your hotel early.  Enjoy the beautiful, breathtaking colors of autumn and the fine dining the East End has to offer. Nowhere else this close to home can you discover a multitude of new films, learn about the behind-the-scenes techniques of this craft and hear from professionals that have made cinema history.  Don’t miss it.