Now in its seventh year, the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival (HT2FF) gets underway on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, running its trademark “all docs, all day” through Sunday, December 7, 2014. As in past years, there will be Q&As after every film and audiences at each screening will mark ballots to determine the winner of this year’s Audience Award.
According to HT2FF founder, filmmaker and executive director Jacqui Lofaro of Bridgehampton, “2014 has witnessed another year of growth for the festival, increasing from three to four days of films and expanding to 32 documentaries. This year’s festival also broadens our ‘Young Voices’ selections and initiates collaboration with the School of Visual Arts MFA Social Documentary Film Department.”
For a second year, former Hamptons International Film Festival Executive Director Karen Arikian is serving as creative advisor for the festival. Presenting sponsor is Bridgehampton National Bank and the Audience Award sponsor is Brown Harris Stevens.
Emceeing the Q&As are WPPB radio host and actor Bonnie Grice and arts writer/film critic and actor/director Andrew Botsford.
Over the four days of HT2FF, the festival will feature a number of films that have as their subjects musicians, artists, writers, ballet dancers and a renowned designer, Milton Glaser.
The opening night film, for example—screening at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 4—will be the New York premiere of a 90-minute documentary about Fats Domino titled “The Big Beat,” made by North Fork resident Joe Lauro.
According to the festival program, “The Big Beat” is the story of how Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew’s music became “Rock N’ Roll” while effectively breaking down the color barriers and paving the way for racial integration through music.
The director, Joe Lauro, has produced numerous music documentaries, including “Harold Arlen: Somewhere Over the Rainbow”; “Louis Prima: The Wildest”; and “The Howlin’ Wolf Story.” He has directed “The Supremes: Reflections”; “The Original Soul Men: Sam & Dave”; “Reach Out: The Four Tops Story”; and “I Am Rick James,” among other films.
Screening at 3 p.m. on Thursday, December 4, will be the John Jinks film, “Hans Van de Bovenkamp: In His Own Words.”
Van de Bovenkamp, of New York City and Sagaponack, is known for his monumental sculptures created primarily for open-air public locales. In a collage of words and images the documentary reveals the artist’s methods and his vision as he explains his process of creation.
On Friday, December 5, the Spotlight Film screening at 8 p.m. will be “The 50 Year Argument” (96 min.) directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, on the 50-year history of the New York Review of Books and its editor Robert Silvers. Co-founder Jason Epstein will be on hand for the Q&A.
“The 50 Year Argument” chronicles the history of the revered New York periodical famous for its long-form essays on literary, cultural and political matters. The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes with the journal’s editor Robert Silvers and many of the famous writers and pundits whose work has appeared in the celebrated publication over the years.
On Saturday, December 6, at noon, HT2FF will screen “Imber’s Left Hand” (76 min.) about painter John Imber, who was diagnosed with ALS in the summer of 2012.
Directed by Richard Kane, the documentary is a love story turning on a poignant tragedy about the gifted artist and his wife, the accomplished painter Jill Hoy. The film traces his life, career and the adaptations he makes due to his illness, switching from painting with his right hand to his left and then to both hands held at his waist as the degenerative condition progresses.
The New York premiere of “Bending the Light” (60 min.) by director Michael Apted (“Coal Miner’s Daughter”) will be screened on Saturday, December 6, at 2 p.m. The film follows the artisans who create camera lenses and the photographers who use them.
At 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 6, HT2FF will screen Nancy Buirski’s “Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq” (91 min.), about the the great New York City Ballet ballerina and wife of George Balanchine who contracted polio at the age of 27.
According to the festival program, of all the great ballerinas, Tanaquil Le Clercq, with a body unlike any before hers, mesmerized viewers and choreographers alike. She was the muse to not one great artist but two: George Balanchine married her and Jerome Robbins created his famous version of “Afternoon of a Faun” for her.
The foremost dancer of her day until the age of 27, she never danced again after she was struck down by polio and paralyzed.
This year’s HT2FF Gala, on Saturday, December 6, and starting with a cocktail reception at 7 p.m., will honor two-time Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple. The evening includes the awarding of Lifetime Achievement honors to Kopple; a conversation with Julie Anderson and Barbara Kopple moderated by Susan Lacy, and a screening of Kopple’s Oscar Award-winning 1976 documentary “Harlan County USA” (103 min.)
“Harlan County USA” follows the 1973 Brookside Mine strike of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company, owner of the Kentucky mine. Kopple and her crew documented the dire straits the workers found themselves in while protesting for safer working conditions, fair labor practices and decent wages. Rather than using narration to tell the story, Kopple let the words and actions of the strikers speak for themselves, spending 13 months in Harlan County filming the struggle.
On Sunday, December 7, at 2:30 p.m., “Ballet 422″ (72 min.), directed by Jody Lee Lipes, about New York City Ballet dancer Justin Peck’s creation of the 422nd new ballet for the company.
New York City Ballet, under the artistic direction of Peter Martins, boasts a roster of more than 90 elite dancers and a repertory of works by many of the greatest choreographers. When 25-year-old NYCB dancer Justin Peck began to emerge as a promising young choreographer, he was commissioned to create a new ballet for the 2013 winter season.
With unprecedented access to this elite world, “Ballet 422” follows Peck as he collaborates with musicians, lighting designers, costume designers and his fellow dancers to create “Paz de la Jolla,” NYCB’s 422nd new ballet.
As in past years, the Closing Night Film on Sunday, December 7, at 7:30 p.m. will be the winner of this year’s Filmmaker’s Choice Award, “Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight” (73 min.), directed by Wendy Keys of Southampton.
Perhaps best known for co-founding New York Magazine and creating the enduring “I ❤ NY” campaign, Milton Glaser’s remarkable artistic output is revealed in this documentary portrait. From newspapers and magazine designs, to interior spaces, logos and brand identities, to his celebrated prints, drawings, posters and paintings, the documentary offers audiences a much richer appreciation for one of the great modern renaissance men.
Wendy Keys held positions as both administrator and programmer at The Film Society of Lincoln Center from 1966-2008. She served as a member of the selection committee of the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. She curated many series and retrospectives at the Walter Reade Theater and Special Events at the NY Film Festival. She also produced a compilation of train scenes titled All Aboard!!” for the High Line.
The seventh Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival runs from December 4 to 7 at Bay Street Theater, at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor, NY 11963. Tickets for individual films are $15 each ($13 for seniors). Gala tickets are $40. A Festival Pass (includes admission to all films and the gala) is $125. For programming details, tickets, and more information, visit www.ht2ff.com.
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