The Hamptons International Film Festival seemingly takes over The Hamptons and presents a five day film festival timed to the Columbus Day Weekend. Film festivals have their own special rhythms and advance planning seems to be a requirement (or at least a good idea). If you're looking to attend the 2016 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), we've put together some tips to make the experience a smooth one. Happy film festival! Happy Columbus Day Weekend. Read on and start preparing to create your own Hamptons International Film Festival experience.
1. Four Theaters, Three Villages and Two Jitney Shuttles
In prior years, films have been screened in theaters stretching from Westhampton to Montauk. This year, the film festival feels more centralized with venues concentrated in East Hampton, Sag Harbor and Southampton villages. Screenings are held at Guild Hall and UA East Hampton Cinema 6 in East Hampton; at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor; and at the UA Southampton Theater 4 in Southampton. A Jitney shuttle has been set up in East Hampton and Sag Harbor for festival goers to navigate village gridlock and parking (including finding a spot for over two hours without ticketing) to make getting around festival events a bit easier. Click here details on HIFF venues, headquarters, shuttle schedules and practical information.
2. Films are Grouped by Categories and take a Curated Approach
Screenings take place from Thursday to Monday in four venues so there's a lot to choose from. This year, there are 68 feature films and 58 shorts originating in 32 countries. Feel overwhelmed? One way to decide what to see is click to see HIFF's Film Guide. The page divides films according to days, categories or by film titles. By clicking "Films A-Z" the entire film list is shown with each title clicking through to a description.
Perhaps the quickest way of picking a film is selecting a Category first and scanning the films connected by a theme. Browse among "Films of Conflict & Resolution"; "Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights"; "Air, Land & Sea"; "Views from Long Island"; "World Cinema Narrative"; "World Cinema Documentary"; "Variety 10 Actors to Watch"; "Short Films"; "Special Screenings" and "Focus on Norwegian Cinema."
3. People get to Vote for their Favorites
A fun part of attending the Hamptons International Film Festival is the ability to vote for your favorite films. Audiences cast their ballots in three film categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature and Best Short Film. Film winners selected by audiences are announced after the close of the festival. Awards are also bestowed by panels and foundations: some films have already been selected and highlighted in the festival while other awards are selected during the festival itself. Click here for details.
4. The Film Festival calls out Highlights. Here are their picks for this year
As part of its curated approach, HIFF selects films of note in each festival through its "Spotlight Films" category. This year's films to note are "Burn Your Maps", "Lion", "Bleed for This", "Christine", "La La Land", "Una", "Julieta", "Moonlight", "The Ticket" and "Wakefield." Click here for descriptions and screening times.
5. What's New for the 2016 Film Festival?
The 2016 HIFF presents eight World Premieres, nine North American Premieres, 20 United States Premieres, 20 East Coast Premieres and 23 New York Premieres. All these premieres result in Hamptons audiences getting a first look at films that have been rarely screened or are making their public debut. In addition, films selections include winners from film festivals including Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Toronto. This year's festival offers a Special Focus (or "Sidebar") on Norwegian Films, thanks to a partnership with the Norwegian Consulate General and the Norwegian Film Institute. Films with a Norwegian tie include "All The Beauty", "Late Summer", "Magnus" and "It's Alright."
6. HIFF Commissions a Poster every year from a Renowned Artist with Hamptons Connections
This year, John Alexander gets the honor. Artists to create a unique poster tied to HIFF are selected each year by Michael Lynne, co-founder of New Line Cinema and production company Unique Features. Lynne has been a HIFF Board Member for the past 20 years. John Alexander exhibits nationally and internationally, most recently in Beijing. Retrospectives of his work have been held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. In The Hamptons, his work his held in the permanent collections of both Guild Hall and the Parrish Art Museum. His work was the subject of a solo show at Guild Hall Museum in 2013. He divides his time between Amagansett and New York City. His poster is titled "Ship of Fools."
7. Talks & Panels & Parties Deepen the Experience
Just like art fair weeks in Miami and New York City, part of the film festival experience goes beyond seeing the art (in this case, films). HIFF hosts talks, panels and parties as part of its festival. "A Conversation With..." series features star actors and "Winick Talks at Rowdy Hall" features panels with filmmakers or other industry professionals.
Actors in the "Conversation" series are Aaron Eckhart (Friday at 1 p.m. at Guild Hall); Holly Hunter (Saturday at 1 p.m. at East Hampton Middle School) and Edward Norton (Sunday at 1 p.m. at East Hampton Middle School). Panels at Rowdy Hall are "Meet the Programmers" on Friday at 10 a.m.; Meet the Filmmakers: Documentary Competition on Saturday at 10 am. and Women in Film: Lots of Talk. Any Action" on Sunday at 10 a.m. The HIFF Awards Dinner takes place on Sunday at Topping Rose House from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $500 and are limited. Click here for details and for a raffle featuring a surfing session with Edward Norton and a spot at Alec Baldwin's table for the dinner.
8. Screening sold out? Take a Chance on the Rush Line
When screenings are sold out does that mean you really can't get in? Maybe...just the taking the ferry to CT, if the person doesn't claim their ticket within a certain time BEFORE the film starts (30 minutes for the film festival), their seat is given away to someone on the Rush Line who are ready to walk in the theater. With this system, hope gets to hang on a bit longer of seeing sold-out films with a festival audience. Rush Lines form around 45 minutes for the scheduled start time with Rush Tickets typically sold five minutes before the film is scheduled to start. There's no "buying for friend" so everyone who wants to buy a Rush Ticket has to be there.
9. Any Art Connection in Films this year?
The inclusion of fine art in the Hamptons International Film Festival selection varies from year to year. There is no category for films related to art or creativity so films related to these subjects are a true luck of the draw. The closest connections to visual arts in this year's festival can be found in films that include fine art as a leaping point for narrative exploration.
"Franca: Chaos and Creation" (Directed by Francesco Carrozzini) tells the story of Fashion revolutionary and Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief Franca Sozzani and her mix of fashion, high concept art and photography that changed the face of magazine covers and fashion spreads. "Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town" (Directed by Beatrice Alda and Jennifer Brooks) chronicles the controversy generated in Sag Harbor by the installation and lighting of Larry Rivers Legs, a 16 foot sculpture of a pair of striding female legs, at the private home along a residential street. The short "The Bathtub" (Directed by Tim Ellrich) reveals the story of three brothers and their attempt to recreate a beloved childhood photograph of the trio taking a bath.
10. Fine Art gets into the Game with Three Pop Up Exhibitions Taking a Cinematic Approach
While not officially part of the Hamptons International Film Festival, art exhibitions designed to tying artists with filmmakers or film making or films screened during the festival can be expected. This year, there are three pop up exhibitions tying into HIFF through film and film festivals in general.
The most direct link to the film festival is Patron Hosts's Art + Music Lounge at Monica Olka Gallery in Sag Harbor. Designed to give film festival goers and creatives a place to relax, hear live music, take in a photographer book signing and check out the art show with contemporary artists to notice. Art + Music Lounge offers a creative drop-in center for film makers, film lovers, creatives, and fans of fine art through Monday. This is the second Art + Music Lounge project for Patron Hosts. The first edition was unveiled earlier this year at Sundance. Click here for details.
Crush Curatorial present the group show “The Culture of Perseverance” at the artist studio of Karen Hesse Flatow held in a converted potato barn—now a white walled space—in Amagansett. Curated by Brooklyn artist Molly Surno, the exhibition has an Opening Reception on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. In fact, the exhibition is only open on Saturday this weekend, although it remains viewable for the next two Saturdays only (Oct 15 & 22) and by appointment on Sunday October 16. The show features 15 artists with art that explores the use of props in video, painting, installation and sculpture. The Amagansett space is located at 68A Schellinger Road, Amagansett, NY 11930. For more information, click here.
Karyn Mannix Contemporary present "What Becomes a Legend Most…Icons and Idols of the Silver Screen" in East Hampton from Oct. 6 to 15, 2016. A wine and prosecco reception takes place on Saturday, October 8, 2016 from 3 to 6 p.m. The show features contemporary art incorporating inspiration from classic icons and idols. Expect to find art inspired by Lauren Bacall, James Dean and other screen legends. The show can be found in a pop up location at 38 Gingerbread Lane East Hampton, NY 11937. The exhibition is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 4:45 p.m. or by appointment. Click here for details.
BASIC FACTS: The Hamptons International Film Festival takes place from October 6 to 10, 2016 in The Hamptons. For details, visit www.hamptonsfilmfest.org.
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