The beginning of December is a happy time for lovers of documentary films in the Hamptons and all over the East End. Why? Because that’s when the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival (HT2FF) returns for four full days of “all docs, all day,” from Thursday, December 1, through Sunday, December 4, 2016. All films are screened at Bay Street Theater and Arts Center in Sag Harbor, with Q&As after every film and an Audience Award determined by voting throughout the four-day event.
In addition to what HT2FF founder and executive director Jacqui Lofaro calls “something for every documentary film lover in this year’s lineup,” the ninth annual edition of HT2FF features an Opening Night Film about art and artists in the Hamptons on Thursday, December 1, and two evening programs devoted to tributes. On Friday, December 2, 2016, there will be a special tribute to honor the 30th anniversary of the “American Masters” documentary series on PBS. And on Saturday, December 3, 2016, the traditional HT2FF Gala this year honors filmmaker Alex Gibney with a Career Achievement Award.
On Sunday, December 4, Oscar nominated filmmaker Roger Sherman will host a special sit-down tasting at Page restaurant in Sag Harbor at 11 a.m., prior to the screening of his film: “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” at 1 p.m. at Bay Street.
Documentaries about visual arts and artists are always included in the HT2FF lineup, and this year there are two. The Opening Night Film on Thursday, December 1, at 8 p.m. will be “A Moment in Time: Hamptons Artists” (95 min.), directed by Lana Jokel. The film features intimate interviews from the 1990s with prominent Hamptons artists, including John Alexander, April Gornik, Sven Lukin, Nathan Joseph, Li-Lan, Eric Fischl, Elizabeth Strong Cuevas, Donald Sultan, Audrey Flack, Howard Kanovitz, John Chamberlain and Robert Dash.
In the 1990s, Lana Jokel decided to film the acclaimed artists of the Hamptons in their homes and studios on the East End as part of a digital video experiment. In a series of impromptu interviews, she talked to artists about their work and creative process. The discussions were intimate and spontaneous as the artists reflected, revealed and mused about whatever came to mind. Lana Jokel is known for her documentaries on famous artists, including Robert Motherwell, Lee Krasner, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, and Larry Rivers, as well as for two films she produced and directed on Chinese Contemporary Art in 2004.
She began her career working for documentarians Richard Leacock and D.A. Pennebaker. She subsequently edited Norman Mailer’s films, “Beyond the Law” and “Maidstone,” as well as two feature-length films produced by Andy Warhol and directed by Paul Morrissey, “Heat” and “L’Amour.” In 2013 Jokel was selected by her peers to receive the Filmmaker’s Choice Award from the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival.
As befitting its stature as the Opening Night Film, “A Moment in Time: Hamptons Artists” will be preceded by a wine reception and followed by a Q&A with some of the artists featured in the film, moderated by filmmaker Lana Jokel.
Screening prior to “A Moment in Time: Hamptons Artists” at 6 p.m. on Thursday will be another film about artists and their art: “Mirrors to Windows: The Artist as Woman” (78 min.), directed by Susan Steinberg. Steinberg, the Emmy Award-winning director of “American Masters” documentaries on Paul Simon, Edward R. Murrow and Ahmet Ertegun, intimately focuses in this film on the creative spirit of 10 diverse women artists from six countries.
The film focuses on the voices of 10 diverse, dynamic and inspirational role models—women age 22 to 82 from six different countries, reflecting the 21st century multicultural world. The director’s intention was to “leave the audience feeling that they are dropping into the artists’ lives and studios.”
On Friday, a special evening tribute to “American Masters” 30th anniversary honors the series’ profiles of America’s most creative writers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, activists, scientists and other true “masters” in their fields. The evening begins with a 6 p.m. screening of “Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw the Future” by award-winning director Peter Rosen, who will be at Bay Street for the Q&A.
At the 8 p.m. Tribute Awards, HT2FF honors both Susan Lacy, who launched the American Masters series on PBS in 1986, serving as executive producer until 2014, and current executive producer Michael Kantor, 2014 to present. Susan Margolin of Saint Mark’s Production will host a conversation with both pioneers.
Then, at 8:30 p.m., the tribute evening concludes with a screening of “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” (114 min.) about the incredible life of the African-American poet, writer, singer and activist, followed by a Q&A with filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack.
On Saturday, December 3, HT2FF honors filmmaker Alex Gibney with a Career Achievement Award at a Gala beginning with a cocktail buffet reception at 7 p.m.; opening remarks and presentation of the award at 8 p.m.; and the 8:30 p.m. screening of his latest film “Zero Days” (116 min.). The film is an exposé of cyberwar and Stuxnet, the self-replicating computer malware that the United States and Israel used to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility. It will be followed by a 10:30 p.m. Q&A with Gibney, led by Ron Simon from the Paley Center for Media.
Alternately emceeing the majority of the Q&As over the four days will be Bonnie Grice, a WPPB broadcast personality/interviewer, and Andrew Botsford, theater actor/director, writer, Stony Brook Southampton visiting graduate arts professor and Hamptons Art Hub editor-at-large.
Presenting sponsor is Bridgehampton National Bank. Audience Award sponsor is Brown Harris Stevens.
For complete details and schedules, visit HT2FF.com.
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