HIFF Opens With Maggie Gyllenhaal in 'The Kindergarten Teacher' (Photos)

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a creatively frustrated teacher who becomes fixated on the prodigious talent of one her students (Parker Sevak, at left) in "The Kindergarten Teacher." Netflix

The 26th annual Hamptons International Film Festival opened Thursday night with screenings of the "The Kindergarten Teacher" in East Hampton and an opening night party at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack.

Prior to the screenings, Alan Alda was presented with the Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award by Alec Baldwin, a co-chairman of the festival, in recognition of his lifetime of advocacy and achievements in the arts.

In introducing Sara Colangelo's disturbing but affecting film, David Nugent, the artistic director of the festival, noted that she follows a tradition of female filmmakers who have brought their work to the festival and who have also participated in the festival's Screenwriters Lab.

"I was here as part of Screenwriters Lab, and I really enjoy this town and I really enjoy this festival," Ms. Colangelo said before the screening. "The film has really been a labor of love, and it's been made predominantly by women." She credited Ms. Gyllenhaal as a  producer, actress, and collaborator on "The Kindergarten Teacher," which is about a woman's creative frustration that grows into something darker.

The film also features Parker Sevak, Ms. Gyllenhaal's co-star, who is 6, who Ms. Colangelo praised for being such a trooper in his work. He joined Ms. Colangelo and Ms. Gyllenhaal at the screening.

Netflix has acquired the movie and will begin streaming it on Oct. 12. Alec Baldwin will interview Ms. Gyllenhaal at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Friday at 3 p.m. An encore showing will take place on Saturday at 12:45 p.m. at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

Peter Sarsgaard, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Sara Colangelo on the red carpetLisa Tamburini
A HIFF "family photo" with David Nugent, Randy Mastro, Toni Ross, Hilaria Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Anne Chaisson, and Stuart SunaLisa Tamburini
Alan Alda received the Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award prior to the screening.Lisa Tamburini
Anne Chaisson, David Nugent, Sara Colangelo, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Parker Sevak before the filmJennifer Landes