Hamptons International Film Festival Turns 20

Brendan Fraser stars in Terry George’s latest film, “Whole Lotta Sole,” set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is featured in this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival.

   This year, the Hamptons International Film Festival is two decades old and exhibiting the kind of swagger that comes with age, showcasing a number of high-profile films and events in addition to its regular programs. While centered in East Hampton Village, as in previous years many films will be screened in other locations including Montauk, Sag Harbor, Southampton, and Westhampton.
It runs from next Thursday through Oct. 8.
   Karen Arikian, the executive director of the festival, said on Monday that in an environment where nonprofit arts ventures are having a difficult time surviving, 20 years is a significant landmark. She points to the longevity of board members such as the chairman, Stuart Match Suna, and Alec Baldwin’s longtime involvement as key to the festival’s continuity. “I refer to it as a high-quality small gem,” she said of the festival. Mr. Baldwin is serving as honorary chairman this year.
   She is also pleased with the festival’s continued efforts at collaboration, which this year include projects with the newspaper Variety for the festival’s Breakthrough Performers program, and with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the BBC, which are bringing a number of films from the United Kingdom to the festival. The festival also continues its collaboration with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which is awarding a $25,000 prize to Jenny Deller for her film “Future Weather.” The Sloan Foundation will present its screenwriters’ lab selections on Oct. 7 at 4 p.m at the East Hampton Presbyterian Church Session House with Fisher Stevens directing and Melissa Leo and Kevin Corrigan among others reading.    The festival is partnering with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a tribute to Ann Roth, a costume designer for more than 100 films. Locally, the festival’s involvement with the schools and the community is also a priority and has received special attention this year with a number of outreach initiatives.
    The festival will open next Thursday with a United States premiere of “Love, Marilyn,” a documentary by Liz Garbus that looks into the personal life of Marilyn Monroe and will air on HBO next year. “Not Fade Away,” the film directorial debut of David Chase, the creator of “The Sopranos” series for HBO, will be the closing night film on Oct. 7.
    In between, there will be discussions with Alan Cummings, Richard Gere, and Stevie Nicks, screenings of upcoming major movie releases such as “Argo,” directed by and starring Ben Affleck, “Silver Linings Playbook” by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper, and the usual assortment of film selections — shorts and features, narratives and documentaries — from around the globe.
    There are a number of free community programs, such as the Rowdy Hall Talks series, which are free at 10 a.m. every morning during the festival. There will be a special screening of “A Beautiful Mind” on Friday, Oct. 5 with a discussion following with John Nash, a Nobel laureate and the subject of the film. “Balibo,” the story of the Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, first president of East Timor, will be presented next Thursday at 4:30 p.m. A talk with Mr. Ramos-Horta to follow is part of the same series. A show of photographs of Nobel laureates, including Mr. Ramos-Horta, by Peter Badge will be on display at c/o the Maidstone, the festival’s headquarters for the weekend.
    According to David Nugent, the festival’s director of programming, the films were chosen for “their range of styles and risk-taking creative choices” and to represent “what the festival has endeavored to achieve for the last 20 years.”
    “Argo” is about a C.I.A. agent who attempted a daring rescue plan during the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. “The Silver Linings Playbook” is centered on a bipolar son who moves back in with his parents, played by Robert De Niro and Jackie Weaver, who wants to get his estranged wife back. “Not Fade Away” is the story of three friends in suburban New Jersey who decide to form a band after seeing the Rolling Stones on television.
    Other Spotlight Films will include Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie,” which will have a special family presentation next Thursday before the opening night film in East Hampton at 4 p.m., Stephen Frears’s “Lay the Favorite,” Martin McDonagh’s “Seven Psychopaths,” and Terry George’s “Whole Lotta Sole.”
    Mr. George, who has a house in Noyac, was an Oscar winner for “The Shore,” the short film that was shown at last year’s festival. He was also the director of “Hotel Rwanda.” “Whole Lotta Sole” is a robbery caper set in Belfast starring Colm Meaney and Brendan Fraser.
    Speaking to The Star last year, Mr. George described his new movie as “a black comedy, with the underlying theme of Belfast after the Troubles — a new city with a new police force dealing with some old bad habits.” The “sole” in the title references a fish market robbery that is the catalyst for the story. “It was great to be there working on a full-length feature,” he said last year of his native Northern Ireland.
    Mr. George’s film is both a Spotlight Film and part of the Views from Long Island presentations. These films also include “59 Middle Lane,” a feature documentary by Greg Ammon about his sister, Alexa, and his tragic life after the murder of their adoptive father, Ted Ammon, in East Hampton and the death of their adoptive mother, Generosa Ammon, from cancer a few years following.
    Other films with a Long Island focus or filmmaker include “Growing Farmers,” a short documentary on the young farmers who are keeping the East End’s traditions alive, made by Michael Halsband, a photographer better known for his surfing and rock band images. “James Salter: A Sport and a Pastime” by Edgar Howard, Sandy Gotham Meehan, and Tom Piper, examines the life of the author, who lives in Bridgehampton, and his most famous work. “Montauk,” a seven-minute short film, focuses on the conspiracy theories surrounding the hamlet. “The Atomic States of America” by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce, Susan Rockefeller’s “Mission of Mermaids,” “Mondays at Racine” by Cynthia Wade, “Ocean Keeper” by Eileen Olivieri Torpey, and Jessica Goldberg’s “Refuge” are the other films in this series.
    The festival will continue its other programs such as its Films of Conflict and Resolution and its Golden Starfish Award competition. This year’s Films of Conflict and Resolution are “Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness,” “Call Me Kuchu,” “One Day after Peace,” “War Witch,” and T.C. Johnstone’s “Rising From the Ashes,” which has won the festival’s 2012 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award for a Film of Conflict and Resolution. A panel discussion will follow its screening, on Friday, Oct. 5.
    The Golden Starfish contenders for best narrative film are Martin Lund’s “The Almost Man” from Norway, “Dead Man’s Burden” by Jared Moshe from the United States, “La Demora” by Rodrigo Pla from Uruguay, Mexico, and France, Umut Dag’s “Kuma” from Austria, and Cate Shortland’s “Lore” from Germany. The judges are Rachael Horovitz, a producer of “Moneyball” and the HBO film “Grey Gardens,” Joshua Rothkopf, a film writer at Time Out New York and chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, and Trudie Styler, an actress and director.
    The documentary competitors are Annie Eastman’s “Bay of All Saints” from the United States, Tora Martens’s “Colombianos” from Sweden and Spain, “El Huaso” by Carlo Guillermo Proto from Canada, Jesse Vile’s “Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet” from the United States and United Kingdom, and “Rising from the Ashes” from the United States, Rwanda, United Kingdom, and South Africa.
    Tickets and details about last minute listings, venues, dates, and times for screenings and events are available at hamptonsfilmfest.org. The box office this year is in the Retreat Boutique on Park Place in East Hampton and is open from noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday. Beginning next Thursday, it will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the end of the festival. Regular screenings are $15 with discounts for children, students, and those over age 65. Spotlight Films are $27 with discounts for those starting at or before 4 p.m. Most of the special events are $30.