SummerDocs 2017: The Best Is Yet to Come

Laird Hamilton, the subject of the film "Take Every Wave," which will be screened at Gurney's Inn in Montauk.

The Hamptons International Film Festival continues the celebration of its 25th year with an expanded SummerDocs program this season, featuring five titles that will be presented in East Hampton, Montauk, and Southampton.

“Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press,” directed by Brian Knappenberger, will be first out of the gate on July 8 at Guild Hall. Also at Guild Hall will be “Trophy,” about the hunting of endangered African animals, by Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz on July 29.

Rory Kennedy’s “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton,” about the world-class surfer, will be screened at Gurney’s Inn in Montauk on Aug. 4. “Whitney, Can I Be Me?”, Nick Bloomfield's examination of the life and career of Whitney Houston, will be shown at the Southampton Arts Center on Aug. 17. The series concludes on Aug. 28 back at Guild Hall with Bryan Fogel’s “Icarus” about illegal doping in international sports. 

Alec Baldwin, a co-chairman of HIFF, has selected the films for the past nine years along with David Nugent, the festival’s artistic director. Both will lead discussions after the screenings with the directors and sometimes the subjects of the films.

In a conversation last fall Mr. Baldwin said the “insatiable appetite for long-form documentaries” such as the recent “The Making of a Murderer” and the O.J. Simpson documentary broadcast on ESPN last year, has made programming a series like SummerDocs more challenging. The festival does not show documentaries that have been shown commercially and often the films they want to screen get sold and shown before they can include them. Last year, the festival was only able to find two films they wanted that did not already have a commercial release. The third, “A Perfect Candidate,” about a senatorial race between Charles Robb and Oliver North, was from 1996.

This year, Mr. Baldwin said in a release, they were able to find films with “intense drama and more entertaining fare. . . . David Nugent and I believe this will be one of the best SummerDocs seasons yet.”

Tickets for the screenings at Guild Hall cost $25, $23 for Guild Hall and film festival members. Tickets for the Gurney's screening are $50 per person. Tickets for the Southampton Arts Center screening are $40. All are available for purchase through the Hamptons International Film Festival website.