Sating the Appetite: SummerDocs, Part 9

“Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press,” directed by Brian Knappenberger, will be first out of the gate on July 8 at Guild Hall
Hulk Hogan was the plaintiff in litigation that brought down the media gossip site Gawker last year. The trial is featured in “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press.”

The Hamptons International Film Festival will continue its 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. The film follows the legal battle between the former online media gossip site Gawker and Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who was outed by the site as being gay (a 2007 post that is still online). 

Willing to spend whatever was necessary to bring down the website, Mr. Thiel funded a lawsuit on behalf of Hulk Hogan, a wrestler whose sex tape was posted on the same site. The resulting settlement bankrupted both Gawker and its founder, Nick Denton, and sent a chill through a media landscape already marked by billionaires purchasing newspapers and websites to shape or restrict access to news.

Also at Guild Hall will be “Trophy” by Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz on July 29. “Trophy” looks at the world of big-game hunting, breeding, and wildlife conservation through several perspectives, including a Texas trophy hunter and the world’s largest private rhino breeder in South Africa. 

On Aug. 4, 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. “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 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 it wants to screen are sold and shown before they can be included. Last year, the festival was  able to find only two films it 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, but was considered timely during a presidential election year.

This year, Mr. Baldwin said in a release, the festival was able to find films with “intense drama and more entertaining fare. . . . David Nugent and I believe this will be one of the best SummerDoc 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.