Happy HIFF Day

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Today’s the big day that cinema fans all over the East End look forward to all year long–it’s opening day at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Hip hip hooray!

I’ve attended many a HIFF in the day and had some truly incredible experiences. Some of my favorites in recent memory include: hanging with Stevie Nicks (okay, that’s way up there in the all-time category!) and interviewing a random assortment of talent, including Alexander Skarsgard, Helena Bonham Carter, Shailene Woodley (before she got famous), Ezra Miller, Brie Larson and Ralph Macchio, to name a few. Cool man.

Here are a few fun pix from recent years. I’ll be sharing more as we go along.

Suffice to say, I’m really looking forward to this year’s festivities. Looks like the next few days will bring us a spate of incredible films and some face time with such acclaimed talent as Edward Norton, Holly Hunter, Aaron Eckhart, Mahershala Ali (a new potential big name to note), Elle Fanning and who knows how many more.

Tonight, the Opening Night Film “Loving” screens in East Hampton. It’s from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, and it celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who were arrested after eloping in 1958. With their marriage deemed unlawful, they were forced to plead guilty and move out of their home state of Virginia. After five years in exile—and with the Civil Rights movement in full swing—they decided to fight back. The unassuming yet determined couple appealed their case all the way to the Supreme Court and changed history with the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision.

Also on the schedule for today: screenings of “Original Bliss,” “Sonita,” “The Teacher,” “Tower,” “Runs in the Family,””Blue Jay,” “Under the Shadow” and “Don’t Call Me Son.”

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My pick: “Tower,” which is one of the competition films this year.
Synopsis:  August 1st 1966 was the day our innocence was shattered.  A sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the iconic University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes in what was a previously unimaginable event. TOWER combines archival footage with rotoscopic animation  of the dramatic day, based entirely on first person testimonies from witnesses, heroes and survivors, in a seamless and suspenseful retelling of the unfolding tragedy.  The film highlights the fear, confusion, and visceral realities that changed the lives of those present, and the rest of us, forever – a day when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.

Tomorrow night brings the “Strange Weather” Opening Night Film to Southampton. Starring Holly Hunter, the film is a portrait of an unconventional woman discovering what it takes to change your life mid-stream. The movie captures her journey as she travels the deep south with her best friend (Carrie Coon), looking for answers to the unanswerable.

Want to know more? Here’s a pretty comprehensive feature, highlighting most of the big stuff, that I wrote for the Sag Harbor Express.

 

 

 

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