HIFF Movies up for Oscars


We already knew that the Hamptons International Film Festival selections were crushing it again. They do every year. But here’s the real data, for those of you who are interested in the facts.

Numerous films that screened during the 24th Hamptons International Film Festival have been recognized with 2017 Academy Award nominations. Here are the best of the best, which account for a total of 45 Oscar Nominations this year: 20TH CENTURY WOMEN, BLIND VAYSHA, FIRE AT SEA, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, JOE’S VIOLIN, LA LA LAND, LION, LOVING, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, MOONLIGHT, THE RED TURTLE, THE SALESMAN, TIMECODE, TONI ERDMANN, and THE WHITE HELMETS. 
The 89th annual Oscars are planned for February 26, 2017. 
The recipients of the three HIFF Audience Awards, LA LA LAND, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, and THE WHITE HELMETS also received nominations for Best Picture, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Documentary – Short Subject, respectively.
Here are a few of the categories that I thought might be of interest.
Looking ahead, HIFF will  present their rescheduled Winter Classic, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” on Saturday, February 25, at 7 p.m. at Guild Hall in East Hampton. The film will be presented by HIFF’s Co-Chair Alec Baldwin, and the festival’s Artistic Director, David Nugent, who will host a conversation about the film following the screening.
The 25th Hamptons International Film Festival will take place October 5-9, 2017.

Hamptons Hot Picks: Sunday, October 9


Today seems like the perfect day to head to the Southampton Arts Center to catch a 25th anniversary screening of “The Addams Family” movie.  The film, inspired by the illustrated works of our very own Charles Addams, will be screened tonight at 7 p.m. in association with the Hamptons International Film Festival. Come dressed as your favorite character and you might win a best costume prize. While there, check out the more than 50 original works on exhibit from all aspects and genres of subject matter, including The Addams Family cartoons, courtesy the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation.

Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for that cameo appearance in the movie by Barry Sonnenfeld, who not only directed the film but also lived on the East End for years and years. And just for fun — bonus Party Girl points if you know which famous TV actress Jimmy Workman, the kid who played Pugsley, is related to. Because this is the kind of thing that my brain likes to focus on.  : )  Get tickets here.

Here’s what else is happening at HIFF today. Only one more day left to catch your new favorite features, documentaries, shorts, special programming, talent and more.


And congrats to our friend Janet Lee Berg, who will be at the Quogue Library today at 2 p.m. to talk about her newest book, “Rembrandt’s Shadow.” Similar to some of the themes in the book “The Lady in Gold” and the subsequent film “The Woman in Gold,” this book is also based on real-life events centered around the Holocaust and an original masterpiece. The novel tells the story of the early life of Sylvie Rosenberg, an aristocratic daughter of a renowned Jewish art dealer in Holland. After spending the first 15 years of her life doubting her father’s love, she discovers one day that he has traded his beloved Rembrandt to the Nazis in exchange for her life. Good stuff! Hats off to Janet!!



Later today, starting at 6 p.m., Dockers in East Quogue is hosting its wildly successful end-of-year “Eat & Drink Us Dry” celebration. The annual season finale party is always a great time and a fantastic way to bring the season to a close.




Happy HIFF Day


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.”


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.




You Must Submit

Attention filmmakers, artists, artisans and East End do-gooders–I’ve got a whole bunch of places that are now accepting submissions. So get yourself in gear and start getting your work out there!

The Hamptons International Film Festival is now accepting films in the narrative, feature, documentary, short and student categories. Did you know that there’s money involved? HIFF offers more than $225,000 in cash and in-kind awards. Better yet, the winners of two of the short film competitions–Best Narrative Short and Best Documentary Short–will automatically qualify for the Academy Awards. What? Crazy awesome! The early bird deadline is April 4. Regular and late deadlines are May 2 and May 30.

Hamptons Art Hub has placed a Call for Art for a “Water as Muse” exhibit. Submissions are sought in two categories–Fine  Art and Fine Art Photography–with prizes awarded in both. Additionally, each winner will receive a review or artist profile written by Pat Rogers, an award-winning writer and publisher of Hamptons Art Hub. The piece will be published online at HamptonsArtsHub.com within six months. Honorable Mentions will be awarded in both categories and will be awarded a free Directory Listing to showcase their art for one year, additionally, a selection of top submissions in both categories will be featured in an online gallery at HamptonsArtHub.com. Submissions will be accepted through March 13.

East End Arts has announced its Open Call for Artists, Artisans and Craft Vendors for the 20th anniversary Community Mosaic Street Painting Festival, which will be held on May 29 in Riverhead. Professional artists and craftspeople are invited to  submit for the annual art and craft sale. Early signup is encouraged by March 25.

The Southampton Youth Bureau has made applications available for its 2016 Community Service Challenge, which awards community service grants to youth groups in the Town of Southampton. A total of $2,500 in grant money will be awarded to those projects with positive impact that benefit the surrounding community. The submission deadline is March 24.



Hollywood East or Hamptons West?

Today is Golden Globes day. Hip hip hooray!

I love the Globes more than just about any other awards show, not only because of the winner selections but because of its festive atmosphere. It’s fascinating to catch a few unguarded glimpses of people who are usually acting in accordance with the wishes of a TV or film director or PR person.

This year is especially exciting as there are so many great films that have been nominated. And better yet, many of them have East End roots–from screening at the Hamptons International Film Festival to utilizing talent that lives and works here–which is always cool.

For Best Picture alone, three out of the five films have serious East End cred.


There’s “Carol,” the forbidden fruit drama is up for more awards than any other. It also might prove a winner for the incomparable Cate Blanchett but did you know that it was also scored by East Enders Carter Burwell (he’s up for Best Original Score, fingers crossed) and produced by Christine Vachon of Killer Films? Also, co-star Sarah Paulson (LOVE her!) appeared on the Bay Street Theater stage last year in “Conviction.”


“Room” stars Brie Larson, who was named one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch for the 2013 HIFF gathering and the film itself won this past year’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.


“Spotlight” was this year’s Spotlight Film at HIFF. It also stars East Ender Liev Schreiber (who recently listed his Hamptons home for sale. Sad face.) and Brian d’Arcy James, who has performed at Bay Street Theater and the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. This film, along with “Trumbo,” (Bryan Cranston and Helen Mirren are both up for acting awards) really lit a fire in this writer’s belly.  Fabulous! 


Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” and “Mad Max Fury Road” (really???) round out the Best Picture list for this year’s Globes. Boy films. Not my thing, though I’m sure that at least one of them is outstanding.

There are so many Hamptons connections for the top films of the year that it would quite literally take me all day to add them all in this post. So, instead of blathering on and on, today I bid you adieu with the official list of nominations for the 73rd annual Golden Globe Awards.

Break legs and have some fun!




News About Our Four-Legged Friends

Please help take care of the homeless cat situation wherever you may be.  Photo courtesy ARF.

Please help take care of the homeless cat situation wherever you may be.
Photo courtesy ARF.

The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons’ Operation Cat Program will celebrate  “National Feral Cat Day” on Friday, October 16 in Wainscott with a goal of performing 100 surgeries for community (feral) cats in our area. This is a FREE service, but appointments must be made in advance by contacting Operation Cat Coordinator Rita Del Rey at 631-537-0400 x210 or email rita@arfhamptons.org. Learn more at http://www.arfhamptons.org.

Also keep in mind that October is national Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation is hosting an Adoptathon event today at Petco at Bridgehampton Commons, starting at noon. Learn more at http://www.southamptonanimalshelter.com.


On Saturday, October 10, the Hamptons International Film Festival will screen “The Champions,” an inspirational story about pit bull rescues at 1:30 at East Hampton UA Cinemas. This film, and others like it, is part of the new Signature Program focused on animal rights, “Compassion, Justice and Animal Rights.” Learn more here at http://hamptonsfilmfest.org. For Saturday’s schedule, visit http://hamptonsfilmfest.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/HIFF-2015-Saturday-Schedule.pdf.

Focus on Hamptons Films

The Hamptons International Film Festival is set to hit town this year from October 8 through the 12th.

Categories at this year’s festival include: the Opening, Closing and Centerpiece films, the popular Conversation With series (this year’s selected talent is Dan Rather, Michael Moore and Emily Blunt, and of course with host Alec Baldwin), Spotlight Films, Films of Conflict and Resolution, Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch, Views from Long Island, Readings, World Cinema, Documentaries, Short Films, Winick Talks and the newly added social justice category highlighting Compassion, Justice and Animal Rights.


This year’s Opening Night film will be “Truth, which stars Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Elisabeth Moss, Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace.  The movie by James Vanderbilt is about the controversial CBS 60 Minutes investigation of George W. Bush’s military record that ended Dan Rather’s career as the network’s anchorman. It will be screened at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Guild Hall in East Hampton, with additional screenings to follow.


In Southampton on Friday at 7 p.m., the Opening Night film will be “Youth,” which tells the tale of two old friends as they vacation in a Swiss luxury resort. Fred (Michael Caine) is a retired composer and conductor, enjoying his retirement and Mick (Harvey Keitel) a film director planning his final film. Others in the film by director Paolo Sorrentino include Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano and  Jane Fonda.


The Centerpiece films on Saturday and Sunday will be “Spotlight” and “Carol” by Tom McCarthy and Todd Haynes, respectively. “Spotlight” stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams  as the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, assigned by their newly appointed editor Martin Baron (Liev Schreiber) to investigate the allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church. Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup also star in the flick. “Carol” stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women entangled in an intoxicating love affair, based on Patricia Highsmith’s semi-autobiographical novel “The Price of Salt.”


The big Closing Night film is “Bridge of Spies” by the East End’s own Steven Spielberg. The blockbuster stars Tom Hanks as a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Amy Adams plays his wife.


Those expected in attendance at this year’s festival include:  Christopher Abbott, Alan Alda​​, Emily Blunt, ​Bobby Flay, Morgan Freeman​, ​Todd Haynes, Brian D’arcy James, Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson​, Thomas Mann, Tom McCarthy, Michael Moore, Reed Morano, Bel Powley, Dennis Quaid​, Dan Rather​, Josh Singer​,​ John Slattery, Keith Stanfield, Jacob Tremblay​, Jessie T. Usher, James Vanderbilt and Olivia Wilde​.

Learn more at http://www.hamptonsfilmfest.org.