The Hamptons International Film Festival this year celebrates its 30th anniversary with an expanded 10-day edition that begins Friday, but organizers are hoping 12 will be their lucky number.
“For 11 years in a row, we ended up screening the Best Picture winner, and no other festival in the world did that,” Hamptons Artistic Director David Nugent said. The streak was broken last year by “CODA,” the underdog indie film from Apple TV+, he added, but this year again looks promising. “It’s not our main goal, but I think it’s always nice for people to come to the festival and think, ‘Hey, one of these films may be the one that ends up winning.’”
Among the possible Oscar contenders are “The Son,” starring Hugh Jackman and Laura Dern as divorced parents; “The Whale,” which earned a standing ovation for its star Brendan Fraser at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival; and “She Said,” a dramatized version of the investigative reporting that brought down Harvey Weinstein and helped launch the #MeToo era. More than half of the films in this year’s festival are directed by women and more than a third come from directors who identify as BIPOC — black, indigenous or people of color.
As the festival emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is bringing back its live interview series, “A Conversation With …” This year’s participants include Chelsea Clinton, who will speak after a screening of her new documentary series “Gutsy”; Mariska Hargitay, the star of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and the recipient of this year's Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award; and writer-director Martin McDonagh, whose latest, “The Banshees of Inisherin,” will screen as a Spotlight selection. Television icon Cavett will take part in a post-screening discussion of "Groucho & Cavett," a documentary about his friendship with the legendary comedian Groucho Marx, alongside director Robert S. Bader and moderator Alec Baldwin.
WHERE|WHEN The Hamptons International Film Festival runs Oct. 7 through 16 at venues on the East End. Tickets for single screenings are $15, other events and special screenings are $30-$40 and passes/packages are $175-$2000. For more information and purchases, call (631) 825-0050 or go to hamptonsfilmfest.org.
Below are highlights from the upcoming festival; be aware that many films will have additional screenings. The full schedule can be found at hamptonsfilmfest.org.
LIVING (Friday, 7 p.m. at East Hampton Middle School, 76 Newtown Lane) In postwar London, dedicated civil servant Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy) receives a life-altering medical diagnosis. Written by Kazuo Ishiguro (“The Remains of The Day”). Director Oliver Hermanus and actress Aimee Lou Wood will appear at this opening-night screening.
PINBALL: THE MAN WHO SAVED THE GAME (Saturday, 11:15 a.m. at East Hampton MIddle School) In the 1970s, pinball enthusiast Roger Sharpe (Mike Faist, of last year’s “West Side Story”) discovers that New York City has outlawed his favorite game as gambling and sets out to prove that it’s actually a matter of skill. Based on a true story. Cast and crew members, plus the real Roger Sharpe, will be at the screening.
WHO INVITED CHARLIE? (Saturday, 2:15 p.m. at East Hampton Middle School) A hedge fund manager’s Hamptons getaway is interrupted by the arrival of a hard-partying college buddy. Xavier Manrique’s locally filmed comedy features Adam Pally, Jordana Brewster, Reid Scott and Dylan Penn.
JANUARY 6TH (Saturday, 2:45 p.m. at Sag Harbor Cinema, 90 Main St.) Peabody-winning directors Gédéon and Jules Naudet (“9/11,” “November 13: Attack on Paris”) examine the invasion of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters in this documentary. The Naudets will appear in person.
THE WHALE (Saturday, 5:15 p.m. at East Hampton Middle School) Darren Aronofsky’s latest marks the return of Brendan Fraser (“The Mummy”), playing a morbidly obese recluse who attempts to reconnect with his daughter (Sadie Sink, “Stranger Things”).
MY POLICEMAN (Sunday, 10:45 a.m. at Regal UA) Pop star Harry Styles (“Don’t Worry Darling”) plays a closeted gay cop living in 1950s England. With Linus Roache, Emma Corrin and Rupert Everett.
CALL JANE (Sunday, 5 p.m. at Regal UA) In 1968, a housewife (Elizabeth Banks) with a life-threatening pregnancy discovers an underground network of abortion providers. With Sigourney Weaver, Kate Mara and Chris Messina. Directed by Phyllis Nagy.
THE SON (Sunday, 7 p.m. at East Hampton Middle School) Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern, Anthony Hopkins and Zen McGrath star in a drama about divorce and parenting. It’s Florian Zeller’s follow-up to “The Father” (2020), which earned Hopkins an Oscar.
EMPIRE OF LIGHT (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. at Sag Harbor Cinema) Sam Mendes wrote and directed this romance set in a seaside English town in the 1980s. With Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Colin Firth and Toby Jones.
WOMEN TALKING (Tuesday, 8 p.m. at Regal UA) A case of sexual abuse tests the faith — and the patience — of the women in an isolated Mennonite community. With Frances McDormand, Claire Foy, Rooney Mara and Jessie Buckley. Co-star Judith Ivey will be at the screening.
TILL (Wednesday, 7:45 p.m. at Regal UA) The story of Mamie Till Mobley (Danielle Deadwyler), who bravely pursued justice for her murdered son, Emmett Till (Jalyn Hall), in the Deep South of the mid-1950s. Screenwriter-producer Keith Beauchamp will speak at the screening.
THE POWER OF COMMUNITY: HOW ONE TOWN STOOD AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (Thursday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. at Regal UA) An hourlong documentary chronicling the grassroots effort to build The Retreat, a shelter in East Hampton.
SR. (Saturday, Oct. 15, 7:15 p.m. at Regal UA) The closing-night film is a documentary on the late filmmaker Robert Downey Sr., best known for his infamous 1969 satire “Putney Swope” (and for siring the star of “Iron Man”). Director Chris Smith will appear in person.
SHE SAID (Sunday, Oct. 16, 4:45 p.m. at Regal UA) Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan play The New York Times reporters whose stories exposed decades of sexual abuse by the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Based on the 2019 book.
GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (Sunday, Oct. 16, 7:45 p.m. at Regal UA) This late addition to the festival is Rian Johnson’s follow-up to his retro-murder-mystery “Knives Out.” It's set in a private estate on a Greek island. With Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista.