57° Good Afternoon
57° Good Afternoon

Hollywood comes to East End for Hamptons film fest

Paul Giamatti is an unreliable narrator whose story

Paul Giamatti is an unreliable narrator whose story includes three wives and one dangerous friend in "Barney's Version." Credit: Takashi Seida

At Thursday night's opening of the Hamptons International Film Festival, Paul Giamatti introduced his new film "Barney's Version" by admitting he'd never attended the festival before - and he only lives a few hours away in New York City.

"I really hope you enjoy the movie," Giamatti told a packed Guild Hall in East Hampton. "If you don't, I live in Brooklyn and you know where to find me."

The presence of Giamatti - an actor who's part indie darling, part mainstream star - set the tone for the 18th installment of the festival, which features a mix of upcoming studio releases like "The King's Speech," starring Colin Firth, and "127 Hours" with James Franco - who is scheduled to attend Saturday - as well as foreign-language films, documentaries and independent fare.

The festival also boasts one of its longest and most diverse guest lists in years, with bona fide movie stars like Isabella Rossellini, the young newcomers Freida Pinto and Emma Roberts, and such filmmakers as the Coen Brothers, Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity") and Lee Unkrich, the director of "Toy Story 3." Last-minute guest announcements included the actor Bill Pullman and the movie-mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Though opening day is usually a quiet one, Marcia Gay Harden and longtime festival board member Alec Baldwin were trailed by television crews while attending an afternoon reception at The Hedges inn.

"It's all about the publicity," said Harden, here to celebrate a 25th anniversary screening of the Coen Brothers' "Miller's Crossing," her first movie. "I believe that film festivals raise awareness, they help publicize movies. It's altruistic, in a way."

Meantime, film fans were already lined up for a 3:30 p.m. showing of the Czech drama "Mamas and Papas" at the UA East Hampton.

The weekend is set to feature conversations with Franco, Rossellini, Stanley Tucci and the director Julian Schnabel. Sunday's closing-night film is Darren Aronofsky's thriller "Black Swan," starring Natalie Portman.


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