Some may think that the final traffic jam back to Manhattan on Labor Day weekend is the end for the Hamptons season. However, they would be wrong. The weather in early fall is fabulous and Hollywood comes to the Hamptons in the form of the Hamptons International Film Festival. The 26th occurrence this year is held from October 4 to 8, and will bring a number of award-winning and potentially award-winning movies plus a sprinkling of stars. This year, alongside two Festival des Cannes Jury award-winning movies is local documentary The Last Race by Michael Dweck.
What To See
This selection of the amazing program for this year’s HIFF are films likely to attract award season attention in the New Year. Watch and be entertained…
Beautiful Boy is a biographical drama film directed by Felix Van Groeningen, in his English-language feature debut. The screenplay, written by Luke Davies and Van Groeningen, is based on the memoirs Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff and Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. It stars Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney, and Amy Ryan, and deals with the strained relationship between a father and his teenage son. www.beautifulboy.movie
Ben Is Back
Ben Is Back is the story of 19-year-old Ben Burns, who unexpectedly returns home to his family’s suburban home on Christmas Eve morning. Ben’s mother is relieved and welcoming but wary of her son staying clean. The drama film is written and directed by Peter Hedges, and stars Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, and Kathryn Newton. www.movieweb.com/ben-is-back-trailer-julia-roberts
Boy Erased is a coming-of-age drama film based on Garrard Conley’s Boy Erased: A Memoir. It is written and directed by Joel Edgerton, who also produces with Steve Golin and Kerry Kohansky Roberts. The film stars Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, and Edgerton, and follows the son of Baptist parents who is forced to take part in a gay conversion therapy program. www.focusfeatures.com/boy-erased
Capernaum is a Lebanese drama film written and directed by Nadine Labaki. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize. The film received a 15-minute standing ovation following its premiere at Cannes in May.
Scraping by on the chaotic streets of Beirut, 12-year-old Zain (Zain al Rafeea) is one of many children born into an uncertain future in the city’s slum. Living a deeply troubled home life and branded the sole caretaker of an abandoned toddler, Zain makes the desperate move of suing his negligent parents for giving him life and trapping him in a hostile world. www.sonyclassics.com/capernaum
First Man is a biographical drama film directed by Damien Chazelle and written by Josh Singer, based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen. The film stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, alongside Jason Clarke, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Ciarán Hinds, Christopher Abbott, Patrick Fugit, and Lukas Haas, and follows the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969. East Hampton local Steven Spielberg is an executive producer. www.firstman.com
Green Book is a comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly, about a real-life tour of the Deep South in the 1960s by Jamaican-American classical pianist Don Shirley and New York bouncer Tony Lip, who served as Shirley’s driver and security. The screenplay was written by Nick Vallelonga (Tony Lip’s son), Brian Hayes Currie, and Peter Farrelly. It had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, where it won the People’s Choice Award. www.greenbookfilm.com
Roma is a drama film written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Cuarón also produced, co-edited and co-photographed the film. It stars Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Daniela Demesa, Enoc Leaño, and Daniel Valtierra. Set in the early 1970s, the film is a semi-biographical take on Cuarón’s upbringing in Mexico City, and follows the life of a middle-class family and their live-in housekeeper. www.netflix.com
The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give is a teen drama film directed by George Tillman Jr. and written by Tina Mabry and Audrey Wells. It is based on Angie Thomas’s 2017 novel of same name. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Common, and Anthony Mackie. www.foxmovies.com/movies/the-hate-u-give
The Public is a drama film directed and written by Emilio Estevez. After learning that emergency shelters are at full capacity when a brutal Midwestern cold front makes its way to Cincinnati, a large group of homeless library patrons led by Jackson (Michael Kenneth Williams) refuse to leave the downtown public library at closing time.
What begins as a nonviolent Occupy sit-in and ragtag act of civil disobedience quickly escalates into a standoff with local riot police, led by a no-nonsense crisis negotiator (Alec Baldwin) and a savvy district attorney (Christian Slater) with lofty political ambitions, all as two librarians (Emilio Estevez and Jena Malone) are caught up in the middle of it. www.imdb.com
From Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen and co-writer and bestselling author Gillian Flynn comes a blistering, modern-day thriller set against the backdrop of crime, passion and corruption. Widows is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities.
The film features an ensemble cast consisting of Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson, and follows a group of women who attempt a heist after their criminal husbands are killed on a botched job. www.foxmovies.com/movies/widows
Where To Eat
Union Cantina, Southampton
Do not miss the exciting new menu specials and entertainment at Long Island’s most vibrant, social, and delicious destination — Union Cantina, the Hamptons’ only authentic modern Mexican restaurant. This popular eatery, designed by Southampton Social Club owners Ian Duke and David Hilty, sits in the iconic Bowden Square and is open all year-round.
With Duke and Hilty working alongside award-winning Executive Chef Scott Kampf, who has been featured on Food Network’s “Iron Chefs of America,” the trio continues to bring innovative Mexican cuisine to Southampton throughout the year. This season brings new dishes and cocktails, and a calendar of events including live music and specials. The year-round Southampton hotspot continues to bring good food, good drinks, good service and good times! 40 Bowden Square, Southampton; 631-377-3500; www.unioncantina.net
The Palm Restaurant, East Hampton
Located close to the Guild Hall and UA East Hampton theatre, both venues for a number of HIFF film screenings, the Palm in East Hampton is both ideally located and has the right menu to satisfy those post-screening cravings. Serving a classic American steakhouse menu, with outstanding service and a rounded wine list, The Palm should be part of your own HIFF red carpet planning. 94 Main Street, East Hampton; 631-324-0411; www.thepalm.com
Beacon, Sag Harbor
Enjoy the final views of the yachts as summer becomes fall in between discussing the crop of screenings at this year’s HIFF at Beacon. Offering a casual, upscale menu since 2000, Beacon is the sister restaurant to The Bell & Anchor. Try the seasonal plates including steamed mussels “Beacon style” with garlic, white wine, lemon, thyme, and cream and tomato and do not, under any circumstances, forget its selection of homemade signature ice cream sandwiches. 8 West Water Street, Sag Harbor; 631-725-7088; www.beaconsagharbor.com
Where To Stay
Southampton Inn, Southampton. When all the summer commotion has subsided, the Southampton Inn continues to fluff your pillows atop high-quality linens in one of the premium and comfortably furnished guestrooms. Executive Chef James Carpenter is preparing a sumptuous breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu at Claude’s Restaurant, open year-round. Furthermore, movie buffs attending the Film Festival can book their stay close to the action and film screenings. The winner of numerous awards including “Best Breakfast,” “Best Hotel,” and “Best Wedding Location,” the Southampton Inn is a warm and welcoming haven with an exemplary reputation which is richly deserved. 91 Hill St., Southampton; 631-283-6500; www.southamptoninn.com
The Bridgehampton Inn, Bridgehampton. Enjoy one of the splendid 12 rooms at this boutique inn, from the family that owns Loaves & Fishes. Since June 2014, the Inn added its own restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Brian Szostak. Seasonally-minded, Chef Brian will continue Bridgehampton Inn’s commitment to variety through a consistently evolving menu based on freshness, taste, and availability. 2266 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton; 631-537-3660; www.bridgehamptoninn.com
The American Hotel, Sag Harbor. A social mainstay of Sag Harbor since its foundation in 1846 at the height of the whaling era, the American Hotel’s patrons continue to enjoy one of the eight double rooms. Frette sheets and comforters. En-suite bathrooms feature double whirlpool bathtubs, hairdryers, imported Italian towels, Frette bathrobes, and L’Occitane amenities. Chef Jonathan Parker brings his extensive experience from both the Cannes and Manhattan dining scenes to the kitchen. 49 Main Street, Sag Harbor; 631-725-3535; www.theamericanhotel.com
Who To Star-Spot
Anne Chaisson, Executive Director, Hamptons International Film Festival. Every orchestra needs a conductor and Chaisson has handled this challenge of bringing the team together to deliver a busy film festival in multiple locations across a four-day period since 2012, though having already been an advisory co-chair since 2003. Her own filmography as a producer includes Roger Dodger, P.S., Diggers, and Rocksteady. Rounding out her formidable portfolio of skills is that of fundraiser-in-chief, having worked tirelessly for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Nantucket Film Festival, and Hamptons International Film Festival. www.hamptonsfilmfest.org