HIFF’s SummerDocs kicks off June 29 at Guild Hall

Plane Crash, Porn Shop Are Film Subjects




This summer, the Hamptons International Film Festival welcomes three films for its SummerDocs series, presented in partnership with Guild Hall. HIFF’s co-chair Alec Baldwin and HIFF’s artistic director David Nugent, interviewed here, will lead conversations with the filmmakers. SummerDocs kicks off this Saturday, June 29, at 7 PM with “Maiden,” directed by Alex Holmes.

Why are documentaries so important?

Documentaries are a way for artists to present their ever-evolving views on life and the world in which we live. They can range from being journalistic in nature or more poetic and can introduce audiences to new worlds, ways of thoughts, stories, and people. Not only are the films important but also the filmmakers crafting these stories, and the series provides the opportunity for audiences to understand the process and thoughts behind the director’s decisions.

How has the series changed and progressed?

The mission of the series continues to remain the same, but we continue to find new audiences discovering new stories with these films and engaging more with this genre of filmmaking. We also continue to attract some of the industry’s most exciting documentary filmmakers to discuss their films including Rory Kennedy, Louis Psihoyos, Morgan Neville, Steven James, Robert Gordon, Roger Ross Williams, Stevan Riley, and Marina Zenovich.

As for other series highlights, I’d say that our very first screening itself really kicked off the series with a bang. During the re-opening weekend of Guild Hall back on Memorial Day weekend of 2009, we screened “The Cove.” Its filmmakers and subject received a rapturous standing ovation and six months later, Alec co-hosted the Oscars on the night that it would go on to win Best Documentary.

We’ve also had some amazing musicians come through over the years from Tony Bennett and Billy Joel with films about them, and I’ll never forget watching Grammy winner Lisa Fischer walk through the aisles at Guild Hall and sing with our audience during the “20 Feet From Stardom” screening. And having Ethel Kennedy in the house for our screening of Rory Kennedy’s film about her mother was particularly moving.

Is there a specific film you think the audience will be especially moved by?

We love all three this year. They’re each wildly different, ranging from covering a women’s sailing team and their journey around the world, to an investigation surrounding a mysterious plane crash, to an in-depth look of a gay porn shop in Los Angeles. There’s something for everyone with this lineup.

Out of all the films you’ve shown cumulatively, is there one that stands out?

After screening the film “Searching For Sugarman,” we introduced the singer/subject of the film Rodriguez and people went wild.

Future SummerDocs include “Cold Case Hammarskjöld,” directed by Mads Brügger, Saturday, July 20, at 7 PM and “Circus of Books,” directed by Rachel Mason on Saturday, August 24, at 7 PM. All screenings and talks will take place at Guild Hall. Visit www.hamptonsfilmfest.org to learn more.

 

nicole@indyeastend.com