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Hamptons International Film Festival Announces Special Centerpiece Presentation, Achievement In Directing Award, World Premiere Screenings, Documentary + Spotlight Features + much MORE!!

theater + film :: The Hamptons International Film Festival

HamptonsFilm, the home of the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), announced today that the New York Premiere of Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney’s IN RESTLESS DREAMS: THE MUSIC OF PAUL SIMON will screen as this year’s festival Centerpiece presentation on Friday, October 6, sponsored by UBS. The festival also announced that Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Todd Haynes will attend the festival to screen his latest narrative feature MAY DECEMBER, and will receive the festival’s Achievement in Directing Award. The festival is also set to host five World Premiere screenings of narrative and documentary features at this year’s edition. The 31st annual Hamptons International Film Festival will run October 5-12, 2023, with in-person screenings and events across The Hamptons.

Directed by Alex Gibney, IN RESTLESS DREAMS: THE MUSIC OF PAUL SIMON is the definitive portrait of Paul Simon that follows him inside the studio as he makes his new album Seven Psalms, while also looking back on his six-decade, Grammy Award-winning career with countless musical peaks from Sounds of Silence to Graceland. Gibney is scheduled to attend the festival and will participate in a post-screening conversation on the film.

“We are honored to be able to share this exclusive look into the creative process and legacy of Paul Simon, who is undoubtedly among the most influential artists of the twentieth century,” said Anne Chaisson, HamptonsFilm Executive Director. “Alex Gibney is one of the foremost documentary storytellers of our generation, and we look forward to hosting him and the incredible film he created with Paul Simon at this year’s event.”

The festival will also present filmmaker Todd Haynes with the Achievement in Directing Award. Haynes is an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter, director, and producer whose work has spanned more than four decades. Haynes’ critically lauded films include POISON (1991; Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize recipient), SAFE (1995), VELVET GOLDMINE (1998; Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Prize recipient), FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002; Academy Award nominee for Best Original Screenplay), I’M NOT THERE (2007), CAROL (2015), DARK WATERS (2019), and THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (2021), his first feature length documentary.

Haynes will attend the festival to receive the award in person and participate in an “A Conversation With…” discussion on Monday, October 9, sponsored by The Macallan. Haynes is also attending on behalf of his latest narrative feature MAY DECEMBER, which will screen as a Spotlight selection as part of this year’s program. The film, which stars Academy Award winners Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, follows a married couple who, twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, buckles under the pressure when an actress arrives to do research for a film about their past. MAY DECEMBER premiered in competition at the 76th Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled to be released by Netflix later this year.

“MAY DECEMBER is a gripping exploration of scandal and its influence over American society,” said HamptonsFilm Artistic Director David Nugent. “Todd Haynes has a unique ability to captivate audiences through his provocative explorations of identity and performance, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to HIFF to speak about his latest film and his prolific career.”

As part of this year’s event the Hamptons International Film Festival will also host the World Premiere screenings of five films, including Spotlight selections AVENUE OF THE GIANTS, directed by Finn Taylor and starring Stephen Lang, Elsie Fisher, Robin Weigert and Luke Blumm, which tells the true story of Herbert Heller, a 74-year-old man carrying a traumatic secret who befriends an isolated teenager in an emotional story of multigenerational healing; and I’LL BE RIGHT THERE, directed by Brendan Walsh and starring Edie Falco, Charlie Tahan, Jeannie Berlin, and Bradley Whitford, a comedy following a single mother who has her hands full. Additional World Premiere screenings include documentary feature TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME, directed by Nick August-Perna and screening in competition, which weaves a riveting and endlessly nuanced story about communication, race, and sex; and World Cinema Documentary selections STORY & PICTURES BY, directed by Joanna Rudnick, which takes audiences behind the scenes to meet the boundary pushers who create children’s picture books; and Max Original THEY CALLED HIM MOSTLY HARMLESS, directed by Patricia E. Gillespie, in which a mystery unravels when an unidentified hiker is found deceased in the Florida wilderness.

As previously announced, the 2023 edition of the festival is set to open on October 5 with a screening presented by Audi of Netflix’s NYAD, the narrative feature debut from Academy Award-winning documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. The film tells the remarkable true story of athlete Diana Nyad who, at the age of 60 and with the help of her best friend and coach, commits to achieving her life-long dream: a 110-mile open ocean swim from Cuba to Florida.

Passes and packages for the 31st edition of HIFF will be on sale beginning September 5, 2023, at the HamptonsFilm website. Additional programming will continue to be announced in the coming weeks.

The 31st annual Hamptons International Film Festival will run as a live and in-person event from October 5-12, 2023. HIFF thanks the supporters for this year’s festival, including returning Premiere Sponsor Audi; Signature Sponsors The Macallan and Variety; Supporting Sponsors Naturopathica, Dragon Hemp, Netflix, Silvercup, and Regal Cinemas; as well as official Media Sponsors WNBC, The East Hampton Star, The Purist, and new Signature Sponsor The Atlantic; and long term support from New York State Council on the Arts, and Suffolk County Film Commission.

2023 Hamptons International Film Festival Lineup – Additional Films Lineup

Centerpiece Screening
Sponsored by UBS

New York Premiere
dir. Alex Gibney (USA), 2023
This definitive portrait of Paul Simon follows him inside the studio as he makes his new album Seven Psalms, while looking back on his six-decade career with countless musical peaks from Sounds of Silence to Graceland.

Spotlight Selections
Sponsored by Audi

World Premiere
dir. Finn Taylor (USA), 2023
Herbert Heller carries a traumatic secret from his childhood in Eastern Europe: now the owner of a toy store in Marin County, California, Herbert survived the Holocaust in his teens. The Nazis forced him into the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp at the age of 12, but he managed to escape three years later and kept the secret from everyone — including his own children — for 60 years. When Herbert is diagnosed later in life with a terminal illness, he befriends Abbey, an isolated teenager whose own brush with pain and death inspires him to open up. Abbey and Herbert reveal their stories to each other, forge an unlikely intergenerational friendship, and together find a path toward healing.

World Premiere
dir. Brendan Walsh (USA), 2023
Wanda (Edie Falco, The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) has her hands full: her 8-months-pregnant daughter (Kayli Carter, Mrs. America) wants a wedding, which her ex-husband (Bradley Whitford, The West Wing, The Handmaid’s Tale) is flaking on paying for, her mother (Jeannie Berlin, Succession) thinks she’s dying, her wayward son (Charlie Tahan, Ozark) is either going into rehab or the army, her long-time boyfriend (Michael Rappaport, Only Murders in the Building) doesn’t excite her, but her new girlfriend (Sepideh Moafi, Black Bird) doesn’t either, and she barely has time for herself, not that she would know what to do with it anyway.

dir. Todd Haynes (USA), 2023
Twenty years after their notorious tabloid romance gripped the nation, Gracie Atherton-Yu and her husband Joe (twenty-three years her junior) brace themselves for their twins to graduate from high school. When Hollywood actress Elizabeth Berry comes to spend time with the family to better understand Gracie, who she will be playing in a film, family dynamics unravel under the pressure of the outside gaze. Joe, never having processed what happened in his youth, starts to confront the reality of life as an empty-nester at thirty-six. And as Elizabeth and Gracie study each other, the similarities and differences between the two women begin to ebb and flow. Set in picturesque and comfortable Camden, Maine, May December is an exploration of truth, storytelling, and the difficulties (or impossibility) of fully understanding another person.

Documentary Feature Competition
Sponsored by Silvercup Studios

World Premiere
dir. Nick August-Perna (USA), 2023
TELL THEM YOU LOVE ME explores the extraordinary story of Anna Stubblefield, an esteemed university professor who becomes embroiled in a controversial affair with Derrick Johnson, a non-verbal man with cerebral palsy. Anna says she unlocked Derrick’s mind from his body by teaching him to communicate using a keyboard. The relationship that followed would lead to a criminal trial that would challenge our perceptions of disability and the nature of consent. Through exclusive footage and interviews with those on both sides of the case, this feature documentary weaves a riveting and endlessly nuanced story about communication, race, and sex.

World Cinema Documentary
Sponsored by Dragon Hemp

World Premiere
dir. Joanna Rudnick (USA), 2023
STORY & PICTURES BY is the first feature documentary to take audiences behind the scenes to meet the boundary pushers who create children’s picture books. The film follows Christian Robinson, Yuyi Morales, and Mac Barnett—the stars of the new “golden age” of kids lit— as they create experimental work that reflects the mysteries of childhood, champions the marginalized, and provides children with windows and mirrors, even when the creators’ own lives are not fairy tales. Through rare archival, untapped insights, and stop-motion paper animation, we also come to understand why classics such as “Goodnight Moon,” “Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” and “The Snowy Day” changed the art form and stand the test of time.

World Premiere
dir. Patricia E. Gillespie (USA), 2023
When an unidentified hiker is found deceased in the Florida wilderness, authorities release a sketch. Multiple hikers call in claiming to have met the man. There’s only one problem: he never told them his name. It would take two years, thousands of devoted internet sleuths, and a miracle of science to identify him—and that’s when the trouble really started. A character-centric reimagining of a classic genre, THEY CALLED HIM MOSTLY HARMLESS is about finding yourself when you’re looking for someone else.

About The Hamptons International Film Festival

HamptonsFilm, home of The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), based in the Hamptons on the Eastern End of Long Island, was founded in 1992 to celebrate the art of film and to introduce a unique and varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to our audiences. A non-profit organization with year-round screenings of global narrative and documentary films, an annual Screenwriters Lab, a summer documentary showcase, and extensive educational initiatives, HamptonsFilm offers programs that enlighten, educate, and provide invaluable exposure for filmmakers, while also providing the East End of Long Island with an educational and cultural experience that enriches the lives of its citizens and contributes to the local economy. HIFF, celebrating its 31st year, is an annual premiere film event in New York State, and an intimate showcase of some of the year’s best offerings in contemporary cinema from around the world. Awarding prizes to filmmakers in cash and goods and services of over $130,000, each year, with over $5 million awarded in competition funds and services over the decades, our program continues to play an important role during awards season. For eleven consecutive years from 2010 through 2020, the Festival screened the eventual Best Picture winner at the Oscars, making HIFF the only Festival in the world with such a distinction. For more information please visit

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August 23rd, 2023 Posted by | theater & film | no comments

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