Film Festival Goes All Out for Its Jubilee
When the curtain falls on the 25th Hamptons International Film Festival on Columbus Day, it will have screened 65 features and 50 shorts, hosted several conversations with actors and filmmakers, toasted Julie Andrews, and much more.
After weeks of offering glimpses of highlights in scattered press releases, the festival announced its full schedule on Monday, including its closing night film, "I, Tonya," about Tonya Harding, the notorious figure skater who was involved in a plot to break the leg of Nancy Kerrigan, one of her 1994 Olympics teammates. The film stars Margot Robbie and Allison Janney and was directed by Craig Gillespie.
The previously announced opening night film is Allison Chernick's "Itzhak," a documentary on the life and music of Itzhak Perlman, who has a house in East Hampton. The festival's three centerpiece films are "Goodbye Christopher Robin," about A.A. Milne's relationship with his son, by Simon Curtis; "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," about a mother's unusual reaction to her daughter's murder, by Martin McDonagh, and "Breathe" by Andy Serkis, inspired by the true story of a couple fighting for disability rights after the husband contracts polio.
The festival's spotlight films, those that have distribution or are likely to get it, feature directorial work by Noah Baumbach, Guillermo del Toro, Todd Haynes, Rob Reiner, Joe Wright, and others in entries that are already attracting awards season attention.
"Darkest Hour," Mr. Wright's treatment of the life of Winston Churchill, with Gary Oldman as Churchill, is "played as a 'House of Cards' style thriller‚" with best actor Oscar buzz already in the air, according to The Guardian. Mr. Reiner, who will participate in the festival's A Conversation With series, is also going back into history for "LBJ," in which Lyndon Baines Johnson, as played by Woody Harrelson, rises from senator to president. Reginald Hudlin looks at the early career of Thurgood Marshall, played by Chadwick Boseman, in "Marshall."
Returning to the festival after "Carol" screened in 2015, Mr. Haynes has submitted his new film, "Wonderstruck," based on Brian Selznick's book about two runaway deaf children separated by time and place but strangely interconnected.
Mr. Baumbach joins forces again with Ben Stiller for their third joint venture, "The Meyerowitz Stories," about an extended family with "big questions, richly explored," according to Variety's review of the film's Cannes screening. It also stars Dustin Hoffman and Adam Sandler.
A monster is at the center of Mr. del Toro's "The Shape of Water," which takes place in a government facility during the Cold War.
The other spotlight films are "After Louie" by Vincent Gagliostro, "Call Me by Your Name" by Luca Guadagnino, "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" by Paul McGuigan, "In the Fade" by Fatih Akin, "The Yellow Birds" by Alexandre Moors, and "The Tribes of Palos Verdes" by Emmett Malloy and Brendan Malloy.
Among those attending events and screenings will be Julie Andrews, Jamie Bell, Annette Bening, Carter Burwell, Alan Cumming, Josh Gad, Jennifer Garner, Mariska Hargitay, Armie Hammer, Richard Jenkins, Daniel Kaluuya, Diane Kruger, Jordan Peele, Mr. Perlman, Mr. Reiner, Ms. Robbie, Sam Rockwell, Mr. Serkis, and Allison Williams.
Ms. Williams and Mr. Kaluuya will be among the participants in a panel for "Get Out," a breakout film by Mr. Peele, who will attend, that touches on themes evoked by the current political and cultural climate pertaining to race. Eric Kohn, the deputy editor for IndieWire and the chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, will moderate.
The festival will have in its Views From Long Island section Ben and Orson Cummings's "Killer Bees," about the Bridgehampton High School basketball team, and Yance Ford's "Strong Island," about the death of his brother in 1992 and a judicial system that failed his family. Josh Klausner's "Wanderland" is set on the South Fork. Another film with local ties is a documentary by Susan Lacy, who has a house in Noyac, on Steven Spielberg, who lives part time in East Hampton.
Ms. Andrews, who will be presented with a lifetime achievement award at a dinner during the festival, has been involved with the theater community here for decades. A screening of "Victor/Victoria" on Oct. 7, with a discussion following between Ms. Andrews and Alec Baldwin, will be part of the festivities.
The Compassion, Justice, and Animal Rights program will include a presentation of Brett Morgan's "Jane," a documentary about the beginning of Jane Goodall's career as a primatologist and anthropologist, including archival footage recently discovered. Also to be screened in this section is Allison Argo's "The Last Pig."
Films to be shown as part of the Conflict and Resolution program include Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman's "Muhi -- Generally Temporary," the story of a young boy in Gaza, and Aki Kaurismaki's "The Other Side of Hope," about the intertwining of two individuals at a crossroads in their lives. Ai Weiwei's "Human Flow" and Greg Campbell's "Hondros" were previously announced.
The festival's Air, Land, and Sea program will present Richard Dale, Lixin Fan, and Peter Webber's "Earth: One Amazing Day," narrated by Robert Redford, which follows the natural wonders and creatures of the world over the course of one day. Michael Bonfiglio's "From the Ashes" examines the coal and mining industry and its effect on the economy, health, and climate of the country.
Among the feature films competing this year for HIFF Awards are "11/8/16," a combined effort of several filmmakers compiled by Jeff Deutchman to document last year's Election Day. "Mountain," narrated by Willem Dafoe, is Jennifer Peedom's examination of the world's most impressive peaks. The narrative films include Ali Asgari's "Disappearance‚" about the inherent conflicts between tradition and modernity in Iran, Carla Simon's "Summer 1993," a coming-of-age tale set in Spain, and "Thoroughbreds," Cory Finley's neo-noir thriller about two wealthy but disturbed teenage girls.
In the World Cinema section are a documentary on Kevin Aucoin by Tiffany Bartok and Ruben Ostlund's "The Square," which won the Palme d'Or prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
HIFF will present nine programs of short films this year, including its competition films, New York Women in Film and Television: Women Calling the Shots; Soar! Shorts for All Ages; Student Short Films Showcase; Twist and Shout; I'll Be On My Way; Come Together; and two short films that will play before features.
As usual, there are too many events and films to go into all of them. Each, however, will be listed on the HIFF website and in The Star's annual festival guide, available in the Sept. 21 issue. The festival will take place from Oct. 5 to Oct. 9, and individual tickets will go on sale on Sept. 25.