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HIFF Salutes Ben Barenholtz With Hamptons IndieWire Industry Toast

Originally Posted: July 10, 2010

Hamptons International Film Festival will honor Ben Barenholtz. (HIFF)

East Hampton - The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will honor Ben Barenholtz with their HIFF/indieWIRE Industry Toast on Saturday, October 9, during the festival (October 7 through October 11). A revered figure among independent filmmakers, Barenholtz has been a key presence in the independent film world as an exhibitor, distributor, and producer since the late 1960s when he owned and operated New York City's Elgin Theatre.

A stellar line-up of talent, including Marcia Gay Harden, Frances McDormand, Joel and Ethan Coen and John Turturro will fete Barenholtz at The HIFF/IndieWIRE Industry Toast on Saturday, October 9 during the festival. The festival will also present a special 20th anniversary screening of "Miller's Crossing" the first film Barenholtz executive produced and Marcia Gay Harden's first film, on Sunday, October 10. Other toasters and roasters include Eamonn Bowles, Annette Insdorf, Bingham Ray, Stephanie Sharis and Willie Reale.

The Industry Toast has honored those people who have played a significant role in the independent industry over the years. Past recipients have included Marcie Bloom, Bob Berney, Ted Hope and Wouter Barendrecht.

Barenholtz's innovative approach to the Elgin's programming made it among the world's most visionary and historically significant art houses. Barenholtz was the originator of the "All Night Show" as well as the "Midnight Movie," launched in 1970 with Alexander Jodorowsky's "El Topo" followed by John Water's "Pink Flamingos." At the Elgin, Barenholtz re-launched the films of Buster Keaton and all the while discovering independent films by young American directors working outside the mainstream. Early works by Martin Scorsese and Jonathan Demme found a home at the Elgin. Barenholtz was also the founder of specialty distributors Libra Films and co-founder of Circle Releasing, and over the course of his career at these two companies launched films like David Lynch's "Eraserhead," John Sayles' "Return of the Secaucus Seven," Guy Maddin's first feature "Tales from the Gimli Hospital," "Blood Simple," the first film by the Coen Brothers, as well as Jean Charles Tachella's "Cousin Cousine," which garnered three Academy Award nominations.

Barenholtz began producing films in the 1980s, and became Executive Producer on the Coen's "Miller's Crossing, and their Cannes triple award winner, "Barton Fink" as well as on Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem for a Dream." His directorial debut was the documentary "Music Inn," which will be followed up by the short, "Percy" about jazz legend Percy Heath. He is currently developing Kurt Bursiek's "Astro City" with Working Title.

"Ben is such a dynamic figure in the independent film world and has contributed on so many different levels. His influence ripples from both classic films to the next generation of filmmakers whose work he has helped to shape", says The Hamptons International Film Festival Executive Director, Karen Arikian. "His commitment as a mentor to many young up-and-coming filmmakers remains to this day. We are honored to give this award to Ben and recognize his impact on the industry."

"You cannot tell the story of independent film without talking about Ben Barenholtz," says indieWIRE Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder Eugene Hernandez. "He's not only been an important part of its history, but Ben continues to influence the movies today. It's an honor for indieWIRE to be part of this tribute to him this year."

The Industry Toast has been awarded to those that have had a significant impact on the industry. Past recipients have included Marcie Bloom, Bob Berney, Ted Hope and Wouter Barendrecht.

HIFF greatly appreciates the continued support from their corporate sponsors which include Altour International, American Airlines among many others.

For more information about the Festival go to www.hamptonsfilmfest.org. IFF greatly appreciates the support of German Films for this event, as well as the on-going support from their corporate sponsors, which include Altour International, American Airlines among many others.

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