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INTERVIEW: Megan Costello On The Hamptons International Film Festival 2020 Shorts Program

Nicole Barylski

Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business, which is making its New York Premiere at HIFF, is among featured shorts. (Courtesy Photo)

The 2020 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) Shorts Program, which will be available to view exclusively online, will delve into an array of riveting topics, such as one's existence, social impact, moments of transition and much more.

We spoke with the Festival's shorts programmer Megan Costello about this year's shorts, which will encompass the Documentary Short Film Competition, Narrative Short Film Competition, University Short Films Showcase and On the Road to Find Out.

Could you speak to the curation of this year's shorts programming?

MC: We love short films here at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and this year is no exception. Curated from thousands of submissions, this year's selection runs the gamut from introspective dramas to compelling documentaries to off-the-wall delights. We have something for everyone!

How many shorts will be screened this year? How does that compare to previous years?

MC: Like many other film festivals this year, we made the decision to downsize our program to better accommodate the transition to this new, virtual platform. We have 21 short films from 14 different countries screening in this year's festival, about one-third the size of previous editions. All of our shorts can be watched in our Virtual Cinema, and each program will feature a post-screening Q&A with filmmakers from all around the world.

Tell us about this year's shorts categories.

MC: We have four this year: two competition programs, which feature the very best of narrative and documentary short form filmmaking; our annual University Short Film Showcase, which celebrates the extraordinary talent of five student filmmakers; and finally, a fourth, curated program titled On the Road to Find Out, which follows multi-generational characters as they navigate moments of transition, uncertainty, and self-discovery. We hope it will resonate with our audience in these strange times we're living in!

Both the Narrative Short Film and Documentary Short Film are competition categories. When deciding the winners, what does the jury look for?

MC: Our annual Narrative and Documentary Short Film Competitions honor the fresh perspectives of emerging filmmakers from over the world. Each year, the jury looks for films that push the boundaries of the medium, and feature exceptional craft and storytelling. The winner of each competition will receive a $500 cash prize and qualify for Academy-Award® consideration.

What HamptonsFilm programming are you working on at the moment?

MC: The programming team is deep into festival preparations at the moment with launching our brand new Virtual Cinema, setting up our two Drive-Ins locations, and pre-recording Q&As with dozens of filmmakers across multiple time zones. Once the festival wraps, we'll get to rest for a few weeks before we open submissions for our annual Screenwriters Lab and resume our year-round film programming.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

MC: We are very excited to be offering the inaugural Peter Macgregor-Scott Memorial Award this year, which aims to continue Peter's mentorship for a new generation of passionate filmmakers. Sponsored by Susan Macgregor-Scott, this $10,000 award recognizes narrative short filmmakers and rewards creative approaches to solving practical production challenges in the service of storytelling. This award sincerely honors the spirit of independent filmmaking, and we are delighted that this recognition will go to one of our short filmmakers!

The 28th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place Thursday, October 8 through Wednesday, October 14.

For more information, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org.


Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski




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