- The 18th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival
brought the stars, directors, producers and everyone else to The Hamptons over Columbus Day Weekend for a four-day film fest that once again establishes our area as a mecca for talent.
Paul Giamatti smiles on his way to the opening of "Barney's Version." (Jakes van der Watt)
A-listers strutted the red carpet and directors showcased their newest films. With the help of two major contributors, Lexus (leading luxury automaker), who shed the spotlight on their latest models and rewarded guests with a $1,000 gift certificate towards their next purchase, and Lampe-Berger (top French home fragrance line), the after parties were just as lively as the festival itself.
Stars glittered and shone in the sky, as well as on the screen and stage at Bay Street Theatre
(Sag Harbor), UA Theater in East Hampton, Montauk Movie House, and of course the Southampton Regal Bay Cinemas, drawn to our area as organized by the considerable dedication, hard work and networking of HIFF
Chairman Stuart Match Suna
, Executive Director Karen Arikian
, and Director of Programming David Nugent
, and of course, the Hamptons Goodwill Ambassador and HIFF Board member the always supportive Alec Baldwin
Everywhere and anywhere festival goers went they were sure to spot a who's who of emerging and established practitioners of the cinematic arts, including James Franco
, Isabella Rossellini
, Stanley Tucci
, Freida Pinto
, Tom Hooper
, Edie Falco
and Ethan Coen
, Davis Guggenheim
, Bob Balaban
, the delightful anthropologist and U.N. Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall
, Bruce Weber
, Brittany Robertson
, Elias Koteas
, Eric Mendelsohn
, Marcia Gay Harden
, Doug Liman
, John Wells
, Bill Nighy
, Alex Gibney
, Peter Hedges
, Paul Giamatti
(who starred in the opening night film "Barney's Version"), Derek Cianfrance
, Marilyn Agrelo
, Susan Cohn Rockefeller
, Niles Rodgers
, Danny Boyle
, Rula Jebreal
, Noomi Rapace
, former basketball star Vlade Divac
, Carter Burwell
, Sally Hawkins
, John Turturro
, Frances McDormand
, Neil Labute
, Bill Pullman
, Julian Schnabel
, and Darren Aronosky
, director of the closing night film "Black Swan
" starring Natalie Portman
. Among these bold faced names were those the Hamptons consider their own, including Balaban, Baldwin, Schnabel, and Rossellini, among others.
Freida Pinto on the red carpet at the Chairman's Reception. (Rob Rich)
Launched with an opening party at Gurney's Inn
in Montauk, the fun never ended for the next four days. The stars were treated with hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and live music that kept the party going well after midnight. Giamatti made a brief red carpet entrance as well as director, Stephen Padilla
of "Kisses, Chloe
" and the cast. Mikal Evans
and Robin Singer
mingled among the glamorous crowd. Director and filmmaker George Hickenlooper
encouraged guests to see his latest film, "Casino Jack" starring Kevin Spacey
. Just before the party ended, the masterminds behind the chilling short, "Death and the Blue-Eyed Boy" recalled the hard work and passion that went into their piece. Director and Ross School graduate Grant Curatola
exclaimed, "It's a very exciting feeling growing up in East Hampton and having my first film at the Hamptons International Film Festival, especially since I'm still in school; I'm very pleased with the end result!"
The always lovely Marcia Gay Harden
spent a few minutes at Thursday's RoC® Skincare "Gold Standard in Filmmaking Award," which was awarded to director Marilyn Agrelo
, discussing the reunion of "Miller's Crossing," the recent land acquisition at the Pollock-Krasner House
Museum, and how much she enjoys the Hamptons.
When she heard a Boston accent - maybe it was the Maaarsha or the Ms. Haaarden - this talented and well-respected actress immediately reverted to her spot on accent acquired for Clint Eastwood's
"Mystic River" (shot in Boston), and shared how much she enjoyed filming there.
She also relayed "I'm so excited about the 'Miller's Crossing' reunion - this was my first film and how fantastic is it that everyone involved in what I consider to be one of the best gangster films ever made went to such great success, and that the film has survived 20 years and people still talk about it."
Discussing her Academy Award winning role for Best Supporting Actress (2000), as Lee Krasner
in "Pollock" and the recent additional land acquisiton, Harden revealed "I was just there today [Pollock-Krasner
Museum] with my son. It was so great to film on the actual property and I am really happy that additional land has been added to keep the museum growing and the studio and house in tact as well. The art scene in the Hamptons is incredible, and I really enjoy following the careers of such established artists, as well as those just beginning to enjoy some success."
Alec Baldwin attends the Chairman's Reception at Stuart Match Suna's home. (Rob Rich)
Harden mentioned how much she and her family enjoy the beaches, water and scenery in the Hamptons, and stated "I don't get out here that much so I really love it when the opportunity to be here comes up." When asked what she has upcoming, Harden mentioned "I'm doing an upcoming 'Law and Order' which I'm really looking forward to." And so are we, Maaarsha!
The Industry Toast Reception at Second House Tavern on Saturday night brought the bulk of the festival crowds back to Montauk in honor of film industry guru, Ben Barenholtz
. Harden blew kisses to the cameras next to Barenholtz while he unbuttoned his shirt for an unexpected surprise! McDormand joined in and the trio certainly looked fabulous as Barenholtz flashed a bachelor's wink sporting a shirt that read, "I only depend on the kindness of women." Tucci, Sam Kitt
and the Cohen brothers were just a few of the stars enjoying the intimate toast. The crowd showed their utmost respect, gathering in honor of a driving influence in the film industry.
Isabella Rossellini at the Bay Street Theatre. (Rob Rich)
Fans of the hit gangster flick of the 1990s, "Miller's Crossing," were treated to a special 20th anniversary screening of the film at Guild Hall
on Sunday. Directed by the Brothers Cohen the film gives mob crime a feature genre of its own. Following the screening, a few members of the original cast held a Q & A.
For the first time ever in the history of the HIFF, animation took center stage. Babelgum, the world's leading film viewing platform online, partnered with the HIFF to create an animated shorts program with $20,000 in grand prizes! The special program featured screenings of award winning, animated shorts from the Animatron Online and Mobile Animation Film Festival, judges that have gained world-wide success as well as a round-table discussion with some of the greatest animation experts of our time.
Director Lee Unkrich
and producer, Darla K. Anderson
of the box office hit, "Toy Story
3" discussed the inspiration and thought process behind the film at Guild Hall on Sunday. Unkrich revealed that the loss of a loved one played a significant role in developing a sense of realism across the board, especially in the final scene. Originally intended for adults, the series touched the hearts of more children than expected. From the beginning to the end, the team at Pixar put their best efforts forth in making a flawless animated masterpiece; Anderson was happy to announce they definitely achieved that. Unkrich and Anderson are in the talks of another big project, which they will be working on throughout the fall. When asked if there's anything they would change in the making of "Toy Story 3," the storytellers exclaimed, "Hardly!" With no regrets in sight they accomplished their dream of giving each and every character a soul that the audience can connect to.
Julian Schnabel at the "Miral" screening at Guild Hall. (Eileen Casey)
Between the after parties, and the incredible hospitality rendered by c/o The Maidstone
where many attendees simply sat, relaxed and collected themselves, as well as lingered around to overhear interviews being conducted by numerous media outlets, to the incredible premieres and outstanding talent drawn to our area for another blockbuster success - the HIFF continues to be a fantastic event bringing an influx of creativity, artistic integrity, and an economic boost which left all smiling (for the camera or not).
Since every picture tells a story - enjoy some of these pictures of the many faces of the festival!
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.