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Hamptons Life

Oct 9, 2011 10:09 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

The Definitive Guide To The Hamptons International Film Festival

Oct 10, 2011 4:20 PM

Coming out of the last Hamptons International Film Festival lineup with 30 Academy Award nominations, Programming Director David Nugent said he felt good.

Waiting, with anticipation, to screen this year’s batch of festival films across the East End, he says he feels even better.

“It tops last year’s,” Mr. Nugent said of the 2011 slate during a telephone interview last week. “I think, from top to bottom, these are some of the best films of the year. These are what’s hot and exciting, and you get to see them before anyone else.”

From Thursday, October 13, through Monday, October 17, more than 120 films—many of them world-, United States- and East Coast-premieres—will screen at 13 theaters from Westhampton Beach to Montauk. The festival will

draw directors, producers and stars—among them Susan Sarandon, Matthew Broderick, Rufus Wainwright and Alec Baldwin—to a slew of red carpets unrolling across the East End.

The 19th annual festival will kick off at Guild Hall and UA East Hampton with the film “Jeff, Who Lives At Home,” an exploration of brotherly dynamics starring Jason Segal as 34-year-old Jeff, who spends his days unlocking the profound mysteries of the universe from the comfort of his exasperated mother’s basement. That is until his mother, Susan Sarandan’s character, sends him out on an errand, where he bumps into his disgruntled older brother, played by Ed Helms. Directors—and brothers—Jay and Mark Duplass lead audiences on a madcap journey, following the two very different men as they face life-shattering challenges side by side.

“The opening night film is so important to any festival,” Mr. Nugent said. “You want to have one of your really strong films up there and one that sets a good tone for the festival.”

The Weinstein Company’s “Butter,” a dark comedy about the world of butter carving, starring Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman and Alicia Silverstone, will open the Southampton lineup on Friday, October 14.

“It’s always great to have funny films at the festival, and this is a very strong cast,” Mr. Nugent said. “It’s a sort of funny, political satire that I think people will like.”

Screening on Saturday, October 15, at Guild Hall and Sunday, October 16, at Sag Harbor Cinema, the festival’s centerpiece film, “Like Crazy,” follows young lovers, played by Felicity Jones and HIFF Breakthrough Performer Anton Yelchin, through a world of adult decisions. Directed by up-and-comer Drake Doremus, the film represents the epitome of stellar acting, Mr. Nugent said.

“Those of us who have been young and in love know what it’s like,” he said. “There are very few films that really capture that feeling, the joy and the heartache, and ‘Like Crazy’ is a film like that.”

Closing out the festival’s lineup, is “The Artist,” a comedic tribute to silent films. Set in 1927, the film follows Hollywood’s biggest movie star George Valentin, played by Jean Dujardin, who fights to keep the silent era alive when “talkies” begin to dominate the movie scene.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind film. It’s one of the most charming films I’ve ever seen in my life,” Mr. Nugent said. “Okay, so it’s black-and-white and silent, but it’s not just a film for the hard-core film buffs. It’s for anyone who enjoys movies. I can’t wait to screen it.”

In celebration of the partnership between HIFF and the inaugural Perugia International Film Festival, to be held in March 2012, the Hamptons festival will screen six Italian films, including “Corpo Celeste” and “Sul Mare,” according to HIFF Executive Director Karen Arikian, who will serve as artistic director for the Italian festival.

“It’s a pretty big deal. It will be a festival, but it will also be a forum—a cultural forum,” she said of the Perugia Festival during a telephone interview last week. “It’s a big venture for us in our 20th year. We’re branching out in a new partnership, internationally.”

The Hamptons festival will continue to feature films in categories such as “Conflict & Resolution,” “Views From Long Island,” “Spotlight,” “World Cinema Narrative and Documentary,” and “Shorts For All Ages,” Ms. Arikian said. The “Pitch In” program, which screens two in-progress documentaries, will return for its second season, she reported, as well as the “A Conversation With” series—a staple and audience favorite since the festival’s inauguration.

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