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Jun 17, 2017 9:17 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Ninth Annual HIFF SummerDocs Series Kicks Off July 8

Alec Baldwin and wife Hilaria attend the Tisch School Gala in Apri.  JARED SISKIN/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM
Jun 18, 2017 10:36 AM

The Hamptons International Film Festival’s ninth annual SummerDocs series welcomes HIFF co-chairman and series presenter Alec Baldwin to lead a discussion with filmmakers after each documentary screening.

“It’s HIFF’s 25th anniversary year and the ninth season of SummerDocs and we have a great lineup of documentary films, featuring intense drama and more entertaining fare,” Mr. Baldwin said in a statement. “Artistic director David Nugent and I believe this will be one of the best SummerDocs seasons yet.”

The series, which in the past has included films that went on to win Academy Awards, will kick off Saturday, July 8, with a screening of “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press” at Guild Hall in East Hampton. This documentary captures the intense and growing conflict between the First Amendment and privacy rights. Director Brian Knappenberger hinges the film on the case between the online tabloid Gawker and professional wrestler Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.

Gawker published two minutes of a 30-minute sex tape involving Mr. Bollea, who sued the website, and effectively forced it into bankruptcy. It was later revealed that the primary funder of the lawsuit was not Mr. Bollea, but Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel. “Nobody Speak” uses this example to explore a larger topic of how corporate executives and billionaires are tipping the balance on the public’s access to news and posing new threats to society’s relationship to the truth, according to the film’s synopsis. Mr. Knappenberger will talk about his film with Mr. Baldwin and the audience after the screening.

“Trophy,” which will be shown at Guild Hall on Saturday, July 29, investigates the hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation industries. The focus is primarily on those who run these industries, including a Texas-based trophy hunter and the world’s largest private rhino breeder in South Africa. Directors Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz will join a discussion.

Laird Hamilton is a swell guy—he loves the waves. The career and life of this fearless surfer are captured in the film “Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton,” screening at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Spa in Montauk on Friday, August 4. Mr. Hamilton himself, along with director Rory Kennedy, will participate in a discussion.

Behind-the-scenes life for a superstar can be dark and lonely. For Whitney Houston, her time as one of the most powerful singers was cut short due to a series of events which are profiled in the film “Whitney: Can I Be Me,” showing at Southampton Arts Center on Thursday, August 17, with director Nick Broomfield in attendance.

The series will conclude where it starts, in East Hampton, with a viewing at Guild Hall of “Icarus” on Saturday, August 26. Director Bryan Fogel will discuss his film, which unveils the sinister world of illegal doping in international sports.

Mr. Nugent said he is thrilled about this year’s lineup, which he says includes a documentary for everyone.

For tickets, visit hamptonsfilmfest.org/summerdocs.

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