On July 15, the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) announced that Toni Ross will be this year’s recipient of “The Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award.” The award was created in 2017 and first given to its namesake, Dick Cavett, to honor those in the creative arts who not only excel in their field, but who also support the arts and artists, particularly in film, television and related media. Ms. Ross’s paintings, installations, and sculptures have been showcased around the world and she has left an indelible mark on the East End as one of its most prolific artists. She was the founding chairman of the board of HIFF in 1993 and for five years, brought a deep knowledge and passion for film to the organization.
A film studies graduate of Wesleyan University, Ms. Ross was instrumental in establishing the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, where she remains on the board of trustees. Her career includes work with several film production designers, most notably Philip Rosenberg and Mel Bourne. Ms. Ross is also a founder of The Hayground School in Bridgehampton where she has focused on the importance of diversity, removing barriers due to financial constraints and arts and culinary education. She is also a restaurant entrepreneur, with five East End eateries including Nick & Toni’s, and a supporter of Guild Hall, OLA, and Planned Parenthood, among other organizations.
In a prescient move, Ms. Ross founded and curates the biennial series “Women Artists: Reshaping the Conversation” in East Hampton.
“Toni Ross has been an instrumental champion of the arts and the East End community where she works and lives. She helped to launch the Hamptons International Film Festival and is the reason we are all here today. We look forward to honoring her at the festival in October,” said HIFF’s artistic director David Nugent.
Additional information on HIFF’s summer programming, including the 2019 SummerDocs series, the year-round Now Showing series, and outdoor screenings in Southampton, can be found at hamptonsfilmfest.org. The 27th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place over Columbus Day weekend, October 10 to 14.
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