The 21st annual Hamptons International Film Festival (October 10-14) has announced this year's lineup of signature programs set to include Helena Bonham Carter and Bruce Dern in its featured "A Conversation With..." section.
HIFF has awarded the Alfred P. Sloan film prize to Steven Bernstein for "Decoding Annie Parker" about a young woman's struggle to overcome the familial and hereditary tragedies imposed on her by breast cancer. The festival has also awarded the Conflict & Resolution Award to Carlos Agullo and Mandy Jacobson's Nelson Mandela-based documentary "Plot for Peace."
The festival, which has long celebrated and emphasized uniquely thought-provoking international films and filmmakers, has included in its program a variety of films from Egypt, Lebanon, Israel and South Africa, among others. Executive Director Anne Chaisson praised the festival's commitment to elevating globalized storytelling by remarking, "Fourteen years ago, HIFF created signature programs and partnerships to showcase films that engage viewers in world affairs and highlight stories of science and technology."
"A Conversation With..." Helena Bonham Carter is set to take place on Saturday, October 12 while "A Conversation With..." Bruce Dern will follow on Sunday, October 13.
Check out the rest of the HIFF lineup below (synopses courtesy of HIFF):
FILMS OF CONFLICT & RESOLUTION
ANA ARABIA (Israel/France)
Director: Amos Gitai
Beautifully and masterfully shot in one 81-minute take, ANA ARABIA follows Yael, a young journalist, as she meets a family of Jews and Arabs in a forgotten shanty enclave on the "border" between Jaffa and Bat Yam in Israel. Originally sent to interview Yussuf, the Muslim widower of a Jewish woman, Yael becomes engrossed in the man's personal stories and the endangered, fragile balance of their physical space, orchard included. Renowned filmmaker Amos Gitai captures lyrical moments of connection and revelation while depicting a sublime metaphor of coexistence.
GOD LOVES UGANDA (USA)
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Through verite interviews and hidden camera footage, GOD LOVES UGANDA takes viewers inside the evangelical movement in Uganda, where American missionaries have been credited with both creating schools and hospitals, and promoting dangerous religious bigotry. The film, deftly directed by Academy Award winning documentarian Roger Ross Williams (MUSIC BY PRUDENCE), follows evangelical leaders in America and Uganda along with politicians and missionaries as they attempt the task of eliminating "sexual sin" and converting Ugandans to fundamentalist Christianity. Shocking, horrifying, touching, and enlightening, the film raises complex issues about religion, sexuality, and their uneasy intersection.
PLOT FOR PEACE (South Africa)
North American Premiere
Director: Carlos Agullo
A true story of intrigue, PLOT FOR PEACE traces the behind-the-scenes diplomatic maneuverings to release Nelson Mandela from jail in South Africa in the 1980s. For the first time, heads of state, generals, diplomats, master spies and anti-apartheid fighters reveal how Africa's front line states helped end apartheid. One man stood at the center of the whirlwind, a mysterious French businessman dubbed "Monsieur Jacques." Jean-Ives Oliver, a native of Algeria, gained the trust of the leaders and diplomats in the region as well as abroad, and Director Carlos Agullo gives us exclusive insight to this fascinating, determined and enigmatic man.
SLEEPLESS NIGHTS (Palestine/Lebanon)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Eliane Raheb
Eliane Raheb's directorial debut is an incisive look at the psychological aftermath of the Lebanese Civil War. Assaad Shaftari was a high-ranking intelligence officer for an extreme right Christian faction during the war, and Maryam Saiidi is a mother still relentlessly seeking answers as to why her son, a student and Communist Party member, disappeared. Not only does Raheb bring their stories together, she instigates meetings between the two. We witness a soldier's attempts at atonement and a mother’s rage, and learn that even after 30 years, Lebanon is a country not completely healed from its past.
THE SQUARE (Egypt/USA)
Director: Jehane Noujaim
"As long as there's a camera, the revolution will continue," says one of the young subjects of THE SQUARE. It does continue, and two years of struggle (right until the summer of 2013) are shown through the eyes of a group of protesters from all walks of society that first came together in Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. The documentary follows these unlikely companions as they face violence, religious oppression, the assumptions of their elders, and the gap between their expectations and the reality of trying to change the country they will inherit.
HIFF announces the Golden Starfish competition line-up for Best Narrative Feature ($145,000 in cash and in-kind filmmaking services), Best Documentary Feature ($3,000 in cash) and Best Short Film, which will qualify for an Academy Award in the category of Best Live Action Short Film ($1,000 in cash).
"The films in our Golden Starfish section allow us to shine a light on exciting new work by emerging filmmakers from around the world," says Artistic Director David Nugent. "This focus on international cinema, as well as on up and coming filmmakers, remains central to our mission as an organization."
Jury participants include actress Emily Mortimer, filmmaker Alex Karpovsky, producer Dan Crown, photographer and filmmaker Michael Halsband, and New York Film Critic Circle member Karen Durbin.