Hamptons Launches 1998 Effort with Weekend Screening;
New Executive Director Kasell Talks About the Upcoming Fall Festival
by Eugene Hernandez
Laughing, Denise Kasell, the first-year Festival Director of the Hamptons
Film Festival, sums up her event's festival-goers in a single word: eclectic.
From the society folks who spend weekends in their large estates, to the
local community of residents who live in the small town year-round, this
is a unique place -- one that is populated by a large number of entertainment
industry professionals. The eclectic mix was quite evident over the past
weekend in the Hamptons. President Clinton was in town on a fundraising
trip, a sandcastle contest dominated a local beach, and on Saturday night,
the Hamptons Film Festival hosted a free outdoor screening for residents.
The fact that organizers were able to draw a sizable crowd on a chilly
evening when so much else was going on in town, is a true testament to
the fact that this festival is solidly established locally.
Prior to the preview screening of Peter Chelsom's new Miramax film,
"The Mighty," on the local high school football field, Kasell mingled with
sponsors, posing for photos and greeting representatives from Lifetime
Television and InStyle Magazine, as well as the film's producers Julie
Goldstein and Jane Startz. Meanwhile in front of the large outdoor movie
screen..."Clinton Is Innocent" proclaimed a sign held up by a streaker who
jumped up and down in front of the laughing and bewildered crowd. The
more things change, the more they stay they same -- two years ago, the
last time the Festival held a free outdoor screening, a streaker
unexpectedly welcomed attendees as well. A lot has changed since
then -- Denise Kasell joined the Hamptons from the Hudson Valley Film
Festival earlier this year, festival founder and chair Toni Ross stepped
aside into an Emeritus role welcoming Silvercup Studios' Stuart Match
Suna into the Chairman position, and as was reported by indieWIRE last
month, Kasell brought in a new group of programmers led by David
Schwartz from the American Museum of the Moving Image. Also on the
programming board are festival veterans Deena Juras from Gen Art,
Linda Blackaby from Philadephia and Lynda Hansen from Berlin.
In a profile published in the local East Hampton Star last week, and in
a subsequent conversation with indieWIRE over the weekend, Kasell
offered a sneak preview of the five-day October event. A special sidebar
tribute to comedy will deliver a tribute to filmmaker Richard Lester
("A Hard Day's Night," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"),
and plans include a screening of a re-release print of Billy Wilder's
"Some Like It Hot." Back for 1998 will be another series of 3x3
selections, showcasing three films from three leading international
filmmakers. And as further proof of the festival's continuing focus
on the international film community, Kasell told indieWIRE yesterday
that Scott Meek from Europe-based Zenith Films ("Velvet Goldmine")
will serve as one of the jurors for the 1998 festival.
Panel discussions will undergo a facelift in '98 according to Kasell,
with one-on-one breakfast sessions devoted to discussions, while
lunch-time seminars will focus on the craft of filmmaking. Meanwhile,
in an attempt to capture the excitement that surrounds the festival's
opening and closing night premieres, organizers plan to welcome
special premiere events on the other nights of the festival as well.
Kasell confirmed that the festival will screen new films, most likely
movies with distribution, and welcome the filmmakers and stars to
participate in the special nightly showcase event.
As for the 1998 competition films, the deadline for submissions passed
this week, but since the deadline date was published as August 7th in
some early listings, Kasell confirmed that programmers will accept
entries through Friday.
[For more information on the 1998 Hampton's International Film Festival,
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