Five films will compete for one of the North American film festival circuit’s most generous awards, the Golden Starfish narrative feature prize, worth $125,000 in cash and in-kind services, at the 18th Hamptons International Film Festival. Xavier Dolan’s “Heartbeats”, Hilda Hidalgo’s “Of Love and Other Demons,” Alice Nellis’ “Mamas and Papas,” Nikolaj Steen’s “Old Boys” and Cam Archer’s “Shit Year” will vie for the award. The festival takes place from October 7 to 11, on the eastern end of Long Island, New York.
A slew of some of the best-received titles from earlier international film festivals will screen, including Tom Hooper’s early Oscar favorite “The King’s Speech,” Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” Richard J. Lewis’s Paul Giamatti-starrer “Barney’s Version,” which is opening the festival, and Darren Aronofsky’s twisted ballet saga, “Black Swan,” which will close the festival. “Miral,” Julian Schnabel’s eagerly awaited follow-up to 2007’s “Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and John Madden’s Mossad thriller, “The Debt,” starring Helen Mirren, will see their U.S. premieres.
“From the insouciance of Xavier Dolan’s ‘Heartbeats,’ the opening film or our Canadian focus, to the somber elegance of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s ‘A Screaming Man,’ this year’s Competition filmmaker’s represent the voices of some of the most exciting emerging artists from around the world,” said Executive Director Karen Arikian in a statement.
Other Golden Starfish awards will go to best documentary feature, best conflict and resolution film and best short film. Highlights of those competitions include the world premiere of the full-length doc “Just A Beginning,” about a class of 4-year-olds taking a philosophy class, the Cannes Prix de Jury-winning “A Screaming Man” and “Cool It,” a documentary about one of the world’s most controversial climate change skeptics, Bjorn Lomborg.
Below is the full list of announced films with descriptions provided by Hamptons International Film Festival.
127 Hours (New York premiere)
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: James Franco
The latest film from Academy Award-winning visionary director Danny Boyle is another cinematic tour-de-force. Based on a true story, James Franco stars as Aron Ralston, a mountain biker whose journey across the Utah desert took an unexpected turn for the worse when a boulder crushed his right hand. Unable to shift the boulder or remove his hand, Aron contemplates the events in his life that brought him to his present circumstance. But when his water and food supplies begin to dwindle, Aron knows his time is running out.
Made In Dagenham (East Coast premiere)
Director: Nigel Cole
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Bob Hoskins, Miranda Richardson, Geraldine James, Rosamund Pike, Andrea Riseborough
1968, Dagenham, England: site of the largest Ford Motor Company factory in Europe. Here, 168 female employees work sewing car seats, earning a fraction of the income of their male counterparts. Soft-spoken Rita O’Grady (Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”) is elected to attend a typically uneventful meeting between the charlatan union representative and ruthless Ford execs, and soon becomes the unlikely leader and spokesperson for a historic strike demanding equal pay. Full of humor and characters with unforgettable tenacity, “Made in Dagenham” is the inspiring true story of a brave grassroots movement that continues to be extraordinarily relevant today. Directed by Nigel Cole the film also stars Rosamund Pike and Miranda Richardson.
Miral (U.S. premiere)
Director: Julian Schnabel
Cast: Freida Pinto, Hiam Abbass, Willem Dafoe, Alexander Siddig
Miral is a little red flower that is commonly found on the side of the road; it is also the name of a young woman (Frieda Pinto) whose story illustrates the lived experience of the Israeli/Palestinian struggle. Master director Julian Schnabel takes on the celebrated novel by Rula Jebreal, a multi-generational story of Palestinian women whose lives are shaped by historic conflict. An intimate tale of loyalty, love and family is painted onto a pristinely gorgeous desert landscape, and “Miral” is an eye-opening drama as well as a transportive experience of breathtaking cinema.
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Ty Burrell, Michael Kelly, Bruce McGill, Brooke Smith
Doug Liman, the director behind “The Bourne Identity” and “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” returns with a gripping, edge-of-your-seat political thriller, based on the true story of Valerie Plame. Academy Award-nominee Naomi Watts stars as the undercover CIA agent investigating weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Plame’s cover is blown after her husband, Joseph Wilson (Sean Penn), publishes a controversial article in The New York Times. Featuring remarkable and studied performances by an excellent cast, “Fair Game” brings us back to the historical event that shook the CIA just a few years ago.
Director: Eric Mendelsohn
Cast: Elias Koteas, Edie Falco, Embeth Davidtz
A young girl of ten covets her mother’s bracelet, only to lose it on her way to school. A frustrated father (Elias Koteas) flees his family woes, only to get detoured in the most unexpected ways. A housewife and painter (Edie Falco) can barely contain her excitement when her famous actor neighbor (Embeth Davidtz) asks her for a ride to the ferry. In these loosely connected stories, filmmaker Eric Mendelsohn (“Judy Berlin”) pinpoints the yearning and anxiety lurking in his Long Island suburbanites, and crafts an intoxicating, impeccably acted, and must-see film in the process.
Blue Valentine (East Coast premiere)
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams
“Blue Valentine” is the stunningly authentic and emotionally truthful story of a romantic relationship. Cindy (Michelle Williams) and her jovial husband Dean (Ryan Gosling) seem to be entering a pivotal moment in their relationship. Over the course of a single day, the memories and experiences that brought them together collide with the thudding reality that they have reached a tipping point of inevitable change in their marriage. “Blue Valentine” features tour-de-force performances by Williams and Gosling, who unflinchingly portray the intricate web of emotions spun over the years of a complicated marriage.
Director: George Hickenlooper
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kelly Preston, Barry Pepper
Kevin Spacey gives an unforgettable performance as corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who swindles millions from Native Americans and labor workers in his unending quest for money and power. Director George Hickenlooper skillfully knits together Abramoff’s high times as an influential Washington DC insider and his lows, during his term as a convicted felon. At once deeply religious and yet enormously dishonest, Abramoff is a walking contradiction, and the mystery of his motivations is central to this suspenseful true-life drama.
The Company Men (East Coast premiere)
Director: John Wells
Cast: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson
Television giant John Wells (“ER,” “The West Wing”) makes his feature directorial debut in this moving portrait of the effects of corporate downsizing on a community outside of Boston. With an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson and Kevin Costner, Wells deftly explores some of the reasons that America found itself in the recent economic downturn, as well as the role individual choices can play during such crises.
The Family Tree (East Coast premiere)
Director: Vivi Friedman
Cast: Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Max Theriot, Brittany Robertson
The Burnett family is, to put it mildly, dysfunctional. The bitter, WASP-y matriarch Bunnie (Hope Davis) suffers from amnesia after engaging in some extramarital wrestling with the next-door neighbor. Father Jack (Dermot Mulroney, at his most unhinged) feels his professional and personal life swirling chaotically around him. Son Eric (Max Thieriot) is a Bible-thumping expert marksman, and daughter Kelly (Brittany Robertson, 2010 Hamptons Rising Star) is a bad girl. A deranged satire on “family values” and the quirky indies that skewer them, “The Family Tree” is sure to be one of the most talked-about independent comedies of the year.
The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (“Luftslottet som sprangdes”) (East Coast premiere)
Director: Daniel Alfredson
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist
In 2009, the Hamptons International Film Festival brought you the North American premiere of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” This year, Stieg Larsson’s internationally-bestselling Millennium Trilogy comes to a thrilling close with director Daniel Alfredson “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.” When we last left her, computer hacker Liesbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) was wounded and near death when she was rescued by controversial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist). Now she is accused of murder, and it is up to Blomkvist to return the favor she once did him risk his life and prove her innocence.
An Invisible Sign (World premiere)
Director: Marilyn Agrelo
Cast: Jessica Alba, Chris Messina, J.K. Simmons
Young Mona idolizes her father, a brilliant mathematician. When he suddenly demonstrates signs of mental illness, Mona begins to obsess about numbers, using them to interpret an unpredictable and threatening world. Now an adult (Jessica Alba), Mona’s old superstitions and compulsive behaviors continue to flourish, but a new job as an elementary school math teacher (a position she both relishes and dreads), may force her out of her protective shell. With imagination and humor, as well as a special sensitivity to the realities of mental illness, “An Invisible Sign” carries a magic all its own.
Wild Target (U.S. premiere)
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Cast: Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Ruper Grint
Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is a professional assassin with an overbearing mother. Killing runs in his family, and Victor’s mother refuses to let him forget it. Everything is about to change, however, when Victor falls in love with his next target, Rose (Emily Blunt). On the run from his employers, Victor, Rose, and their companion Tony (Rupert Grint) must stay one step ahead of the game to remain alive in this action-packed comedy from director Jonathan Lynn (“My Cousin Vinny”).
Golden Starfish Narrative Competition
Heartbeats (“Les Amours Imaginaires”) (U.S. premiere)
Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Xavier Dolan, Niels Schneider, Monia Chokri, Anne Dorval
Francis (played by the director Xavier Dolan himself) and Marie are the best of friends but their shared interests wreak havoc when they both set their sights on the handsome and elusive Nicolas. Basking in the glow of their affections, Nicolas seems oblivious to the tensions mounting between the two friends and a bizarre love triangle unfolds. With sensual slow motion sequences and skillful use of music, Dolan offers up a new kind of romance while questioning the nature of love itself.
Mamas and Papas (North American premiere)
Director: Alice Nellis
Cast: Zuzana Bydzovská, Filip Capka, Martha Issová, Václav Jirácek
It is one of life’s greatest challenges, one of the most overlooked type of sacrifice, and depending on the eye of the beholder, the pinnacle of desire or fear. In her gorgeous and concisely crafted drama, director Alice Nellis enters the world of four couples who are experiencing wildly different reactions to parenthood. From several unhappy accidents to a couple desperately trying to conceive, the characters and situations in each story are lived in, complete and fully compelling; and together are a poetic exploration of the challenges of contemporary family life.
Old Boys (North American premiere)
Director: Nikolaj Steen
Cast: Kristian Halken, Robert Hansen, Laura Christensen
Middle-aged Vagn Bendtsen leads a quiet, mundane, and lonely life. When his soccer team takes a trip to Sweden to face off against a team of police officers, little does Vagn suspect that it will be the adventure of a life time. Left behind in a gas station restroom, he implores a young man, John Lund, to help him catch up with his bus. Unbeknownst to Vagn, John just held up the gas station, and this is only the first stop on his crime wave.
Of Love and Other Demons (East Coast premiere)
Director: Hilda Hidalgo
Cast: Eliza Triana, Pablo Derqui, Jordi Dauder, Joaquin Climent
A cinematic dreamscape conjured from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s richly textured and macabre novel about a magical coming of age in the colonial Caribbean. A teenaged girl with long red hair contracts rabies from a dog bite, and is sent to a monastary, either to receive a miracle cure, or to die in the house of God. Despite the lurking shadow of death, the amber-haired girl experiences an awakening in confinement, and kindles a first romance with a young monk.
Shit Year (North American premiere)
Director: Cam Archer
Cast: Ellen Barkin, Luke Grimes, Melora Walters
Cam Archer’s follow-up to his heralded debut “Wild Tigers I Have Known” pushes the filmmaker into startling new directions. “Shit Year” plunges us into the fractured world of Colleen West, an actress who decides to retire early, on the heels of an intense fling with the very pretty co-star of her last play. As the fragile, egotistical West, an inimitable Ellen Barkin anchors this phantasmagoric drama with supple realism, earthiness and sensuality. Shot in luminously grainy black-and-white, “Shit Year” is as ambitious, brazen and challenging as the early films of Godard, Cassavettes and Jim Jarmusch.
Golden Starfish Documentary Competition
Circo (New York premiere)
Director: Aaron Schock
An enchanting journey on the caravan of a family-run Mexican traveling circus, “Circo” is the insiders’ tale of family life under the big top, and a document of an almost extinct way of life. Circo Mexico has been family owned and operated since the 19th century. The trade is passed on from one generation to the next, and to be a member of the family is to participate in the business. But as declining audiences threaten the circus’ viability, the ties that bind the family loosen, and they face an uncertain future.
Cool It (U.S. premiere)
Director: Ondi Timoner
Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg is the author of a book called “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” which soon after its publication, became a highly controversial player in the global argument about climate change. Lomborg’s book proposed a model of welfare economics to deal with the warming crisis, and firmly criticized measures taken in the Kyoto protocols. While many still consider Lomborg a villain, director Ondi Timoner takes a measured approach to understanding Lomborg’s fascinating argument. The result is a documentary that is both compelling and inspiring, no matter on which side of the Lomborg fence you find yourself.
The House of Suh (U.S. premiere)
Director: Iris Shim
One of Chicago’s most famous murder cases surrounded sister and brother Catherine and Andrew Suh, first-generation Korean Americans, who conspired against, shot and killed Catherine’s former boyfriend. Over a decade later, director Iris Shim revisits the case and opens a Pandora’s box of family secrets that reveals the murder to be anything but black and white. What emerges in “The House of Suh” is a riveting and tragic portrait of a troubled family, which sheds light on the psychological complexity of cultural assimilation.
Love, Etc. (World premiere)
Director: Jill Andresevic
What does “love” look like? A charming panorama of the heart, “Love, Etc.” chronicles five stories from all over New York City: love lost, gained, lasting, and new. There’s the young couple planning a traditional Indian wedding, and a divorced single father balancing life, kids, and dating. Two teens experience first love; meanwhile, Albert and Marion, two former Tin Pan Alley songwriters married for 48 years, explore their lasting bond. Shot throughout all five boroughs, “Love, Etc.” sings with stories both funny and bittersweet.
Just A Beginning (World premiere)
Directors: Jean-Pierre Pozzi, Pierre Barougier
In this remarkable vérité documentary, the filmmakers take us inside the classroom of an unusual public nursery school, where four year olds are attempting their first ever philosophy class. A dedicated teacher guides the children through discussions on the subjects such as love, power, difference, aging and death; and the children’s observations are at times remarkably profound, funny and insightful, but always unique. As the children wrap their heads around life’s most important questions, JU.S.T A BEGINNING sheds light on concepts that most of us are still examining as adults.
Films of Conflict and Resolution in Competition
A Screaming Man (East Coast premiere)
Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, with Youssouf Djaoro, Dioucounda Koma, Emil Abossolo M’bo
Winner of the Prix de Jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s deceptively simple film is a lyrical evocation of the small tragedies of war. Aging swimming champion Adam’s joy in life is his work maintaining an upscale hotel pool in Chad. When he loses his job to his only son, he is forced into a small betrayal that soon puts family drama on a collision course with national tragedy. A not-to-be- missed selection, “A Screaming Man” is quietly moving piece about fathers, sons, family, and war.
Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Soldiers (New York premiere)
Director Raymonde Provencher
This riveting documentary presents the all-too familiar plight of child soldiers in Uganda through an unprecedented new perspective: that of the young girls forced to join the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army as soldiers, wives, killers, and mothers. Set against an uncannily beautiful African landscape, Grace, Milly, and Lucy, now living in rehabilitation facilities for ex-child soldiers, recount the atrocity of their experience, and speak to a triumph of spirit after a life of undue violence and hardship in this quietly moving and captivating piece.
The Accidental Terrorist (U.S. premiere)
Directors Miki Mistrati, Nagieb Khaja
An enrapturing mystery that follows young Danish Muslim Cem Aslan as he probes his fascination with his one-time childhood friend Abdul Kadir, now confined to a Bosnian prison convicted of plotting a terrorist attack. What made these two men from so similar circumstances make such different choices? How did they become such different men? Or are they really that different after all? Miki Mastrati’s truly fascinating documentary unpacks these rich questions in the context of a gripping mystery investigation.
Striking a Chord (New York premiere)
Director Susan Cohn Rockefeller
An affecting perspective on American troops in Iraq, Susan Cohn Rockefeller’s film is an intimate examination of the under-reported and widespread effects of post-traumatic stress disorder among U.S. soldiers today. Focusing in particular on the healing power of music the film offers a refreshingly positive approach to PTSD, opening doors for alternative routes to reconciliation and recovery while at the same time bearing witness to the genuine pain experienced by men and women in combat.
My So-Called Enemy
Director Lisa Gossels
In 2002, six Israeli and Palestinian teenagers traveled to the U.S. for “Building Bridges,” a women’s leadership program and camp in New Jersey. The life-changing nature of their experience there is documented in this ambitious film, which follows the girls over the course of their time at the camp, and through the next 7 years of their lives. As their views mature and their paths in life diverge and converge, the shades of their experiences at the camp continue to resonate in their lives and politics as they begin to assume their places as the next generation of women political leaders.
Medal of Honor (“Medalia de onoare”) (New York premiere)
Director Calin Peter Netzer
Aging war veteran Ion I. Ion is content to live out his days in peace with his uncommunicative wife in his unheated apartment, when word surprisingly arrives that he has been awarded a commemorative medal for his service in World War II. Ion is shocked and honored, but the only problem is he can’t seem to remember what brave wartime act the award could possibly be for! Ironies mount in Peter Netzer’s dryly humorous tale as Ion navigates both Romanian bureaucracy and his own hazy memories in search for some ounce of meaning in either.
World Cinema Narrative
12 Paces Without A Head (“12 Meter ohne Kopf”) (North American premiere)
Director: Sven Taddicken
Cast: Matthias Schweighofer, Ronald Zehrfeld, Devid Streisow, Hinnerk Schonemann
Set your course for the seven seas in this rock n’ rolling fusion of medieval pirate adventure and buddy comedy! Klaus Stortebeker and Godeke Michels have a reputation of being two of the most notorious and feared pirates—or at least they used to. As of late, they and their crew have gotten sloppy and lazy. But when the two buds discover a new weapon that will revolutionize warfare, they know it is time to make their comeback. Directed by Sven Taddicken, winner of the 2006 Audience Award for “Emma’s Bliss.”
Bad Family (“Paha perhe”) (North American premiere)
Director: Aleksi Salmenperä
Cast: Ville Virtanen, Lauri Tilkanen, Pihla Viitala
Mikael, a severe man, lives a disciplined lifestyle with his teenage son Dani, but is suddenly forced to take in his long-estranged daughter Tilda after the sudden death of his former wife. Witnessing the immediate affection and attachment between his formerly separated children, Mikael begins to unravel as his gnawing suspicion that something more might be happening between them grips his family. Writer/director Aleksi Salmenperä and his trio of actors turn this age-old set-up into a razor-sharp, potent, nail-biting thriller, mixing moral ambiguity, tense silences and shocking altercations to startling effect.
Beneath Hill 60 (North American premiere)
Director: Jeremy Sims
Cast: Brendan Cowell, Harrison Gilbertson, Anthony Hayes, Bella Heathcote
In the deadly fog of World War I, the 1st Australian Mining Company makes their way to the Western Front in Belgium, to dig tunnels that extend behind German lines and aid the advance of British troops. Oliver Woodward, a mining engineer, leaves his new love in Australia to lead his company. Together they embark on one of the most dangerous and important missions of the entire war.
Director: Jeffrey Fine
Cast: Kyle Gallner, Laura Allen, Brittany Robertson, D.C. Pierson
Love is never a simple equation. Aaron is a very bright but sheltered freshman at an Ivy League college who wants to enroll in their elite engineering program. He has a crush on Linda, a vivacious 36-year-old who has returned to school to straighten out her life. However, Linda’s 14-year-old-dauther, Beth, happens to be in love with Aaron. The math doesn’t work in either direction as Aaron is drawn into a dysfunctional triangle and begins to learn that life can be more complicated than any of his engineering equations.
Le Quattro Volte
Director: Michelangelo Frammartino Cast: Giuseppe Fuda, Bruno Timpano, Nazareno Timpano In a tiny medieval mountain village in Italy, the changing seasons establish a divine rhythm. “Le Quattro Volte” is a lyrical film that traces life, death and rebirth through the experiences of an elderly shepherd and his jolly flock of mischievous goats. Infused with the gentle drama and humor of the village and its natural surroundings, the film’s sumptuous narrative is a miracle of observation and verité magic. “Le Quattro Volte” nods to the earth’s great cycles, older and grander than any one of us.
The Housemaid (“Hanyo”)
Director: Im Sang-soo
Cast: Jeon Do-you, Lee Jung-jae, Youn Yuh-jung
One of the most controversial and talked-about movies of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Im Sang-soo’s “The Housemaid” is a riveting, sexy updating of Kim Ky-young’s 1960 classic suspense film of the same name. Shortly after Eun-yi is hired as the housemaid for a wealthy family, she begins having an affair with her boss, Hoon. Secrets can’t be kept for long in this claustrophobic house, and the discovery of Eun-yi’s pregnancy only amplifies the family’s scheming jealousies. “The Housemaid” is an erotic thriller like no other.
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Cast: Rosanna Arquette, Diane Kruger, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard
Charged with suspense and a thrilling race against time, INHALE deals with the reality that parents will do anything to save their child. Ambitious Sante Fe District Attorney Paul (Dermot Mulroney) and his beautiful wife Diane (Diane Kruger) have a child with a rare degenerative lung disease, and are desperately awaiting news of a lung donor. As their daughter’s condition worsens, Paul gives up on the notion that the proper procedures will help to save his daughter. A doctor in Juárez, Mexico may be able to guarantee a solution, but at what price?
Jaloux (U.S. premiere)
Director: Patrick Demers
Cast: Sophie Cadieux, Maxime Denommee, Benoît Gouin
A romantic weekend in a woodsy country house is what couple Marianne (Sophie Cadieux) and Thomas (Maxime Denomee) prescribe themselves in a last effort to repair their failing relationship. Upon arrival at Thomas’ uncle’s secluded cabin, a curious neighbor greets them, and to Thomas’ dismay, invites himself to crash the couple’s weekend. A fateful evening in the company of their new acquaintance reveals that there may be more at stake than just Thomas’ jealousy. A smart psychological thriller with excellent performances by the three leads makes JALOUX a delightfully dark treat.
Kawasaki’s Rose (“Kawasakiho ruze”) (East Coast premiere)
Director: Jan Hrebejk
Cast: Lenka Vlasakova, Milan Mikulcik, Martin Huba, Daniela Kolarova
A brilliant and meticulously crafted drama, “Kawasaki’s Rose” examines the long-lasting emotional destruction often left in the wake of fascism. Pavel Josek, an esteemed psychiatrist, is about to receive one of the Czech Republic’s highest national honors. Josek’s son-in-law, suspicious of Josek’s reputation as a dissenting hero during Communism, looks for an opportunity to discredit his father-in-law. Layer after layer, the film spirals inward on its cast of characters, revealing in each a level of humanity and fragility that is seldom articulated cinematically. “Kawasaki’s Rose” is a truly rare find.
King Of The Hamptons (World premiere)
Director: Dennis Lynch
Cast: Dennis Lynch, Dan Rattiner
A midlife crisis has hit Dennis Lynch. He’s turning 40, his career sucks, his wife is pregnant, and his grandfather is suing him. Leaving it all, Dennis takes a Hamptons adventure with A-List Hamptonite, Dan Rattiner, founder of Dan’s Papers. What begins as an ordinary man’s quest to experience the extraordinary, turns into a series of moments that teach us how to face past hurts, embrace future opportunities, and live for a greater purpose. Appearances by Billy Joel, Christie Brinkley, Alec Baldwin, Ed Burns, Chevy Chase, Mercedes Ruehl, and Kim Cattrall.
Kisses, Chloe (World premiere)
Director: Stephen Padilla
Cast: Brad Coolidge, Mikal Evans, Robin Singer
Stephen Padilla’s finely rendered chamber drama finds a young couple, Emily and Alex, arriving at a beachside house in the Hamptons to reunite with Emily’s old college friend, Chloe. Nervously anticipating trouble, Emily forewarns Alex that Chloe will flirt with him, and that she is very good at what she does. Alex is playfully dismissive of her concerns, but unfortunately, Emily may be right. Padilla uses the quiet isolation of this setting to his advantage, building the simmering tension in this erotic triangle until it reaches its inevitable boiling point.
The Little Tailor (“Le Petit tailleur”) (U.S. premiere)
Director: Louis Garrel
Cast: Arthur Igual, Lea Seydoux, Grand Albert, Lolita Chammah
Arthur is apprenticing under Albert, an aging tailor looking for someone to take over his shop once he retires. Albert has his eyes set on Arthur, but Arthur has his eyes on a beautiful young woman who is about to change his life. Written and directed by one of France’s hottest young stars, Louis Garrel (“Love Songs,” “The Dreamers”), and nostalgically shot in black and white, “The Little Tailor” recalls the youthful innovation and joie de vivre of France’s Nouvelle Vague and filmmakers such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Garrel’s own father, Philippe Garrel.
Me, Too! (“Yo, también”) (New York premiere)
Directors: Alvaro Pastor, Antonio Naharro
Cast: Lola Duenas, Pablo Pineda, Antonio Naharro, Isabel García Lorca
A heartwarming portrait of a life caught between two worlds is at the core of “Me, Too!” Daniel (Pablo Pineda), an adult with Down Syndrome, completes a university program and starts his first job. Capable, independent and ambitious, Daniel thwarts Downs stereotypes, and maintains close relationships with friends across the disability to able-bodied spectrum. But when Daniel falls for Laura, a beautiful but troubled and fully able-bodied colleague at work, his Downs takes center stage. Can he breach the disability divide and win Laura’s love?
On The Path (“Na putu”) (North American premiere)
Director: Jasmila Zbanic
Cast: Zrinka Cvitesic, Leon Lucev, Ermin Bravo, Mirjana Karanovic
Luna (played by Hamptons 2010 Shooting Star, Zrinka Cvitesic) is a gorgeous Bosnian flight attendant looking forward to starting a family with her husband, Amar. Both born into Muslim families, Luna and Amar are living with the demons of their childhood: memories of the war in which their families were brutally persecuted. After an unfortunate incident at work, Amar accepts a job in a fundamentalist Muslim community, and begins to frighten Luna with his increasingly extremist views. Featuring terrific performances, and rich with cultural detail, ON THE PATH is a unique relationship drama.
Seducing Charlie Barker
Director: Amy Glazer
Cast: Stephen Barker Turner, Heather Gordon, Daphne Zuniga
Things aren’t going right for Charlie, an unemployed actor in the asphalt jungle that is New York City. His wife, Stella, is a successful radio producer, and all his friends say he has talent, but that doesn’t mean he is satisfied with where he is. Then Charlie meets Clea, a mysterious woman supposedly from Ohio whom he thinks has all the answers—and he hopes they are the right ones. “Seducing Charlie Baker” is a biting satire on New York City’s infamous but irresistible entertainment world.
Director: Eleonore Faucher
Cast: Sylvie Testud, Amira Casar, Lubna Azabal, Jean-Pierre Martins
It’s the mid-1970s in Lyon, France, and the three Mercier girls are stuck together like glue. While the girls have a French last name, their single Italian mother raises them, along with her large, loud and excitable Italian family. Yet middle child Sybille cannot ignore the red hair that sets her apart from the Di Biaggio’s, and must be linked to the French father the girls have never met. Culled from the memories of a French-Italian childhood, “Sisters” is a moving, nostalgic portrait of family traditions that confronts the difficulties of growing up without a father.
A Somewhat Gentle Man (East Coast premiere)
Director: Hans Peter Moland
Cast: Stellan Skarsgard, Bjorn Floberg, Gard B. Eidsvold
An offbeat black comedy with a distinctly Scandinavian sense of humor, “A Somewhat Gentle Man” is an entertaining tale of a down on his luck ex-convict battling a world that is determined to make him repeat his mistakes. When Ulrik (Stellan Skarsgard) is released from prison, he aims to do well by his new employer and the family that has all but forgotten him. But the group of ne’er-do-well thugs that got him convicted in the first place won’t cede his participation in their criminal exploits so easily.
Soul Boy (U.S. premiere)
Directors: Hawa Essuman, Tom Tykwer
Cast: Samson Odhiambo, Leila Dayan Opou, Katherine Damaris
Appropriate for ages 12 and up
“Soul Boy” is a magical adventure, as well as a morality tale, that begins in the slums of Kibera in Kenya. Abila is a 14-year old boy whose family owns a small shop in Kibera, but they have fallen behind on their rent. Discovering one morning that his father has gambled away his own soul, Abila makes a deal with the town witch that sends him off on an intrepid journey around Kibera to get his father back.
Sweet Evil (“L’Enfance du Mal”) (North American premiere_
Director: Olivier Coussemacq
Cast: Anaïs Demoustier, Pascal Greggory, Ludmila Mikael
Surprising twists will keep you guessing in this wonderfully subdued French thriller.
Celine (played by 2010 Hamptons Shooting Star Anaïs Demoustier) is a 15-year old girl living as a runaway on the streets. At the home of an esteemed judge and his wife, Celine finds an abandoned shed and secretly moves in. The owners soon discover their castaway and aim to send her to social services, but Celine has other plans in mind, and tricks up her sleeve that belie her innocent demeanor.
Small Town Murder Songs (U.S. premiere)
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Cast: Peter Stormare, Martha Plimpton, Jill Hennessy, Aaron Poole
A violent murder disrupts the slow life in a small, Mennonite town in Ontario, and Walter (Peter Stormare), a slow-talking policeman, is called to investigate the case. The town’s colorful residents inch Walter closer to important clues, but he’ll have to confront his own demons—a violent streak that could threaten his career—before getting to the bottom of the murder mystery. A brilliantly unique setting and characters, gothic style, and a remarkable score of traditional a cappella hymns sets “Small Town Murder Songs” apart from a typical crime tale.
Director: Lena Dunham
Cast: Lena Dunham, Laurie Simmons, Grace Dunham, Jemima Kirke
With “Tiny Furniture,” the 20-something writer/director/actor Lena Dunham has arrived as a very bright star on the American independent film scene. Dunham plays Aura, a recent college graduate who returns home to live with her mother and teenage sister in their spacious Tribeca loft. As the days wear on, Aura struggles to snap out of her near catatonic post-graduate haze and figure out what she should be doing with her life. In the tradition of Woody Allen and Whit Stillman, “Tiny Furniture” is a universally pleasing comic gem.
When We Leave (“Die Fremde”)
Director: Feo Aladag
Cast: Sibel Kekilli, Settar Tanriogen, Derya Alabora, Florian Lukas
A stunning and heartbreaking drama, “When We Leave” confronts the realities of female oppression within traditional, religious families. Umay (Sibel Kekilli) is an ethnically Turkish German citizen living with her husband and his family in the Istanbul suburbs. Suffering horrible abuse at the hand of her spouse, Umay escapes with her young son and flees to her family in Germany, who are horrified and shamed at her actions. “When We Leave” has been recognized many times over with many honors since its recent premiere, including six nominations at the German Film Awards.
World Cinema Documentary
Ahead Of Time
Director: Robert Richman
Subjects: Ruth Gruber, Eli Wallach
Ruth Gruber’s life story, as told in her words at 97 years old, is too extraordinary to be fiction. Born in Brooklyn to a Jewish family in 1911, she became the youngest ever PhD at age 20, completing a portion of her studies in Nazi-occupied Germany. Pursuing a career as an international foreign correspondent during the Second World War, Ruth stared down sexism and anti-Semitism to become a champion in her field, and found herself the precipice of many historic moments that would change the world forever.
And Everything Is Going Fine
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Subject: Spalding Gray
One of the Hamptons’ most adored longtime residents, Spalding Gray was a brilliant playwright and actor, best known for his dazzling, distinctive monologues, out of which he crafted an art all his own. His unforgettable play, “Swimming to Cambodia,” secured him as a giant in the history of American theater. Master director Steven Soderbergh relies on Gray’s own words — captured from scores of recordings, interviews and performances — to craft this profound, insightful and wonderfully entertaining portrait of a quintessential American artist.
Beautiful Darling: The Life And Times Of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar
Director: James Rasin
Subjects: Candy Darling, Andy Warhol
In the 1960s, Candy Darling was a fixture in Andy Warhol’s Factory and a glamorous starlet on New York’s downtown scene, basking in the limelight she’d craved since her childhood as a boy in Massapequa, Long Island. While she found acceptance and adulation, relationship and money problems hounded her, and ultimately cancer brought her vibrant life to an end before her 30th birthday. Interviews with her contemporaries Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, Penny Arcade, Paul Morrissey, and Fran Lebowitz, and rare footage with her dear friend Jeremiah Newton create a loving and nuanced portrait in this remarkable film.
Camerman: The Life And Work Of Jack Cardiff
Director: Craig McCall
Subjects: Jack Cardiff, Martin Scorsese, Kirk Douglas, Lauren Bacall
The career of renowned cinematographer Jack Cardiff has spanned a century. The master, whose compositions seem to be painted on the screen, is behind visual masterpieces such as “The Red Shoes” and “Black Narcissus,” among many others. Cardiff tells his story in his own words (with some help from his group of famous devotees) in this fascinating documentary, which leads us step by step in an adventure through the history of cinema in the 20th Century. “Cameraman” is must-see cinema for film lovers everywhere.
Client 9: The Rise And Fall Of Eliot Spitzer
Director: Alex Gibney
The personal escapades of politicians always titillate the public imagination and discourse. Still, few rocked the political landscape, and were as genuinely surprising, as the sex scandal of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who, after it was discovered had been spending thousands on high-end prostitutes, promptly resigned from office in early 2008. From the Academy Award-winning director of “Taxi to the Dark Side,” “Client 9” traces Spitzer’s fascinating rise as the state district attorney through the aftermath of his fallout, with interviews from many of the important players in Spitzer’s career… including Spitzer himself.
Jane’s Journey (North American premiere)
Director: Lorenz Knauer
Subjects: Jane Goodall, Angelina Jolie, Pierce Brosnan
Jane Goodall, calm, quiet and reserved, may be the most powerful voice speaking on behalf of the earth today. Traveling 300 days a year to speaking engagements around the world about conservation and sustainability, Goodall still finds time to make her way back to Gombe National Park in Tanzania, the site of her 45-year study of chimpanzees. Chronicling Jane’s life from childhood up to her revolutionary work with the Roots and Shoots program, “Jane’s Journey,” the first-ever true biography of Ms. Goodall, is as riveting and inspiring as Jane herself.
Director: Tom Shadyac
Screenwriter: Tom Shadyac
Subjects: Tom Shadyac, David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn
“I Am” is the story of a successful Hollywood director, Tom Shadyac, who experienced a life threatening head injury, and his ensuing journey to try and answer two very basic questions: “What’s wrong with our world?” and “What can we do about it?” Tom visits some of today’s great minds, including authors, poets, teachers, religious leaders, and scientists searching for the fundamental endemic problem that causes all of the other problems, while simultaneously reflecting on his own life choices of excess, greed and eventual healing.
Life With Murder (East Coast premiere)
Director: John Kastner
How would your family life continue if unspeakable events came to shatter it: if your only son were to murder your only daughter? Director John Kastner poses this question to the Jenkins family of Chatham, Ontario, where Mason Jenkins, son of Brian and Leslie, is serving a life sentence for the first-degree murder of his sister. Against popular understanding, Brian and Leslie have remained closely in contact with their son. “Life With Murder” deftly explores their awkward dynamic, and conveys surprising new information that may bring the family closer to the truth.
Louder Than A Bomb
Directors: Greg Jacobs, Jon Siskel
Chicago’s Louder Than a Bomb draws hundreds of high schoolers from all over the city’s diverse neighborhoods to compete in what is now the largest youth poetry slam competition in the world. In the tradition of “Spellbound” and “Wordplay” this thrilling documentary gives us an inside look at four teams (and their star “slammers”) gunning for the top prize. But behind the competitive fervor lies the film’s true spirit: this is a warm, tenderhearted look at a group of talented young poets, pouring out all their angst, frustrations, hopes and insecurities through raw, unfiltered words.
Nenette (New York premiere)
Director: Nicholas Philibert
Nenette is a 40-year old orangutan. She spends her days lounging and being observed at the Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris, her home since 1972, which she shares with her only surviving son, Tubo. Acclaimed documentarian Nicolas Philibert (BAFTA Foreign Film nominee, “To Be and To Have”) casts a becalmed gaze on Nenette, who occupies nearly every frame of his beautifully sparse yet provocative new film; a bustling soundtrack of inquisitive kids, their parents, and the zoo’s handlers provide the movie’s only human presence.
Directors: Roger Weisberg, Vanessa Roth
At 18 years old, Risa Bejarano decided to let Roger Weisberg and Vanessa Roth detail her journey out of the foster care system in their 2004 documentary “Aging Out.” A few months later, she was murdered. “No Tomorrow” examines the trial of Juan Jose Chavez, who, after being convicted of the murder of Bejarano and two others, faced a second phase of litigations to decide if his crimes warranted the death penalty. And as “Aging Out” is used in the case against Chavez, Weisberg and Roth contemplate its ethical and moral implications.
On Coal River (New York premiere)
Directors: Francine Cavanaugh, Adams Wood
Our airwaves were dominated for a moment with the subject of “Clean Coal Technology,” and talk about how coal might contribute a viable solution to our emissions problems. ON COAL RIVER is a journey to coal’s source, the hills of Appalachia, where mountain top removal for coal mining is destroying a way of life as well as endangering the health and safety of thousands of West Virginians. “On Coal River” is an eloquent and profoundly revealing documentary about hazards hidden behind the Appalachian curtain, and the bravery of those calling for change.
Once Brothers (World premiere)
Director: Michael Tolajian
Subject: Vlade Divac
Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were friends who grew up in Yugoslavia with a common bond: basketball. Together they lifted the Yugoslavian National Team to unimaginable heights, and later went to America where they became two of the first international players to attain stardom in the NBA. But with the end of the Cold War in 1991, Yugoslavia split up. War broke out between Petrovic’s Croatia and Divac’s Serbia. Long-buried ethnic tensions quickly surfaced and these two men, once brothers, found themselves on opposite sides of a deadly civil conflict.
Precious Life (“Chaim Yakarim”) (U.S. premiere)
Director: Shlomi Eldar Filmmaker Shlomi Eldar, a prominent Israeli journalist, uses his influence to call attention to a poor Palestinian baby boy in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. The boy’s family and Eldar are overjoyed when an anonymous Israeli donor agrees to sponsor the operation. But the situation unexpectedly draws out the mother’s deep-seated prejudice, and in turn, Eldar questions his own ideas about tolerance. PRECIOU.S. LIFE is a challenge to the senselessness of ongoing violence, and a demand for human understanding and reconciliation, in the midst of the 2008-2009 blockade of Gaza.
Rehearsal For A Sicilian Tragedy (“Prove per una tragedia siciliana”)
Director: Roman Paska
Italy, 2009, 77 minutes
In “Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy,” actor John Turturro leads audiences on an intimate journey through his ancestors’ homeland, where, while researching a prospective film to be set in the world of the island’s unique puppet theater, Turturro and director Roman Paska key in on one of its few remaining practitioners, Mimmo Cuticchio. Shot during preparations for the Sicilian Day of the Dead, and intertwining encounters with colorful residents and cultural figures including the author Andrea Camilleri, the film is both a fond and revealing portrait of a Sicily little known to the outside world.
Director: Cathryn Collins
An investigative documentary that blows the door wide open on Russian politics, “Vlast (Power)” examines the complex case of Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky and his oil company, Yukos, were once the strongest and most profitable force in Russia, symbolic of the country’s shifting attitudes since the fall of the Soviet Union. But when he was arrested on multiple charges of corruption and conspiracy on October 25, 2003, the backdoor politics that had been running the country came to light with a vengeance.
Welcome To Shelbyville (World premiere)
Director: Kim A. Snyder
Welcome to Shelbyville is a dramatic glimpse of America at a crossroads. In one small town in the heart of the bible belt, just minutes away from the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan, longtime African American and White residents struggle to integrate with a growing Latino population, and most recently, hundreds of Somali refugees of Muslim faith. Through the vibrant and colorful characters of Shelbyville, the film explores the sensitive interplay between race, religion, and ethnic identity; and is an intimate portrayal of a community striving to understand what it means to be American.
Waiting For Superman
Director: Davis Guggenheim
Academy Award-winner Davis Guggenheim, the daring filmmaker behind the groundbreaking and controversial documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” returns to the screen with an investigative look at the American public education system. Never one to skirt issues, Guggenheim dives in headfirst and follows five students—Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy, and Emily—to see how these bright young people are handled by an institution that is supposedly on their side. Insightfully dismantling the complex issues surrounding the subject, Guggenheim delivers a well-balanced but hard-hitting movie that is already one of the most talked-about films of the year.
Nuremberg: Its Lesson For Today (The 2009 Schulberg/Waletzky Restoration)
Restoration created by Sandra Schulberg & Josh Waletzky
Original written & directed by Stuart Schulberg
Documenting history’s greatest courtroom drama, “Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today” shows how the four Allied prosecution teams built their case against the top Nazi leaders, laying the groundwork for all subsequent prosecutions for crimes against the peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The original 1948 film, written and directed by Stuart Schulberg, was never released in U.S. theaters due to political concerns. The original negative and sound elements were eventually lost or destroyed; filmmakers Sandra Schulberg and Josh Waletzky created a new 35mm negative and re-constructed the soundtrack using original sound from the trial.
Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen
Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Albert Finney
A special 20th Anniversary screening of the 1990 Coen Brothers gangster classic, with select cast and crew in attendance for a post-screening discussion. “Miller’s Crossing” is the story of two warring crime mobs in a corrupt, Prohibition-era city. Tom Reagan, a respected loner with strong ties to the current boss, plays alliances across enemy lines when he makes a move that could turn him into a missing person. “Miller’s Crossing” is a masterful morality tale, teeming with irony and humor, and featuring a cast of amazing characters that only the Coens could dream into being.