Did Oscar season actually start in February? When Jordan Peele’s feature directorial debut “Get Out” opened in late February (not typically a release date space that hosts zeitgeist-smashing hits), few could have expected that the social thriller would not only be a success with critics (the film still sits at a 99% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes) but also a huge moneymaker, pulling in over $252 million at the global box office. Next up? An awards campaign. Chatter surrounding the film’s awards possibilities kicked up early, and the trick has been keeping it up though these many months. One way to do that? A special event at a festival known for its love of award movies. “Get Out” is already into it.
Peele and his film are set for a timely Hamptons International Film Festival appearance later this month, when the festival runs October 5 – 9 in and around East Hampton, NY. The “Get Out” filmmaker will be on hand for a special event centered around his film, complete with cast and crew on hand. Moderated by IndieWire’s own Eric Kohn, Peele will be joined by producers Jason Blum and Sean McKittrick, along with stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, for a conversation centered around important scenes from the film, all the better to engender a conversation that the festival hopes will shed better light on the film’s “relevance to today’s political and cultural climate.”
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As HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent told IndieWire, special events like the one planned for “Get Out” are part of a long tradition at the festival, which routinely hosts some of Hollywood’s most well-loved talents. Previous editions have included events with luminaries such as Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and Roger Ebert. It’s not bad company for Peele and his cast and crew.
Neither is the Hamptons, a regional festival that often hosts some of the year’s biggest contenders as they’re kicking into their own campaigns, typically after strong showings at bigger venues like Venice, Telluride, or TIFF. This year’s lineup includes such early favorites as “Darkest Hour,” “I, Tonya,” “Call Me by Your Name,” “The Shape of Water,” and “Wonderstruck.”
Even Nugent admits that the massive success of “Get Out” came as a bit of surprise, and he’s been tracking the film’s wild trajectory for months now. “‘Get Out’ was a phenomenon this year that nobody saw coming,” he said. “I saw the film at the cinema in East Hampton this past winter at the cinema most of our screenings take place in. It was a packed screening, with one of the most diverse audiences that I’ve been amongst there for a regular film screening which is a testament to how much this film connected with audiences here, and all around the world.”
Can it keep up that momentum? And how much will this latest event help bolster? It’s anyone’s guess, but by setting such an event on the cusp of awards season, HIFF is making it clear: this is a movie to talk about, or at least keep your eye on.
Check out the rest of our bi-weekly Film Festival Roundup on the next page, including lineup announcements for Hamptons, New Hampshire, NewFest, Chelsea, and Bushwick, and much more.