The 2017 Hamptons International Film Festival has added more films including the North American premiere of Simon Curtis’ GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN, a look into the life of author A.A. Milne and his relationship with his son, leading to the creation of the renowned character “Winnie the Pooh,” as the Friday Centerpiece film in Southampton. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie, and HIFF Honorary Board member Carter Burwell is the film’s composer.
The East Coast Premiere of Martin McDonagh’s THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, telling the story of a woman in conflict with her local police department in an attempt to solve her daughter’s murder case, will screen as the Saturday Centerpiece in East Hampton. The film stars Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand and recently received the Venice Film Festival Award for Best Screenplay by Martin McDonagh.
The festival also announced three additional films in the Spotlight Films section, including Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER, about a janitor working at a hidden high-security government laboratory when her life is changed forever upon discovery of a secret classified experiment, starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon and Richard Jenkins, and winner of the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival; Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, a story of a young boy’s summer romance when a charming gentleman arrives in Italy to work with his family for the season, starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet, one of this year’s 10 Actors to Watch; and Fatih Akin’s IN THE FADE, about a woman struggling to overcome the loss of her family following a Neo-Nazi terrorist attack, starring Diane Kruger.
The festival also announced the winner of HIFF’s adored 18-year-long signature program Conflict and Resolution: Greg Campbell’s HONDROS, which shares a glimpse of the life of Chris Hondros, one of the world’s most acclaimed war photographers, killed in action at the age of 41, and the legacy he left behind.
The third year of HIFF’s successful Compassion, Justice, and Animal Rights section awards Allison Argo’s THE LAST PIG, which looks at a man in the crossroads of life during his final summer as a pig farmer, with the Zelda Panel “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” Award.
Films in this year’s Documentary Competition include Gustavo Salmerón’s LOTS OF KIDS, A MONKEY AND A CASTLE, a portrait of a family’s various experiences over the course of 15 years while living in present-day Spain; Jennifer Peedom’s MOUNTAIN, a look at some of the most breathtaking summits around the world from the perspectives of ice climbers, snowboarders, and more, narrated by Willem Dafoe; Jason Kohn’s LOVE MEANS ZERO, about Nick Bollettieri, a controversial but passionate coach in the world of tennis; Jed Rothstein’s THE CHINA HUSTLE, about China’s role in the recovery of the United States following the 2008 stock market crash, as well as the previously announced 11/8/16, curated and produced by Jeff Deutchman.
The Narrative Competition will include director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson’s Icelandic narrative UNDER THE TREE, about a gentleman currently residing with his parents, who are embroiled in a passive aggressive argument with their neighbors over a tree in the lawn; Carla Simón’s SUMMER 1993, about a six-year-old from Barcelona struggling with the death of her parents and sent to live in the countryside with her uncle; Ali Asgari’s DISAPPEARANCE, about a couple in present-day conservative Iranian society and their determination to solve an impossible problem over the course of the night, starring Sadaf Asgari and Amir Reza Ranjbaran; Cory Finley’s THOROUGHBREDS, about the unlikely friendship of two teenage girls in Connecticut and the mischief they find along the way, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Olivia Cooke and the late Anton Yelchin in one of his final films; as well as the previously announced OH, LUCY! directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi.
The festival recently announced eight world premieres for the festival this year, including ITZHAK as the Opening Night film, as well as 11/8/16, THE FIRST TO DO IT, KILLER BEES, LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY, THE MISOGYNISTS, THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES, and WANDERLAND. The festival also programmed Andy Serkis’ BREATHE as the Sunday Centerpiece in East Hampton, as well as Rob Reiner’s LBJ, Vincent Gagliostro’s AFTER LOUIE, Alexandre Moors’ THE YELLOW BIRDS, Ai Weiwei’s HUMAN FLOW, Ruben Östlund’s THE SQUARE. Emmy® Award-winning actor and Oscar®-nominated director Rob Reiner will also participate in the “A Conversation With…” series.
This year the festival will honor Academy Award®-winning actress Julie Andrews with a Lifetime Achievement Award, including a special presentation of VICTOR/VICTORIA co-presented with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Saturday, October 7, in East Hampton. The event will feature a post-screening conversation with Julie Andrews and Alec Baldwin.
The festival will continue to co-present the annual 10 Actors to Watch List with Variety. The 2017 10 Actors to Watch are Timothée Chalamet, Hong Chau, Kiersey Clemons, Daveed Diggs, Ali Fazal, Daniel Kaluuya, Barry Keoghan, Danielle Macdonald, Kumail Nanjiani, and Grace Van Patten.
The 25th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place over Columbus Day Weekend, October 5th to 9th, 2017.
FILMS ADDED TO THE 2017 HAMPTONS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL LINEUP:
CALL ME BE YOUR NAME
Director: Luca Guadagnino
As another summer in his family’s Italian villa lazily drifts by for 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet, Variety’s 10 Actors To Watch), 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer) seems at first to be little more than the latest in a long line of his father’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) research assistants. However, as the weeks wind on, a tender connection develops between the two in Luca Guadagnino’s sun-soaked masterpiece. Refining the stylistic splendor of his previous work into a lush exploration of desire and intimacy, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is an intoxicating reminder of the tentative gestures and fleeting moments that mark our first steps into the unknown, and their lasting ability to soften the sting of changing seasons.
THE CHINA HUSTLE
Director: Jed Rothstein
In the midst of the 2008 market crash, investors on the fringes of the financial world feverishly sought new alternatives for high-return investments in the global markets. With Chinese indexes demonstrating explosive growth, the country suddenly emerged as a gold rush opportunity with one caveat: US investors were prohibited from investing directly into the country’s market. Makeshift solutions led to a market frenzy, until one investor discovered the massive web of fraud left in its wake. Jed Rothstein’s documentary rings the the alarm on the need for transparency in an increasingly deregulated financial world by following those working to uncover the biggest heist you’ve never heard of.
Director: Ali Asgari
Rising Iranian filmmaker Ali Asgari, whose short film THE SILENCE took home the Best Narrative Short Competition prize at HIFF 2016, returns to the festival with his mesmerizing feature debut. Set against the backdrop of contemporary Iranian society, where conservative traditions often conflict with modern desires, DISAPPEARANCE is the tale of one couple’s race against time to solve an unsolvable problem over the course of one endlessly long night. Featuring outstanding performances from newcomers Sadaf Asgari and Reza Ranjbaran, and an impressively assured stylistic touch, DISAPPEARANCE establishes Asgari as one of the bold new voices in world cinema.
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
North American Premiere
Director: Simon Curtis Simon
Curtis, director of MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (HIFF 2011), presents a heartfelt look into the complicated relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (newcomer Will Tilston), whose collection of toys and unbridled imagination inspired the enchanting world of Winnie The Pooh. As the whimsical adventures of this honey-loving bear quickly capture the attention of a traumatized, post-war England, the family suddenly finds themselves swept up in the international success—though not without paying the price that often accompanies such fame. While his mother (Margot Robbie) revels in the spotlight, her son struggles with the abrupt loss of his childhood. With great empathy, GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN explores the complexities of family, war, and celebrity.
Director: Greg Campbell
Known for his probing and humane coverage of countries ravaged by conflict, Chris Hondros was one of the world’s most acclaimed war photographers when killed in action at the age of 41. Director Greg Campbell thoughtfully retraces Hondros’s numerous assignments to war-torn nations, with a visceral understanding of the invaluable power of photojournalism. Featuring interviews with Chris’s colleagues and subjects, Campbell creates a stirring portrait of the life of a pioneering photographer who committed himself to bearing witness to the human condition, to ennobling the suffering of others, and to telling their stories with compassion.
IN THE FADE
Director: Fatih Akin
Selected as Germany’s official submission for the Academy Awards® Best Foreign Language Film, Fatih Akin’s tightly-wound revenge thriller stars Diane Kruger as a woman struggling to overcome her profound grief in the wake of a neo-Nazi terrorist attack that leaves her husband and son dead. Awarded the Best Actress prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Kruger provides a stunningly fearless and grounded lead performance as the victim of an increasingly prevalent form of violence, pushed to the edge and forced to find her own justice in the wake of a failed judicial system.
THE LAST PIG
New York Premiere
Director: Allison Argo
A moving meditation on a man’s crisis of faith, THE LAST PIG follows Bob Comis as he concludes his last season as a pig farmer. Peppered with reflections on his decade with the pigs, farmer Bob’s introspective voiceover guides us through the changing seasons on the farm, and the images, often filmed at ground-level, merge us with the drove. Director Allison Argo masterfully gives weight to what at first appear to be mundane daily rituals, and as an ethical question swells for farmer Bob, it does for us as well. In this intimate portrayal of a man at a crossroads, we are welcomed into the sacred moment of choice.
LOTS OF KIDS, A MONKEY AND A CASTLE
New York Premiere
Director: Gustavo Salmerón
Julita Salmerón’s biggest wishes in life were to have lots of children and a pet monkey, and to live in a castle. Gustavo Salmerón’s humorously candid film follows his mother, and the rest of their family, as they rummage through the vast family archive over a period of fifteen years. She reflects on the dreams she managed to fulfill, along with the lingering effects of the economic crisis that forced her to almost lose it all. Filled with moments of warmth and sincerity, LOTS OF KIDS, A MONKEY, AND A CASTLE is a touching documentary about an eccentric, otherworldly family facing up to the harsh economic realities of living in contemporary Spain.
LOVE MEANS ZERO
New York Premiere
Director: Jason Kohn
With his notorious no-nonsense approach to coaching, Nick Bollettieri is regarded as controversial figure in the world of tennis—but also, crucially, as a mentor with the know-how to push players to greatness. Director Jason Kohn balances the pointed questions to his subject, who remains intransigent throughout, with interviews with many of Bollettieri’s students—Boris Becker and Jim Courier among them—to shed light on the enigmatic figure. What emerges is a story of a coach fiercely determined to win at all costs, and a compelling look at what it takes to compete at the highest level.
Director: Jennifer Peedom
Narrated by Willem Dafoe, MOUNTAIN takes the viewer on a sweeping journey to the most awe-inspiring summits on earth. A collaboration between BAFTA-nominated director Jennifer Peedom and Richard Tognetti’s Australian Chamber Orchestra, the film glorifies our species’ pursuit of peril: from ice climbers, snowboarders, and wingsuiters, the thrill-seekers’ daredevil antics will leave audiences gasping for breath. Filmed in 15 countries and assembled from 2,000 hours of hypnotizing footage, MOUNTAIN is a beautifully scored and visually stunning work that vividly captures the fear and reverence inspired by the world’s highest peaks.
THE SHAPE OF WATER
East Coast Premiere
Director: Guillermo del Toro
As the Cold War reaches its peak in the early 1960s, Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute janitor working at a US government facility, finds a strange creature held deep within the laboratory. Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER is a mesmerizing continuation of his fascination with on-screen monsters and their real-world counterparts, wonderfully realized through a brilliant cast (including Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, and Richard Jenkins), and jaw-dropping production design and cinematography. In creating perhaps the most realized synthesis of his many preoccupations to date, del Toro has created a wondrous take on the classic monster movie that seems to exist at once out of time and inseparable from our own.
New York Premiere
Director: Carla Simón
Following the death of her parents in Barcelona, six-year-old Frida (the haunting Laia Artigas) is sent to her uncle’s (David Verdaguer) picturesque countryside home, in Carla Simon’s autobiographical feature debut SUMMER 1993. Frida battles with a sense of loneliness and displacement while also yearning to fit into the picture with her new family. Punctuated by moments of youthful exuberance and mature ruminations, this coming-of-age drama, set amongst summery hues, is an extraordinarily moving snapshot of being a child in an adult world, anchored by a flawless performance by its young star.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Cory Finley
Two wealthy teenage girls with violent impulses seek to inject excitement into their boring suburban lives in THOROUGHBREDS, Cory Finley’s deliciously twisted filmmaking debut. When Lily’s (Anya Taylor Joy, THE WITCH) stepfather threatens to send the troubled teen off to reform school, she recruits her equally unstable childhood friend, Amanda (Olivia Cooke, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL), in a dangerous plot that serves both of their interests. Featuring electrifying performances from its young leads—including the late Anton Yelchin, in his final appearance—this stylish neo-noir establishes newcomer Finley as a filmmaker to watch.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
East Coast Premiere
Director: Martin McDonagh
With the local police force no closer to finding a culprit in the months following her daughter’s murder, Mildred (Academy Award® winner Frances McDormand) decides to make a statement of her own when she posts three signs leading into the town with a blatant message for the town’s chief of police (Woody Harrelson) and his rough-hewn second-in-command (Sam Rockwell). With the same bitingly dark and comedic tone of his previous two films, IN BRUGES and SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (HIFF 2012), Academy Award® winning writer-director Martin McDonagh returns to feature filmmaking with this wildly entertaining and unpredictable story of a divided community simmering with tension and ready to blow.
UNDER THE TREE
East Coast Premiere
Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
“Love thy neighbor” does not apply in the Iceland suburbs of UNDER THE TREE. After his wife kicks him out of the house, Atli (Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson) stays with his parents—just as the passive aggressive hostility with their neighbors is ramping up over a large tree in the yard. Director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson establishes character dynamics with jabs to the gut and enough dark humor to quell the uneasiness in your stomach. With a moody score and sound design that sways between the tension and release of the scenes, you may find yourself nervously laughing the next time you want to talk to your neighbors about the noise.