Craig Gillespie’s I, TONYA, the film that tells the history of Olympic ice skater Tonya Harding and her fall from grace, will be the Closing Night Film of this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival. The film stars Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney.
The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) announced the full slate for the 25th Anniversary festival, including the selections for Spotlight Films, World Cinema and Shorts Programs, as well as Signature Programs including Views from Long Island; Air, Land & Sea; Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights; and Conflict & Resolution.
The 2017 festival will take place October 5 to 9, Columbus Day Weekend, with over 65 features and 50 shorts representing a total of 40 countries across the globe.
New additions to the Spotlight section include Joe Wright’s DARKEST HOUR, starring Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ben Mendelsohn; Paul McGuigan’s FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL, starring Annette Bening and Jamie Bell; Reginald Hudlin’s MARSHALL, starring Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown and Kate Hudson; Noah Baumbach’s THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED), starring Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson; and Todd Haynes’ WONDERSTRUCK, starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams. The section will also feature the previously announced Vincent Gagliostro’s AFTER LOUIE, Luca Guadagnino’s CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Fatih Akin’s IN THE FADE, Rob Reiner’s LBJ, Guillermo del Toro’s THE SHAPE OF WATER, Alexandre Moors’ THE YELLOW BIRDS, and Brendan Malloy and Emmett Malloy’s THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES.
This year’s World Cinema Documentary titles include the East Coast Premiere of Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s LOVE, CECIL; the U.S. Premiere of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s ONE OF US; the New York Premiere of Stefan Avalos’ STRAD STYLE; the U.S. Premiere of Radu Jude’s THE DEAD NATION; and the World Premiere’s of previously announced Coodie & Chike’s THE FIRST TO DO IT and Tiffany Bartok’s LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY. Other films in this section include Tony Zierra’s FILMWORKER; Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s I AM EVIDENCE; Susan Lacy’s SPIELBERG; Katie Green and Carlye Rubin’s THE FAMILY I HAD; Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’ THE WORK; and Myles Kane and Josh Koury’s VOYEUR.
The World Cinema Narrative films include the U.S. Premiere of Jonas Carpignano’s A CIAMBRA; the East Coast Premiere of Sebastián Lelio’s A FANTASTIC WOMAN; the U.S. Premiere of Boris Khlebnikov’s ARRHYTHMIA; the U.S. Premiere of Michael Haneke’s HAPPY END; the East Coast Premiere of Andrey Zvyagintsev’s LOVELESS; the East Coast Premiere of Maggie Betts’ NOVITIATE; the U.S. Premiere of Paolo Virzì’s THE LEISURE SEEKER; and the previously announced World Premiere of Onur Tukel’s THE MISOGYNISTS. Other films in this section include Jim McKay’s EN EL SÉPTIMO DÍA; Nicolas Bedos’ MR AND MRS ADELMAN; Petra Volpe’s THE DIVINE ORDER; Sean Baker’s THE FLORIDA PROJECT; and Ruben Östlund’s THE SQUARE, winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
As part of their Signature Programs, in the Views From Long Island section the festival will screen Yance Ford’s STRONG ISLAND, a deep and emotional investigation into the senseless death of Ford’s brother in 1992 and the judicial system that failed his family. This section will also screen the previously announced World Premiere of Ben Cummings and Orson Cummings’ KILLER BEES and the World Premiere of Josh Klausner’s WANDERLAND.
The Air, Land & Sea program will present the North American premiere of Richard Dale, Lixin Fan, and Peter Webber’s EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY, a documentary narrated by Robert Redford exploring the natural wonders and creatures of the world over the course of one day. This section will also include Michael Bonfiglio’s FROM THE ASHES, a look at the coal and mining industry and how it will continue to affect the current state of economy, health, and climate.
The Compassion, Justice, & Animal Rights program will include a presentation of Brett Morgan’s JANE, profiling the life and work of Jane Goodall at the beginning of her career, including archival footage recently discovered on 16mm. This section will also include the previously announced Allison Argo’s THE LAST PIG.
The Conflict & Resolution program will consist of Rina Castelnuovo and Tamir Elterman’s MUHI—GENERALLY TEMPORARY, a story of Muhi, a young boy in Gaza taken to an Israeli hospital for emergency surgery and the political, cultural limbo Muhi and his grandfather face, as well as Aki Kaurismäki’s THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE, about two individuals starting a new chapter of their life and how their lives intertwine. This section will also include the previously announced East Coast Premiere of Ai Weiwei’s HUMAN FLOW and Greg Campbell’s HONDROS.
HIFF also announced nine programs of short films this year, including Narrative and Documentary Short Film Competitions; New York Women In Film and Television: Women Calling the Shots; Soar! Shorts For All Ages; Student Short Films Showcase; Twist and Shout; I’ll Be On My Way; Come Together; and two short films that will play before features.
The festival will present a special screening of Bryan Fogel’s ICARUS, winner of the 2017 SummerDocs Audience Award.
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 between Julie Andrews and Alec Baldwin.
The festival previously announced that Allison Chernick’s ITZHAK will open the festival on Thursday, October 5; Simon Curtis’ GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBINSON will serve as the Friday Centerpiece; Martin McDonagh’s THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI will serve as the Saturday Centerpiece; and Andy Serkis’ BREATHE will serve as the Sunday Centerpiece. In addition, Emmy® Award-winning actor and Oscar®-nominated director Rob Reiner will participate in the “A Conversation With…” series.
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Director: Allison Chernick
Alison Chernick’s documentary ITZHAK examines the life and music of Itzhak Perlman, widely considered one of the world’s greatest living violinists. Exploring the ways in which Perlman’s passion for music allowed him to find a platform for personal expression against tremendous circumstances, Chernick creates a portrait of man whose remarkable will to survive is never removed from his tremendous generosity and humor. Through it all, the discipline we see at work is starkly contrasted with the world we see at home, as a modern Jewish family continues to embrace their heritage against a world of changing expectations. A co-production of American Masters Pictures for WNET.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
I, TONYA (USA)
Director: Craig Gillespie
For many, the revelations following the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the lead-up to the 1994 Winter Olympics cemented the legacy of Tonya Harding as one of the most iconic villains in sports history. Craig Gillespie’s at turns hilarious and tragic look at the life of Harding (astonishingly realized by Margot Robbie) flips the script on this sensational narrative—following her from the tumultuous relationship with her abusive mother (Allison Janney) to the absurd moments that led to that fateful night in Cobo Arena. Fueled by a razor-sharp script that doesn’t let anyone in Harding’s orbit out of its sights, I, TONYA is an outrageous and surprising look at the players behind the notorious scandal.
GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
(UK) 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.
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (USA)
U.S. 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.
Director: Andy Serkis
Best-known for his motion-capture work as Gollum in the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and Caesar in the PLANET OF THE APES series, Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with the inspiring true story of activists Robin and Diana Cavendish (Academy Award® nominee Andrew Garfield and Golden Globe® winner Claire Foy). When Robin’s shocking contraction of rapid-onset polio leaves him paralyzed, the two make the controversial decision to remove him from the hospital and define a different life for him. Working together to both create a sustainable condition for Robin and break the stigma surrounding disability rights, the two begin a groundbreaking campaign captured with a warm and enlivening touch by Garfield, Foy, and Serkis.
AFTER LOUIE (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Vincent Gagliostro
Still reeling from survivor’s guilt in the years following the AIDS epidemic, NYC artist Sam (Tony Award® winner Alan Cumming) spends his days working on a seemingly never-ending video tribute to the partner he lost along the way. While an intimate encounter with a younger man (Zachary Booth) at first seems like just another one-off, it soon forces Sam to re-assess his resentment for a generation he perceives to be oblivious to the political immediacy and pain of his own. Longtime activist and first-time filmmaker Vincent Gagliostro brings a knowing sensitivity to this poignant story of generational difference, all centered around Cumming’s raw and magnetic lead performance. Presented in partnership with Newfest.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Italy/France)
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.
DARKEST HOUR (UK)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Joe Wright
Joe Wright (PRIDE & PREJUDICE, ATONEMENT) returns with a thrilling drama centered on Winston Churchill—starring Academy Award® nominee, Gary Oldman in his most forceful and transformative role to date. Newly appointed as Prime Minister of Great Britain, Churchill faces one of the most defining trials of his career: negotiate peace with Nazi Germany or stand firm to fight for the ideals, liberty, and freedom of a nation. With the threat of invasion imminent as the unstoppable Nazi forces move across Western Europe, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of history
FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL (UK)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Paul McGuigan
Adapted from British actor Peter Turner’s memoir of the same name, the late-life relationship between legendary Golden-era actress Gloria Grahame (Academy Award®- nominee Annette Bening) and the significantly younger Turner (Jamie Bell) is lovingly recounted in Paul McGuigan’s moving period romance. As the two begin their relationship, we follow Grahame as she moves between Los Angeles, a town in which she seems eternally out of touch with an industry that doesn’t quite know how to treat her, and Turner’s native Liverpool. At the center of it all is Bening, whose lively and nuanced performance brilliantly pays homage to an actress denied the stature she deserved in her own lifetime.
IN THE FADE (Germany/France)
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.
New York Premiere
Director: Rob Reiner
Led by a thunderous lead performance by Woody Harrelson in the titular role, Rob Reiner helms this eye-opening study of the controversial political career of Lyndon B. Johnson, ranging from his days as Senate Majority Leader to his sudden ascendancy to the presidency in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Aided by an impressive supporting cast that includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins, and Bill Pullman, Reiner offers a panoramic look at Johnson’s long-debated presidency in a time of both major progress and strife for a nation at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement and the dawn of the Vietnam War.
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Long before Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) sat on the U.S. Supreme Court, the NAACP sent the young, rabble-rousing attorney to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) against his wealthy employer (Kate Hudson) in a landmark case that became a media sensation. Partnered with Samuel Friedman (Josh Gad)—a green, Jewish lawyer who had never tried a criminal case—the pair struggle against a hostile storm of fear and prejudice, driven to discover the truth in the inspiring trial that set the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement to come in Reginald Hudlin’s engrossing drama.
THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED) (USA)
Director: Noah Baumbach
Content in living out their individual lives in separation from one another, the three middle-aged siblings of the Meyerowitz family find themselves uncomfortably reunited when they are forced to come together to deal with the sudden health issues of their father (Dustin Hoffman), a sculptor who has long defined his career through his resentment to those around him. With a perfectly calibrated ensemble including Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson, and Adam Sandler (in a powerfully grounded performance), THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES finds director Noah Baumbach returning to the tales of familial dysfunction that defined his earlier work with a renewed understanding of the moments of lyrical humor and tenderness that arise alongside it.
THE SHAPE OF WATER (USA)
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 out of time and yet inseparable from our own.
THE YELLOW BIRDS (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Alexandre Moors
In the midst of the Iraq War, Bartle (Alden Ehrenreich) and Murph (Tye Sheridan) find themselves woefully unprepared for the realities facing them upon their deployment into active duty. What starts off as a simple mission ends in tragedy, driving one traumatized soldier to return home desperate to escape the past while the other’s parents begins their own search for the truth. Aided by stand-out supporting turns from Jennifer Aniston and Toni Collette, THE YELLOW BIRDS provides a haunting look at the personal devastation facing both the soldiers on the ground and those they leave behind.
THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES (USA)
Director: Emmett Malloy & Brendan Malloy
When teenage Medina (Maika Monroe) moves with her family to the picture-perfect paradise of Palos Verdes, California, they seem headed for a happy new chapter in their lives. But old troubles soon catch up to them, as the disintegration of Medina’s parents’ marriage leads her mother (Jennifer Garner) into an emotional freefall and pushes her brother towards addiction. Caught in the middle of it all, Medina must rely on her inner strength to become the stabilizing force in her family, while finding refuge in a new passion: surfing. Set amidst the sun-kissed beaches and crystal blue waters of the California coast, THE TRIBES OF PALOS VERDES is a stirring look at how life’s greatest challenges forge who we become.
Director: Todd Haynes
Celebrated filmmaker Todd Haynes (CAROL, HIFF 2015) returns to the festival with a transcendent adaptation of Brian Selznick’s best-selling novel. Deftly alternating between two narratives set fifty years apart, WONDERSTRUCK follows a pair of runaway deaf children on their seemingly individual—though ultimately interconnected—adventures. Though separated by time and place, the mysterious symmetry between Ben and Rose’s (newcomers Oakes Fegley and Millicent Simmonds) journeys emerge with mesmerizing poignancy. Starring the incomparable Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, and featuring breakout performances from its young leads, WONDERSTRUCK is an impeccably crafted and visually stunning coming-of-age tale.
Curator & Producer: Jeff Deutchman
On the day of the 2016 presidential election, filmmaker Jeff Deutchman surveys the thoughts and feelings of ordinary Americans as they head to the ballot box. Told in brief vignettes from across the country, and focusing on voters from every side of the political spectrum—ranging from a Sikh man and his family in New York City to a coal miner in West Virginia—the film humanizes the electorate in an age of sweeping generalizations. In its panoramic form and disparate viewpoints, 11/8/16 provides a necessary counterpoint, finding moments of common humanity within a seemingly unbridgeable divide.
LOTS OF KIDS, A MONKEY AND A CASTLE (Spain)
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 (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Jason Kohn
With his notorious no-nonsense approach to coaching, Nick Bollettieri is regarded as a 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 CHINA HUSTLE (USA)
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 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.
OH LUCY! (USA/Japan)
Director: Atsuko Hirayanagi
In this delightfully offbeat tale, OH LUCY! follows Setsuko Kawashima (Shinobu Terajima)—a lonely, chain-smoking introvert who is wasting away at her office job in Tokyo. Setsuko’s world is turned upside down when she meets the charismatic English teacher, John (Josh Hartnett), who draws her out of her shell with the help of a blond wig and the promise of a bold new identity. When John abruptly departs for Southern California, the newly emboldened “Lucy” sets out to find him on a life-altering journey of self-discovery. Based on her award-winning short film, Atsuko Hirayanagi’s charming directorial debut explores the transformative power of individualism.
SUMMER 1993 (Spain)
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 neonoir establishes newcomer Finley as a filmmaker to watch.
UNDER THE TREE (Iceland/Denmark/Poland/Germany)
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.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY
Director: Tony Zierra
At the age of 27, actor Leon Vitali met Stanley Kubrick during the filming of BARRY LYNDON. Despite having his own respected acting career, Vitali’s fascination with Kubrick led him to throw it away and pursue a life in service of the director as his personal assistant, right-hand man, and, most tumultuously of all, friend. With a treasure trove of behind-the-scene footage and stories recalled by both Vitali and Kubrick’s past collaborators, FILMWORKER provides a fascinating firsthand account of the complex relationship that facilitated the creation, and made possible the preservation, of some of the director’s most legendary work.
I AM EVIDENCE (USA)
Directors: Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir
Produced by Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order: SVU), I AM EVIDENCE uncovers the many disturbing ways our criminal justice system neglects victims of sexual assault. In this revealing exposé, filmmakers Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir investigate the alarming number of untested evidence kits that have accumulated over the last several decades, denying justice to thousands of survivors in the process. Giving voice to the brave individuals affected by this misconduct and to the heroic law enforcement officials who tirelessly work to deliver long-awaited due process in these cases, I AM EVIDENCE is a powerful call to action.
LARGER THAN LIFE, THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY (USA)
Director: Tiffany Bartok
LARGER THAN LIFE: THE KEVYN AUCOIN STORY explores the life of the iconic make-up artist, who transformed the profession into a prominent and influential art form. Director and fellow make-up artist Tiffany Bartok paints a beautiful and deeply personal portrait of a man who, as both an artist and LGBTQ advocate, dedicated his life to elevating the inner confidence and presence of others. Through intimate archival footage and interviews with his famous friends and clients, Bartok weaves through the journey of Aucoin’s life up until his tragic end—reminding everyone that he truly was larger than life.
LOVE, CECIL (USA)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
Documentarian Lisa Immordino Vreeland (PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT) presents an engaging portrait of the visionary Cecil Beaton. Known for his astounding work ethic and prickly personality, the celebrated and sometimes controversial photographer and costume designer shot iconic portraits of celebrities and took home two Academy Awards® for his work on GIGI and MY FAIR LADY. Expertly weaving thoughtful passages from Beaton’s diaries—brought to life through Rupert Everett’s keen narration—with archival interviews featuring his famous friends (and foes), LOVE CECIL tracks the artist’s long, illustrious career with equal amounts of affection and frankness.
ONE OF US (USA)
Director: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
In a borough defined by rapidly shifting identities and vastly increased visibility, Brooklyn’s Hasidic community exists as an anomaly—one virtually cut off from the change surrounding it and defined largely by the secrecy of what exists within it. Over the course of three years, Oscar-nominated® directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady embed themselves with three former members who have removed themselves from the community, exploring the circumstances that led to their departure and capturing their new lives outside—despite persistent threats from the world they left behind. As in 2006’s JESUS CAMP, Ewing and Grady explore the boundaries of a community defined by religious connection, and shine a light on the disturbing conditions found within.
Director: Susan Lacy
Emerging out of the New Hollywood era to become the biggest name in blockbuster film for the last four decades, Steven Spielberg has been defined by both the countless classics he directed and the constant risks that kept his streak alive throughout his career as a filmmaker, producer, and studio executive. With interviews from Spielberg’s consistent collaborators (Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Williams), contemporaries (George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola), and friends and family, Susan Lacy’s wide-spanning portrait of the director provides an unprecedented look at the most influential figure in modern filmmaking.
STRAD STYLE (USA)
New York Premiere
Director: Stefan Avalos
Out on the vast middle American steppe, an eccentric loner named Daniel Houck passes the time cruising social media and obsessively whittling away violins inspired by Old World masters like Guarneri and Stradivarius. Stefan Avalos’s unlikely, rousing documentary STRAD STYLE follows Daniel as a chance encounter on Facebook with a famous violin soloist leads him on a singular, yearlong quest to craft an exact replica of the world’s finest violin. Avalos’s intimate camera paints an irresistible portrait of a Midwestern misfit with the chance to enter the rarefied world of classical music, far away from the windswept plains of Ohio.
THE DEAD NATION (Romania)
Director: Radu Jude
Acclaimed narrative filmmaker Radu Jude explores Romania’s shifting identity throughout history in his first documentary, THE DEAD NATION. Using archival images found from the collection of a rural photographer, text excerpted from the journal of a Jewish doctor, and songs recorded from the nationalistic anthems of the time, Jude’s cinematic essay provides a harrowing yet captivating account of the rise of nationalism and anti-semitism in Romania during the 1930s-40s. Equal parts mesmerizing and horrifying, THE DEAD NATION is, as the narration describes, “torn between reality and poetry,” creating a necessary recollection of a period with eerie similarities to our own.
THE FAMILY I HAD (USA)
Director: Katie Green, Carlye Rubin
In Katie Green and Carlyle Rubin’s THE FAMILY I HAD, Charity Lee recalls the harrowing moment her teenage son shattered her family with one unthinkable act of violence. Ten years into the wake of this unimaginable tragedy, the grieving mother is forced to come to terms with her new reality. With great empathy and unrivaled access to their subjects, Green and Rubin forgo true-crime sensationalism for a nuanced exploration of the family’s complicated history with mental illness, addiction, and domestic abuse. Highlighting our capacity to adapt to even the most unmooring of circumstances, THE FAMILY I HAD is a moving testament to human resilience.
THE FIRST TO DO IT (USA)
Director: Coodie & Chike
In 1950, three years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in major league baseball, Earl Lloyd stepped onto an NBA basketball court and changed the game forever. During Lloyd’s 22-year NBA career, he became its first African American player, its first African American scout, and its first African American full time head coach. Through intimate conversations with family, childhood friends, and the legendary players whose lives he touched (including Oscar Robertson, Dave Bing, and Kawhi Leonard), THE FIRST TO DO IT chronicles the experience of Lloyd and other early African American players against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement and explores the role of sports in the lasting legacy of desegregation today.
THE WORK (USA)
Director: Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous
Twice a year, the maximum-security Folsom State Prison allows free citizens from the outside to participate in an intensive group therapy program with the incarcerated men on the inside. With unprecedented access, directors Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous document these raw and revealing sessions—capturing harrowing moments of human vulnerability, catharsis, and connection in the process. Awarded the Best Documentary at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, THE WORK is an extraordinary feat of verité filmmaking that looks behind prison walls to reveal a movement of redemption that transcends what we think of as rehabilitation.
Director: Myles Kane, Josh Koury
In 2016, legendary journalist Gay Talese published in The New Yorker an excerpt from his upcoming book, The Voyeur’s Motel, that quickly proved to be one of the most controversial stories of his career. Following the writer during this period, documentarians Myles Kane and Josh Koury track Talese as he investigates the story of the Colorado motel owner, Gerald Foos, who secretly built an observation platform to watch the most intimate moments in the lives of his guests. As questions emerge about Foos’ trustworthiness Talese is thrown in the middle of a controversy that is threatening to destroy the story he’s been working on for more than three decades.
WORLD CINEMA NARRATIVE
A CIAMBRA (Italy/France/USA/Germany)
U.S. Premiere Director: Jonas Carpignano
Adapted from his eponymous short film, filmmaker Jonas Carpignano returns to the southern Italian setting of his debut MEDITERRANEA (HIFF 2015) in this neo-realist coming-of-age story. Desperate to join the ranks of the men of his Romany family, 14- year-old Pio finds his initiation into adulthood unexpectedly fast-tracked with the imprisonment of his father and older brother, as he gradually involves himself in the same criminal world that placed them there. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and directed with a remarkably atmospheric touch that refuses to settle into the expected tropes of the genre, A CIAMBRA is another nuanced look at the difficulty of escaping a life of crime in a community defined by it, confirming Carpignano as a undeniable international force.
A FANTASTIC WOMAN (Chile)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Sebastián Lelio
A shatteringly intimate and nuanced performance from newcomer Daniela Vega anchors Chilean director Sebastián Lelio’s latest film, A FANTASTIC WOMAN. In this Hitchcockian drama, transgender woman Marina (Vega) and Orlando (Francisco Reyes) are in love and are planning to spend the rest of their lives together, but when tragedy strikes, Marina finds herself unexpectedly under criminal investigation. Much like with his previous film, 2013’s GLORIA, Lelio offers a complex portrayal of a strong female character unsure how to navigate a hostile environment defined by prejudice and intolerance.
U.S. Premiere Director: Boris Khlebnikov
ARRHYTHMIA, Boris Khlebnikov’s explosive portrait of a fractured marriage, follows the young, gifted paramedic Oleg (Alexander Yatsenko) and his wife Katya (Irina Gorbacheva), who works as a nurse in the hospital’s emergency department. Headstrong, impulsive, and willing to bend the rules when necessary, Oleg frequently runs afoul of the new management that is trying to implement absurdly strict new rules that prioritize bureaucracy over the patients’ well-being. As their professional and personal lives collide, Oleg and Katya must deconstruct their familiar spaces in order to rebuild their marriage in Khlebnikov’s intriguing commentary on the anatomy of a relationship.
EN EL SÉPTIMO DÍA (USA)
Director: Jim Mckay
Returning to feature filmmaking after a decade in television, indie veteran Jim McKay’s EN EL SÉPTIMO DÍA is a heartfelt, subtle, and captivating portrait of an undocumented Mexican immigrant in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. José, played brilliantly by newcomer Fernando Cardona, is a hardworking delivery man whose only respite from his overwhelming schedule is his local soccer team. But when assigned a double shift on the day of the championship, José is forced to either let down his team or lose his only source of income. Refreshingly authentic and frequently humorous, EN EL SÉPTIMO DÍA is a rare film that highlights the consequences of the most seemingly simple decisions.
HAPPY END (France/Austria/Germany)
Director: Michael Haneke
While living out their days in a Calais mansion against the backdrop of the city’s increasingly turbulent refugee crisis, the well-off Laurents find themselves slowly torn apart by the surprise arrival of a young guest. In the follow-up to his Academy Award®- winning (and five-time nominated) film AMOUR (HIFF 2012), acclaimed filmmaker Michael Haneke returns to the career-defining social and familial themes of his work in this story of the disintegration of a single bourgeois family. Anchored by powerful performances from past Haneke collaborators Isabelle Huppert and Jean-Louis Trintignant, HAPPY END is another unrelentingly singular work of social satire from a master filmmaker working at the top of his game.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Boris and Zhenya’s (Aleksey Rozin, Maryana Spivak) divorce has devolved into an endless series of arguments. Consumed with selling their apartment and beginning lives with new partners, their 12-year-old son Alyosha (Matvey Novikov) seems increasingly pushed out of their minds, until he suddenly disappears without a trace into the wintry expanse of Moscow. Using the foundation of a crime procedural to shed greater light on the stark inhumanity seeping into every aspect of contemporary Russian society, Andrey Zvyagintsev’s (LEVIATHAN) expertly crafted film applies his impeccable ability to portray human drama on a global scale to this bitingly vicious story of lost love.
MR AND MRS ADELMAN (France)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Nicolas Bedos
In his directorial debut, Nicolas Bedos stars opposite co-writer Doria Tillier as a French couple intertwined, consumed with, and defined by each other in life and work: he, an accomplished writer; she, his sometime-muse and editor. The chemistry between Bedos and Tillier is irresistible, as they quip back and forth through four decades of music, haircuts, and a romance that’s more shattered glass and Camus than chocolate and flowers. Biting and tender, MR & MRS ADELMAN packs the intricacies of marriage into a romantic comedy—with a twist.
East Coast Premiere
Director: Maggie Betts
Drawn in by the prospect of a higher calling despite her non-religious upbringing, Cathleen (Margaret Qualley), a teenager growing up in the early 1960s, soon finds herself among a group of young women who have devoted themselves to a training program within The Sisters of Blessed Rose convent. While their earnest devotion is quickly contrasted with the harsh realities of religious life, the sudden announcement of Pope John XXIII’s Second Vatican Council provides a new question for both the students and their Mother Superior (Academy Award® winner Melissa Leo): whether to transform along with the church’s plans of liberal reform or adhere to the strict principles that first compelled them into the convent.
THE DIVINE ORDER (Switzerland)
Director: Petra Volpe
In 1971, a quaint Swiss village, seemingly untouched by the cultural and social upheavals of the 1960s, anticipates the vote for women’s suffrage. Following her exposure to a women’s rights demonstration in Zurich, a shy and well-liked housewife becomes the unexpected beacon of her village’s suffragette movement. Featuring a strong ensemble cast, led by the effortless Marie Leuenberger, THE DIVINE ORDER chronicles the challenges of a determined group of women who cast off the stubborn ways of the village and fight for independence. Directing with a keen eye for sincerity and humor, Petra Volpe captures the inspiring journey of harnessing your voice to both speak truth to power and tell your husband he can do his own laundry.
THE FLORIDA PROJECT (USA)
Director: Sean Baker
Sean Baker supplants the West Hollywood setting of his 2015 festival hit TANGERINE with the cheap motels laying in the shadow of a certain Orlando mouse-themed amusement park, in another free-flowing and sincere look at those living in the shadows of the cities they call home. Living in one of the rooms are 6-year-old Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) and her 22-year-old mother Halley (Bria Vinaite), who struggle to keep a roof over their heads. Aided by Willem Dafoe’s remarkably warm performance as Bobby, a staff member of the hotel, Sean Baker has crafted another empathetic look at those existing on the fringes.
THE LEISURE SEEKER (Italy)
Director: Paolo Virzì
Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren and two-time Golden-Globe® winner Donald Sutherland shine as Ella and John, an aging couple who embark on one final adventure in Paolo Virzi’s English-language feature debut. Foregoing the concerns of their doctors and grown children, the pair impulsively set off on a whirlwind, cross-country escapade in their beloved Winnebago. Experiencing equal moments of elation and frustration, the pair wind their way down the East Coast—rekindling their passion for life and their affection for one another along the way, in a journey full of humor and pathos.
THE MISOGYNISTS (USA)
Director: Onur Tukel
In a single, fully-stocked hotel room on the night of the 2016 general election, two Trump supporters celebrate the unexpected results, in the latest from indie provocateur Onur Tukel. As the night rages on, an ensemble of characters venture in and out of the room. Some match the two’s enthusiasm while others voice their terror at the prospect of the incoming President, but most struggle to find reasons to care less about the results that caused the debauched celebration occurring around them. Led by Dylan Baker’s gleefully deranged lead performance, Tukel’s tongue-in-cheek exploration of a divided America digs deep into the night’s mass existential crisis, and leaves with some disquieting results.
THE SQUARE (Sweden)
Director: Ruben Östlund
Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Ruben Östlund’s provocatively anarchic THE SQUARE follows Christian (Claes Bang), the suave director of a respected contemporary art museum who sees the museum, and his career, suddenly upended when the PR campaign surrounding his latest exhibit goes off the rails. Using the same razor-sharp humor utilized in his festival favorite FORCE MAJEURE (HIFF 2014), Östlund has created another masterful social satire that playfully disassembles the hypocrisy, privilege, and self-importance of the contemporary art world. Featuring fantastic turns by Terry Notary, Elisabeth Moss, and Dominic West, THE SQUARE skillfully orchestrates one standout sequence after another, and in the process creates one of the most memorable films of the year.
VIEWS FROM LONG ISLAND
KILLER BEES (USA)
Directors: Benjamin Cummings, Orson Cummings
KILLER BEES spotlights the famed Bridgehampton basketball team as they prepare to defend their state championship title. Following the young men on and off the court, filmmakers Benjamin and Orson Cummings explore the Bees’ historical importance within the local community. More than just a high school team, the Bees are a symbol of hope—particularly to those who are struggling to survive in one of the wealthiest districts in the country. Produced by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neill, KILLER BEES is a nuanced look at the powerful role sports play in overcoming racial, social, and economic adversity.
STRONG ISLAND (USA/Denmark)
Director: Yance Ford
The dynamics of family, loss, and racial injustice converge in Yance Ford’s haunting meditation on the senseless death of his brother in 1992 and the judicial system’s failure to indict the killer. Moving beyond the tropes of traditional nonfiction filmmaking, Ford skillfully balances memoir with true crime investigation—interspersing intimate conversations with his family and revelatory moments of catharsis against the backdrop of the racial disparity that plagues our society. A work of profound resonance and relevance, STRONG ISLAND is a powerful examination of one grieving family’s quest for the truth.
Director: Josh Klausner
In an effort to briefly escape his humdrum life of isolation in New York City, Alex (Tate Ellington) impulsively accepts an invitation from an online acquaintance (Dree Hemingway) to house-sit at her picturesque “Enchanted Cottage” on Long Island. Despite his best attempts for a quiet weekend of relaxation, Alex suddenly finds himself lost on a surreal, all-night musical odyssey of misadventures. Filmed in and around the Hamptons area, and featuring a cast of wonderfully kooky local characters, Josh Klausner’s WANDERLAND is a madcap East End experience.
AIR, LAND & SEA
EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY (UK)
Directors: Richard Dale, Lixin Fan, Peter Webber
Narrated by Robert Redford and co-directed by Academy Award® nominee Peter Webber and BAFTA winner Richard Dale, EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY takes us on a breathtakingly immersive voyage across the continents—revealing our planet’s natural wonders and unique animal behavior, and reminding us of its increasing vulnerability. Over the course of a single day, the filmmakers travel across the globe, following the sun from the highest peaks to far-flung islands and exotic jungles. Along the way, we spend time with animals ranging from the white-headed langur monkeys in the mountains of southwestern China to a colony of chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic Ocean, illuminating the awe-inspiring beauty of our planet on an epic and sprawling scale.
FROM THE ASHES (USA)
Director: Michael Bonfiglio
Moving beyond the rhetoric that frequently muddies the debate, FROM THE ASHES reflects on the United States’ long and often fraught relationship to the coal and mining industry, and ponders its uncertain future under the current administration. Balancing the conflicting perspectives of those most closely affected—one, an idealized return to the glory days of a thriving industry and the other, a growing awareness of the environmental consequences from the world’s most destructive form of energy— documentarian Michael Bonfiglio presents a series of compelling stories that speak to what is at stake for our economy, health, and climate.
CONFLICT & RESOLUTION
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.
HUMAN FLOW (Germany)
East Coast Premiere
Director: Ai Weiwei
Visionary artist Ai Weiwei’s haunting new documentary follows the plight of migrants displaced from their homelands by war, poverty, and climate change. A sprawling global odyssey, HUMAN FLOW was filmed in 23 countries over the course of more than a year and examines the staggering scale of a crisis that has now reached epidemic proportions. Bearing witness to the atrocious refugee experience serves as a reminder that this is not just a refugee crisis, but rather a human crisis. The end result is a stirring and poignant essay on the profound impact and ways in which it shapes the word.
MUHI – GENERALLY TEMPORARY (Israel/Germany)
Director: Rina Castelnuovo, Tamir Elterman
Jerusalem-based journalists Rina Castelnuovo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman present MUHI—GENERALLY TEMPORARY, an enchanting portrait of a sweet boy from Gaza who finds himself trapped between two conflicting nations. After an immune disorder threatens to take his life as an infant, Muhi is rushed to an Israeli hospital for emergency surgery and into the care of those considered to be his people’s enemy. Unable to leave due to the severity of his condition, the endlessly cheery Muhi and his doting grandfather remain in bureaucratic limbo for seven years—their moving story illustrating the far-reaching impact these paradoxical circumstances hold over the individuals caught in the crosshairs.
THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE (Finland/Germany)
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
At the same time Syrian refugee Khaled emerges from the coal freighter on which he has stowed away and takes his first hopeful steps into Helsinki, traveling salesman Wikström makes his own foray into the unknown when he leaves his wife and purchases a local restaurant—setting the stage for the surprise convergence of their two worlds. Applying his trademark deadpan visual style to a globally urgent backdrop, Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki (LE HAVRE) continues his legacy of advocating for those on the fringes with this gently tragicomic look at the necessity of hope and the power of even the smallest gestures of compassion.
COMPASSION, JUSTICE, & ANIMAL RIGHTS
Director: Brett Morgen
Culled from hundreds of hours of recently discovered 16mm archival footage, Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen crafts an enchanting portrait of legendary primatologist and activist Jane Goodall when her revolutionary work was still in its infancy. Shot by National Geographic during her first encounter with the chimpanzees of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park, we witness the transformative period when Goodall first began to develop the methodology that would soon make her a household name. Scored by illustrious composer Philip Glass and featuring eye-opening new interviews with Goodall, Morgen has created the definitive account of how this maverick scientist became the world’s most beloved conservationist.
THE LAST PIG (USA)
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.
Director: Bryan Fogel
The ruthless worlds of international sports and politics rarely collide as spectacularly as they do in Bryan Fogel’s ICARUS. While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, he connects with renegade Russian Scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov—a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Fogel and Rodchenkov develop a close friendship, despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. As signs point to illegalities running to Russia’s highest chains of command, they realize they hold the power to reveal the biggest international sports scandal in living memory and soon find themselves in the middle of an international conspiracy. Winner of the HIFF SummerDocs Audience Award, sponsored by Candescent Films.