The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) will open the 2019 festival on Thursday, October 10, at Guild Hall, with the East Coast Premiere of JUST MERCY. A powerful and thought-provoking true story, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, JUST MERCY follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice as he fights a merciless legal system stacked against him and his clients at every turn. The film also stars Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Karan Kendrick and Brie Larson.
FORD v FERRARI has been selected as the festival’s Saturday Centerpiece selection, directed by James Mangold. The film is based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and the fearless British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
In celebration of one of this year’s most talked about performances for her role in Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY, the festival will honor Alfre Woodard with a special “A Conversation With…” featuring the Emmy Award winner, Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress in-person for a career spanning discussion. In CLEMENCY, official selection of the festival, Woodard plays prison warden Bernadine Williams, who is dealing with the emotional strain of carrying out death row executions.
In addition, HIFF will host the World Premieres of four films, including Treva Wurmfeld’s CONSCIENCE POINT, a ground level documentation of the Shinnecock Nation and their ongoing fight for recognition of their ancestral rights in Southampton, which will premiere in Views from Long Island section; Ben Steele’s IN MEMORIAM, an intimate and powerful look at the human cost of the country’s mass shooting epidemic and Mark Landsman’s SCANDALOUS, an expansive and probing look into the true story of The National Enquirer, the most infamous tabloid in U.S. history, both of which will premiere in the World Documentary Cinema section; and Anthony Baxter’s FLINT, a riveting documentary about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, that brought a national spotlight to issues of economic depression and water treatment across the country, which will screen in the festival’s Air, Land & Sea section.
The 27th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place Columbus Day Weekend: October 10 to 14, 2019.
2019 Hamptons International Film Festival Lineup
*Opening Night Film
East Coast Premiere
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, JUST MERCY follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Michael B. Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Brie Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), who in 1987 was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that followed, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
FORD v FERRARI
Director: James Mangold
Academy Award® winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in 20th Century Fox’s FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.
Director: Chinonye Chukwu
Years of carrying out death row executions have taken a toll on prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard). As she prepares to execute another inmate, Bernadine must confront the psychological and emotional demons her job creates, ultimately connecting her to the man she is sanctioned to kill.
Director: Treva Wurmfeld
For decades, the home of the Shinnecock Nation has been the subject of a brutal fight for ownership in the Hamptons, with an increased push for real estate development coming to a head against both the safety margin of Long Island’s environmental equilibrium and ties to ancestral homelands throughout the region. Following longtime Shinnecock activist Becky Hill-Genia and those fighting by her side, CONSCIENCE POINT takes a ground-level approach to documenting the almost two-decade-long battle for preservation that has come to encompass not only questions of land ownership, but the moralities of environmental use and income inequality within one of America’s wealthiest zip code.
Director: Anthony Baxter
More than half a century removed from its status as a leading force in the U.S. manufacturing industry, the city of Flint, Michigan, has now become synonymous with a water crisis forcing a national spotlight on issues of economic depression and water treatment across the country. Narrated by Alec Baldwin and directed by HIFF Alum Anthony Baxter (YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED, A DANGEROUS GAME), FLINT reveals how the city’s life-threatening water crisis has gradually evolved into a crisis of accountability and trust in authorities, a battle between science and pseudoscience, and an institutionalized failure in local infrastructure. Looking at not only the crisis itself, but the enduring issues of partisan politics and environmental resources on which it continues to shed light, FLINT is an illuminating look at a modern American tragedy.
Director: Ben Steele
In the United States, an active shooter incident now occurs every 12 days. IN MEMORIAM looks at the human cost of the country’s mass shooting epidemic through the surviving communities of three of the deadliest in U.S history: the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas, and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Moving beyond the debates that often dominate the discourse following mass shootings, filmmaker Ben Steele looks to the survivors, relatives and locals left grieving in the aftermath to examine the painful memories, lingering effects, and necessary questions left in their wake.
Director: Mark Landsman
For over 60 years, The National Enquirer has been at the center of the American public’s fascination with the rich and famous, as its salacious headlines and coverage of events—ranging from Elvis’s death to the O.J. murder trial—have fueled the darkest curiosities of a hungry audience. With rare archival footage and revelations about the alleged blackmail and payoffs used to get their most defining scoops, SCANDALOUS presents an expansive and probing look into the true story of the most infamous tabloid in U.S. history, charting how it pushed its own particular brand of fake news from the fringe to the mainstream.