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THE FIRST WAVE. directed by Matthew Heineman
THE FIRST WAVE. directed by Matthew Heineman. New York, NY – New York City at dusk. (Credit: National Geographic)

The 29th edition of the Hamptons International Film Festival will open on Thursday, October 7, 2021, with the World Premiere of Academy Award-nominated director Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave, a documentary film spotlighting the everyday heroes inside one of the country’s hardest hit hospitals at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered.

As part of HIFF’s Signature Program Views from Long Island, HIFF will feature the World Premiere of Kelcey Edwards’ The Art of Making. The documentary follows a diverse cast of young artists at defining moments in their careers as they explore whether the art world ecosystem meant to nurture them is actually failing them.

Screening as part of the festival’s Conflict and Resolution section, JR’s Paper & Glue features world renowned artist JR (Academy Award nominee for Faces, Places) turning the camera on his own work as he builds some of his monumental projects.

Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus’ Becoming Cousteau, which will hold its New York Premiere as part of the Air, Land & Sea section, takes an inside look at legendary explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his life, career, and mission to protect the Earth.

Garth De Bruno Austin’s The Last Horns Of Africa, which will have its East Coast Premiere as a part of the Compassion, Justice and Animal Rights section, features gripping and never-before-captured footage of the current rhino poaching war raging across Africa.

“Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman has made a stunning film highlighting not only the resilience of the human spirit, but the selflessness of healthcare workers who risk their own lives to keep us safe. We are honored to open our 29th edition with the world premiere of his film, which succeeds at exploring the gravity of a historic moment through his intimate style of filmmaking,” said HamptonsFilm Artistic Director David Nugent. “We are also thrilled to announce a strong group of films screening as a part of our Signature Programs – including films by local artists as well as those wrestling with the issue of the sanctity of our planet and the lives of the animals with whom we share it.”

The 29th Annual Hamptons Film Festival will run October 7-13, 2021 with live and in-person events and screenings across the Hamptons.

2021 Hamptons International Film Festival Lineup

World Premiere
dir. Matthew Heineman (USA), 2021

With exclusive access to one of New York’s hardest-hit hospital systems, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman’s THE FIRST WAVE spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. Leaving a devastating trail of death and despair, this once-in-a-century pandemic changed the very fabric of daily life and exposed long-standing inequities in our society. The “first wave” of COVID-19 ravaged New York from March through June 2020. Employing his signature approach of character-driven cinema vérité, Heineman documents those harrowing first four months, embedding with a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they all navigated the crisis. With each distinct storyline serving as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, THE FIRST WAVE is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

World Premiere
dir. Kelcey Edwards (USA), 2021

Against the backdrop of a culture in crisis, THE ART OF MAKING IT follows a diverse cast of young artists at defining moments in their careers to explore whether the art world ecosystem meant to nurture them is actually failing them. Are we at risk of losing the creative voices of a new generation as universities, galleries and museums face cataclysmic changes? Or, are we on the verge of recreating outdated modes of experiencing art to make it accessible to all? Embracing the conundrum of how artists must be in the market yet not of it, THE ART OF MAKING IT is both a cautionary tale about what America stands to lose if we don’t rethink what we value and why and a love letter to those who persevere in their artistic practice in spite of the extraordinary odds against ever achieving success.

New York Premiere
dir. Liz Garbus (USA), 2021

Adventurer, filmmaker, innovator, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist: For over four decades Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his explorations under the ocean became synonymous with a love of science and the natural world. As he learned to protect the environment, he brought the whole world with him—he sounded alarms more than 50 years ago about the warming seas and our planet’s vulnerability. In BECOMING COUSTEAU, two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his iconic films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice—and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth.

East Coast Premiere
dir. Garth de Bruno Austin (United States), 2021

With unprecedented access, THE LAST HORNS OF AFRICA is a gripping and intimate look at the current rhino poaching war raging across Africa. We follow the journeys of two conservation heroes who put their lives on the line to protect the rhino in their care, while a top-secret, covert operation endeavors to bring down South Africa’s most notorious rhino poaching syndicates. Hidden away in South Africa is the world’s largest rhino orphanage, run by Petronel Nieuwoudt, who deals with the aftermath: the orphaned rhino calves knowingly left for dead by poachers. Through her eyes, the viewer gets an insight into the incredible bonds that are formed and the heart-wrenching reality of where these calves have come from. Meanwhile, in Kruger National Park—ground zero for rhino poaching—Don English, a veteran ranger, commands his brave team on the front line of the rhino horn war as they set out on an almost insurmountable task of protecting the rhinoceros in an area the size of Israel. From never-before-seen footage of South Africa’s largest undercover wildlife investigation and interviews with poachers, the filmmakers risk their lives as they are thrust into the underground world of illicit rhino horn deals organized by South Africa’s ruthless rhino poaching kingpins. THE LAST HORNS OF AFRICA is a firsthand look at the complexities and moral debates of contemporary conservation, which has found itself entangled in the dark web of corruption and the illegal wildlife trade.

dir. JR (France, USA), 2021
In PAPER & GLUE, JR turns the camera on his own work as he builds some of his most monumental projects. From early illicit graffiti videos captured on Paris rooftops at night, to the US-Mexico border, to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, to a current collaboration at a California supermax prison, the film follows JR as he turns these communities inside out, turning images of residents into eye-catching and immersive art installations. PAPER & GLUE follows the Oscar-nominated FACES PLACES, which was directed by JR along with Agnès Varda.

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