HIFF 2013 Golden Starfish Competition Announced: Narratives, Docs and Shorts

Fifteen films have been selected to compete in this year’s Golden Starfish competition at the 2013 Hamptons International Film Festival, including five films each in the documentary, narrative and short film categories.

“The films in our Golden Starfish section allow us to shine a light on exciting new work by emerging filmmakers from around the world,” says Artistic Director David Nugent. “This focus on international cinema, as well as on up and coming filmmakers, remains central to our mission as an organization.”

The 2013 jury has been assigned the tough task of deciding the winners. Jurors include actress Emily Mortimer, filmmaker Alex Karpovsky, producer Dan Crown, photographer and filmmaker Michael Halsband, and New York Film Critics Circle member Karen Durbin.

Golden Starfish Award: Best Narrative Feature

♦ Prize: $145,000 in cash and in-kind filmmaking services

2 Autumns, 3 Winters

2 Autumns, 3 Winters

2 Autumns, 3 Winters (France)

US Premiere
Director: Sébastien Betbeder
Cast: Vincent Macaigne, Maud Wyler

Arman has just turned 33. He longs for change. Maybe he’ll eat healthier? No, he decides to go jogging and, as he turns a corner, he bumps into the beautiful Amélie. The first meeting is a shock; the second will be like a stab in the heart. Benjamin is Arman’s best friend. Unlucky in life, his fortune is destined to change. Over the course of two autumns and three winters, the lives of the three intermingle and are filled with meetings, accidents, love stories, and memories in this stylish, original French romantic comedy.
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Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin (USA)

East Coast Premiere
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Cast: Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves, Kevin Kolack, Eve Plumb, David W. Thompson

A classic American revenge story, Blue Ruin follows a mysterious outsider whose quiet life is turned upside down when he returns to his childhood home to carry out an act of vengeance. Proving himself an amateur assassin, he winds up in a brutal fight to protect his estranged family. Writer/director/D.P. Jeremy Saulnier, lauded for his work as cinematographer on provocative recent indies like Putty Hill and Septien, unspools his second directorial effort with stark economy and unnerving potency, crafting a guttural neo-noir that packs a mean, lean punch.
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Mister John

Mister John

Mister John (Ireland/Singapore/UK)

North American Premiere
Director: Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor
Cast: Aidan Gillen, Zoe Tay, Michael Thomas, Claire Keelan

John was, in many ways, an enigma to his brother Gerry (Aiden Gillen). After John’s sudden and somewhat mysterious death, Gerry travels to Singapore to settle his brother’s shady business affairs and check on the man’s family. It’s also a convenient reason for Gerry to escape in the wake of his crumbling marriage. From its onset, Mister John dashes our dramatic expectations and––in the sure-footed hands of filmmakers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy and Gillen’s brilliant performance––remains consistently surprising as both a character study and a meditation on identity.
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Mother, I Love You

Mother, I Love You

Mother, I Love You (Latvia)

East Coast Premiere
Director: Janis Nords
Cast: Kristofers Konovalovs, Vita Vārpiņa, Matīss Livčāns, Indra Briķe

Twelve-year old Raimonds lives with his single mom and does what he can to make her proud, like playing the saxophone in the school band. But his mischievous side lands him in trouble at school. He decides to hide a school note from his mom––and the lies escalate from there. He runs away from home with the help of his friend Peteris, who gives him the keys to an unoccupied apartment, an act that has unforeseen consequences. Janis Nords’ second film is a soulful story of friendship and truth set against the cool hues and the nightlights of Riga and featuring a 400 Blows-esque performance by newcomer Kristofers Konovalovs.
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The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant

The Selfish Giant (UK)

US Premiere
Director: Clio Barnard
Cast: Conner Chapman, Shaun Thomas, Sean Gilder, Rebecca Manley, Siobhan Finneran

The arresting sophomore feature from Clio Barnard (The Arbor), The Selfish Giant is a contemporary fable about 13-year old Arbor (Conner Chapman) and his best friend Swifty (Shaun Thomas). Excluded from school and outsiders in their own neighborhood, the two boys meet Kitten (Sean Gilder), a local scrapdealer––the Selfish Giant. Arbor emulates Kitten, keen to impress him and make some money. However, Kitten favors Swifty, leaving Arbor feeling hurt and excluded and driving a wedge between the boys. Barnard imbues her remarkable film with an unparalleled poetic touch and a keen perspective on adolescent yearning.
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Golden Starfish Award: Best Documentary Feature

♦ Prize: $3,000 in cash

Before the Revolution

Before the Revolution

Before the Revolution (Israel)

East Coast Premiere
Director: Dan Shadur

For a certain group of Israelis in the 1960s and ’70s, Tehran, Iran was a utopia. Enjoying close relations with Shah’s regime, their paradise was built on construction contracts, weapons sales, and oil. Then the Iranian Revolution arrived. In what begins as a nostalgic quest to understand his family’s glory days, Dan Shadur’s tale becomes a thrilling documentary filled with rare home footage and interviews, revealing a new perspective on the 1979 overthrow. Before the Revolution reminds us that memory can be deceptive and, in a world of constantly shifting political dynamics, often manipulated.
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Behind the Redwood Curtain

Behind the Redwood Curtain

Behind the Redwood Curtain (Belgium)

International Premiere
Director: Liesbeth De Ceulaer

Imbued with a mesmerizing, dreamlike quality, Liesbeth De Ceulaer’s confident first feature takes us to the majestic Redwood Forest and introduces us to people who have strong personal connections to this once isolated region of California. Through seamless vignettes and stunningly saturated cinematography, we meet activists, scientists, loggers, tree dwellers, and Native Americans who share their compelling stories and their bond to these impressive ancient woods, which are now being threatened by excessive logging. De Ceulaer’s bold documentary transports us to this unique and fabled land.
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Wang Guangyi in 'Chimeras'

Wang Guangyi in ‘Chimeras’

Chimeras (Finland/Sweden/China)

East Coast Premiere
Director: Mika Mattila
Cast: Liu Gang, Wang Guangyi

At the height of his career as one of China’s most successful contemporary artists, Wang Guangyi is settling into middle age with increasing ambivalence, a frontline witness to his scene’s contradictory commercial impulses. Meanwhile, Liu Gang is a supremely promising new face on the scene, plucked from art school and thrown into the high gloss world of corporate-sponsored gallery openings and fawning from largely Western curators. In Chimeras, Finnish director Mika Mattila weaves the lives of these two men in subtle yet enthralling blend of cinéma vérité, art biography, and prescient cultural analysis.
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Code Black

Code Black

Code Black (USA)

East Coast Premiere
Director: Ryan McGarry

“C-Booth,” the trauma bay at the Los Angeles County Hospital, was the toughest and best training facility for ER doctors in the country. In 2008, the County Hospital moved from its historic structure to a modern facility, catapulting the medical staff into an institutional identity crisis. Code Black follows a group of young doctors as they grapple with the divide between their idealistic expectations and the realities of a heavily bureaucratic system. Director Ryan McGarry––a full-time resident doctor at County while making this film––poses the question: can they change the system?
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Desert Runners

Desert Runners

Desert Runners (USA)

East Coast Premiere
Director: Jennifer Steinman

Any single race in the 4Desert Ultramarathon Series is a life-threatening challenge. Desert Runners is a thrilling documentary about ordinary people who endure the 150-mile ultra-marathons through the world’s four most treacherous deserts in one year: the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara in Egypt, and Antarctica. Filled with physical and emotional highs and low, the film goes beyond the terrain to reveal their personal obstacles and determination. This captivating story combines stunning scenery with an intimate view into the complex way human beings deal with heartbreak and triumph.
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Golden Starfish Award: Best Short Film

♦ Prize: $1,000 in cash
♦ The winner will also qualify for an Academy Award in the category of Best Live Action Short Film
♦ Find tickets: Golden Starfish Award Best Short Film Program

The Runaway (France)

New York Premiere
Director: Jean-Bernard Marlin

The Horse and the Nightingale (Netherlands)

International Premiere
Director: Nazli Elif Durlu

Kush (India/USA)

North American Premiere
Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani

Gypsy (Portugal)

North American Premiere
Director: David Bonneville

Whale Valley (Denmark/Iceland)

US Premiere
Director: Gudmundur A. Gudmundsson

The Hamptons International Film Festival appreciates the support from their corporate sponsors, including American Airlines/Altour International, Capital One, The Wall Street Journal, Silvercup Studios and A&E Indie Films.

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  1. […] programs of short films, including the Golden Starfish Award competition shorts (already announced; view them here); short films presented with New York Women in Film and Television; a Student Short Film Showcase; […]