David Nugent, Matt Zoller Seitz, Chaz Ebert and Alec Baldwin in Q&A following HIFF SummerDocs screening of 'Life Itself.' Photo: Eugene Gologursky

David Nugent, Matt Zoller Seitz, Chaz Ebert and Alec Baldwin in Q&A following HIFF SummerDocs screening of ‘Life Itself.’ Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Since its inception in 2009, SummerDocs, a series of highly-anticipated documentary films, has become one of the Hamptons International Film Festival’s signature events. Following each screening, the director and/or subject(s) of the film participates in a lively and engaging Q&A with HIFF board member Alec Baldwin, who co-curates the series with HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent.

Don’t miss your chance to be part of the conversation—past SummerDocs selections, such as Twenty Feet From StardomThe Cove, Searching for Sugar Man, and How to Survive a Plague, have all gone on to receive Academy Award wins and nominations.

Summer 2014 Events:


Life Itself

Directed by Steve James
June 21 | 8:00pm

Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed, Raging Bull) and Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Moneyball) present Life Itself, a documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert – a story that is by turns personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent.

The film was released by Magnolia Pictures on July 4.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Directed by Al Hicks
July 25 | 7:30pm

In his melodic debut, Australian director Al Hicks spent four years following the charming and sometimes poignant mentorship between jazz-legend Clark Terry and blind piano prodigy Justin Kaulflin, during a pivotal moment in each of their lives. At eighty-nine years old, ‘CT’ has played alongside Duke Ellington and Count Basie; his pupils include Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. But his most unlikely friendship is with Justin, a 23-year-old with uncanny talent but debilitating nerves. As Justin prepares for a competition that could jumpstart his budding career, CT’s failing health threatens his own. Beautifully nostalgic, with a reverence for the importance of finding your own sound, Keep On Keepin’ On celebrates an iconic musician while introducing one of equal vibrancy. It is a mentoring tale as inspirational as its subjects.

The film is produced by seven-time Academy Award® nominee Quincy Jones and Paula DuPre’ Pesmen (producer of the Oscar winning The Cove). The film was recently awarded two prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival: Best New Documentary Director (Al Hicks) and the Audience Award (Documentary). RADiUs-TWC film will be releasing the film.

WSJSupport for the screening of Keep On Keepin’ On is graciously provided by the Wall Street Journal.


Last Days in Vietnam

Directed by Rory Kennedy
August 16 | 7:30 pm

Rory Kennedy’s Last Days in Vietnam explores the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War. The North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. As Communist victory becomes inevitable and the U.S. readies to withdraw, some Americans begin to consider the certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends. Meanwhile, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese becomes terminally delayed by Congressional gridlock and the inexplicably optimistic U.S. Ambassador.

With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. Last Days in Vietnam is a Rory Kennedy film for American Experience. It will open theatrically in New York on September 5, with a national rollout to follow.


The Overnighters

Directed by Jesse Moss
August 29 | 7:30 pm

In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck when hydraulic fracturing in that region unlocks a vast oil field in the nearby Bakken shale. Upon arrival, however, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep – the town lacks the infrastructure to house even those who do find gainful employment. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is Hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to allow the “Overnighters” – as he calls them – to stay for a night, a week or sometimes even longer, sleeping on the floor, in the pews, and in their cars in the Church parking lot.

A modern-day “Grapes of Wrath,” The Overnighters engages and dramatizes a set of universal societal and economic themes: the promise and limits of re-invention, redemption and compassion, as well as the tension between the moral imperative to “love they neighbor” and the practice of one small community when confronted by a surging river of desperate, job-seeking strangers. The film premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Intuitive Filmmaking. The film will be released theatrically by Drafthouse Films in Fall 2014.

Candescent Films Logo 350
We are delighted to announce that our 2014 SummerDocs Audience Award is sponsored by a new partner, Candescent Films. Candescent produces and finances social issue films that have the power to ignite conversation and create change. Candescent champions actors and filmmakers across a variety of disciplines who are committed to raising awareness through compelling character-driven stories. “SummerDocs is a terrific platform for filmmakers to share their documentaries and raise awareness for the subjects addressed in their films,” says Lilly Hartley, founder of Candescent Films. “I have attended since its inception, and am thrilled that Candescent is now involved in supporting this wonderful program.”


Support for the SummerDocs series is also generously provided by Beach Magazine.