2019 Competition Slate Set

HIFF27 has selected the films for the narrative and documentary competitions.

The films in the narrative competition are Mati Diop’s ATLANTICS, winner of the Grand Prix at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Anke Blonde’s THE BEST OF DORIEN B., Jan Ole Gerster’s LARA, Andrew Patterson’s THE VAST OF NIGHT, and Hlynur Pálmason’s A WHITE, WHITE DAY.

Documentary competition films include Alexander Nanau’s COLLECTIVE, Alla Kovgan’s CUNNINGHAM, Sung-a Yoon’s OVERSEAS, Patrick Bresnan & Ivete Lucas’s PAHOKEE, and Suhaib Gasmelbari’s TALKING ABOUT TREES.

“The lineup for the 27th edition of the festival includes some of this year’s most anticipated films, as well as a number of exciting new voices,” said David Nugent, Artistic Director. “The films in this year’s competition sections highlight the industry’s best emerging talent with new and innovative works.”

“Our commitment to gender parity in storytelling continues to remain a priority in our programming,’ said Anne Chaisson, Executive Director. “For the second year in a row we are pleased to have a competition lineup that is 50% female and 50% male directed films, bringing a diverse array of stories and filmmaking.”

Founder Passes and ticket packages for the 2019 festival are on sale now. Individual tickets will go on sale on October 1.


NARRATIVE COMPETITION

ATLANTICS

Director: Mati Diop
Along the shores of Dakar, Senegal, Ada (Mama Sané), soon to be forced into an arranged marriage with a wealthy man, falls in love with construction worker Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré). Looking for a better future and incapable of seeing a life with Ada, Souleiman boards a small vessel with his co-workers and attempts the perilous sail to Spain, where he soon disappears and is presumed dead. In her Cannes Grand Prix-winning debut feature, French-Senegalese actress and filmmaker Mati Diop translates the collective drama of sea departures into a dazzlingly beautiful ghost story of unfulfilled love and lives lost in the search for a better future.

THE BEST OF DORIEN B.

New York Premiere
Director: Anke Blonde
To almost everyone around her, the life of 37-year-old Dorien (Kim Snauwaert) seems to be picture perfect, with two children, a loving husband, and a thriving veterinary practice. But just as the local press reports ominous news of a “black hole” on the horizon, Dorien’s life is hit with a series of devastating setbacks: the fallout from a recent affair, her parents’ breakup, and unexpected results from a trip to the hospital. A sympathetic portrait of a life in crisis, director Anke Blondé’s THE BEST OF DORIEN B. is a warmly funny and bittersweet look at one woman’s attempts to let go from the coping mechanisms that have defined her life for so long.

LARA

U.S. Premiere
Director: Jan Ole Gerster
Waking up on the morning of both the most important piano concert of her son’s career and her own 60th birthday, Lara (Corinna Harfouch) steps out of her living room window and contemplates jumping to her death. From this startling, unnerving beginning, director Jan-Ole Gerster creates a stunningly precise psychological portrait of a woman on the verge. As Lara prepares for her estranged son’s concert, she attempts to forge connections with a varied group of friends, family, and acquaintances from her past and present. Anchored by Harfouch’s masterful lead performance, Gerster’s second feature is a perfectly calibrated look at familial discord and attempts at redemption in contemporary Berlin.

THE VAST OF NIGHT

New York Premiere
Director: Andrew Patterson
With a summer night descending over 1950s New Mexico, the residents of a small town congregate for a high school basketball game. Amidst the action, the local radio DJ’s planned interviews with attendees are halted by the discovery of a strange frequency over the town’s airwaves by a local switchboard operator, leading the pair on an investigation deep into the darkness of their sleepy hometown. Paying loving homage to The Twilight Zone and early Spielberg in equal parts, Andrew Patterson’s imaginative debut is a singular piece of original sci-fi, traveling through the unknown corners of our collective history.

A WHITE, WHITE DAY

U.S. Premiere
Director: Hlynur Pálmason
Retired from his job as a local policeman and grieving the recent death of his wife, Ingimundur (an excellent Ingvar E. Sigurðsson) channels his quietly brewing grief into the renovation of a secluded house in the remote Icelandic community they called home. But while going through a box of his wife’s old possessions, Ingimundur finds an unexpected memento that directs his detective instincts into increasingly unstable paranoia. With a tone perfectly matching its remote, isolated Icelandic setting, director Hlynur Pálmason’s remarkably confident second feature is a spellbinding, oft-kilter tale of the obsessive ends of unconditional love.


DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

COLLECTIVE

U.S. Premiere
Director: Alexander Nanau
In the aftermath of a deadly fire in a Bucharest nightclub that left dozens dead, Romania’s government pledged that the over 100 citizens left injured would receive immediate and substantial treatment. But in the weeks and months that followed, what seemed like treatable injuries continued to lead to further unexplainable deaths, prompting an unlikely group of investigative journalists at the Sports Gazette to launch an investigation into what went wrong. Uncovering a scandal reaching into the highest levels of government, the team soon discovers that their story is larger than they ever imagined, leading to mass protests across Romania and the toppling of the Prime Minister. Following the investigation as it progresses, Alexandre Nanau’s revelatory documentary is a powerful indictment of governmental corruption and a tribute to those working tirelessly to uncover the truth.

CUNNINGHAM

Director: Alla Kovgan
In the past century of choreography, Merce Cunningham is perhaps the most iconic name of his medium, with an ever-evolving body of work that forever changed the world of contemporary dance. Bringing together the last generation of dancers trained under the choreographer at the Merce Cunningham Dance Company to perform his most celebrated and ambitious pieces, filmmaker Alla Kovgan presents his work in stunning 3D photography, bringing the audience as close as possible to the movements and actions of the dancers on screen. For both viewers intimately aware and new to his work, CUNNINGHAM is a stunning profile of one of contemporary dance’s most important bodies of work.

OVERSEAS

New York Premiere
Director: Sung-a Yoon
In one of many training centers of its kind in the Philippines, a group of women gather to prepare themselves for the life awaiting them overseas as domestic workers in the West. Training under teachers who have returned from similar work abroad, the women learn to enact the cleaning and maidly duties their positions will require of them, while also learning to prepare for the likelihood of mistreatment and abuse that may await them. In her revealing look at the personal sacrifices and abandoned lives of a small group of Filipina workers, director Sung-a Yoon sheds necessary light on the struggle of those risking alienation, heartbreak, and abuse for the means through which to find a better life thousands of miles from home.

PAHOKEE

New York Premiere
Directors: Patrick Bresnan + Ivete Lucas
In their striking feature film debut, HIFF alums Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan (SKIP DAY) immerse themselves in the rural town of Pahokee—a small, close-knit community nestled within the Florida Everglades—to observe four high-school students about to embark on their senior year. Finding themselves on the precipice of adulthood in a community where older generations have placed all of their hopes for opportunity on the youth, these students navigate the often celebratory, sometimes bittersweet rites-of-passage that accompany this hopeful and uncertain time of transition. Imbued with warmth and intimacy, PAHOKEE is a remarkable piece of verité filmmaking that captures both the joy and heartbreak of the teenage experience.

TALKING ABOUT TREES

U.S. Premiere
Director: Suhaib Gasmelbari
Reunited after years in exile, Ibrahim, Soliman, Manar, and Altayeb, the members of the “Sudanese Film Club,” come together with a single mission: to bring back the now decaying grand cinema in the center of their city. Each a filmmaker in their own right after receiving their film education abroad, the four members now tirelessly work to try to overcome the overwhelming persecution and oppression facing the country’s artists to return a culture of cinema, and art, to Sudan. Intimately exploring the history of Sudanese cinema alongside the Film Club’s struggle against the many blockades in their way, TALKING ABOUT TREES looks beyond the headlines of the country’s ongoing crisis to shed light on the struggle for personal expression within it.

Documentary Competition is sponsored by 


HIFF 2019 Updates

The 27th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place Columbus Day Weekend: October 10 – 14, 2019. The Festival is pleased to welcome back returning Premiere Sponsor Audi, Lead Sponsors Delta and Altour, Signature Sponsors Netflix, Douglas Elliman, and JP Morgan, and Official Media Sponsors WNBC, The East Hampton Star, and Purist Magazine.