HIFF28: Opening Night + First Films Announced

Just six weeks until Opening Night of the 28th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival! We are thrilled to announce the first five films in the lineup. We hope you will join us for our expanded seven-day virtual edition of the festival (October 8–14), which will also feature select drive-in screenings.

The Opening Night Film on October 8 will be Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi’s WITH DRAWN ARMS, which follows the legacy of Olympic athlete Tommie Smith’s fist-raising gesture during the 1968 Olympic games. The film features interviews with various subjects, including soccer gold medalist and activist Megan Rapinoe, the late U.S. Representative John Lewis, and actor Jesse Williams, who also serves as an executive producer along with musician John Legend. WITH DRAWN ARMS will receive the 2020 Brizzolara Family Foundation Award, given each year to a film in our signature program Films of Conflict + Resolution and accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize. The films in this program deal in creative ways with the complex issues and societal effects of war and violence, and the attendant human dramas.

The festival will also feature the World Premiere of Rick Korn’s HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT, DO SOMETHING (Views From Long Island), which illuminates the award-winning songwriter Harry Chapin, whose work includes such beloved hits as ‘Cats in the Cradle’ and ‘Taxi.’ In addition, HIFF28 will feature Florian Zeller’s THE FATHER, which follows a father and daughter’s relationship in the face of the father’s ailing memory, and stars Academy Award® winner Sir Anthony Hopkins and Academy Award® winner Olivia Colman; the East Coast Premiere of Edson Oda’s NINE DAYS, a gripping tale of a man living in an unknown, metaphysical realm who is tasked with choosing one worthy soul to be born, starring Winston Duke and Zazie Beetz; and the East Coast Premiere of Elizabeth Lo’s STRAY (Compassion, Justice + Animal Rights), a documentary shot through the eyes of three stray dogs wandering the streets of Istanbul, their gaze being a window into the overlooked corners of society.

“In the face of these unprecedented times, we are thrilled to continue to present unique and fascinating films for our audiences—from thrilling narratives like THE FATHER and NINE DAYS to powerful documentaries like STRAY and HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT, DO SOMETHING. We are particularly proud to be opening this year’s 28th edition with a film that explores a seminal moment from the civil rights movement that continues to resonate with today’s climate of conflict and change in WITH DRAWN ARMS,” said HamptonsFilm Artistic Director David Nugent.

“While this year’s festival may look different, we look forward to supporting filmmakers by following our mission to showcase new voices and the best of cinema from around the world, plus we are delighted to continue giving over $28,000 in cash awards, as well as another $130,000 in goods and services to our competition winners,” said Anne Chaisson, Executive Director of HamptonsFilm. “Now more than ever, audiences need a place to escape, whether through a virtual or a drive-in screening, and can immerse themselves in entertaining, gripping and enlightening movies this fall.”


Opening Night Film
dir. Glenn Kaino, Afshin Shahidi (USA), 2020 — Films of Conflict + Resolution

World Premiere
While the national anthem played during the 1968 Olympics, gold medal-winning champion Tommie Smith proudly raised his fist in the air; this act of silent protest has become one of the most recognizable images in the history of sports. Almost fifty years later, Smith has partnered with artist Glenn Kaino to help explore and expand his legacy. In the process, the duo travel around the country, meeting with key figures who were inspired by Smith’s sacrifice and working on new art projects designed to connect Smith’s intention to a new generation. The untold story of his sacrifice becomes a cautionary tale of how we must work together to keep each other’s stories alive, and a reminder of how much, but also how little, has changed for athletes who are using their voices to make a difference.


dir. Florian Zeller (UK/France), 2020 — Spotlight
Roguish, feisty, and staunchly in denial about his ailing memory, 80-year-old Anthony (Academy Award® winner Sir Anthony Hopkins) defiantly lives alone in his London flat and rejects each and every caretaker his dutiful daughter, Anne (Academy Award® winner Olivia Colman) attempts to hire. But she cannot continue to care for him alone, and Anthony’s grasp on reality and his sense of self soon begin to unravel, casting him as the unreliable narrator of his own story. Seamlessly adapted from his award-winning play of the same name, and anchored by two spectacular performances, Florian Zeller’s astonishing directorial debut is a deeply moving, uncompromisingly empathetic contemplation of how illness can strip away everything from those afflicted and those who are closest to them.


dir. Rick Korn (USA), 2020 — Views From Long Island
World Premiere
Harry Chapin, the award-winning songwriter behind beloved hits such as ‘Cats in the Cradle’ and ‘Taxi,’ defined his life through his storytelling and his humanitarian work. In this deeply moving portrait, documentarian Rick Korn chronicles the Long Island icon’s extraordinary journey—from his rise to fame to his tragic, untimely death. Through intimate archival footage and interviews with his famous friends and fans—including Billy Joel, Pete Seeger, Pat Benatar, Bruce Springsteen, and many more—HARRY CHAPIN: WHEN IN DOUBT DO SOMETHING celebrates the legacy of an artist and activist who tirelessly dedicated himself to others, and offers an inspiring call to follow in his footsteps.


dir. Edson Oda (USA), 2020 — Spotlight
East Coast Premiere

Living in a lonely outpost in an unknown, metaphysical realm, Will (Winston Duke) is tasked with observing those going about their days on Earth. When an unexpected tragic event leaves a vacancy for a new life, Will must carefully whittle five prospective candidates down to one worthy soul: the winner has the opportunity to be born, while the others lose that chance forevermore. But Will soon faces his own existential challenge in the form of Emma (Zazie Beetz), a free-spirited candidate unlike the others, and is forced to reckon with his own tumultuous past. An extraordinary feature debut, Edson Oda’s brilliant and haunting piece grapples with the enormous complexity of the human condition.


dir. Elizabeth Lo (USA), 2020 — Compassion, Justice + Animal Rights
East Coast Premiere

Through the eyes of three stray dogs (Zeytin, Nazar, and Kartal) wandering the streets of Istanbul, STRAY explores what it means to live as a being without status or security. As they search for food and shelter, the dogs embark on inconspicuous journeys through Turkish society that allow us an unvarnished portrait of human life. Disparate lives intersect when they each form intimate bonds with a group of young Syrians who share the streets with them. Whether they lead us into bustling streets or decrepit ruins, the gaze of these strays act as windows into the overlooked corners of society: women in loveless marriages, protesters without arms, refugees without sanctuary. The film is a critical observation of human civilization through the unfamiliar gaze of dogs and a sensory voyage into new ways of seeing.

The 28th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival will take place October 8–14, 2020. HIFF thanks corporate supporters for this year’s festival Netflix, The Seltzer Group at JP Morgan, Apple Original Films, Silvercup Studios and official media sponsors WNBC, The East Hampton Star, and The Purist, and is grateful for the long-term support from NYSCA and Suffolk County.

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