SummerDocs 2017 Expands Across the East End

SummerDocs host (and HIFF Co-Chair) Alec Baldwin returns for the ninth year to present new and groundbreaking documentary filmmaking and thought-provoking stories to the East End.

This summer’s series expands beyond Guild Hall to include Southampton and Gurney’s Montauk. Following each screening, Alec Baldwin and David Nugent will lead conversations with filmmakers and subjects.

Check out the five (!) exciting films that will screen in July and August.
Tickets are on sale now!

Saturday, July 29, Guild Hall: TROPHY
Friday, August 4, Gurney’s Montauk: TAKE EVERY WAVE: LAIRD HAMILTON
Thursday, August 17, UA Southampton: WHITNEY. “CAN I BE ME”
Saturday, August 26, Guild Hall of East Hampton: ICARUS

March 18, 2016 - St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S. - HULK HOGAN, whose given name is Terry Bollea walks out of the courthouse after he was awarded $115 million in damages in his lawsuit against the gossip website Gawker on Friday. (Credit Image: © Eve Edelheit/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA Wire) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericasfourteen709524.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]


Director: Brian Knappenberger
Saturday, July 8 | 7:00PM
Guild Hall in East Hampton

When online tabloid Gawker posted a sex tape starring former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, a high-stakes legal battle pitting privacy rights against the First Amendment ensued. Hogan won the case and the staggering settlement he received not only bankrupted Gawker and its founder Nick Denton, but also exposed a controversial, behind-the-scenes benefactor: Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

Whether you love or hate Gawker, Brian Knappenberger’s gripping polemic reveals the forces that really brought down the news portal. Taking examples like Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, this compelling documentary illustrates a growing, sinister trend at odds with our country’s free press. Corporate executives, titans, and billionaires are tipping the balance on the public’s access to news, posing new threats to society’s relationship to the truth. Knappenberger’s knack for capturing timely and provocative shifts in the new digital era is instinctive. Fusing exhaustive interviews with Denton, commentators, and journalists, NOBODY SPEAK weaves a disturbing, fascinating tale of power and truth with a moral that runs to the core of democracy.

In conversation: director Brian Knappenberger, Gawker Founder Elizabeth Spiers

Buffalo Dream Ranch, North West Province, South Africa - November 2016: John Hume, the worlds largest rhino breeder walks among his Rhinos. Mr. Hume had invested more than 50 Million US dollars into his rhino project. He currently is the custodian of over 1500 Rhinos, and fears that without legalization in the trade of Rhino Horn his project will come to an end.


Directors: Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz
Saturday, July 29 | 7:00PM
Guild Hall in East Hampton

Endangered African species like elephants, rhinos and lions march closer to extinction each year. Their devastating decline is fueled in part by a global desire to consume these majestic animals. Trophy investigates the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation. Through the eyes of impassioned individuals who drive these industries—from a Texas-based trophy hunter to the world’s largest private rhino breeder in South Africa—the film grapples with the consequences of imposing economic value on animals.

What are the implications of treating animals as commodities? Do breeding, farming and hunting offer some of the few remaining options to conserve our endangered animals? TROPHY will leave you debating what is right, what is wrong and what is necessary in order to save the great species of the world.

In conversation: directors Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz

Take Every Wave 650


Director: Rory Kennedy
Friday, August 4 | 8:30PM
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Spa in Montauk

TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON tracks the remarkable life and legendary career of big wave surfer Laird Hamilton. Much admired by the public, though often disdained or ignored by the surf industry itself, Laird is a unique sports icon—an athlete who has refused to compete professionally yet has dominated big wave surfing as no other figure in history ever has.

Laird’s biographical story is told against the backdrop of a winter surf season on Kauai, where El Niño storm systems threaten to bring the biggest surf in decades. Mixing never-before-seen archival footage with contemporary verité scenes shot in Southern California, Bermuda and Kauai, Take Every Wave weaves the past and present into an intimate and compelling portrait of a superstar athlete at the top of his game. Threaded throughout is a revealing, deeply personal interview with Laird, as well as conversations with the family members, friends, collaborators and detractors who know him best.

TAKE EVERY WAVE provides an intimate, uncompromising look at a lifetime devoted to riding giant surf—and the price an athlete pays for greatness.

In conversation: director Rory Kennedy and subject Laird Hamilton

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UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 05: WEMBLEY ARENA. Whitney Houston performing on stage. WWHITNEY. "CAN I BE ME". Photo Credit: Photo by David Corio/Redferns/SHOWTIME Photo ID: WHITNEY_canibeme_Whitney_85342957


Directors: Nick Broomfield, Rudi Dolezal
Thursday, August 17 | 7:00PM
UA Southampton 4 Theatres in Southampton

Whitney Houston was a sure thing, or as sure as the music industry had ever seen. A transcendent talent with pedigree and mentorship to match, she was going to be the greatest female vocalist ever. For a time, she was, and then she all-too-publicly fell short.

Documentarian Nick Broomfield and iconic music video director Rudi Dolezal offer a never-before-seen backstage look at the height of Houston’s stardom and trace with penetrating detail the forces that contributed to her shortened career and subsequent death in 2012, at age 48. Whether it be racism, religion, drugs, sexuality, self-doubt, gossip, rivalry, insufficient training, the demands of parents and the industry, a troubled marriage playing out in headlines, or the inevitable toll those stresses take from so muscular and passionate a singer, the directors leave nothing unturned. They create a picture of a remarkable woman who needed more help than she received and provide an unflinching, gripping, and wholly committed exploration of talent given and taken away, in an era obsessed with how that talent lives when the stage lights go down.

In conversation: director Nick Broomfield

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also with support from
Purist logo 100    Sothebys Summerdocs 100

Icarus 650


Director: Bryan Fogel
Saturday, August 26 | 7:00PM
Guild Hall in East Hampton

The ruthless worlds of international sports and politics rarely collide as spectacularly on screen as they do in Bryan Fogel’s thriller, which is sure to set off convulsions of controversy.

While investigating the furtive world of illegal doping in sports, Fogel connects with renegade Russian Scientist Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov—a pillar of his country’s “anti-doping” program. Over dozens of Skype calls, urine samples, and badly administered hormone injections, Fogel and Rodchenkov grow closer, despite shocking allegations that place Rodchenkov at the center of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping program. When the truth is more complex than imagined, and accusations of illegalities run to Russia’s highest chains of command, the two realize they hold the power to reveal the biggest international sports scandal in living memory.

Exemplifying the special bond between filmmaker and subject, this is a vital portrait of the sacrifice some people will make to stand up for truth. ICARUS places you at the heart of an international game of cat and mouse, where a miscalculation can cost you your life.

In conversation: director Bryan Fogel

Past SummerDocs selections, including TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, LAST DAYS OF VIETNAM, THE COVE, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, have gone on to receive Academy Award® wins and nominations. What will audiences discover this year?

(Note: the highlighted films will screen with 25 Years: 25 Films this summer!)

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Candescent Films
 returns to sponsor the Audience Award for the 2017 SummerDocs series. Candescent Films supports documentaries that illuminate social issues. Join the conversation @CandescentFilms.

“It’s HIFF’s 25th anniversary year and the ninth season of SummerDocs and we have a great lineup of documentary films, featuring intense drama and more entertaining fare. Artistic Director David Nugent and I believe this will be one of the best SummerDoc seasons yet,” said Hamptons International Film Festival Co-Chairman and SummerDocs series presenter Alec Baldwin.

“This year’s series truly includes something for everyone, from debates about free speech, an exploration of the trophy hunting industry, a pop star’s triumphs & struggles, a riveting sports scandal and a profile of a surfing pioneer. With a number of special guests set to attend, and engaging discussions following each screening, we are thrilled to share these films with our audiences,” said Hamptons International Film Festival Artistic Director David Nugent.