HIFF 2016: Opening Night, Closing Night & Centerpiece Films



East Hampton Opening Night: Thursday, October 6
US Premiere | USA
Director: Jeff Nichols
From acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols, LOVING celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who were arrested after eloping in 1958. With their marriage deemed unlawful, they were forced to plead guilty and move out of their home state of Virginia. After five years in exile—and with the Civil Rights movement in full swing—they decided to fight back. The unassuming yet determined couple appealed their case all the way to the Supreme Court and changed history with the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision. Featuring two riveting performances at its core: as the aptly-named Lovings, Edgerton and Negga exude a quiet certainty about their right to love each other, against all odds.

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Southampton Opening Night: Friday, October 7
US Premiere | USA
Director: Katherine Dieckmann
is a portrait of an unconventional woman (Holly Hunter) discovering what it takes to change your life mid-stream. A lyrical, emotionally rich drama, STRANGE WEATHER tracks a strong southern woman as she travels the deep south with her best friend (Carrie Coon), looking for answers to the unanswerable. Beloved actress Holly Hunter (THE PIANO, BROADCAST NEWS) soars in this gripping story about how to be fully alive in the face of tragedy, about forgiveness, grace, redemption and the power of moving on.

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Centerpiece: Saturday, October 8
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
In his most powerful and raw performance yet, Casey Affleck stars as Lee Chandler, a brooding handyman who reluctantly returns home in Kenneth Lonergan’s critically acclaimed masterpiece MANCHESTER BY THE SEA. As the unexpected guardian to his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges), Lee is slowly forced to confront a past tragedy head on. With the impeccable Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler in supporting roles, Lonergan delivers a deeply felt tale of a New England family dealing with unimaginable loss. Building on subtle and beautifully nuanced moments of human connection, finding humor amidst sorrow and regret, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming.
Featuring Lucas Hedges and Kara Hayward, Variety 10 Actors to Watch.

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Centerpiece: Sunday, October 9
Director: Mike Mills
The remarkable Annette Bening stars as Dorothea Fields, a single mother devoted to raising her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) into a decent man in Mike Mills’s heartwarming comedy 20TH CENTURY WOMEN. Set in 1979 Santa Barbara, Dorothea assembles a makeshift family, including Greta Gerwig as a punk artist, Billy Crudup as a carpenter renovating their sprawling bohemian house, and Elle Fanning as Jamie’s rebellious friend. With a sensitive touch and attention to period detail, writer/director Mills (BEGINNERS, THUMBSUCKER) delivers a rich and charming portrait of the group as they try to teach the boy, and ultimately themselves, about men, women, love, and freedom.

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Closing Night: Monday, October 10
US Premiere | USA
Director: Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor
’s directorial debut is a searing adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, which recreates the tumultuous social and political atmosphere of the late ’60s – early ’70s. Seymour “Swede” Levov (Ewan McGregor), a former star athlete, and his beauty queen wife (Jennifer Connelly) live an idyllic life in a quaint New Jersey town. Their lives are irrevocably changed when their daughter Merry (Dakota Fanning) becomes radicalized. The “perfect family” illusion is shattered when Merry disappears after being accused of committing a violent act and Swede dedicates his life to finding her and reuniting his family. A complex and layered insight into the precariousness of the American Dream, AMERICAN PASTORAL is a subversive and provocative experience.

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