HIFF Signature Programs

Explore our distinctive Signature Programs: these exclusive screenings, conversations, and special events are unique to the Hamptons International Film Festival, bringing diverse, thoughtful entertainment to the East End.

HIFF COMPETITIONA CONVERSATION WITH...FILMS OF CONFLICT & RESOLUTIONCOMPASSION, JUSTICE & ANIMAL RIGHTSAIR, LAND & SEAVIEWS FROM LONG ISLANDBREAKTHROUGH ARTISTSWINICK TALKS AT ROWDY HALLUNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL PARTNERSHIP

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Discover thrilling new talent in HIFF’s prestigious Competition section. Each year, the HIFF Awards honor emerging narrative and documentary directors from all over the world, representing cinema’s next wave of groundbreaking film artists.

Films are honored in narrative feature, documentary feature and short film competitions, including categories for both narratives and documentaries. Juried by world-class filmmakers and industry professionals, these competitions comprise important, provocative premieres from new voices in filmmaking.

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Since the Festival’s inceptionA Conversation With… has been an integral part of HIFF, featuring one-on-one interviews with some legendary personalities. Past conversations include Steven Spielberg, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Altman, Susan Sarandon, Laura Dern, Holly Hunter, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Emily Blunt, Hilary Swank, Mark Ruffalo, Matthew BroderickRichard Gere, Martin Scorsese, and many more.

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Since 2000, the Films of Conflict & Resolution program has been dedicated to showcasing films that deal with the complex issues and societal effects of war and violence, and the attendant human dramas, in creative ways.

The films, which include both features and shorts, call on the audience to learn, react, and engage in worthy causes.

Each year, one film in the program is recognized with a cash prize of $5,000 from The Brizzolara Family Foundation.

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Bringing together animal advocacy, environmental and social justice issues, our Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights section provides a platform for filmmakers to share meaningful information, stories of inspiration, and tools for creating a safe and humane world for animals.

In the 21st century, billions of animals continue to be exploited for our food, clothing, labor, research and entertainment. They are denied their basic right to life and fundamental protections against violence and cruelty. The films in this program seek to arouse in the consciousness of our audiences respect for the dignity and rights of all living beings and to encourage dialogue about how we treat and view animals as a community.

The winner of the Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights program receives the Zelda Penzel “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” Award, accompanied by a cash prize. Raising public awareness about the moral and ethical treatment and the rights of animals, as well as environmental protection, the winning film inspires compassion and compels social change. Given by Zelda Penzel, long time educator, advocate for animal rights, and a volunteer at HIFF since its inception.


HIFF also has a year-round program that brings Compassion, Justice and Animal Rights education into the schools. Learn more!

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Where the air, land and sea lure prominent visitors from around the world and our local residents feel nothing short of devout passion for our waters—HIFF is perfectly poised to bring to life this signature program dedicated to global issues of environmental conservation.

Founded in 2016 with the goal to generate awareness around man-made environmental issues, this section fosters a deeper appreciation for our planet, and allows filmmakers and experts to share information and discuss solutions to the global problems which face us all today.

HIFF’s Air, Land & Sea selections take filmgoers on a journey of environmental appreciation and awareness. This journey continues with post-screening Q&As that dive deep into the issues depicted in select films.

Air, Land and Sea is made possible, in part, by the generous contribution of Susan and David Rockefeller. Additional support provided by Nicole Delma and Fond Group.

The Views From Long Island program focuses on local filmmakers, the area’s unique landscapes, and the important social and political issues facing Long Island communities.

Supported by the Suffolk County Film Commission, one Suffolk County Next Exposure Grant is awarded to a feature film in the section. This program supports the completion of high quality, original director-driven, low budget independent films from both emerging and established filmmakers who have completed 50% of principal photography within Suffolk County, New York.

With support from
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Each year, the Hamptons International Film Festival recognizes a new class of Breakthrough Artists. These up-and-coming stars with uncommonly bright futures are celebrated at the Festival.

Past honorees include many future Oscar® winners and nominees, including Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Taraji P. HensonOctavia SpencerPatricia Clarkson, Samantha MortonLupita Nyong’oMichael ShannonMelissa Leo and more.

Additional actors who have received this honor include Oscar Isaac, David Oyelowo, Adam Driver, Brie Larson, Miles Teller, Jack O’Connell, Tatiana Maslany, Emily Blunt, Rooney Mara, Ezra Miller, and Alexander Skarsgård.

Gary Winick

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For three mornings during the Festival, all are welcome to join HIFF for food, fun, and casual conversation with exciting special guests at our Winick Talks at Rowdy Hall.

Guest artists are featured in a moderated conversation, with coffee and light breakfast served free of charge. Cinephiles will not want to miss this exciting opportunity for in-depth and informal discussion with pre-eminent film artists!

Presented by the Gary Winick Memorial Fund.

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During the annual Film Festival, HamptonsFilm welcomes nearly 1000 local, middle, and high school students to participate in the annual film festival to view short films made by international youth on diversity, migration, inclusion and human rights. Students are further engaged with a post-screening Q&A session with attending filmmakers and educators.

The short films are made by international youth. Most of the films are chosen in conjunction with the Plural+ International Film Festival, a joint venture of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Organization for Migration.