Talk about ending with a flourish.
Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” a critically acclaimed look at the dramatic life and career of composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, will close the 2023 edition of the Hamptons International Festival. “Maestro,” which co-stars Carey Mulligan, will screen on Oct. 12. It is set to be released by Netflix on Dec. 20.
More from Variety
“’Maestro’ is a beautifully crafted, raw and heartfelt film. We look forward to sharing this glimpse into the love story between Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein,” said HamptonsFilm Executive Director Anne Chaisson.
The annual celebration of movies also announced its full lineup of programming, which includes additional signature programming including “A Conversation with…” Series with Paul Simon, who will be on hand to talk up a new, sprawling look at his six decades of making cultural-defining hits. Simon, a rock icon who has written everything from “The Sound of Silence” to “Graceland,” is attending the festival on behalf of Alex Gibney’s “In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon,” which is screening as this year’s Centerpiece presentation.
The festival also announced filmmaker Celine Song will attend the festival for a special screening of her latest work, the acclaimed romantic drama “Past Lives.” Song will receive the festival’s Breakthrough Artist Award. The festival said Song will participate in a Q&A on Oct. 11, following a special screening of her film. “Past Lives” was released by A24 in the U.S. in June.
The 31st edition of the Hamptons International Film Festival will feature a lineup that is 49% female-directed and represents 42 countries from around the world. The festival had a record number of submissions this year and will screen 70 features and 46 shorts with eight world premieres, three North American premieres, 11 U.S. premieres, 13 East Coast premieres and eight New York premieres.
Newly announced Spotlight titles include the New York premiere of Sony Picture Classics’ “A Little Prayer,” which was directed by Angus MacLachlan. It follows a man who tries to protect his daughter-in-law when he discovers his son is having an affair. There’s also the East Coast premiere of MGM Studios’ “American Fiction,” a satire that marks “Succession” and “Watchmen” writer Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut; the New York premiere of A24’s “Dream Scenario,” written and directed by Kristoffer Borgli, following a hapless family man who finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams; Neon’s “Eileen,” directed by William Oldroyd, following a young woman’s friendship with an intoxicating colleague who entangles her in a shocking crime; the North American premiere of “Ex-Husbands,” directed by Noah Pritzker, following a man going through a crisis when his parents divorce after 65 years, his own wife leaves him, and his two sons face struggles in their own lives; the East Coast premiere of Apple Original Films’ “Fingernails,” directed by Christos Nikou, which follows a couple, Anna and Ryan, who have found true love thanks to a controversial new technology. In addition, the festival will host the East Coast premiere of Focus Features’ “The Holdovers,” directed by Oscar-winner Alexander Payne, which follows the story of a prickly teacher at a New England prep school, who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break with a group of students with nowhere to go; and the U.S. premiere of Hulu’s “Quiz Lady,” directed by Jessica Yu, which centers around a game show-obsessed young woman and her estranged sister as they work together to help cover their mother’s gambling debts.
“It is with great excitement that we are able to share the final additions to our well-rounded and diversified programming, including our Signature Programs, and additional spotlight and competition selections,” said HamptonsFilm Artistic Director David Nugent. “It is an honor to host so many talented filmmakers and artists as they share their stories with our film-loving community, including the legendary Paul Simon and accomplished filmmaker Celine Song.”
The Narrative Competition section of this year’s festival will include the U.S. premiere of Utopia’s “Red Rooms,” which was directed by Pascal Plante and exposes the underbelly of the internet and our society’s fascination with violent crime; the East Coast premiere of Sony Picture Classics’ “Shayda,” directed by Noora Niasari, following a young Iranian mother and her six-year-old daughter who find refuge in an Australian women’s shelter during the two weeks of the Iranian New Year (Nowruz); Magnolia Picture’s “The Feeling That The Time for Doing Something Has Passed,” directed by Joanna Arnow, depicting the life of a woman as time passes in her long-term casual BDSM relationship, low-level corporate job, and quarrelsome Jewish family; the New York premiere of “Tiger Stripes,” directed by Amanda Nell Eu, following an 11-year-old girl who is carefree until she starts to experience horrifying physical changes to her body; and the New York premiere of Film Movement’s “20,000 Species of Bees,” directed by Estibaliz Urresola Solaguren, following an eight-year-old and her mother who experience revelations that will change their lives while living in a village house linked to beekeeping.
The Documentary Competition section of this year’s festival will include the East Coast premiere of “Angel Applicant,” directed by Ken August Meyer, which tells the story of a man who discovers knowledge of how to cope with his deadly autoimmune disease within the colorful expressive works of the late Swiss-German modern artist, Paul Klee; Sideshow/Janus Films’ “Orlando, My Political Biography,” directed by Paul B. Preciado, which tells stories of transition through unique reenactments and visual interpretations of Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando”; the New York premiere of Greenwich Entertainment’s “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood,” directed by Anna Hints, following a multigenerational group of women who embark on a smoke sauna tradition known as “savvusanna kombõ,” as they come together in protective darkness to share secrets and wash off the shame that has accumulated in their bodies; the East Coast premiere of “This World Is Not My Own,” directed by Petter Ringbom and Marquise Stillwell, which brings to life the story of Nellie Mae Rowe, the daughter of a former slave who made brilliant art in obscurity for her entire life, until she met wealthy gallerist.
As part of the Signature Programs, the Conflict and Resolution section, will include “A Revolution on Canvas,” directed by Sara Nodjoumi, working with co-director and husband, Till Schauder, for her directorial debut with this personal film, diving into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of more than 100 “treasonous” paintings by her father, seminal Iranian modern artist Nickzad “Nicky” Nodjoumi; “Beyond Utopia,” directed by Madeleine Gavin, which is a suspenseful look at the lengths people will go to gain freedom; “Invisible Nation,” directed by Vanessa Hope, which is a living account of the election and tenure of Tsai Ing-wen, the first female president of Taiwan; the East Coast premiere of MTV Documentary Films’ “Mourning in Lod,” directed by Hilla Medalia, which follows the fates of three families that are inextricably intertwined in a vicious cycle of violence in the city of Lod, Israel, where Israelis and Palestinians live side by side; and the U.S. premiere of “The Old Oak,” directed by Ken Loach, about the future for the last remaining pub in a former mining village of Northeast England.
As part of the Signature Programs, the Views from Long Island section will include the world premiere of “Mary Heilmann: Waves, Roads & Hallucinations,” directed by Matt Creed, which looks at artist Mary Heilmann, who ranks amongst the most influential American abstract painters of her generation; and the world premiere of “These Days,” directed by Junior Gonzalez, a docudrama about Jay, a 15-year-old talented artist trying to understand his own journey in life.
As part of the Signature Programs, the Air, Land, and Sea section will include “Common Ground,” directed by Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell, which profiles a hopeful and uplifting movement of white, Black, and Indigenous farmers who are using alternative “regenerative” models of agriculture that could balance the climate and stabilize America’s economy; the world premiere of “Silent Fall: Baby Teeth Speak,” directed by Hideaki Ito, which unveils the legacy of nuclear testing in the U.S. and the ongoing policy decisions shaping our future with a post-screening discussion led by HamptonsFilm board member and actor Alec Baldwin; and the East Coast premiere of HBO’s “Trees and Other Entanglements,” directed by Irene Taylor, which examines our connections to the natural world and one another.
In the World Cinema Documentary section, the slate includes the New York premiere of IFC Films’ “The Disappearance of Shere Hite,” directed by Nicole Newnham, which shines a light on a forgotten feminist figure who was ahead of her time, silenced by Americans unwilling to confront the honesty of women’s sexual agency and desire; the U.S. premiere of “Four Daughters,” directed by Oscar-nominated Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania, which reconstructs the story of Olfa Hamrouni and her four daughters, two of whom were radicalized by Islamic extremists; Zipporah Films’ “Menus-Plaisirs-Les Troisgros,” directed by Frederick Wiseman, which centers on the day-to-night operations of the legendary restaurant Troisgros, founded 93 years ago and currently being passed down to the 4th generation in a family of chefs; the New York premiere of National Geographic’s “The Mission,” directed by Emmy-winning documentarians Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine, which examines the fateful journey John Chau took to bring Christianity to the isolated indigenous people of North Sentinel Island; Apple Original Films’s “The Pigeon Tunnel,” directed by Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris, which looks at British spy turned novelist John le Carré; the U.S. premiere of “Praying for Armageddon,” directed by Tonje Hessen Schei and Michael Rowley, which reveals the power and influence of U.S. fundamentalist Evangelicals as they aim to fulfill the prophecy of a Holy War that will trigger the Second Coming of Christ; “Ron Delsener Presents,” directed by Jake Sumner, which takes audiences on a tour through a half-century of live music with music business pioneer Ron Delsener; “Rule of Two Walls,” directed by David Gutnik, which is an intimate look at the war in Ukraine, as seen through the eyes of Ukrainian artists who remained in their embattled country; the U.S. premiere of “Songs of Earth,” directed by Margreth Olin, who embarks on a yearlong existential journey, reconnecting with her aging parents as they reflect on both their long and happy marriage and their place in the natural world; the U.S. premiere of “Summer Qamp,” directed by Jen Markowitz, following a group of LGBTQ+ youth at an idyllic lakeside camp in Alberta, Canada where campers enjoy the traditional summer camp experience in a safe, affirming environment.
In the World Cinema Narrative section the slate includes Neon’s Palme d’Or winning “Anatomy of a Fall,” directed by Justine Triet, following a woman who becomes the main suspect when her husband falls to his death in a remote town; the U.S. premiere of “Chuck Chuck Baby,” directed by Janis Pugh, a film of love, loss, music, and female friendship set in and around the falling feathers of a chicken processing plant in industrial north Wales; Janus/Sideshow Film’s “Evil Does Not Exist,” directed by Academy Award winner Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, which follows Takumi and his daughter Hana, who live in a village threatened by a plan to build a glamping site near Takumi’s house that would damage the environment; Mubi’s “Fallen Leaves,” directed by Award-winning filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki, a hopeful love story about two lonely souls’ path to happiness; “Fancy Dance,” directed by Erica Tremblay, which follows a Native American hustler who kidnaps her niece from her white grandparents after her sister’s disappearance and sets out for the state powwow; “Green Border,” directed by three-time Academy Award nominee Agnieszka Holland, following the dangers faced by asylum seekers along European borders; Neon’s “La Chimera,” directed by Academy Award nominee Alice Rohrwacher, taking place in 1980s Tuscany, where Arthur leads a band of thieves of ancient Etruscan relics and archaeological wonders; the U.S. premiere of “Monster,” directed by Kore-eda Hirokazu, which unfolds through the eyes of a mother, teacher, and child following a mother who notices her son is acting strangely and discovers that a teacher may be responsible; the U.S. premiere of “The Peasants,” directed by DK Welchman and Hugh Welchman, which tells the story of Jagna, a young woman determined to forge her own path within the confines of a late 19th century patriarchal Polish village; Neon’s “Perfect Days,” directed by Academy Award-nominated director Wim Wenders, following Hirayama, a toilet cleaner living in Tokyo, whose restrained, structured life is disrupted when he strikes up an unexpected friendship with a young girl; the East Coast premiere of Sony Picture Classics’ “The Persian Version,” directed by Maryam Keshavarz, which tells the story of Iranian-American Leila, who navigates her relationships at arm’s length in an effort to balance her opposing cultures; the East Coast premiere of Magnolia Pictures’ “The Promised Land,” directed by Nikolaj Arcel, which follows the impoverished Captain Ludvig Kahlen in 1755 as he sets out to conquer a vast uninhabitable land to cultivate valuable crops and build a colony in exchange for a desperately desired royal name for himself; “Radical,” directed by Christopher Zalla, based on a true story of a frustrated teacher in a Mexican border town plagued by neglect, corruption, and violence; Neon’s “Robot Dreams,” directed by Pablo Berger, based on the popular graphic novel by the North American writer Sara Varon, following the adventures and misfortunes of Dog and Robot in NYC during the ’80s; the North American premiere of Netflix’s “Society of the Snow,” directed by J.A. Bayona and telling the true story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which in 1972 crashed in the heart of the Andes and trapped a team of rugby players in one of the most hostile and inaccessible environments on the planet; IFC Films’ “The Taste of Things,” directed by Tran Anh Hung, set in France in 1889, following Dodin Bouffant, a chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie; the East Coast premiere of Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Teacher’s Lounge,” directed by İlker Çatak, which tells the story of an idealistic new teacher decides to get to the bottom of a series of thefts at a German high school when students point fingers at their Turkish classmate and tensions rise; and “Totem,” directed by Lila Avilés, which follows a seven-year-old Sol, who spends the day at her grandfather’s home preparing for a surprise party for Sol’s father, Tonatiuh as she comes to understand that her world is about to change dramatically.
In addition, the festival has announced its jury members. The narrative jury will include Arianna Bocco, who most recently served as the president of IFC Films; David Koepp, a director and screenwriter, best known for writing “Jurassic Park” and “Mission: Impossible”; and Matt Singer, the editor and film critic of ScreenCrush.com, and the current chair of the New York Film Critics Circle. Caryn Coleman, the founder of The Future of Film is Female, a non-profit organization that amplifies the work of all women and non-binary filmmakers through its short film fund, commitment to exhibition, and community building programs; Marie Therese Guirgis, the head of Documentary at Play/Action Pictures, with producing credits including 2022 Academy Award-winner “Summer of Soul” and “MLK/FBI”; and Carlos Sandoval, Emmy-nominated and Sundance award-winning filmmaker, best known for “Farmingville”; will make up this year’s Documentary Jury.
Best of Variety