Hamptons preps 50 for fest

Redgrave due Golden Starfish nod

The 15th annual Hamptons International Film Festival will host 50 features — 17 of them world premieres — beginning with the opening-night presentation of Bob Balaban's Doris Duke biopic "Bernard and Doris," starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes.

The event, set for Oct. 17-21, will close with Kirsten Sheridan's musician drama "August Rush," starring Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Terrence Howard and Robin Williams.

Vanessa Redgrave will be honored with the annual Golden Starfish Award for career achievement in acting and also is scheduled to participate in a discussion with moderator Alec Baldwin sponsored by New Line/Picturehouse. Veteran director Sidney Lumet also will discuss his 50-plus-year career as part of the "A Conversation With …" series.

The fest programming was led for the first time by five-year HIFF veteran Josh Koury and Newport International Film Festival special consultant David Nugent. Former artistic director Rajendra Roy was named chief curator at the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film in May. The HIFF board is searching for an executive director to work alongside board chairman Stuart Match Suna and festival director Gianna Chachere. Denise Kassell left that post this year.

This year's competitors for the Golden Starfish narrative competition are Will Geiger's morbid romance "Elvis and Anabelle," Chaz Thorne's black comedy "Just Buried," Tom Collins' friendship drama "Kings," Birgit Moller's German character study "Valerie" and actor Chris Eigeman's mother-son thriller "Turn the River" starring Famke Janssen. The jurors include Arianna Bocco, Elvis Mitchell and John Sloss, and the winner will receive more than $185,000 in goods and in-kind services.

The Golden Starfish Documentary award will be selected from Steven-Charles Jaffe's cartoonist sketch "Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird," Matthew Galkin's "I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA," Bettina Blumner's German docudrama "Pool of Princesses," Greg Whiteley's debating study film "Resolved" and Marshall Fine's Rex Reed profile "Do You Sleep in the Nude?" Liz Ogilvie and Jamie Johnson will appear on the jury.

Several features with high-profile filmmakers will be shown in the Spotlight Films section, including Albert Maysles' docu "Grey Gardens: From East Hampton to Broadway," Ellen Spiro and Phil Donahue's Iraq docu "Body of War," Alison Eastwood's "Rails & Ties," Tamara Jenkins' "The Savages," Andrew Wagner's "Starting Out in the Evening" and Paul Schrader's "The Walker."

This year's Rising Stars program, connecting new acting talent with filmmakers, will include Hannah Herzsprung, Blake Lively, Egbert Jan Weeber and Sundance Film Festival winner Jess Weixler.

The program 15 Years, 15 Stories will offer anecdotes about the fest's history from Michael Lynne, Gary Winick and others. Additional programs include Films of Conflict and Resolution, Focus on Family Film Series and Gray Matter films dedicated to the late Spalding Gray.
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