Roger Ebert Doc 'Life Itself' to Open Hamptons SummerDocs Series
The Hamptons International Film Festival unveiled its sixth annual SummerDocs series, which will kick off with the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself.
Steve James' (Hoop Dreams) documentary about the late film critic will screen on June 21 at Guild Hall in East Hampton. Alec Baldwin will lead a conversation with Ebert's widow, Chaz Ebert, as part of the screening.
The SummerDocs series will also feature Keep on Keepin' On, which chronicles the relationship between jazz legend Clark Terry and blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin. That film will screen on July 25, also at Guild Hall, with director Al Hicks in attendance for the conversation.
"Steve James' entertaining and inspiring story about Roger Ebert is a fascinating look at a film critic who truly helped to shape our culture," series presenter Baldwin said. "Al Hicks' Keep on Keepin' On is a moving portrait of not only Clark Terry's legacy but of how one person's mentorship can make a difference."
Added artistic director David Nugent: "After another year in which a SummerDocs selection has gone on to win the Oscar for best documentary, we are excited to bring what we see as some of the most exciting voices in documentary films to the Hamptons."
James and executive producers Martin Scorsese and Steven Zaillian (Schindler’s List, Moneyball) will present Life Itself, a film will that be released by Magnolia Pictures on July 4.
In his debut Keep on Keepin' On, Australian director Hicks spent four years following Terry and Kaulflin during a pivotal moment in each of their lives. At 89 years old, "CT" has played alongside Duke Ellington and Count Basie. His pupils include Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, but his most unlikely friendship is with Kaulflin, a 23-year-old with uncanny talent but debilitating nerves.
The film is produced by Jones and Paula DuPre' Pesmen (The Cove). The film was recently awarded two prizes at the Tribeca Film Festival: best new documentary director and the audience award for documentary). Radius-TWC film will release the film.
Candescent Films, the company behind such films as The Queen of Versailles and Fed Up, will be sponsoring the SummerDocs' Audience Award.
SummerDocs runs months before the annual Hamptons International Film Festival, which will be held over Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 9-13.