D.A. Pennebaker Co-Directed Animal Rights Doc, Berlin Golden Bear Winner Among First Hamptons Film Festival Selections

Fire at Sea - Still 1 - H 2016
Courtesy of TIFF

The annual event, the 24th edition of which is set to run Oct. 6-10, has for the past six years screened the eventual best picture winner at the Oscars.

The Hamptons International Film Festival on Tuesday revealed some of the films that will screen as part of its "Conflict and Resolution"; "Compassion, Justice and Animal Rights"; and "Air, Land and Sea" signature programs.

The latter is a new section that focuses on environmental conservation, clean water and preserving Earth's natural resources, focused particularly on the ocean. The program is designed to generate awareness of man-made environmental issues and allow filmmakers and experts to discuss solutions to these problems.

The "Conflict and Resolution" section consists of feature-length and short films that creatively explore the issues and societal effects of war and violence and the accompanying human dramas. The program will include the East Coast premiere of Disturbing the Peace, directed by Stephen Apkon and Andrew Young, about the formation of Combatants for Peace, an organization consisting of former Israeli soldiers and Palestinian activists now working toward peaceful resolution. The section also will screen Gianfranco Rosi's Berlin Golden Bear winner Fire at Sea, about the European migrant crisis from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, and Sonita, about an Afghan refugee living in Iran and dreaming of becoming a famous rapper. The program also will feature the short films Home, My Aleppo and The White Helmets.

The "Compassion, Justice and Animal Rights" section will include the New York premiere of ivory poaching doc The Ivory Game, from Oscar-nominated director Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani. The program also will screen D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus' Unlocking the Cage, which follows animal rights lawyer Steven Wise as he files the first lawsuits to transform a chimpanzee from a "thing" with no rights to a "person" with legal protections.

The "Air, Land and Sea" program will include a screening of Emmy-nominated director Michelle Dougherty and Daniel Hinerfeld’s Sonic Sea, which focuses on protecting aquatic wildlife from oceanic noise pollution.

“Our signature programs help to elevate the content of the festival's programming with films that continue to provide audiences with thought-provoking material,” HIFF artistic director David Nugent said in a statement. “Our hope with 'Air, Land and Sea' is for the festival to embrace the global discussion on environmental issues, and build a platform for filmmakers and audiences to engage and interact.”

Added HIFF executive director Anne Chaisson: “We are delighted to announce yet another year of incredible documentary, narrative and short films as part of our signature programs. Each year these sections have attracted some of the brightest filmmakers from across the globe to the Hamptons, bringing stimulating, entertaining and intelligent material to audiences.”

The 24th edition of the Hamptons International Film Festival is set to run Oct. 6-10. For the past six years, HIFF has been the only East Coast film festival to have screened the eventual best picture winner at the Oscars.