Michael Vick Dogs Documentary to Premiere at Hamptons Film Festival

Associated Press
A dog used in Michael Vick's dogfighting operation.

The festival, which is adding a Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights program, has also renamed its morning talks for late director Gary Winick.

The Hamptons International Film Festival is adding a Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights program, featuring three narrative or documentary films about social justice issues and animal rights, one of which will receive the "Giving Voice to the Voiceless" award at the festival's annual awards ceremony. In this new program, the festival will this year feature the world premiere of Darcy Dennett's The Champions, a documentary about the pitbulls rescued from Michael Vick's fighting ring.

“Billions of animals continue to be abused every day and denied their basic right to life and protection against violence and cruelty,” the festival's artistic director David Nugent said in a statement. “This new signature program will allow the festival to join the important film movement that brings justice to animals, an effort that has been increasing impact and visibility worldwide.”

The festival has also renamed its morning talks series after late director and producer Gary Winick, who premiered multiple films at the festival and won the audience award in 1999 for The Tic Code. Winick went on to direct movies like Tadpole, 13 Going on 30, the live-action Charlotte's Web and Bride Wars. The Gary Winick Memorial Fund will support Winick Talks, which will take place on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of this year's festival.

And the festival is partnering with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Organization for Migration's Plural+ International Youth Video Program. The festival will showcase UNAOC and IOM's movies and present them throughout the year in East End schools.

"We are delighted to expand our ongoing local student initiatives through our partnership with the UNAOC and IOM. It is part of our mission to enlighten our audiences with issues happening both worldwide and within our own backyards," HIFF executive director Anne Chaisson said in a statement. "The art of film has always been a catalyst in change for a better world and understanding the human condition, and these films provide the basis for open discussion, plus informative curricula for the classroom.”

The 23rd Hamptons International Film Festival is set to take place Oct. 8-12.