The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) was founded in 1992 by Joyce Robinson, and takes place each October in the lush and historic East Hampton, New York. Aside from the annual film festival, HIFF is a non-profit organization with year-round screenings of global narrative and documentary films. They foster emerging talent through their annual Screenwriters Lab – a weekend gathering where up-and-coming writers are mentored by established professionals in the business. HIFF is also involved with an educational program with the United Nations and other international initiatives.
This year commemorates 30 years of HIFF. The event, typically a five-day jubilee, has been extended to 10 days this year to celebrate their milestone, running October 7 through October 16.
With a focus on contemporary independent film – their diverse slate of movies range from short films, narratives, and documentaries – the festival aims to provide a varying arrangement of global perspectives and has become a crucial stop during the awards season. Aside from being a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards, the festival has multiple competitions aimed at filmmakers starting out in their careers. For the last 12 years, the eventual winner for Oscar’s Best Picture played at HIFF, giving the gala bragging rights for holding the longest active streak of any festival. Celebrating a fantastic mix of both rising artists and high-prestige films is what TIFF does best.
I covered the festivities in 2018, and came away astonished by the program. I was especially impressed with the depth of incredible international focus. Four of the five films up for Best International Feature played at HIFF that year, and I was able to catch each one in advance of their nomination.
Aside from the marvelous entertainment, East Hampton offers a beautiful view of the eastern end of the the South Shore of Long Island as well as the Atlantic Ocean. I spent a good amount of time walking through the town and visiting the village of Sag Harbor. Extravagant shops and quaint little restaurants lined the streets of town (including an amazing Greek restaurant located not far from HIFF’s theater).
I will be covering the festival once again this year, though due to recent health scares I will be attending the festival remotely. Stay tuned for reviews from films playing at the 30th edition of the Hamptons Film Festival.