Here’s What Not to Miss at the 2019 Hamptons International Film Festival
A painting by Lee Krasner promotes this year’s event, which features a slew of art-related films
The already star-studded Hamptons will welcome even more notable names when the annual Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) kicks off on October 10. Among the myriad films that will be presented during the four-day event are the world premiere of The Artist’s Wife, starring Lena Olin and Bruce Dern, and Cunningham, a documentary on the last generation of dancers who trained under the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham.
Art aficionados will recognize Vernal Yellow, a colorful work by the late longtime Hamptonite Lee Krasner, adorning the festival’s collectible poster. The piece was chosen by art collector and New Line Cinema cofounder Michael Lynne, a HIFF board member, just before his passing and backed by the East Hampton–based Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center. “I went on a deep dive of Lee’s work, and I settled on her last series, called the ‘Solstice’ series,” says HIFF executive director Anne Chaisson. “While I knew Lee cannibalized her work her whole life, I especially loved that these paintings were ripped up charcoals from art school, her first work. I felt that this being her last work gave a perfect picture of who Lee Krasner was when she started and who she was when she done.”
Krasner is already having an impressive year: The first major U.K. exhibition of her work in 50 years was mounted at Barbican in London this summer. In addition, her paintings were included in Kasmin’s recent group show “Painters of the East End.” The symbolism of Vernal Yellow being a composition of many pieces into one work wasn’t lost on the festival team, which curates more than 150 different films into one multilayered event.
In the festival’s 26-year history, the poster has continually featured a work by an artist with ties to the Hamptons. (Past artists include Julian Schnabel, Eric Fischl, David Salle, Cindy Sherman, and Bruce Weber.) Noticing that the number of male artists heavily outweighed female talents, however, Chaisson committed to featuring work by women on the next several posters. Using a piece by Krasner marks the HIFF’s first time selecting a piece by someone posthumously. “The festival has been here a long time, and we intend to be here a long time further,” says Chaisson. “Lee will endure, and I wanted her to be a part of our legacy of us choosing artists from the East End.”
Artist and restaurateur Toni Ross will be given this year’s Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award, an honor bestowed on someone who not only excels as a creative but also supports others in the arts. Ross is the HIFF’s founding chairman of the board as well as a major supporter of Guild Hall and other East End philanthropies.
A virtual reality experience by Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huan entitled To the Moon will be installed at the East Hampton Public Library. The VR work, which previously traveled to Cannes and the Venice Biennale, will be similar to Anderson’s recent “Chalkroom” presentation at Guild Hall and will offer an exploration of the moon’s surface in conjunction with an audio compilation by the artists.
Other films sure to appeal to an art- and music-loving audience being presented during the festival’s four-day run include Museum Town, about the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s renaissance of a former textile city into a cultural destination; the world premiere of the star-studded documentary On Broadway; the U.S. premiere of The Capote Tapes, never-before-heard audio recordings by George Plimpton; and the U.S. premiere of Western Stars, a private concert by Bruce Springsteen of his latest album, filmed at his New Jersey home, that also marks the rocker’s directorial debut.
The Hamptons International Film Festival runs from October 10 to 14 at various locations throughout the East End.