Hamptons Doc Fest Celebrates Its 16th Year

Hamptons Doc Fest celebrates its 16th year with an enlarged seven-day festival of 30  enlightening documentary films, screening November 30 to December 6 in Sag Harbor, at both the Sag Harbor Cinema and Bay Street Theater.

“Our 2023 documentary program promises you the power and experience of quality storytelling that surprises us, makes us think and feel, and connects us with wider ideas and concepts,” said Jacqui Lofaro, founder and executive director of Hamptons Doc Fest. “Plus the festival provides us as always with a festive, celebratory opening to the holiday season.”

Opening Night Film at the Sag Harbor Cinema on November 30 features “In the Company of Rose” directed by James Lapine, about widow Rose Styron’s life with novelist William Styron, while Frank Marshall’s “Rather” about newscaster Dan Rather closes the festival at Bay Street Theater on December 6.

The line-up includes films about artists, musicians, dancers, fashion and photography, nature and the environment, biography, history and human rights.

“Among the many award-winning films and talented filmmakers we have invited to our festival,” stated Hamptons artistic director Karen Arikian, “we are honored to recognize the stellar career of Matt Heineman with our Pennebaker Career Achievement Award; Artemis Rising Foundation with our Impact Award to Regina K. Scully; and new this year, our Legacy Award, given posthumously to filmmaker Nancy Buirski. We are also thrilled to be showing Wim Wenders’ ‘Anselm’ — shot in 3D — about artist Anselm Kiefer, as well as to warmly welcome master filmmaker James Ivory with his film ‘A Cooler Climate.'”

Pennebaker Career Achievement Awardee Matthew Heineman. Photo by Michael Ori

Hamptons Doc Fest presents the prestigious Pennebaker Career Achievement Award this year to Heineman for “tackling difficult and often hard-to-access subjects while addressing great social truths.”

The Awards Gala takes place on Saturday, December 2, at Bay Street Theater starting at 6:30 PM. It will include the screening of his latest film “American Symphony.” The award, sponsored by filmmaker Lana Jokel, will be presented by Jokel and Chris Hegedus, Pennebaker’s partner and co-filmmaker.

Heineman, though only 40 years old, is already an Academy Award-nominated and nine-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, who takes on large subjects — such as the war in Afghanistan (“Retrograde”), the drug war in Mexico (“Cartel Land”), ISIS in Syria (“City of Ghosts”), COVID (“The First Wave”) and the problems with healthcare (“Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare”). Heineman said you can “speak great social truths through the power of the documentary film.”

An annual tradition, the festival also presents its Young Voices Program on December 6 at Bay Street Theater to hundreds of local middle and high school students, where award-winning filmmaker Roger Sherman will conduct a hands-on workshop after the screening of a short film ‘Rocks 4 Sale!’

A new Hamptons Doc Fest program — “Shorts & Breakfast Bites” — adds to the festival experience this year by pairing a well-curated program of short films with coffee/tea, bagels, and other breakfast treats. It takes place on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, December 2 and 3, at 10 AM at Bay Street Theater.

“Who doesn’t love the indulgence of a morning in the theater, seeing interesting films, complete with breakfast,” said Lofaro. “It is the perfect combination.”

Visit hamptonsdocfest.com for a full schedule and tickets.

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