Documentaries to make you think at the Hamptons Take Two Festival

A still from filmmaker Kenny Mann's "Beautiful Tree, Severed Roots."
A still from filmmaker Kenny Mann’s “Beautiful Tree, Severed Roots.”

This is the sixth year that the Hamptons Take Two Documentary Film Festival will bring a series of innovative and thought-provoking documentary films to Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre.

Beginning this Friday afternoon, Dec. 6, the film festival includes 12 feature films and nine shorts on a broad range of topics, from uranium mining to the importance of baseball in conflict zones to a journey into Barry Goldwater’s life told by his granddaughter, CC Goldwater.

The festival also pays tribute to three filmmakers who call Sag Harbor home. D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, whose 1993 film “The War Room” documented Bill Clinton’s unlikely success in his first presidential bid in 1992, will be honored with a cocktail reception and screening of “The War Room” on Saturday night beginning at 7 p.m. The filmmakers will be on-hand for a Q&A after the film.

Mr. Pennebaker and Ms. Hegedus weren’t even sure they had a good subject when they got the OK from Communications Director George Stephanopoulos and lead strategist James Carville to film the campaign. Mr. Clinton didn’t even know at first that the filmmakers were there.

“If Clinton had known I think we would have been asked to get the hell out. There was no press allowed in the War Room. You can’t sell access. If they want you to be there, you can do anything,” Mr. Pennebaker told The New York Times in 2003. “It was just two of us with dinky cameras. George Stephanopoulos O.K.’d us being there, but we weren’t sure we wanted to do the movie until we ran into James Carville. He was like someone’s drunken uncle. He said, ‘George Bush is an old calendar,’ and we knew we had something.”

Sag Harbor filmmaker Kenny Mann’s autobiographical tale of her young life in Kenya as the daughter of Jewish refugees from World War II will be screened on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 10 a.m.

Ms. Mann’s film, “Beautiful Tree, Severed Roots,” decades in the making, sets her childhood against the backdrop of Kenya’s liberation from British rule in 1963, using the format of a book told in six chapters.

An excerpt of the first chapter of the film is below.

 

Also on the plate are filmmakers Liz Rogers and Kevin Flint’s “Hot Water,” the story of South Dakota uranium mining. The pair spent three years telling the stories of the people affected by the mining, atomic testing, nuclear energy and contamination. “Hot Water” will be the festival’s opening film on Friday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m.

A still from Mirra Bank's "The Only Real Game."
A still from Mirra Bank’s “The Only Real Game.”

Mirra Bank’s “The Only Real Game” follows baseball teams in the separatist Indian state of Manipur, which has been closed to the outside world for 60 years, who get a little help from two Major League Baseball Envoy coaches and a group of baseball-loving New Yorkers.

“The Only Real Game” will be shown on Friday, Dec. 6 at 8:15 p.m.

“Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater” will be shown Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1:15 p.m. In the film, Ms. Goldwater shows her grandfather as a man who was both glorified and vilified by different segments of the American public, looking into how his Libertarian philosophy has evolved and lead him to diverge from the Conservative Party.

The festival also follows a group of 25 painters in Neil Leifer’s “Portraits of a Lady,” who spend a historic painting session with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. “Portraits of a Lady” will be shown on Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m.

The story of Desmond Child and Curtis Shaw’s journey into surrogate parenthood is told in “Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro” on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m.

A still from filmmaker Lana Jokel's "Larry Rivers Public and Private."
A still from filmmaker Lana Jokel’s “Larry Rivers Public and Private.”

The festival’s closing film, “Larry Rivers Public and Private,” is filmmaker Lana Jokel’s chronicle of her friendship with the painter over the course of four decades, including candid interviews that delve deeply into Rivers’ wit, outspokenness and his interests.

“Larry Rivers Public and Private,” the winner of the festival’s new “Filmmakers Choice Award, will be screened on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15 per film or $100 for an all-festival pass. Tickets to the Saturday night gala are $30. All tickets are available online here. More information about the festival is online here.

 



Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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