Hamptons Doc Fest: A New Name and A New Decade of “All Docs, All Year”

The Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival is launching its second decade with a new name and logo, and a new slate of fascinating documentary films.

“Entering our 11th year, now with an ‘all docs, all year’ mantra, we are proud to stake our claim to a new, more succinct name that reflects our passion for the non-fiction film genre,” says the festival’s founder and Executive Director, Jacqui Lofaro.

This year’s five-day festival runs from Thursday, November 29, through Monday, December 3, all at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, with a free day of films on Monday, Dec. 3, sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

Terrence McNally
Terrence McNally

This year’s opening night film will be “Every Act of Life,” directed by Jeff Kaufman, to be screened on Thursday, Nov. 29 at 8 p.m.

The film is a tribute to Terrence McNally, a four-time Tony winning playwright and fighter for LGBTQ rights. The son of an alcoholic beer distributor in southern Texas, Terrence traveled the world as tutor to John Steinbeck’s children; suffered an infamous Broadway flop in 1965 at age 24; and went on to write dozens of groundbreaking plays and musicals about sexuality, homophobia, faith, the power of art, and finding meaning in every moment of life. At 80, he is currently working on three new plays.

Mr. McNally will be on hand for a question-and-answer session after the film.

On Friday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. the festival will screen “Carmine Street Guitars,” co-presented with the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center, about a guitar shop struggling to resist the gentrification that has killed many small businesses and music shops in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

The festival’s Saturday night gala, on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., honors Sheila Nevins, the former president of HBO Documentary Films and winner of several Emmy, International Documentary Association and regional documentary festival awards.  The evening will include screenings of two films executive produced by Ms. Nevins: “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm” and “Triangle: Remembering the Fire.”

The Sunday evening spotlight film at 8 p.m., “To a More Perfect Union: U.S. v Windsor,” follows octogenarian Edie Windsor’s fight, all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, to have the U.S. government recognize her 40-year relationship with her female spouse. On hand for the Q&A will be Ms. Windsor’s spouse, Judith Kasen-Windsor.

A scene from “Grit,” to be shown on Thursday at

The closing night film, on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m., is “Free Solo,” about free soloist climber Alex Honnold’s journey to achieve his lifelong dream of climbing the face of the 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without a rope. One of the directors, Jimmy Chin, is also a professional climber, skier and mountaineer, has led expeditions to all seven continents, and has documented many great explorers and adventurers of our time.

A scene from "Left on Pearl"
A scene from “Left on Pearl,” which will be shown on Friday, Nov. 30.

Films are slated mid-morning through the evening feature throughout the five-day festival, with gems like 2 p.m.’s “Grit,” about a huge toxic mudflow in Indonesia to 4 p.m.’s “For the Birds,” about a women and her 200 pet birds, showing on Thursday, Nov. 29; a 1:30 p.m. showing of “Left on Pearl” about women’s marchers who seized a Harvard University building in 1971 on Friday, Nov. 30; a 4:30 p.m. showing of “Strangers No More,” about a school in Tel Aviv, Israel where children from 48 countries come together to learn and a 2 p.m. showing of Filmmakers’ Choice Award winner “Sammy Davis Jr: I’ve Gotta Be Me on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Sunday’s films range from “Three Identical Strangers” at 1 p.m., about the reunification of three Long Island identical triplets who were separated at birth to “Moving Stories” at 6 p.m., about six New York dancers who travel the world helping youth recover from trauma.

"Three Identical Strangers" will be shown on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“Three Identical Strangers” will be shown on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Monday’s free series of films includes a noon showing of “Manry at Sea: In the Wake of a Dream,” about an editor at the Cleveland Plain Dealer who set sail alone across the Atlantic in a 13.5 foot sloop in 1965 to a 4 p.m. showing of “The Last Race,” about the struggles to keep the Riverhead Raceway afloat to “Stand Up,” at 5:30 p.m., about the work of the East Hampton non-profit Paddlers for Humanity.

A full schedule of events, along with tickets, are available online at www.hamptonsdocfest.com and www.baystreet.org  and at the Bay Street Box Office, 631-725-9500, Bay and Main Streets, Sag Harbor.

General admission tickets are $15 adults and $13 senior citizens (no online sales). Friday & Sunday night Spotlight films are $25. The Saturday Night Gala is $50, and a four-day pass, including the gala, is $150.

Monday’s Douglas Elliman Community Day films are free, but reservations are required, through www.hamptonsdocfest.com.

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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