Okay, I’ll admit it, though I know I’m not alone. There is a part of me, given the diagnostic constellation of my personality, that prefers the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival over the Hamptons International Film Festival. Before anyone gets in a huff about this confession, the main reasons are simple: It is less less populated and frenetic than HIFF, and, I am a documentary film buff. As Take 2 enters its fourth year, this little festival just keeps getting better and better.
Jacqui Lofaro, the festival’s founder and executive director, has fashioned an inspired selection of films this year, and expanded the reach of the event by screening the festival’s slate of films at two venues—at the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor on Saturday from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.). And not to exclude East Hampton Village, the festival will hold its Opening Night Gala at East Hampton’s Guild Hall on Friday, November 18, from 5:30-9:30 p.m., at which they will honor the pioneering work of Richard Leacock, who died earlier this year at the age of 89.
At the opening gala, the legendary documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker of Sag Harbor will speak and introduce two Leacock films—Happy Mother’s Day (1963, 26 min.), a film about the frenzy surrounding the birth of the Fischer quintuplets in South Dakota, on which he collaborated with Leacock, and Crisis (1963, 52 min.), which captured the showdown between President John F. Kennedy and Alabama Governor George Wallace over school integration.
Leacock, considered by many as the father of cinema verite documentary filmmaking, liked to say that he wanted the viewer to have “the feeling of being there,” which meant, he said, “no interviews, no narration, no set-up shots, no tripods, no lights, no added sound. Don’t impose, don’t interfere.”
After the screenings, a panel composed of Pennebaker, along with filmmakers Victoria Leacock Hoffman and Robert Leacock—his daughter and son, both with East End ties—and Pam Wise, a film editor, will discuss Leacock’s legacy.
The film festival continues with a host of documentary features, shorts and student selections, plus question and answer sessions with filmmakers, emceed by Peconic Public Broadcasting’s Bonnie Grice at Bay Street and editor/writer Andrew Botsford at Westhampton Beach.
Among the many standout films scheduled will be legendary filmmaker Anne Belle’s Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse, an Academy Award-nominated film about the life of the prima ballerina of the New York City Ballet who inspired many of choreographer George Balanchine’s works; Long Islander Chris Pepino’s Inside the Perfect Circle: The Odyssey of Joel Thome, about the Grammy award-winning modern composer; Alexander Olch’s The Windmill Movie, about the Wainscott filmmaker Richard P. Rogers who was working on a film about his life when he died in 2001, and Madeline Amgott’s Esteban Vicente: Portrait of an Artist, about the Abstract-Expressionist artist who lived in Bridgehampton for nearly 40 years.
Go to www.HT2FF.com for a full schedule. Tickets for the Leacock gala are $75 and are available online or at the door. All-day passes cost $35. Evening passes cost $20, good only for the films from 8-10 p.m., and will be available only at the door.