Opening nights at film festivals are usually black-tie, red carpet, invitation-only affairs, but let me extend an invite for you to crash the Hamptons International Film Festival, which opens tonight in New York, for free. You don't have to wear a tuxedo or, hey, even get dressed if that's your thing; all you have to do is point your browser to our friends at SnagFilms. Two docs are enjoying their world online premiere starting today, available for free streaming through Sunday, October 19.
My suggestion is to watch Great Speeches From a Dying World immediately before or after the Presidential debate tonight. Sure, the title sounds dire, but Linas Phillips' documentary promises to uncover "the stories and struggles of 10 Seattle homeless people, each of whom recite famous speeches from history that relate to their lives: from Shakespeare to JFK to Chief Sealth." What a country! We can listen to the next President of the United States debate his opponent on the issues of the day, and then watch homeless folk recreating great historical speeches.
For a lighter alternative, consider Between the Folds (pictured), a doc by Vanessa Gould that follows artists and scientists who have forsaken their careeers to "forge lives as modern-day paperfolders." (?!) Now, the last time I was heavy into paperfolding was when I played paper football at school, but I'm always down to hear about well-educated people who have developed "passion and determination to reinterpret the world in paper."
Festivals making films available online is a great, fresh idea; that's how our own Scott Weinberg encountered the Fantastic Fest title South of Heaven -- and he subsequently raved about it. Matt Dentler, former SXSW producer, noted in his blog that "this is something entirely new" and pointed to Scott Kirsner's article at CinemaTech, wherein he stated in part: "From a filmmaker's perspective, it'd be good to have a movie available during the festival." So now's your chance to check out two films and pass your own judgment.
SnagFilms will also make two other Hamptons Fest titles available for streaming: Haze, which examines alcohol abuse by young people in fraternities, sororities, and universities in general and The End of America, a "historical look at destructive trends in once-functioning democracies that are being repeated in our country today." Haze is available from tomorrow onward, and The End of America goes live October 16.