Wednesday, October 10, 2012

20th Hamptons International Film Festival

East Hampton's gilded orphan twins Alexa Ammon and her brother Greg Ammon attended Friday night's opening of 59 Middle Lane, a documentary film produced and directed by Greg Ammon. The film follows the scandalous aftermath of the 2001 murder of their adopted father investment banker Ted Ammon, reportedly the first Hamptons homicide in two decades, the death of their adopted mother Generosa Ammon, the murder conviction of their stepfather Danny Pelosi, and the parentless waifs' journey back to the Ukraine where they discover their biological parents.
Red Carpet Fatigue and the Flash Mob: Alec Baldwin, Mike Nichols, Meryl Streep, Sienna Miller, Richard Gere, & Others
20th Hamptons International Film Festival 4-7 October 2012 East Hampton

By Augustus Mayhew

Late Thursday afternoon I arrived at The Maidstone to pick up my confirmed press credentials, thinking everything had been confirmed by e-mails, only to be redirected to Guild Hall where I was told the press office had relocated. When I arrived at Guild Hall, there were no press credentials there but was told to wait twenty minutes, "why don't you walk around East Hampton," and then I was to call a certain phone number.

After a half-hour, there was no answer and I left a message. Having not heard a word, I called again almost 45 minutes later and spoke with a press rep from Frank Public Relations who told me to meet her at the red carpet in front of Guild Hall. When I arrived there, she was not there and no one seemed to know where/who she was. We connected several minutes later, things are so hectic, when she then explained that my press pass did not include any access to the Opening Party or any other reception/ party and did not include any tickets to any of the films (I had requested three of them).
The flash mob.
This was a bit of a surprise as I had indicated/explained a week before that I was mostly interested in the social events surrounding the festival and at no time was never told that I would not be allowed/invited to any festival party beyond standing outside on the "red carpet." "We are doing everything on the carpet this year, no outside press at the parties," I was told. Awhile later on opening night, I was told someone could "sneak me into the opening party." Sounding ungrateful, I explained I was not in the habit of "sneaking" into a party. And thus began, my first and last red carpet experience.

Here is some of this weekend's fun in East Hampton.
2012 HIFF Honorary Chairman actor Alec Baldwin and yoga aficionado Hilaria Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin is also the vice-chairman of the Film Festival's board of directors. Many press members were discussing Mr. Baldwin's invigorating look.
Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Baldwin, and Richard Gere.
Thursday 4 October 2012
The Maidstone, Main Street, East Hampton. Press headquarters.
HIFF sponsors.
The red carpet at Guild Hall. With such notable sponsors, I was expecting a bit more for production values. The festival successfully stressed East Hampton's local small-town approach.
7 PM Opening Night. Guild Hall, East Hampton
Liz Garbus, the director of Love, Marilyn, the festival's opening film, shares thoughts with local personality Cognac Wellerlane.
Judith and Rudy Giuliani share a moment with Cognac Wellerlane.
Co-founder and chairman of the Hamptons International Film Festival Stuart Suna and Liz Garbus.
Rand Stoll, an HIFF board member. Tiffany Malloy, a junior publicist with the Frank Public Relations office who could not have been more professional and courteous.
Teresa Prioli, on-camera reporter with Fox Five television. Carrie Ann Salvi, East Hampton Star staff reporter.
Friday 5 October

12:30 PM Citizen Hearst opens
Janet Lehr and Vered. As I was arriving, Janet and Vered were just leaving a showing of a Holocaust film.
Leslie Iwerks, director of Citizen Hearst. I hoped for a more historical account of WR Hearst rather than a corporate-boasting film best shown at a shareholders annual meeting.
Lunch at The Blue Parrot
The guacamole and shrimp tacos were as wonderful as ever.
3 PM Citizen Hearst Reception. Elie Tahari, One Main Street, East Hampton
Elie Tahari's extraordinary shop on Main Street is a sublime architectural marvel.
Michelle Wolf, store manager of the Elie Tahari boutique in East Hampton.
Mary Jane Brock and Lacy Davisson Doyle.
Sunset in East Hampton
"These are my clouds," said Mary Jane Brock about her sculptural topiary at the front entrance to her East Hampton home where we joined her for the spectacular afternoon sunset.
The fall golden light during Friday afternoon's sunset created a striking aura.
On the veranda, Pat Swinney Kaufman, executive director of the New York State Governor's Office for Motion Pictures and Television and secretary of the HIFF board, Lacy Davisson Doyle, and Joe Carroll.
6:45 PM 59 Middle Lane opens
Alexa Ammon and Greg Ammon. A decade after the devastating deaths of their adopted parents, and with much of their father's more than $75 million fortune gone, the Ukrainian-born twins clearly have relied on each other to survive. Adopted in 1992, their mother filed for divorce in 2000. The following year, Generosa Ammon moved into The Stanhope Hotel with her boyfriend electrician Danny Pelosi, triggering a series of events that led to the murder of Ted Ammon.
Gregg Ammon appeared to be closely monitored by his agent Morgan Ressa, a Los Angeles account executive with pmk+bnc.
Founder and CEO of the UNEAC Entertainment Group, the 20-year-old Mr. Ammon is at work on Enemy of the People, a feature film based on Ibsen's play. Mr. Ammon worked on 59 Middle Lane for two years.
Saturday 6 October

11 AM Maidstone Inn. Main Street, East Hampton.
The Maidstone Inn, not quite the Beverly Hills Hotel, on one of October's most beautiful days.
Maidstone, lobby.
Callie Bundy, Star Watch on-camera reporter. Lana Iny, HBO media relations.
Cynthia Wade, award-winning director and co-producer of Mondays at Racine, a fascinating HBO documentary about an Islip hair salon that opens the third Monday of every month to take care of the hair needs for chemotherapy patients.
Cynthia Sansone and Rachel DiMalfetto, sisters who are the stars of Mondays at Racine. Bravo!
In The Maidstone's garden.
The Maidstone Inn.
12 PM Variety's 10 Breakthrough Performers To Watch Reception, First Presbyterian Church, East Hampton
First Presbyterian Church. Main Street, East Hampton.
Sean Baker, director of the film Starlet. Bruce Weber arrives.
Unmistakably Bruce Weber.
The arrival of two black SUVs must mean Variety's Top Ten has arrived.
The actors receive some direction before the photo op. The actors are, left to right, Domhnall Gleeson, Boyd Holbrook, Nate Parker, Bella Heathcote, Elyas M'Barek, Alicia Vikander, Scoot McNairy, and Adam Driver.
And yet another choreographed ensemble group photo.
3 PM HIFF's Golden Starfish Award for Lifetime Achievement in Costume Design to Ann Roth with Nathan Lane, Mike Nichols, and Meryl Streep.
Guild Hall, East Hampton
Legendary costume designer Ann Roth arrives at Guild Hall to receive her award.
Ann Roth shows her handbag memorializing her many award-winning costume creations to actor Nathan Lane.
Nathan Lane and Ann Roth have a moment with Oscar.
Howard "Hawk" Koch Jr., president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
HIFF's honorary chairman Alec Baldwin. He is also the vice-chairman of the HIFF Board of Directors.
Nathan Lane, Ann Roth, Hilaria Baldwin, and Alec Baldwin.
Festival chairman Stuart Suna, co-owner of Silvercup Studios. Mike Nichols enjoys a lite moment.
Joan Copeland, sister of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe's sister-in-law, has a moment at the Ann Roth tribute.
Meryl Streep.
4 PM Chairman's Reception, Stuart & Vicki Suna residence. 141 Buckskill Road, East Hampton.
Suna residence, Buckskill Road. Once again, I was quarantined in the press tent and not invited/permitted to actually attend the party. A bit of a crush in the press tent without circulating air and water for nearly two hours, as burly security guards in tight-fitting suits took their tasks quite seriously ("Stay in the tent ... you must stay within the tent ...) while small herds of industrious PR flacks kept a hectic pace. Another really lovely unforgettable first-class experience being handled by professionals.
The Baldwins chatting with publicist Tiffany Malloy.
Hilaria Baldwin slips into more comfortable shoes. A few moments with the Baldwins in front of the cameras.
Our hosts, Stuart Sun and his wife Vicki Match Suna, with the family.
Clockwise from top left: Richard Meier; Boyd Holbrook; James Lipton. "You have to stay in the tent ... get back in the tent," said one the security crew when I took one step outside of it to snap Mr. Lipton as he trudged up the rocky drive; Trudie Styler.
English actress Sienna Miller arrives.
Clockwise from top left: Rosanna Scotto; Alina Cho; Dree Hemmingway.
7 PM HIFF Golden Starfish Lifetime Achievement Award in Acting to Richard Gere. Guild Hall, East Hampton.
Richard Gere. "I never get used to this, being blinded by all these lights," said Gere, as several hundred flash bulbs strobed for several minutes.
Alec Baldwin arrives. "He's changed," said one of the press members, commenting on Alec Baldwin's revitalized appearance. "Yoga, or maybe the haircut," I speculated. Hilaria Baldwin (right) wonders, too.
Hilaria Baldwin and Richard Gere.
Sunday 7 October

Pheewww. Since it is my birthday, I skipped the festival's round of "carpets," disappointed I could not have a ticket for David Chase's Not Fade Away, the festival's closing film. Thus, I spent this cool rainy day with friends on Shelter Island and Sag Harbor with lunch at the Corner Bar.
The Dreamy iced coffee at Sylvester & Co. on Main Street in Sag Harbor.
Intuition II is among the few yachts left in the harbor.
At The Drawing Room, 66 Newtown Lane, Jennifer Bartlett's paintings on handmade mulberry paper, 7 October – 29 October 2012.
At Vered on Park Place in East Hampton, the current exhibition is "Needful Things."
"A Fine Late May." Robert Dash, artist. Oil on canvas. 71" x 60". $35,000. Birnam Wood Gallery. 48 Park Place, East Hampton.
Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor. The gallery is featuring the recent paintings of Richard Fenske.
Monday 8 October
Work in progress, Parrish Art Museum. Herzog & de Meuron, architect.
Photographs by Augustus Mayhew.
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