This October, filmmakers and movie fans from all over the world will once again get together to celebrate the Hamptons International Film Festival. This festival is dedicated to commemorating independent filmmaking and to raising the profile of these filmmakers and their films in the hope that they may reach a global audience.

The Hamptons International Film Festival, also known as HIFF, celebrates independent films of all types—short, long, documentary and fiction. The festival is an annual event that is held in New York State, USA.

The heart of the festival takes place in East Hampton, New York, with the theater venues being located in Long Island, NY. HIFF attracts about 18,000 attendees and screens over 100 films each year.

As the festival’s prestige has grown and reached other parts of the world, HIFF has gained the support of big international film groups and organizations. The festival has so far partnered with Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch, New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the latter of which has made it a qualifying festival for the prestigious Academy Awards.


Aside from helping to promote independent films, the Hamptons International Film Festival also serves as a launching platform for the best and the brightest international films in the world. Some of the most notable films that have premiered at the festival include Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Black Swan (2010), Silver Linings Playbook (2012), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Spotlight (2015), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), and many more.

HIFF has also been attended by several famous film personalities, including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Morgan Freeman, Susan Sarandon, Renee Zellweger, Kevin Bacon, Julianne Moore, Richard Gere, to name but a few.

This year marks the 26th anniversary of the Hamptons International Film Festival. The highlights of the festival will be the Opening Night screening of “The Kindergarten Teacher” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the presentation of the Dick Cavett Artistic Champion Award to Emmy-winning actor Alan Alda.

For the annual Screenwriters Lab, HIFF announced that this year’s participants would be film personalities Esra Saydam, Aemilia Scott, and Anu Valia. The festival is also proud to feature the U.S. Premiere of “Capernaum”, the Grand Jury Prize winner at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Aside from the special presentations, HIFF’s program will also feature film screenings, seminars, workshops, fun, and entertainment for all the visitors.

History and Prestige

The Hamptons International Film Festival is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 in East Hampton, New York. It was the first film event held in the eastern area of New York State.

The festival receives hundreds of film submissions each year, but sadly can only select a small number of them to screen. In 2008, HIFF was able to feature films which went on to achieve success at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

In 2000, the Hamptons International Film Festival established the Screenwriters Lab. This initiative brings both established and emerging screenwriters together to collaborate and produce creative film ideas.

In 2011, the Hamptons International Film Festival’s line-up included films that went on to earn 24 Academy Award nominations.

Programs, Awards, and Past Winners

Aside from the film screenings and the film catalog for the official competition, The Hamptons International Film Festival also offers the following annual programs:

  • Screenwriters Lab- Now in its 19th year, this program nurtures aspiring screenwriters by allowing them to work with established producers and screenwriters. Some of the films that were produced in the Lab include Short Term 12, Little Accidents, The Discoverers, and
  • Breakthrough Performers- This program presents new and rising acting talents.
  • Conflict and Resolution- This program presents films that delve into social and political issues in a modern global setting.
  • “A Conversation With”- This program features a Q&A session with a famous film celebrity. Some of the past guests of this segment include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Isabella Rossellini, Robert Altman, Sidney Lumet, Vanessa Redgrave, and many more.
  • HIFF Jr.- This is the festival’s educational program that each year holds summer student film camps for children with ages from 8-15.


As a prestigious film festival in the East Coast of the United States, HIFF presents the following awards to the worthy competition winners.

  • HIFF Competition Awards
  1. HIFF Award for Best Narrative Feature
  2. HIFF Award for Best Documentary Feature
  3. HIFF Award for Best Short Narrative Film
  4. HIFF Award for Best Short Documentary Film


  • Audience Awards
  1. Best Narrative Feature Film
  2. Best Documentary Feature Film
  3. Best Short Film



  • Special Awards
  1. The Brizzolara Family Foundation Award for a Film of Conflict and Resolution
  2. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize in Science and Technology
  3. Wouter Barendrecht Pioneering Vision Award
  4. The Jeremy Nussbaum Prize for Provocative Fiction
  5. Zelda Penzel “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” Award: Dedicated to Those Who Suffer in Silence
  6. Suffolk County Film Commission Next Exposure Grant
  7. Victor Rabinowitz and Joanne Grant Award for Social Justice
  8. Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund Award
  9. Student Film Awards
Dakota Fanning

Here are the most recent winners of the Official Competition:

HIFF Award for Best Narrative Feature

2017- “Undir Trenu” by Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurosson

2016- “Glory” by Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov

2015- “RAMS” by Grimur Hakonarson

HIFF Award for Best Documentary Feature

2017- “Muchos Hijos, un Mono y un Castillo” by Gustavo Salmeron

2016- “The Eagle Huntress” by Otto Bell

2015- “Missing People” by David Shapiro

HIFF Award for Best Short Narrative Film

2017- “Dekalb Elementary” by Reed Van Dyk

2016- “Il Silenzio” by Ali Asgari and Farnoosh Samadi

2015- “Over” by Jorn Threlfall

HIFF Award for Best Short Documentary Film

2017- “Edith+Eddie” by Laura Checkoway

2016- “Irregulars” by Fabio Palmieri

2015- “Last Day of Freedom” by Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman


How to Enter Your Film

The Hamptons International Film Festival has joined forces with Withoutabox which has become its official platform for film submissions.

Kenny Kool, Orson Cummings, Coodie, Anne Chaisson, Chike Ozah, Ben Cummings

The deadline for the submission of entries for the 26th festival has passed. It has concluded on June 11, 2018.

To gain more information on the film submission rules and about the festival itself, you can visit the following website.

For all other questions about submissions, you can send an email to

For all other inquiries about the festival’s schedule, programs and highlights, you could visit the official website at


The Hamptons International Film Festival will run from October 4-8, 2018.



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