Hamptons Take 2 Doc Fest Turns 10

Opening today at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor
In East Hampton, Dr. Blake Kerr may be more known for brandishing a stethoscope than a light meter, but in “Eye of the Lammergeier” he directed a film about China’s military occupation of Tibet.

Now in its 10th year, the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film festival has grown from four films to 25, added a fifth day of free screenings, and created three new awards to enrich an already jam-packed program.

Opening today at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor and continuing through Monday, the festival will include such noteworthy films as Susan Froemke’s “The Opera House,” the history of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, which premiered at this year’s New York Film Festival and will be shown this evening at 8, and Friday night’s Spotlight Film, Susan Lacy’s “Spielberg,” an intimate portrait of one of cinema’s towering figures.

This year the Career Achievement Award will be presented to Liz Garbus, a two-time Emmy Award winner, whose credits include “Love, Marilyn,” “Bobby Fischer Against the World,” and “What Happened Miss Simone?” Starting Saturday evening at 7, a cocktail reception and ceremony will precede the screening of “Shooting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech,” which will be followed by a conversation between the filmmaker and her father, Martin Garbus, a noted First Amendment attorney.

The Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Helen Whitney will receive the Filmmaker’s Choice Award on Saturday morning at 11:30 prior to a screening of her film “Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death,” in which people of all ages wrestle with the inevitability of death.

The Sunday Night Spotlight Film is Sabine Krayenbuehl and Zeva Oelbaum’s “Letters From Baghdad: The Story of Gertrude Bell and Iraq,” a documentary about the British archaeologist, explorer, and spy whose work in the Middle East during and after World War I played an important role in shaping the region. 

“The Killer Bees,” Ben and Orson Cummings’s exploration of the world of the renowned Bridgehampton High School basketball team as it prepares to defend its state championship title, is the festival’s closing night film, set for Monday at 7.

The festival’s new Breakout Director Award, which recognizes an original and exceptional vision, will go to Catherine Bainbridge, whose film “Rumble: The Indians Who Rock­ed the World” illuminates the contribution of Native Americans to rock and popular music history. 

Also new is the Sloane Shelton Human Rights Award, which honors courage in the face of social injustice. This year’s recipient is Josh Howard’s “The Lavender Scare,” a documentary about discrimination against government homosexuals in the 1950s.

The Hector Leonardi Art and Inspiration Award acknowledges a film that embraces the vibrancy of an artist whose work expanded our spirits and lives. Richard Kane will receive the award at the screening of “I Know a Man . . . Ashley Bryan,” a film about the 93-year-old African-American poet-illustrator, on Sunday at noon.

As usual, films engaging social and political issues predominate. Some focus on the challenges facing individuals, among them “Crazy,” Lise Zumwalt’s film about Eric, a young man diagnosed with schizophrenia who must choose between traditional mental health treatment and his own particular circumstances.

Emilie Bunnell’s “Bean” is the story of Alana and Lori, two young women who met on Tinder shortly before Alana learned she was suffering from lupus and needed a kidney transplant. When Lori learns she is a donor match and decides to give Alana a kidney, a casual meeting unexpectedly becomes one that will bind them and their families forever. 

In Ken Marsolais’s “The Bullish Farmer,” a Wall Street financier trades in his career after Sept. 11, 2001, for life as a farmer in upstate New York, only to find his dream of a simple agricultural life challenged by big agriculture.

Other films examine broader issues, among them Wade Gardner’s “Marvin Booker Was Murdered,” which focuses on the 2010 killing of a homeless man by five correctional guards in Denver. Nancy Buirski’s “The Rape of Recy Taylor” uses archival footage and interviews to tell the story of a 24-year-old African-American sharecropper who was abducted and raped by seven white men in Alabama in 1944.

“Acorn and the Firestorm” examines the attack on and ultimate destruction by Breitbart Media of ACORN, a national community-organizing group, during the contentious 2008 election year.

Laura Poitras, the Academy Award-winning director of “Citizenfour,” turns her attention in “Risk” to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, while Blake Kerr, a Wainscott physician, examines China’s military occupation of Tibet and its impact on the people there in “Eye of the Lammergeier.”

The arts take center stage in “Close Harmony,” Nigel Noble’s Oscar-winning film about a fourth and fifth-grade chorus at Brooklyn Friends School that performs with elderly retirees at a Brooklyn Jewish Center; “The Last Dance,” Mirra Bank’s film about the collaboration between the Pilobolus dance company and Maurice Sendak; “The Way It Goes,” Lana Jokel’s film about the visual artist Nathan Slate Joseph, and “Anatomy of a Male Dancer,” a portrait of the Brazilian ballet star Marcela Gomes by David Barba and James Pellerito.

The festival will conclude Monday with a free community day sponsored by Douglas Elliman. No tickets will be required for “Eye of the Lammergeier” (2 p.m.), “I Know a Man . . . Ashley Bryan” (3:30 p.m.), “The Lavender Scare” (5 p.m.), or “Killer Bees” (7 p.m.). 

Tickets to most other programs are $15, $13 for senior citizens. Friday and Sunday night Spotlight films are $25, and tickets to Saturday night’s program are $50. Four-day passes are available for $150 on the festival’s website.

Ken Marsolais’s “The Bullish Farmer” follows a Wall Street denizen’s move upstate to start a farm using traditional practices.