Hamptons Doc Fest, in partnership with the Southampton Arts Center, inaugurates spring with its annual Docs Equinox celebration that this year spotlights “All in for the Aquifer.”
It includes three days of live programming that features a keynote speaker, three dramatic documentary films, Q&A panels after every film, welcoming cocktail receptions, and a special “Water Central” information hub with five local environmental groups—all happening on the weekend of April 14-16 at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane.
Said Hamptons Doc Fest founder/executive director Jacqui Lofaro in introducing the special film weekend with the “All in for the Aquifer” theme: “None of us can live without water. We are charged to protect and preserve the vital part of our ecosystem—the water—that surrounds us on Long Island, is positioned under where we live, work and play, and provides the sole source aquifer for our drinking water. We invite you to see all three films, stop at the ‘Water Central’ Hub tables to share their tips and know-how, and enjoy the cocktail/hors d’oeuvres receptions. Come with interest. Leave inspired and informed.” Both the cocktail receptions and “Water Central” Hubs will take place on Friday and Saturday, April 14-15, starting at 5:30 p.m. The five organizations in the Hub are: The Group for the East End, The Nature Conservancy, Peconic Estuary Partnership, Surfrider Foundation, and the Peconic BayKeeper.
Opening the weekend on Friday, April 14, at 7 p.m., after the reception, is keynote speaker Maya van Rossum, founder of the national non-profit Green Amendments for the Generations, which seeks to secure constitutional protection of environmental rights, including the water we drink, in states nationwide. Van Rossum’s book “The Green Amendment” will be available for sale. It is noteworthy that in November 2021, New York State voters already passed the Environmental Rights Amendment (the Green Amendment) to the NYS Constitution, which guarantees New Yorkers “a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”
Friday night’s film starting at 7:30 p.m. after the keynote is “Invisible Hand” (85 min.), produced by award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, about Grant Township, Pennsylvania, a small rural town of 700 people, and its fight against a corporation and the state for its right to clean water, claiming a “right to exist.” This is a plot-twisting, eye-opening story about the current global battle where the fight for clean water and our survival are at stake. A live Zoom Q&A with directors Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman follows the film.
The Saturday, April 15, film at 7 p.m., after the reception starting at 5:30 p.m., will be the documentary “The Grab” (104 min.). This explosive expose examines the investigative reporting by Nathan Halverson of the Center for Investigative Reporting and his colleagues who uncovered the 2013 sale of U.S. pork-supplier Smithfield Foods to a Chinese company, and then followed a money trail to reveal the covert actions of China and other nations as they grabbed lands and water resources in the United States and other countries, too. After the screening, director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and producer/investigative reporter Nate Halverson will appear in a live Zoom Q&A.
The final film on Sunday, April 16, 2 p.m. is “Patrick and the Whale” (72 min.), back by popular demand since it was sold out at Hamptons Doc Fest in December, disappointing many people. Using stunning underwater cinematography and whale songs, the film follows marine videographer, diver and whale lover Patrick Dykstra, who for 20 years dedicated his life to traveling the globe, swimming with and attempting to communicate with whales, including a special sperm whale he named “Dolores.” Post screening, there’s a live Zoom Q&A with director Mark Fletcher and diver/cinematographer Patrick Dykstra.