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Hamptons strengthens its Berlin ties with kidpic fest

What: 13th Hamptons Intl. Film Festival
Where: Long Island, N.Y.
When: Oct.19-23
Special events: 48 Hour Film Project, Kinderfilmfest
Web: www.hamptonsfilmfest.org

The Berlin Film Festival is boosting its lease on the beach.

The U.S. preem of the Berlinale’s prestigious Kinderfilmfest at this year’s Hamptons Film Festival is yet another collaboration in a series of ties between the two fests over the past several years.

“There’s no doubt the collaboration will continue,” says Kinderfilmfest director Thomas Hailer. The program of international children’s’ films will include six programs comprising two shorts programs and four features.

“Family programming was already in place and very much in demand, but the Kinderfilmfest is an organic way to expand,” says Hamptons fest programmer Rajendra Roy.

“The Hamptons fest has always had a lot of potential with its proximity to New York City, but under the guidance of Denise (Kasell) and Raj, the fest has taken on a stronger profile and has gained a lot more recognition internationally,” says Karen Arikian, Berlinale’s East Coast delegate and deputy director of the European Film Market.

Originally inspired by the Berlinale’s Shooting Stars program, in which young actors are invited to Berlin’s Talent Campus to work on their craft, the Hamptons will present its Rising Stars program for the fourth year.

Since the event’s inception, a small group of emerging actors, selected by Roy and casting director Lina Todd, are given an “automatic pass” to Berlin’s Talent campus, which selects some 500 actors and other filmmakers out of more than 3,000 applications. One European thesp is invited to take part in the Rising Stars program at the Hamptons.

Reciprocity also is evident in the programming and the jury selection of the two fests.

As the first and only American to be returning for his second year to the predominantly German competition selection committee of the Berlinale, Roy acknowledges a growing relationship that benefits both sides. “Our ability to track the best new international films is absolutely augmented by our relationship with Berlin,” he says.

Two examples are “One Day in Europe,” a German-Spanish co-production, and “Cave of the Yellow Dog,” a follow-up to “Story of the Weeping Camel,” both of which will have their U.S. premieres in this year’s narrative section at the Hamptons.

As for his role on the Berlinale panel, Roy aims to keep the independent spirit very much alive and open to non-Hollywood fare. “Raj adds diversity to the group, making him an asset to the committee,” says Arikian.

Panorama director Wieland Speck has been confirmed as a narrative film juror in the Hamptons this year. Last year, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick served on the international jury.

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