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‘Fence’ to kick off Hamptons

Event to unspool 22 world, 6 North American, 5 U.S. preems

The East Coast premiere of Phillip Noyce’s “Rabbit-Proof Fence” will kick off the 10th annual Hamptons Intl. Film Festival, which runs Oct. 16-20 with a full slate of pics and special events.

Event will unspool 22 world, six North American and five U.S. premieres before closing with “Nowhere in Africa.” Pic, by Caroline Line, tells the story of a Jewish family that emigrates to Kenya to escape the Nazis.

Kudos being handed out at the competitive fest include the Golden Starfish Feature Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Prize in science and technology. Lynn Hershman Leeson’s “Teknolust” already has been selected the winner of the Sloan $25,000 prize.

Golden windfall

The Golden Starfish feature prize is the largest in the U.S.– worth more than $180,000 in cash and in-kind goods. The five pics in competition are “Alma Mater,” by Hans Canosa; “Kiss the Bride,” Vanessa Parise; “New Suit,” Francois Velle; “Robot Stories,” Greg Pak; and “Searching for Paradise,” Myra Paci. Pak and Paci are HIFF student film honorees.

James Coburn will be given the career achievement award. Besides being honored with a screening of his films, Coburn will mentor five rising stars and participate in a discussion moderated by Bob Balaban.

Starfish awards also will be handed out in the doc and shorts categories. Prizes are worth $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

New this year is the Brizzolara Family Inspirational Film Award, for which all the festival’s titles are eligible. Worth $5,000, prize will be presented to a work that elevates the human spirit.

Now in its third year, the Films of Conflict & Resolution program seeks to increase awareness about the human realities of war through cinema. Six international pics will screen; each is eligible for a related $25,000 prize.

Noncompetitive slate

Fest also includes a series of noncompetitive screenings. “Love Liza,” “Morvern Callar” and “Ripley’s Game” will unspool in the Spotlight sidebar. Controversial Spanish-language pic “The Crime of Father Amaro,” D.A. Pennebaker doc “Only the Strong Survive” and Audrey Tautou pic “God Is Great, I Am Not” will screen in the World Cinema section. Other offerings will include the View From Long Island sidebar, which highlights local films, and anniversary retrospective Reeling Them In, which will screen past fest favorites.

Panel topics range from “A Conversation With …,” featuring a surprise celebrity guest, and “A Conversation With a Critic,” in which Alec Baldwin will interview Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times.

A screenwriters conference held earlier this week as part of the festival yielded a film deal for aspiring scribe Thomas Simmons. His comedy “Rose of Sharon” attracted the attention of producer Graham Leader and director Maggie Greenwald, who have attached themselves to the script.

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