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Film, Glorious Film

With the 23rd annual Hamptons International Film Festival descending on the East End Oct. 8 to 12, we present an exclusive look at four of the players that make it all happen.

High-profile attorney and newly appointed co-chair of HIFF Randy Mastro with his dog, Jojo, outside of his home in Southampton

HIFF Executive Director Anne Chaisson

HIFF Artistic Director David Nugent

Stuart Match Suna, owner of Silvercup Studios in NYC and outgoing chairman of HIFF, on the beach path at Ocean Dunes Resort in Amagansett

Randy Mastro’s enthusiasm for movies has been unwavering ever since he took film classes during his college days at Yale. Happily, the high-powered lawyer (he’s the former deputy mayor for operations of NYC and co-chair of the Litigations Practice Group at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where he’s a partner) has gotten to indulge his personal zeal as HIFF board member for the last decade. This year, he makes the leap from vice chair to co-chairman of the festival, along with longtime devotee Alec Baldwin. For his part, Mastro will bring “sound business management to maximize our resources, and continue to grow the festival,” which, he notes, “has become very much a part of the vitality and vibrancy of life in the Hamptons.”

HIFF Executive Director Anne Chaisson and Artistic Director David Nugent, two of only four full-time year-round staffers heading up the artistic and business sides of the festival, can barely hold back when discussing this year’s highlights and new additions. Chaisson is eager to announce “a new endowed program called Compassion, Justice & Animal Rights, featuring films focused on animal rights.” Nugent is particularly excited about securing the Paolo Sorrentino film Youth, starring Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel. And then there’s the new partnership with the United Nations Alliance of Civilization, which is bringing short films gathered from all over the world to elementary and high schools across the East End—igniting the passion for film in the area’s youngest set of viewers.

Stepping down as chairman of HIFF after 18 years was not an easy move, says Stuart Match Suna. “I didn’t want to let go until I found people who really wanted to do it.” But with Baldwin and Mastro taking over, he knows the festival will be in good hands. And he’s proud of all it has accomplished. “Just last year we had over 40 Oscar nominations,” he says. “For the community, it’s an opportunity to see a lot of great films, and for the filmmakers, it’s an opportunity to have their projects seen by many of the power brokers and voting members of the Academy.”