American Values Film Series

A provocative film exploration of the diverse and enduring ideas that have shaped our country and its people, transcend our current political climate, and continue to inspire us today. Each screening was followed by in-depth audience discussion with a director, writer or artist associated with the film.

American Values was presented at partner-venues across the East End while we worked to rebuild the Sag Harbor Cinema. It was the inaugural program of the new Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center.

Exclusive Corporate Sponsor

Additional funding provided by

The Sag Harbor Partnership


Thank you to our American Values Film Series sponsors Sotheby's International Realty - New York City & Sag Harbor Partnership for gathering together a provocative and enduring selection of films, compelling celebrity guest hosts, and scintillating post-screening discussions!

Special thanks to moderators
Giulia D’Agnollo Vallan, Emma Watson Hamilton & Susan Lacy, all our extraordinary guest hosts Carter Burwell, Alec Sokolow, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Carl Bernstein, Isabella Rossellini, Rob Marshall and John Deluca, Laurie Anderson, Julie Andrews, William Friedkin, and Ashley Clark.

Thank you to Steve Hamilton, Steve Hamilton, & our team of volunteers who helped set up the films for smooth programming. We are looking forward to offering more exciting programs in the future!

And once again: Thank you to our exclusive corporate sponsor, Sotheby's International Realty


with Academy Award nominated composer Carter Burwell

2pm | Dec 10, 2017 | Pierson High School Auditorium

A headstrong 14-year-old farm girl, Mattie Ross (Hailee Steinfield), leads the charge to avenge the murder of her father, by hired hand Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin). At the heart of this sharp, funny and revisionist western, it’s her story, set in motion by her, narrated by her. To help capture the killer Mattie hires the toughest U.S. Marshal she can find, a man with "true grit," marble-mouthed Reuben J. "Rooster" Cogburn (Jeff Bridges). Mattie insists on accompanying the hard drinking Cogburn, who generally shot to kill first before asking questions. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf (Matt Damon), who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and adventure on the journey, and each has his or her "grit" tested. The Coen brothers trademark distinctive and quirky American tales span many genres and styles. In True Grit, their collaboration with producer Steven Spielberg, cinematographer  Roger Deakins and composer Carter Burwell remind us of the glory that was, and can still be, the Western. This is the second adaptation of Charles Portis’ famous 1968 novel. The book was previously filmed by Henry Hathaway, with John Wayne.


Carter Burwell has composed the music for a number of feature films, including Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Miller's Crossing, Gods and Monsters, Fargo, Being John Malkovich, Before Night Falls, Adaptation, In Bruges, Twilight, Anomalisa and True Grit. In 2015 he was nominated for an Academy Award for the score to Carol. He’s on the Honorary Board of the Hamptons Film Festival and is a member of the Amagansett Volunteer Fire Department (but wasn’t called to the 2016 Sag Harbor fire). He’s a strong advocate of art house cinema, and when Film Forum moved to their current location in New York City he wrote the music for the trailer that preceded every film shown there for almost 20 years.


with Academy Award winning filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus

2pm | Dec 17, 2017 | Pierson High School Auditorium

In April 1971 at NYC’s Town Hall, a packed house turned out to hear Norman Mailer, as moderator and devil’s advocate, provoke a raucous debate about women’s liberation; their rights and their bodies with a panel of passionate fearsome feminists. Occurring a year after New York had legalized abortion, it was defining political and cultural event. Celebrated cinema verite filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus captured the event, but it was not until 1979 when they premiered their explosive “Town Bloody Hall” documentary. Among the panelists were journalist and lesbian spokeswoman Jill Johnston; legendary literary critic Diana Trilling; president of The National Organization of Women (NOW), Jacqueline Ceballos; and possibly his toughest match, the glamorous and razor-tongued author of The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer. There are questions from a star-studded audience. One review noted “Town Bloody Hall beats with the forceful pulse of spontaneity, honesty, and with all of the confusion that is the battle of sexes.” Today, between the resistance of the Women’s March and #metoo campaign, this film could not have more relevance to our timely discussion.


Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, as well as longtime producer Frazer Pennebaker, form one of the most respected and unique teams of documentary filmmakers working today. Known for their unobtrusive, cinema-verite style of filmmaking, they follow their subjects using handheld cameras and available light. They achieve is a candid portrait of real-life drama in which the characters determine the action. Their subject matter ranges from politics to music, and includes The War Room, Monterey Pop, Dont Look Back, and Kings of Pastry to name just a few. Hegedus’ film won her the 2002 DGA Award for Outstanding Directional Achievement. In 2013 The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized D A Pennebaker’s body of work with an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Most recently, the team has released a new edition of THE WAR ROOM through the Criterion Collection.


with Academy Award nominated screenwriter Alec Sokolow

2pm | Dec 23, 2017 | Pierson High School Auditorium

Creating an entire universe out of a couple of kid's bedrooms, a gas station, and a stretch of suburban highway, this Pixar masterpiece tells the story of a group of toys’ epic adventure. It is the first computer animated feature ever made and John Lasseter's directing debut, with a famous score by Randy Newman and a script that is snappy and inventive, with a note of subversive humor sharpening its sweet charm.

Andy’s toys come to life when the boy and his family are not watching. The leader of the pack is Sheriff Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) until newcomer Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) shows up as a birthday present and threatens his “favorite toy” status. A technological marvel, beloved both by children and adults - like Walt Disney and his animators (all inspirations for the Pixar group) knew how to make. Late critic Roger Ebert described it as “a visionary roller coaster ride of a movie”. Richard Corliss, of Time magazine called it “the year most inventive comedy of the year”. 


Alec Sokolow has worn many hats in his writing career. Contributor to National Lampoon Magazine, staff writer and segment producer on The Late Show (1987), The Wilton North Report (1988) and The Arsenio Hall Show (1988-89). Writer & Co-Writer of feature films Toy Story, (Academy Award nomination for screenwriting), Evan Almighty, Money Talks, Cheaper By the Dozen, and Garfield, and of one musical play, Monkey Love, and of a children's book, The Outcastics, and even writer and director of a low budget monster musical, Frankenstein Sings! He recently produced the documentary “I Am Jane Doe” and directed his first animated short, I Am Little Red.


with investigative journalist and author 

Carl Bernstein

2pm | Jan 14, 2018 | Guild Hall

In the run up to the 1972 elections, The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) uncover the truth behind the break-in at the Watergate Democratic National Headquarters that lead to President Nixon’s resignation. Adapted from Woodward and Bernstein’s best seller book, produced by Robert Redford, the film is considered one of the best political thrillers ever, and won 4 Oscars.


Carl Bernstein, together with Bob Woodward, won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on Watergate, Since then, he wrote several books, among which are The Final Days, on the twilight of the Nixon presidency and A Woman In Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton.


with actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini

7pm | Jan 28, 2018 | Guild Hall

2017 marked the 75th anniversary of this cherished classic and multiple Oscar winner that still figures on most top-ten lists. Based on an unproduced play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison entitled Everybody Comes to Rick's, directed by Hungarian master Michael Curtiz from a script by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, Casablanca feels ever so relevant in a world where refugee crises are part of our daily newscasts. The setting is Morocco - a crossroads for spies, traitors, Nazis and the French Resistance where former lovers Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) meet again when her anti-Nazi activist husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) comes to Rick’s nightclub seeking help and a safe passage to America. The themes that play out are of lost love, honor and duty, self-sacrifice and romance within a chaotic world at war. The magnificent score is by Max Steiner. Referred to a million times, from the Marx Brothers to Woody Allen, most recently in Bob Zemeckis' underappreciated Allied.


Isabella Rossellini, the daughter of Ingrid Bergman and Roberto Rossellini, started out as a journalist and a model. She carved out an international film career, starring in Norman Mailer's Tough Guys Don't Dance and Nikita Mikhailkov's Dark Eyes, as well as Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart by David Lynch, Roberto Benigni's L'Altra Domenica and Two Lovers by James Gray. Among her most recent films are Guy Maddin's Keyhole, Marjane Satrapi's Chicken with Plums, Saverio Costanzo's The Solitude of Prime Numbers and The Dandelions by Carine Tardieu. It was with the film tribute My Dad Is 100 Years Old that Isabella Rossellini went from actress to screenwriter. Working with Robert Redford in 2008, she created a mini-series on the sexuality of animals: Green Porno, Seduce Me and Mammas, produced by SundanceTV, went on to worldwide success.She has also written three books: Some of Me, Looking at Me, and In the Name of the Father, the Daughter and the Holy Spirits: Remembering Roberto Rossellini.


with Academy Award winning director Rob Marshall and producer John DeLuca

2pm | Feb 11, 2018 | Ross School Senior Lecture Hall

Adapted from the 1975 Broadway production, Chicago is a crime comedy musical set during the Jazz Age - its story of celebrity, scandal and corruption inspired by the screaming headlines of the era. Vaudevillian Velma Kelly (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and housewife Roxie Hart (Renee Zellwegger) meet in jail where they are both waiting to be tried for murder. Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, the film won 6 Academy Awards. Marshall, a stage veteran making his big screen debut, with a script by Bill Condon, stages the songs more or less within Roxie's imagination, where everything is a little more supercharged than life, and even lawyers can tap-dance. Considered a key title in the reinvention of the genre for modern audiences, it was the first musical to win a Best Picture Academy Award since Oliver!, in 1968.

According to David Edelstein, on Slate: “Chicago wears its showbiz cynicism with gaudy pride. The central conflict is between Roxie and the simmering prima donna Velma to see who will emerge the bigger murderess/star. Which means that Chicago is one of the rare musical comedies (Gypsy is another) to tell the truth about the people who compete for your entertainment dollars”. 


Rob Marshall’s films have been honored with a total of twenty-six Academy Award nominations —winning nine, including Best Picture. He is currently directing and producing MARY POPPINS RETURNS, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. His most recent film is themusical INTO THE WOODS starring Meryl Streep, which was nominated for three Oscars, three Golden Globes (including Best Picture), and was chosen as one of AFI’s best films of the year. He also has directed the films CHICAGO (6 Academy Awards, DGA and National Board of Review Awards — Best Director), MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (3 Academy Awards), NINE (4 Academy Award nominations), starring Sophia Loren and Daniel Day-Lewis, and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ON STRANGER TIDES, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz, which earned over a billion dollars worldwide. On television, Mr. Marshall received Emmy Awards for directing, choreographing, and executive producing TONY BENNETT, AN AMERICAN CLASSIC, and he also directed and choreographed the Disney/ABC musical ANNIE (Emmy Award, Peabody Award). A six-time Tony Award nominee, Mr. Marshall’s stage work includes Broadway productions of CABARET, LITTLE ME, VICTOR/VICTORIA, DAMN YANKEES, SHE LOVES ME, COMPANY, and KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN. 


John DeLuca is currently producing MARY POPPINS RETURNS for Disney, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. He most recently produced INTO THE WOODS, chosen as one of AFI’s best films of the year and nominated for three Oscars and three Golden Globes. He served as Executive Producer on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES and produced the film NINE, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. NINE was nominated for four Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, ten Critics' Choice Awards and a SAG Award. DeLuca's additional credits include the Academy Award winning films MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA and CHICAGO. He was honored with the American Choreography Award for both films. He won two Emmys for the NBC television special TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC. Other choreography credits include Steven Spielberg's THE TERMINAL, the 75TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS and KENNEDY CENTER HONORS. On Broadway, John choreographed DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! and MINNELLI ON MINNELLI.


with artist and director Laurie Anderson

5pm | Feb 18, 2018 | Southampton Arts Center

A wealthy New York investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies. The film is adapted from Bret Easton Ellis’ seminal novel (1991) and directed by Mary Harron (her last work, Alias Grace, written by Sarah Polley from Margaret Atwood’s book, is available and highly recommended on Netflix). American Psyscho is a horror, with touches of comedy, a smart social satire with gore. As per the New York Times “a sleek, satirical, yuppie-era ''Jekyll and Hyde'' that blithely tap dances along the fault lines separating movie genres”.


It premiered in 2000 at the Sundance Film Festival. It is an R film: Minors will be allowed in only under adult supervision


Laurie Anderson is one of today’s premier performance artists. Known for her multimedia presentations she has cast herself in roles as varied as visual artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, electronics whiz, vocalist, and instrumentalist. O Superman launched Anderson’s recording career in 1980.She has published several books and her visual work has been presented in major museums throughout the United States and Europe. As a composer, Anderson has contributed music to films by Wim Wenders and Jonathan Demme; dance pieces by Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Molissa Fenley, and a score for Robert LePage’s theater production, Far Side of the Moon. Her films include Home of the Brave (1986) Hidden Inside Mountains (2005) and Heart of a Dog (2015). Recognized worldwide as a groundbreaking leader in the use of technology in the arts, in 2002 she was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA out of which she developed her solo performance “The End of the Moon”. Her VR installation, The Chalk Room, co created with Hsin-Chein Huang, is currently on view at MassMoCA


with Academy Award winning actor and author Julie Andrews

2pm | Mar 4, 2018 | Pierson High School Auditorium

There’s an anti-war film for every conflict America is engaged in, but none more significant than the anti-war movies created during the Vietnam era.  Both controversial and highly celebrated when it opened in 1964, this sharp, pacifist romantic comedy is loosely based on William Bradford Huie’s novel, with a script written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Arthur Hiller. Philip Lathrop’s beautifully composed black-and-white photography places the audience back in the 1944 London, during the build-up to D-Day, where Charlie Madison (James Garner), an American naval officer with a taste for the good life, sees his priorities challenged when he falls in love with a driver from the motor pool, Emily Barham (Julie Andrews). 


According to Bosley Crowther, of the New York Times,  "The Americanization of Emily comes out a spinning comedy that says more for basic pacifism than a fistful of intellectual tracts. It also is highly entertaining, and it makes a good case for pure romance”.


Julie Andrews, actress and author, was a hit on the English stage before duplicating that success on Broadway, where she received Tony Award nominations for her roles in Camelot and My Fair Lady. She won an Academy Award for her title role in Mary Poppins and was also nominated for her performance in The Sound of Music. Andrews was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2000. In 2007, she received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for her professional accomplishments, and a few years later a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. In 2016, Andrews directed a production of My Fair Lady at the Sydney Opera House, in honor of the work's 60th anniversary. Andrews and daughter Emma Walton Hamilton have co-authored over 30 extremely successful children's books together. 


with Academy Award winning director William Friedkin, via Skype

2pm | Mar 11, 2018 | Pierson High School Auditorium

One of the most exciting and daring talents of the New Hollywood generation, William Friedkin, is best known for his Oscar-winning films The French Connection and The Exorcist, the latter of which is still considered the most frightening film ever made.


Less known is the fact that Friedkin’s flawless and tense action style had its roots in documentary. He was 26 in1962, and had never made a film when he became aware of Paul Crump, a fellow Chicagoan who was serving a death sentence for the alleged murder of a security guard during a botched robbery. Friedkin convinced a local TV station to let him tell Crump’s story.


The People vs. Paul Crump set the stage for the true crime documentary genre that has become so popular today, both on TV and on the big screen (Making a Murderer, The Thin Blue Line, The Central Park Five). With the help of cinematographer Bill Butler (Jaws), Friedkin filmed reenactments of the crime and Crump’s account of being beaten into a confession by the police. The original TV station subsequently deemed the film too controversial and refused to air it, but the intrepid director managed to get it to governor Otto Kerner, who then commuted Crump’s sentence to life in prison.


Despite the fact that the film revealed Friedkin’s superior filmmaking talent, it is rarely screened and ripe for re-discovery. In particular, Crump resonates with many of the incidents that sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. The film will be screened as part of the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center’s American Values series on Sunday, March 11, at 2 PM, at Pierson High School Auditorium. The free screening will be followed by an interview with Friedkin via Skype from the West Coast.


Born in Chicago in 1935, William Friedkin early career’s included directing TV shows and documentaries. Combining his admiration for filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock and Henry-George Clouzout to his curiosity – and a sophisticated eye - from investigating themes from political affairs to the relationship of the Catholic church with the occult, he would soon become one of the protagonists of the New Hollywood, with two of the most intense cinematic experiences of the 70s: the political thriller The French Connection (1971), one one the best “New York movies” of all time, and the horror adaptation of a William Peter Blatty’s best seller The Exorcist (1973), to this day a major source of inspiration for any horror filmmaker.


 Friedkin continued showing his versatility and range with the caper-comedy The Brink’s Job (1978) and the nouveau-noir To Live and Die in L.A. (1985). Between these films, he sent Al Pacino to investigate a murder among the New York gay community in “Cruising”. Actively protested during its making, that controversial film has since been embraced by the gay community. In 1985, Friedkin directed Linda Fiorentino in one of the last great sexual thrillers of the decade, Jade, a film that Steven Soderbergh is very fond of and determined to get back back in vogue.  


Always an adventurous, experimental spirit, Friedkin found new sources of material in other mediums. From off-Broadway, he adapted two plays written by Tracy Letts: the psychological horror Bug (2006), with Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon, and the black comedy crime story Killer Joe (2011) with Matthew McConaughey. He also had his eyes on composers Richard Strauss, Jacques Offenbach, Bartok and Verdi, directing acclaimed operas versions of Salome, The Tales of Hoffmann, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, Aida and Rigoletto. With such range, no wonder his Master Classes around the world are always a sold out hit. Once the youngest director to ever win an Oscar, in 2013 Friedkin received the Venice Film festival’s highest honor, The Golden Lion for Career Achievement.


with BAM Senior Film Programmer Ashley Clark

2pm | Mar 18, 2018 | Pierson High School Auditorium

A handful of characters, a single Brooklyn block, the hottest day of the year. In 1989, Spike Lee extracted from this microcosm what remains one of his most provocative, most beautiful and most inventive works to date - a hip hop opera (Bill Lee, the director’s father is responsible for the score) on race relations, urban survival, violence and Sal’s Famous Pizzeria. Very controversial prior to its release, Do the Right Thing, with its glorious blend of painterly/chromatic hyperrealism and Brechtian cool was then embraced both by the audience and the critics. 


“Film is not to be played with,” wrote Spike Lee in his book about the making of this film. He never did: he has used film as a weapon, as music, as color, as a pamphlet, a riddle, an anthropological study... He has used it to make history, to make money, to make us laugh, to raise hot issues, to confound our expectations and every now and then simply to rankle us. Thirty years after its making Do The Right Thing is as relevant to its themes as it could ever be.


Ashley Clark is the senior programmer of cinema at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), a position he has occupied since August 2017. He was the programmer of Black Star, a major film season dedicated to exploring the range, versatility and power of black actors, and co-programmer of Making Faces on Film: a Collaboration with BFI Black Star (Museum of Modern Art, April 2017), a complementary New York edition. As a journalist, Clark has written extensively on film and culture for The Guardian, Sight & Sound, Reverse Shot, Village Voice and Film Comment; and his first book is Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (The Critical Press, 2015). 

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