Please note: Tickets to screenings are non-refundable except in the event of cancellation.

Advance ticket sales end three hours before screenings.

Present Tense

An adventurous mix of new releases, classics, documentaries and rarely seen subversive comedies, which speak in a variety of ways and styles to our present political and cultural time. Each screening was followed by a conversation with a featured filmmaker or writer.

Previous Screenings In This Series


with Paul Schrader


Guild Hall

158 Main St, East Hampton

The first screening in our new winter series, "Present Tense," was Paul Schrader's critically-acclaimed new film, FIRST REFORMED, a powerhouse tour-de-force starring Ethan Hawke as the troubled Protestant minister of a dwindling congregation. Schrader is perhaps best known for having written TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL, and with FIRST REFORMED he has created what he describes as a "spiritual film". Since its release, FIRST REFORMED has amassed 40 wins and 62 nominations both here and abroad, with a 93% critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes. 

The screening at Guild Hall was followed by a Q&A with Schrader and Cinema programming head Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan.



with Samuel D. Pollard


Bay Street Theater

1 Bay St, Sag Harbor

Shola Lynch's powerful documentary CHISHOLM '72: UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED is the first film to honor Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's remarkable run for president in 1972. Echoing many of the campaign principles we hear today, Chisholm's campaign broke ground in countless ways with charisma, wit and unbroken spirit. 

Winner of the 2006 George Foster Peabody Award, CHISHOLM '72: UNBOUGHT AND UNBOSSED shows us a woman boldly going where no woman of color had gone before. Its editor, Samuel D. Pollard, engaged in the Q&A afterward with head of Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center's Advisory Board, Susan Lacy.

This film was co-presented by the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center and the Eastville Community Historical Society in honor of Black History Month.


with Joe Dante (via Skype)


Pierson High School Auditorium

200 Jermain Ave, Sag Harbor

Directed by Joe Dante in 1997 yet ever so timely today, THE SECOND CIVIL WAR stars James Earl Jones, Elizabeth Peña, and Denis Leary as reporters for a CNN-like cable network; Phil Hartman as the U.S. President; James Coburn as his chief political advisor; and William Schallert as the Secretary of Defense. Brian Keith portrayed a general in one of his final movie roles.

Joe Dante joined us for a Q&A via Skype from LA afterwards with Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan, our head of programming. Dante has built one of the smartest, funniest, most subversive and successful movie careers in Hollywood. Among his anarchic comedies, scary horrors and ingenious fantasy films are: Gremlins (1984), Matinee (1993), Howling (1981), Innerspace  (1987) and Small Soldiers (1998). In 2005, the New Yorker called Homecoming - Dante’s episode of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series - “the best political film of 2005." 


with Jules Feiffer


Southampton Arts Center

25 Jobs Lane, Southampton


Directed by Alan Arkin in 1971, LITTLE MURDERS stars Elliot Gould, Marcia Rodd, Vincent Gardenia, Elizabeth Wilson, Doris Robert, Donald Sutherland and Lou Jacobi. Set in a nightmarish New York City, Little Murders sees fashion photographer Alfred Chamberlain (Elliot Gould)’s life altered when he meets the dysfunctional family of his newest girlfriend - an interior designer who saved him from being mugged by street thugs.


The great Jules Feiffer joined us for a Q&A after the screening with Giulia D'Agnolo Vallan, our head of programming. Little Murders was Jules Feiffer’s first screenplay, based on the off-Broadway Alan Arkin production of his play. Later, that same year, the Mike Nichols production of his second screenplay, Carnal Knowledge was released. Other films: Popeye (Altman), I Want To Go Home (Resnais). This screening benefits the Sag Harbor Cinema Arts Center. Now at 90, Feiffer limits his screenplays to graphic novels, having completed his noir trilogy, Kill My Mother, and now at work on The Lost Dimension, a graphic novel series for children. 


with Bruce Goldstein


Pierson High School Auditorium

200 Jermain Ave, Sag Harbor


Directed by Gregory La Cava in 1933, GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE stars Walter Hustonas Judson Hammond, a recently elected American president and a hack who becomes a true man of action and principle after a violent car crash. Congress starts impeachment proceedings, to which he reacts with a string of less than democratic measures. After attending a pre-screening of the film, an infuriated Louis B. Mayer intimated to his assistant to “put that picture back in its can, take it back to the studio, and lock it up!”.

Bruce Goldstein has been the Repertory Program Director of the Film Forum since 1986 and received a special New York Film Critics Circle award for visionary programming. His now-iconic repertory format created more than 400 film festivals. Among his many achievements are the popularization of “Pre-Code” movies as a distinct genre; his early series “Movies in Scope,” which helped create a public demand for the letterboxing of videos; and the reputation of Film Forum as flagship theater for new prints and restorations. In 1997, he founded Rialto Pictures, a distribution company specializing in classic re-releases


with Robert Schenkkan


Pierson High School Auditorium

200 Jermain Ave, Sag Harbor


Directed by Jay Roach in 2016, ALL THE WAY stars Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Both the play and the film describe Johnson’s efforts to muster support from Congress and among the civil rights leaders (Martin Luther King Jr. is played by Anthony Mackie), for the Civil Rights Act; and to get it passed. “In Cranston’s hands, this accidental president comes across as an amazing bundle of contradictions, someone who seems at once too vulgar for the job and just right for it”, wrote ‘New York Times’ television critic Neil Genzlinger when the film was released.


Robert Schenkkan is a playwright, screenwriter and actor. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1992 (for The Kentucky Cycle) and a Tony Award for Best Play for All the Way, in 2014. His films include the screenplay for The Quiet American (2002), based on Graham Greene’s novel and directed by Phillip Noyce, and Hacksaw Ridge, co-written with director Mel Gibson in 2016. Prior to his third Emmy nomination for adapting All the Way for 2016 HBO production, he had been nominated for two (out of four) episodes of the critically acclaimed miniseries The Pacific. The ambitious WWII drama produced by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman in 2010, also earned Schenkkan a Writer’s Guild Award for Best Miniseries. Trekkies know Schenkkan better as Lieutenant Commander Dexter Remmick, a role he played in two episodes of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation.



Pierson High School Auditorium

200 Jermain Ave, Sag Harbor

The "Present Tense" series concluded on Saturday April 27th at Pierson High School Auditorium, with a special sneak preview screening of Knock Down the House.

One of the most hotly anticipated non-fiction films of 2019 and the winner of the Audience Award for best U.S. Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Knock Down the House follows the story of four working-class women, who were part of the wave of female candidates running groundbreaking campaigns for Congress in 2018. One of them, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a bartender from the Bronx, would become one of the most outspoken and active members of the new Congress; as well as a media superstar.

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