Offering an awards package valued at more than $80,000 USD, HIFF lavishes participating filmmakers with complimentary passes to screenings, industry mixers, networking events and parties, and other career-enhancing festival highlights, including conversations with Richard Gere, Alan Cumming, Focus Features CEO James Schamus, cinematographer Robert Elswit, and other industry luminaries. Filmmakers engaged in competition also receive complimentary travel and hotel accommodations in gorgeous East Hampton, leaving HIFF visitors with no headaches, no logistical concerns, and countless opportunities for creative engagement.
Playing an important role in the run-up to Awards Season, HIFF is an Academy-Qualifying festival for short films, and has seen numerous official selections, both features and shorts, go on to receive Academy Awards or nominations. HIFF has helped accelerate several fantastic films - including Amour, The Artist, Paperman, and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom - towards the visibility and acclaim they've richly deserved. After enjoying its world premiere at HIFF in 2003, Open Water, the true story of two Scuba divers adrift in shark-infested waters, was acquired by Lionsgate and grossed $39 million, worldwide. Since its inception, HIFF has been proud not only to unearth remarkable stories, but also to put them in front of audiences that can truly amplify reach and impact.