Hamptons Doc Fest Screens New Film on Attica Prison Uprising

A scene from “Attica,” to be screened by Hamptons Doc Fest indoors at the Southampton Arts Center on Sunday, October 17. Courtesy Hamptons Doc Fest.

Hamptons Doc Fest and co-presenter Southampton Arts Center will offer a special sneak preview of “Attica,” from Showtime Documentary Films. The screening will take place at the Southampton Arts Center on Sunday, October 17, at 5 p.m. The powerful new documentary film, directed and produced by Emmy Award winner Stanley Nelson, co-directed and produced by Traci Curry, and written by Nelson, recounts the tragic Attica prison uprising of September 9-13, 1971.

Marking the rebellion’s 50th anniversary, the film highlights, through archival film footage, never-before-seen tapes from the prison’s closed-circuit TV system, and interviews with survivors, observers and government officials, how on September 9, 1971, more than 1,200 inmates in the upstate New York State maximum security prison, protesting living conditions, took control of the prison yard and held 39 prison guards hostage over four days, summoning public figures to serve as mediators.

When negotiations broke down, the bloody takeover of the prison resulted in the deaths of 29 inmates and 10 hostages.

The film sheds new light on the violence and racism in the American prison system, which houses over 2 million people, more than any other nation, and the ongoing need for reform. Following the film, there will be a live Q&A with director Stanley Nelson, led by Barry Scheck, attorney, law professor, co-founder and special counsel of the Innocence Project.

“Stanley Nelson’s deep dive into decades of prison abuse and the resulting uprising leaves you asking ‘Why did it have to end this way?’ His powerful documentary ‘Attica’ is testimony to the need for prison reforms that have been decades in coming. This is a story you have not heard before. Don’t miss it. Be enlightened,” said Jacqui Lofaro, founder and executive director of Hamptons Doc Fest.

This is not Nelson’s first appearance in the Hamptons. He was the recipient of the Hamptons Doc Fest’s Career Achievement Award at the December 2015 festival at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, when his film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” was shown. Hamptons Doc Fest also screened his documentary “Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool” in April 2019.

“Attica” opens in New York on Friday, October 29, at the Village East and premieres on Showtime on Saturday, November 6, at 9 p.m.

“Attica” tickets are $20 ($10 for SAC members) available at the Hamptons Doc Fest website, hamptonsdocfest.com, or the SAC website at southamptonartscenter.org. Southampton Arts Center is at 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton. Attendees need to wear a mask and show proof of COVID vaccination.