‘Lily Topples the World’ Rounds Out SummerDocs Season at Guild Hall

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A scene from "Lily Topples The World." Photo by Steve Price.
Looping spirals of blues and greens. Architectural creations that seem to defy gravity. Lines and lines falling one by one.

These are just a few images of domino toppling, where artists spend painstaking hours setting up intricate designs that fall, in just a few seconds or minutes, in beautiful ways.

Lily Hevesh, considered one of the best domino topplers in the world, has spent years on her craft and amassed over a billion views on her YouTube channel, Hevesh5.

Now, a documentary following her rise — “Lily Topples the World,” directed by Jeremy Workman — is soon to be released, and will be shown at Guild Hall in East Hampton on August 21 as the final installment in this year’s SummerDocs series presented by HamptonsFilm. Alec Baldwin, HamptonsFilm co-chair, will host the screening.

“[Workman] emailed me when I was back in college — I was 19 — just out of the blue,” Hevesh said in a recent interview. “He tells a story that he was finishing his last documentary, and the editing process was really grueling, and he found himself turning to domino videos to kind of relax at the end of the night. He found my channel and he dug deeper into the videos and the community. And was, like, ‘Wow, this is really cool. This might be a cool subject for my next documentary.’

“I really liked the idea,” she added. “I don’t think anyone had ever made a documentary about the domino community before. That was just such a cool opportunity to be a part of and showcase this new kind of artwork and art form to a much wider audience that isn’t necessarily, you know, maybe watching YouTube all the time.”

Workman followed Hevesh for three years as she made the tough decision to leave college to pursue domino art full time. She traveled around the world for various domino projects and began creating her own line of toppling dominos, called H5 Domino Creations.

Over the course of the film, Hevesh books gigs with the “Today” Show, Jimmy Fallon, Katy Perry and Casey Neistat, among others, and collaborates with other members of the small, close-knit domino community. Hevesh is one of the few women in the community, and is its brightest star — she’s even a Forbes 30 under 30 lister.

Some of Hevesh’s domino works take days to set up. They go down in mere moments, and the work itself is really in the brief moments of falling, the patterns created as the dominos fall, the energy that moves along lines and creates shapes. Lily said that domino toppling has made her a more patient person.

“Dominos have taught me [that] it takes a while to get good results, and you have to be comfortable with the fact that it could take a long time,” Hevesh said. “It could take days, it could take weeks. But I’ve found that the end result is always worth it in the end. If it takes a long time to create, and that means it’s worthwhile and you’re probably making something good out of it.”

The film is as much a coming-of-age story as it is a look into the world of domino toppling, and viewers will see how Hevesh’s journey with dominos has shaped her life and helped her become who she is today.

“I just hope that the film inspires people to do what they really love, even if it’s considered weird or people don’t understand it yet,” she said. “Just know that if you like it and it makes you happy, keep going with it. I just hope it inspires people to do their thing, whatever that might be.”

“Lily Topples the World” will be screened as part of HamptonsFilm’s SummerDocs series on Saturday, August 21, at 7 p.m. at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Alec Baldwin and HamptonsFilm artistic director David Nugent lead a discussion with the filmmaker afterwards. Tickets are $40 at guildhall.org. For more information on Lily Hevesh, visit her website hevesh5.com or her YouTube channel youtube.com/hevesh5. “Lily Topples the World” will be released on the streaming service discovery+ on August 26.

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