Coming to Montauk for its first year, the Offshore Art and Film Festival promises art by day and film by night from July 13-17. At locations around Montauk — the Montauk Beach House, Solé East Resort and The Ranch — the work of local artists and independent filmmakers will be highlighted and celebrated alongside other special events.
For Christine Wexler, Offshore’s co-founder and art director, and Jordan Bromley, co-founder, the festival’s mission really boils down to nurturing young creatives. Supporting independent filmmakers and local artists is at the heart of the festival’s mission.
Wexler is a documentary film producer and freelance photographer, and Bromley has worked as a “script doctor” in the film world for years, working for film companies in Manhattan and Los Angeles. Both have deep connections to Montauk and its community.
“We are all rooted in the heart of Montauk throughout our entire lives,” Wexler said. “So it’s amazing that we [can] all come together and tap back into the community and be able to host this festival supporting the real creative emerging artist.”
Besides the film screenings, Q&As and film-related nighttime events, Offshore will also be hosting an art walk and reception at Solé East Resort showcasing local visual artists and tying in art components to the day’s events — like live performance art from Jo Jerusalem.
“[We were] really wanting to be able to offer an opportunity and a venue for emerging artists, for [visual] art, as well as film to screen and exhibit and really have that opportunity, because that’s where the growth comes in within an artist,” Wexler said. “And we’ve each had those opportunities for ourselves, so it’s really exciting to create it for all these new filmmakers.”
Art lovers will also have their interests piqued by the sculptures of Frank Stella, on view at The Ranch where Offshore is hosting a private screening.
The festival also aims to give back to the community from which it comes as well as the wider world. Locally, it will support the Montauk Playhouse, where Bromley is a member of the advisory committee, the Montauk Library and the Montauk Skatepark Coalition as well as the environmental charities Oceania and 1% For The Planet. Additionally, the festival is partnering with Women Make Movies — an organization that champions female filmmakers — for a panel discussion.
“One of our main goals is community and we don’t ever wanna create a venue that the local community, the year-round community feels like they cannot be a part of or contribute because of a high ticket price or that it’s just not their thing,” Wexler said.
Each day’s events are structured around the film that will be screening that night. The film offerings are diverse, from comedy to environmental films and more, starting out with a night of surf and skate centered shorts. Especially relevant for Montauk, this night will feature “Waterproof” about lifeguards in East Hampton, “Luck Is Alive” about an African surfer who believes in Animism, “Barrels & Cod” about surfing Portugal’s mammoth waves off Nazaré, and “Dead Last.” An NFT panel will kick off the night, with more non-fungible action coming the next night with a live NFT launch. Showing at The Ranch on July 14 is “The Art of Making It” which documents young artists and was the 2022 SXSW audience award winner. The last film to show has never screened in the US: “Sunburn,” which was shot in Montauk in summer 1998 and stars a young Cillian Murphy as an Irish J-1 visa worker.
“What we wanted to do this year especially was to have a category of films shot and made around Montauk or the Hamptons, or even Long Island,” Bromley said. “From what I experienced through previous festivals, what made the crowd react, what really jumped out from the screen was films that were shot out here.
“They recognized a store, they recognized the beach, they recognized a local or a surf break. And they’re like, ‘Oh my God, I know that,’” Bromley continued. “Chances are, if you’re in Montauk and you’re at one of these events, you love Montauk, you love being here. And so seeing familiar Montauk sites on the big screen is exciting for most people. It is for me.”
Wexler also spoke of the collective experience of movie going, which atrophied during the pandemic not only due to viewers staying in but streaming options as well.
“One of the goals is to really bring back the shared experience, something that’s been really taken away during COVID,” Wexler said. “You found yourself on your laptop, watching films, series streaming all day long. When you’re sitting in a room and the filmmaker is there, and they’re watching their film, they’re watching the audience watch their film, it’s the most incredible energy and it’s really exciting.”
For more information about all the Offshore events as well as tickets, visit offshoreartandfilm.org.