Tag Archive | "Guild Hall"

Round Table Brings the Prince of Danes to Guild Hall

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A rehearsal of Shakespeare's Hamlet at the John Drew Theater on Sunday, 11/2/14

By Annette Hinkle

“Hamlet,” Shakespeare’s most famous play, is a tragedy that has it all…even by today’s standards. There are ghosts, murders, lust, revenge, a probable suicide and, at its core a family feud within the Danish royal family that rivals anything reality TV has to offer — all set against the backdrop of Denmark’s Elsinore Castle.

That’s a lot of angst to digest…. so just imagine the conversations that are taking place these days around the dinner table at Morgan and Tristan Vaughan’s house in East Hampton.

The Vaughans are not only married, they are also classically trained Shakespearean actors. Both studied at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, but they didn’t meet until later, while they both were pursuing MFA degrees from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University.

The Vaughans are also co-founders of the Round Table Theatre Company & Academy, an East End based non-profit dedicated to the education, promotion and presentation of works by classic playwrights (like the Bard). Offering classes to actors and non-actors alike is part of their mission, but so is producing plays, and tonight, the company’s production of “Hamlet” opens at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall for a three-week run with Ms. Vaughan directing.

And who will be playing Hamlet, himself? Mr. Vaughan, of course.

Aye, there’s the rub.

“Some couples argue about money, we argue about Shakespeare,” laughs Mr. Vaughan.

Actually, while Hamlet’s family may be angst ridden and openly hostile to one another, the Vaughans, conversely, have largely figured out how to work well and happily in the theater together.

“This is the first time I’ve directed Tristan in a production,” says Ms. Vaughan. “We met at grad school, but did not start dating until the end of school. For that reason, I think we have a good understanding of each others’ failings and challenges and the good parts of our acting.”

“Hamlet” will be Round Table’s second production on the East End. Back in early 2013, the company performed “Macbeth” at LTV studios in Wainscott. That time, Mr. Vaughan was the director and Ms. Vaughan acted in the title role of Lady Macbeth.

“He directed me in ‘Macbeth’ so he knows my bad actor habits,” admits Ms. Vaughan. “That said, we live together. After rehearsal I want to get home and not think about it, and he’s like, ‘What do you think of this?’”

“It was the opposite in Macbeth,” smiles Mr. Vaughan.

Chalk it up to the stress of directing since ultimately, it’s the director’s job to make it all work seamlessly. One of the biggest challenges with Shakespeare is presenting the material in a way that makes it assessable to all, yet keeping it true to the original intent of the words.

At times, that can be a difficult line to walk and since accessibility is a key part of Round Table’s mission, it’s a task Ms. Vaughan takes seriously. There have been plenty of kitschy Hamlets over the years, set in times and places far removed from the original setting. For this production, Ms. Vaughan wanted a modern setting. While her husband felt that modern was fine, he pressed her to narrow it down to a somewhat specific time frame.

“I had to persuade him in certain ways — he’s the artistic director — so we met in the middle,” says Ms. Vaughan.

The result is a “Hamlet” that takes place in the early 20th century, sometime between WWI and WWII.

“I will say, I kept it in Denmark and Hamlet is the prince,” says Ms. Vaughan. “If you change the stakes and Hamlet is just some screwed up kid, it loses the impact. It has to be that he’s going to be the king and all the power that comes with it.”

“We have updated it in terms of dress but it’s timeless in terms of emotions and what we can identify with,” adds Ms. Vaughan who also decided to make quite a few cuts to the script, specifically removing those political references from Shakespeare’s day that are entirely irrelevant or incomprehensible to today’s audiences.

“We also cut out the stuff between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Hamlet about theater of the 1600s,” she adds. “Nobody knows what that means and I don’t want anyone to feel stupid. I don’t want people to leave saying, ‘I don’t get it.’”

“Being a teacher at heart, you have to reach across to bring people up,” adds Mr. Vaughan.

“If people don’t understand it when they leave, it’s our fault,” counters Ms. Vaughan. “As a director, I have to say, ‘Is this comprehensible?’ It’s not contemporary language, but it’s our job to make it understood.”

Teamwork is also vital. For Ms. Vaughan, directing is not about imposing her singular vision, but rather creating it collaboratively by calling on the talents and instincts of the actors around her.

“Actors need to feel comfortable with where they are in a space and how they’re progressing,” says Ms. Vaughan. “I’m not a director who says, ‘This is the way it should be.’ They’re the character. With all the actors, I’d say, ‘How was that?’”

“That’s how I direct,” agrees Mr. Vaughan. “Macbeth was hard — there was so much to do. This time, I’m really happy to have someone I trust so much directing. It takes a huge weight off me.”

And in the end, for the Vaughans it all comes down to Shakespeare’s words.

“Because we had the same training, ultimately it comes back to the text,” adds Ms. Vaughan. “If you can support it by the text, we know that it’s right and agree with that.”

Now that’s the way to make a marriage — and a theater company — work.

Round Table Theatre Company’s production of “Hamlet” is presented in partnership with Guild Hall. The play runs Friday, November 7 through Sunday, November 23 in the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. The cast includes Jeff Keogh, Tristan Vaughan, Josh Gladstone, John Tramontana, Dianne Benson, Peter Connolly, Sawyer Avery, Evan Daves, Michael Bartoli and Fabrienne Bottero. Set design is by Brian Leaver with costumes by Yuka Silvera and lighting by Sebastian Paczynski. Tickets are $25/$23 for adults and $15 for students. For tickets, call (631) 324-0806, visit guildhall.org or theatermania.com, or call 1-866-811-4111.

Mary Ellen Bartley Leans Above the Page at Guild Hall

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By Annette Hinkle

 

On its surface, a book looks like a fairly simple object. But crack one open and you just might find a tool with transformative powers. Between the covers of a good book it’s possible to discover the essence of emotion, beauty, compassion or suspense. A book can be wholly meditative or a call to action.

For artist Mary Ellen Bartley, books are nothing short of pure inspiration. But for Bartley, it’s not what lies between the pages that is most important, rather it’s the form of the external package itself.

Ms. Bartley took top honors in Guild Hall’s 74th Artist Members Exhibition in 2012 and as a result, has been given a solo exhibition, “Leaning Above the Page,” which will be on view at Guild Hall through January 4. Included in the show are 19 images from five of Ms. Bartley’s ongoing photographic series — Standing Open, Paperbacks, Sea Change, Blue Books and Push 2 Stops. This Saturday, Ms. Bartley will host a gallery talk about her work at Guild Hall at 2 p.m.

All the photographs in the show were taken between 2004 and 2014 and while books are the overarching theme of Ms. Bartley’s imagery, she does not reveal titles or context in her work. Instead, she prefers to offer views of books stacked atop one another, lined up side by side, or viewed up close with pages slightly fanned. In these instances the imagery references the sculptural form books assume when viewed externally from various perspectives.

“Leaning Above the Page,” the show’s title, is inspired by the Wallace Stevens poem “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm.” The poem evokes the notion of understanding that can be had by slowing down, disconnecting from life’s external noise and simply allowing a good book to do its job through silent bonding.

“It’s the idea that within a situation of quiet and calm, there is the space and the time to try and find connection and meaning,” explains Ms. Bartley. “In this case, Stevens talks about a book, but it can also be art. It’s about receptivity, wanting to have the connection, that perfection of thought on a summer night, a unity with the art or the book.”

“To me, it’s so important,” says Ms. Bartley. “Looking at something slowly and carefully, reading something in a quiet house, finding meaning by going to see art or reading a book.”

“The form of the poem and its use of repetition induce a calm state,” she adds. “I try to do that in my photos.”

Ms. Bartley’s photographs capture the quiet complexity that all books potentially hold — be it through the varied hues of white found in the pages of a stack of paperbacks or the blue and green hardcovers which appear nearly painterly in her artistic treatment of them.

“I think an interesting thing about these images is they’re very much about suppressing the content and muting it,” she says.

When asked how she came upon the idea of using books as subjects, Ms. Bartley explains:

“I was looking for a still life subject I could photograph for an extended period of time and look at in different ways again and again,” she says. “That was in my mind, because I had gone to the Giorgio Morandi show at the Met in 2008. It was the first time that many of his paintings were seen together. I said, ‘I have to go and find my still life subject.’”

But after experimenting with a variety of objects in her photography, Ms. Bartley was less than thrilled with the results. Then, while visiting a friend, she came across a seemingly mundane tableau which she felt had a world of possibility.

It was a stack of paperback books.

“My friend’s daughter went to Horace Mann and had piles of her books from school stacked up, a few had the black remainder lines on the pages left from booksellers. It looked like a painting or sculpture.”

One of the main reasons Ms. Bartley was so attracted to books as subjects is the endless number of ways she envisioned being able to expand on the theme.

“When you have a routine, time, space, and the momentum of ideas, you start to create series and one leads to another,” she explains. “There’s a portal to that next idea and it comes from doing the work every day.”

In addition to the Paperback series of white pages against white backgrounds, there has been the Blue Books series and the Standing Open Series — which details the striking pages of art books by Agnes Martin and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Ms. Bartley has also expanded into the realm of her own previous work through Sea Change and Push 2 Stops, an intriguing series that references Bartley’s former life as a commercial photographer.

The white and gray translucent squares in the images in Push 2 Stops are actually acetate sleeves which were once used to store the transparencies from Ms. Bartley’s commercial work. Photographed through a light box, the empty sleeves became the subject of the series after Ms. Bartley came across them while sorting through 20 years worth of old film she had kept in a local storage facility.

“They raised the rent and I thought, ‘I should not be keeping this,’” explains Ms. Bartley who tossed the transparencies but kept the sleeves. “People who did photography years ago recognize what they are right away.”

And by working in series, Ms. Bartley is in the process of transitioning to yet another form in her work — book production. As part of “Leaning Above the Page,” Ms. Bartley has produced a catalog featuring the exhibit’s imagery along with the Wallace Stevens poem and an interview with Ms. Bartley conducted by fellow artist Ross Bleckner.

“I feel like it’s a natural next step,” she says of book production. “It’s more collaborative and not just me in my studio. I want to create the physical books, to hold them.”

“There’s a whole community of people who make books, read books and collect books,” she adds. “It’s like being a foodie —people are so invested in it.”

Mary Ellen Bartley: Leaning Above the Page runs through Sunday, January 4 at the Museum at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street, East Hampton. This Saturday, November 1 at 2 p.m. Mary Ellen Bartley offers a Gallery Talk about her work at the museum. Call (631) 324-0806 or visit GuildHall.org for more information.?

 

 

 

“Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” at Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival

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Anita Hill testifying at the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

Anita Hill testifying at the 1991 Senate confirmation hearings of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas.

By Tessa Raebeck

Anita Hill, shown speaking candidly for the first time since she testified before Congress in 1991, will open a discussion on gender inequality and sexual harassment at Bay Street Theater on Saturday at the presentation of “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” by the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival.

In the documentary, Academy Award-winning director Freida Lee Mock examines the experience of Ms. Hill, an attorney and law professor who testified before the U.S. Senate about being sexually harassed by U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Fourteen senators, all male, questioned her for nine hours.

“The challenge for me as a filmmaker is to tell a universal story of transformation and empowerment that is riveting, entertaining and amazing to a generation of women and men too young to know, but who are benefiting by Anita Hill’s courage to speak truth to power,” Ms. Mock said.

A panel discussion following the film includes: Gini Booth, executive director of Literacy Suffolk and radio/TV host for PBS and CBS affiliates; Wini Freund, former board president of the Women’s Fund of Long Island; Deborah Kooperstein, attorney and Southampton Town Justice; and Betty Schlein, past president of the Long Island National Organization of Women.

“Anita: Speaking Truth to Power” will be presented as a preliminary event of the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival. It will be screened on Saturday, September 20, at 4 p.m. at the Bay Street Theater, located at the corner of Bay Street and Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Tickets are $15 at the door. The festival will run from December 4 to 7. For more information, visit ht2ff.com or call (631) 725-9500.

Comedy Improv Boot Camp at Guild Hall

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Participants of last year's Comedy Improv Boot Camp at Guild Hall.

Participants of last year’s Comedy Improv Boot Camp at Guild Hall.

By  Tessa Raebeck

Future thespians can hone their craft at Guild Hall’s Comedy Improv Boot Camp, an eight-week class that culminates in a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” style performance.

Director, actor and teaching artist Jenna Mate uses fun and accessibility to train young actors in improvisation, an important tool for any entertainer. Ms. Mate uses games and exercises to help students develop characters and comic timing, improve confidence and enhance creativity.

The Comedy Improv Boot Camp meets at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton, on Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. starting September 18, with a final performance at 7 p.m. on November 13. The cost is $275 or $250 for Guild Hall members. For more information, call (631) 324-0806.

“Viva Los Bastarditos” Premieres at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater Lab

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bastarditos-thumbBy Tessa Raebeck

Coming out of Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater Lab workshop for up-and-coming East End artists, “Viva Los Bastarditos” is a new musical by Jake Oliver about two villains in Western Massachusetts who use a fake land grant to gain control over the poor citizens and tenants at their mercy.

The New York Times called Mr. Oliver’s past writing “proudly silly and prurient, broadly satirical and filled with sensationalistic gags that would shock your grandmother.”

In a  story of “the little people” rising up to fight “the man,” three rock stars unite, forming Los Bastarditos, “a music-based, costume-wearing People’s Revolution—to fight the would-be dictators and their army of rent collectors,” according to a press release.

“Seamlessly combining elements of golden-age musicals, vaudeville, bedroom farce, B-movie westerns and stream of consciousness surrealism, the show simultaneously honors the dramatic forms of the past while repurposing them into something uniquely modern,” the release added.

The musical is directed by Tony Award nominee Ethan McSweeney and features a cast of Broadway performers.

Free for all audiences, “Viva Los Bastarditos” is Tuesday, September 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call (631) 324-0806 or visit guildhall.org.

Before Lincoln Center Run, Big Apple Circus Premieres at Guild Hall in East Hampton

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unnamed-13By Sam Mason-Jones

Catch the preview of the new show from the unruly Big Apple Circus, which will descend on East Hampton’s Guild Hall for a one-off show of laughter, stunts and dancing dogs. The group will perform “Metamorphosis” at the East End venue on Sunday, August 24, at 5:30 p.m., before settling into an extended run at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

For one night only, the John Drew Theater’s stage will be transformed into a big top, directed by ringmaster John Kennedy Kane. Mr. Kane will be joined by a series of friends, including Francesco, the clown from France, the foot-juggling Anastasini family and Jenny Vidbel with her performing dogs. The night of transformations, acrobatics and laughter will be accompanied by live music from the Big Apple Circus Band, led by Rob Slowik.

Tickets for the show start at $48 for balcony seats and $70 for orchestra seats, while tickets for a pre-show VIP reception start at $120. Tickets are available from the box office at (631) 324-4050 or from guildhall.org. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 15 to 17

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"Pont de Tournelle" by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

“Pont de Tournelle” by Stephen Wilkes is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art, films, and alternative energy; there’s plenty to do on the East End this weekend:

 

“Water 2014″ opens at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor on Saturday, August 16, with an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

The annual exhibition features contemporary and classic photography “depicting life in and around the most powerful force of nature,” said the gallery. Dan Jones, Karine Laval, Herb Friedman, John Magarites, Blair Seagram, Tulla Booth, Anne Gabriele and Jay Hoops will show their work at the gallery, which is located at 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

 

Furthering on your water weekend, visit the Parrish Art Museum for the Maritime Film Festival, a 70-minute screening of short film selections, on Friday, August 15, at 7 p.m.

The program includes a brief talk by artist Duke Riley, a live musical performance and a special sampling of Sag Harbor Rum.

The Parrish Art Museum is located at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call (631) 283-2118.

 

Hosted by Alec Baldwin, the Hamptons International Film Festival presents “Last Days in Vietnam,” on Saturday, August 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The documentary, produced and directed by Rory Kennedy,  follows United States soldiers during the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, when the North Vietnamese Army was closing in on Saigon as the South Vietnamese resistance crumbled.

A question and answer session will follow the screening, which will be held at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call the box office at (631) 324-4050.

 

The East End Climate Action Network will host its first annual Sustainability and Renewable Energy Fair on Saturday, August 16, from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the grounds of Miss Amelia’s Cottage in Amagansett Village.

The event features exhibitions from leading companies in the sustainability and renewable energy fields, as well as informal lectures from energy and environment experts, local food and fun games and other activities for kids. Local artists will perform at the end of the day.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read "The Tempest" at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

Tony award-winning John Glover will read “The Tempest” at two outdoor performances for the new Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative.

There will also be opportunities to get involved in local sustainability and climate change efforts, including solar energy consultations, beach clean-ups and membership sign-ups for local environmental groups. For more information, visit Renewable Energy Long Island.

 

Celebrating the launch of The Bay Street Shakespeare Initiative, Bay Street Theater will present two outdoor staged readings of The Tempest starring Tony award-winner John Glover as Prospero, on August 16 and 17.

On Saturday, the first performance is a VIP benefit held on a private waterfront estate on Shelter Island. The evening, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails followed by a 7 p.m. reading, includes a reception with the cast.

Sunday’s reading, which is open to the community free of charge, also starts at 7 p.m. at a thus far undisclosed location. There will be bleacher seating, although guests are encouraged to bring chairs, picnics and blankets. The reading will take place as the sun sets, with the stars coming out as Mr. Glover reads Shakespeare’s most beloved plays.

For more information, call the Bay Street box office at (631) 725-9500.

East End Weekend: Highlights of What to Do August 1 to 3

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"Reclining Blue" by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

“Reclining Blue” by Christine Matthäi is on view at the Monika Olko Gallery In Sag Harbor.

By Tessa Raebeck

The roads are clogged, the beaches are packed and somehow August has arrived. You know what that means? There’s even more to do this weekend! Have some highlights on us:

 

The Neo-Political Cowgirls latest performance “VOYEUR” opened Thursday, July 31, and will run performances August 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9. An inside/out theatre installation on-site at Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs, “VOYEUR” examines friendship, womanhood and the boundaries of theatre. Click here for the full story and here for more information and tickets.

"SPLASH" by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

“SPLASH” by Kia Andrea Pedersen.

 

Saturday at the Monika Olko Gallery in Sag Harbor, friends, Shelter Island residents and fellow artists Christine Matthäi and Kia Andrea Pederson will showcase their latest work. Originally from Germany, Ms. Matthäi specializes in abstract photography. Ms. Pederson uses more earthy mediums. In the exhibition, “The Call of the Sea,” their work is joined together by its shared celebration of the ocean.

An opening reception will be held at the gallery, located at 95 Main Street in Sag Harbor, on Saturday, August 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will be on view through August 22.

 

East Hampton welcomes David Sedaris, widely considered to be one of his generation’s best writers,
who will be hosting an evening at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 3. The humorist authored such bestsellers as “Naked,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim,” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.”

For more information, click here.

The evening starts at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a book signing. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Click here for tickets.

 

The Peconic Land Trust’s major event, Through Farms and Fields, is Sunday, August 3. The benefit features a country supper at hte property of Peconic Land Trust board member Richard Hogan and Carron Sherry, on historic Ward’s Point on Shelter Island. It will honor the conservation philanthropy of Barbara J. Slifka. There is an online auction, as well as a silent auction that will be held the night of the event.

Writer David Sedaris to Perform in East Hampton

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David Sedaris, author of “Me Talk Pretty One Day”, will be at Guild Hall on Sunday, August 3. Photo credit Hugh Hamrick

Critically acclaimed writer and humorist David Sedaris, often lauded as one of the best writers of his generation, is coming to the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Sunday, August 3.

Mr. Sedaris caught his first big break on NPR in 1992 when he was invited to read an essay on “Morning Edition.” “The SantaLand Diaries” is the author’s firsthand account of his experience working as a Christmas elf at Macy’s, complete with tales of crazy parents, howling children, Santas stuck in character and a healthy serving of self-deprecation. The story begins as he applies for the job and talks about the high hopes he had when he first moved to New York, imagining himself as the writer of his favorite soap opera: “But instead, I’m applying for a job as an elf. Instead, someone will say, ‘What’s that shoe size again?’ and hand me a pair of seven and a half slippers, the toes of which curl to a point. Even worse is the very real possibility that I will not be hired, that I couldn’t even find work as an elf. That’s when you know you’re a failure.”

The broadcast of “The SantaLand Diaries” in December has now become an annual fixture on NPR’s schedule.

Mr. Sedaris is also the author of “Me Talk Pretty One Day”—a collection of lively and comical essays about the difficulties and amusing, often embarrassing, anecdotes of living in a foreign country. The audio version of his latest book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls,” was nominated for a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album in 2014.

An Evening with David Sedaris is at 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 3. Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. A book signing will follow. Tickets range in price from $48 to $150. For more information, visit guildhall.org or davidsedarisbooks.com.

Diana Vreeland Ruled the Fashion World by Changing It

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Diana Vreeland in the New York City she shared with her husband Thomas. Mrs. Vreeland had Billy Baldwin decorate the apartment exclusively in red. She said, "I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell." Photo courtesy Guild Hall.

Diana Vreeland in the New York City she shared with her husband Thomas. Mrs. Vreeland had Billy Baldwin decorate the apartment exclusively in red. She said, “I want this place to look like a garden, but a garden in hell.” Photo by Horst P. Horst.

By Tessa Raebeck

For half a century, Diana Vreeland, the longtime editor of Vogue magazine, was at the helm of the fashion world. She played a major role in transforming the industry from commonplace, conforming trends that rotated by the decade into iconic statements that helped celebrities blossom, recognized international contributions and enabled women to wear—and show—their personality.

“The fashion world changes all the time. You can even see the approaching revolution in clothes; you can see and feel everything in clothes,” Mrs. Vreeland, who died in 1989, once said.

In “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” a 2011 documentary being screened at Guild Hall in East Hampton on Monday, July 21, Mrs. Vreeland’s life and career is celebrated through a fitting selection of celebrity interviews, groundbreaking images and her trademark outlandish statements.

“She was about ideas and about the magic of fashion,” art critic John Richardson says in the film.

Diana Vreeland's office at Vogue. Photograph by James Karales.

Diana Vreeland’s office at Vogue. Photograph by James Karales.

The documentary was directed and produced by Mrs. Vreeland’s granddaughter-in-law Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng. It was honored as an official selection at both the Venice International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.

“I wanted to understand Mrs. Vreeland’s relevance,” first-time director Ms. Immordino Vreeland wrote in an email July 12. “As someone who worked in fashion for many years, I always knew about her, but only knew about her extroverted personality. What I discovered was a woman that had such depth and used fashion to communicate a philosophical message.”

Often called the “Empress of Fashion,” Mrs. Vreeland ruled the fashion world during some of its most transformative decades—which were transformative in large part due to her contributions. Her work coincided with the civil rights and women’s rights movements; she launched Twiggy, advised Jackie Onassis on her signature style and featured in Vogue the first portrait ever taken of Mick Jagger.

“Mrs. Vreeland really brought us into a modern period and knew that fashion and the world were on their way to something much more global,” fashion designer Anna Sui says in the film.

“Diana was just so far ahead,” writer Bob Colacello adds. “I mean, it wasn’t just about fashion; it was about art, it was about music and it was about society—it was all woven together.”

“She would say, you’re not supposed to give people what they want; you’re supposed to give them what they don’t know they want yet,” he added.

After moving to New York City in 1936 to follow her husband Thomas’s banking career, Mrs. Vreeland began working as a columnist for Harper’s Bazaar, a job she was asked to take on after the editor Carmel Snow noticed her style.

She stayed at the magazine until 1962, and then went on to join Vogue, where she was editor-in-chief until 1971. Following her stint leading the world’s premiere fashion magazine, Mrs. Vreeland was a consultant to the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She died in New York City in 1989 of a heart attack.

“There is no one in fashion who is like Mrs. Vreeland or anyone historically who can come close to her,” Ms. Immordino Vreeland said. “Her success in the world of fashion was the ability to give a message to people to seek for an inner meaning in life, not to accept the status quo and to push themselves to dream about the impossible. She encouraged curiosity and wanted people to be driven to passion. There are many very famous and iconic names in fashion, but none who continue to inspire people like Mrs. Vreeland.”

The film uses transcription from tapes George Plimpton recorded of his conversations with Mrs. Vreeland when they were preparing her autobiography as narration.

Mrs. Vreeland had a skill in finding the special and unique qualities in people and, rather than hiding them in the name of societal obedience, celebrating and emphasizing those distinctions.

“She saw things in people before they saw it themselves,” fashion designer Diana Von Furstenberg says in the film.

“She celebrated Barbara Streisand’s nose. She would push their faults, make it the most beautiful thing about them,” added Joel Schumacher, a director, screenwriter and producer known for films like “The Phantom of the Opera” and “St. Elmo’s Fire.”

Mrs. Vreeland spent time at the Factory and Studio 54, rubbing elbows with Warren Beatty, Jack Nicholson and Cher.

“All these people invented themselves,” Mrs. Vreeland says in the film. “Naturally, as the editor, I was there to help them along.”

“Vreeland inspired them, she had a very strong impact on them,” Calvin Klein says in the documentary.

Angelica Huston adds of her friend, “She made it okay for women to be outlandish and extraordinary.”

“Mrs. Vreeland, in a very unique manner, used fashion to dictate a way of life,” wrote Mrs. Immordino Vreeland. “For her, what was paramount in life was the freedom to ‘dare’ and she wanted everyone to do that. For her, the “outlandish and extraordinary” was an expression of the ability to be free and brave enough to do what you dream about doing.”

“Mrs. Vreeland believed in the celebration of life and in taking on everything,” the director added. “She felt that the impossible was possible to conquer if you had the belief in yourself and you had the possibility to dream; that was her motivation…She used fashion to tell a story of being unique, of standing out and of believing in oneself.”

In Mrs. Vreeland’s own words: “There’s only one really good life and that’s the life that you know you want and you make it yourself.”

The film will be screened at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street in East Hampton, on Monday, July 21, at 7 p.m. A panel discussion with filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland and China Machado will follow. For more information or tickets ($15; $13 for members), call (631) 324-4050 or visit guildhall.org.