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Docs Equinox, a springtime film festival from Hamptons Doc Fest, discusses our planet with a special focus on Long Island’s aquifer. (Photo courtesy of Arlene Hinkemeyer)

This week, Hamptons Doc Fest welcomes spring with its annual Docs Equinox to commemorate Earth Day, which falls on April 22 this year.

For the past five years, Docs Equinox has served as a springtime event to alert and remind the public about the state of the planet, and most importantly, what can be done to help. Starting this Friday, it returns to the Southampton Arts Center and continues with daily receptions, speeches, film screenings, and panel discussions throughout the weekend.

“Every spring we put together a program that allows us to dive into environmental issues,” says Claudia Pilato, a marketing and advertising staff member for the organization. “This year, it’s all about the aquifer and where our water is coming from.”

At 5:30 p.m. tomorrow, April 14, things kick-off with a cocktail reception and what the folks at Docs Equinox are dubbing a “water central hub,” featuring representatives from several local environmental groups including Group for the East End, The Nature Conservancy, Peconic Estuary Partnership, Surfrider Foundation and Peconic Bay Keeper.

According to Jacqui Lofaro, executive director and founder of Hamptons Doc Fest, Docs Equinox will also include words from keynote speaker Maya Van Rossum at 7 p.m. on Friday. “Van Rossum is the force behind New York State’s Green Amendment that guarantees our constitutional right to clean water,” Lofaro says.

Docs Equinox also features, you guessed it, three documentary films shown at the Jobs Lane locale throughout the weekend. Tickets each day this weekend are $15 for non-members, $10 for SAC members, and $5 for kids and students. On Friday, it’s Invisible Hand, which talks about the creation of the Rights of Nature movement. Produced by Mark Ruffalo, the screening will include a Q&A, via Zoom, with directors Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman. Register for Friday here.

Patrick and the Whale screens on Sunday at the Southampton Arts Center as part of this weekend’s Docs Equinox. (Photo courtesy of Arlene Hinkemeyer)

Saturday will have a similar layout, with a reception and water central panel at 5:30. The Grab is the featured documentary set for 7 p.m., a part thriller, part dystopian sci-fi movie, following the journey of investigative journalists as they uncover covert efforts to control the most vital resources on Earth. “Because that’s probably actually going to be the next thing,” Pilato says. “The next real stress on the world is going to be for resources and water.” Immediately after the screening is a Zoom Q&A with director Gabriela Cowperthwaite and producer Nate Halverson. To register for Saturday, click here.

Sunday afternoon, it’s Patrick and the Whale, at 2 p.m.. This documentary explores the adventures and life’s work of cinematographer Patrick Dykstra as he dives with whales all over the globe, but in particular his relationship with a very social (and highly talkative!) whale he names “Dolores.” Inside tip: Pilato says this film is super family friendly, so bring the kids! Zoom Q&A featuring Dykstra and director Mark Fletcher follows. Save your spot for Sunday here.

Now in its 16th year, Hamptons Doc Fest holds a film festival every December throughout Sag Harbor Village. This year, the festival is scheduled for November 30 to December 5, according to Lofaro.

“We invite everyone to come with interest, leave inspired and informed,” she says. “Documentary film has the power to inform, educate and engage. Don’t miss it.”