Jill Burkhart, Festival Founder
Jill Burkhart is the Director of Documentary Programming and Acquisitions for Epix. She is the cofounder of the Nantucket Film Festival, which she also helmed, first as Artistic Director, then as Executive Director, from 1996-2008. Jill was also the Executive Director of the Screenwriters Colony from 1999-2001, a sister Nantucket organization created to enable screenwriting retreats and creative guidance. Previously, she worked with Madstone Films as a curator for its Very Indie Film Series. And a very long time ago, Jill was an actress. She attended New York University for Theatre and The New School for Film. Jill grew up on the island of Nantucket, is a proud graduate of NHS, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Jonathan Burkhart, Festival Founder
A little too early in his career, Jonathan Burkhart worked as a cameraman on dozens of television shows, commercials and feature films, including Do the Right Thing, Mo’ Better Blues, Mountain View, A Better Tomorrow, Dazed and Confused, Roommates, and Reversal of Fortune. Having his fill in the camera department, Burkhart went on to produce independent film, television, and theater. He produced the award winning film Baby Steps, starring Kathy Bates. Recently Burkhart produced several feature films for BCDF Pictures, including Higher Ground, directed by Vera Farmiga and starring Farmiga, John Hawkes, Josh Leonard, and Norbert Leo Butz; Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding, directed by Bruce Beresford, and starring Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Elizabeth Olsen; The Last Keepers, directed by Maggie Greenwald, and starring Aiden Quinn, Virginia Madsen, and Olympia Dukakis; and Rhymes with Banana, directed by Joe Muszynski and Peter Hutchings. In development are Jan Egleson’s Military Working Dog and Geoffrey Naufft’s Next Fall. Television projects include Ivy Dreams, a feature documentary for AZN, Must Do Disney for Disney World Theme Parks, Away We Go by Jonathan Larson, and the Tomorrow is Tonight Show starring Ben Stiller for Comedy Central. Burkhart has also produced commercials for Time Warner, NY1, Honda, HGTV, The Walt Disney Company, Bionorica Pharmaceutical, Chase Bank, Nintendo, American Express, Prudential Life, Verizon, and the Ford Motor Company. In theater, Burkhart produced the Tonynominated Broadway production of Mario Cantone’s Laugh Whore, which he also produced as television special for The Showtime Networks. He also produced the award winning play Avow with Bill C. Davis, the 10th anniversary production of RENT on Broadway with the original cast, and In Search of Cleo, written by and starring Gina Gershon and featuring free drinks at the bar. After losing his dear friend, Jenifer Estess, to ALS, Burkhart joined Project ALS where he is most proud of his duties as event producer. But wait, there’s more: Burkhart is the cofounder and president of the Nantucket Film Festival.
Emmy Award®-winning writer and producer Donick Cary got his start writing for Late Night with David Letterman. He continued working with the show through its move to CBS, serving as both head writer and the “guy in the bear suit.” After five years in late night, Cary moved to The Simpsons, where he served as a coexecutive producer for four seasons. He later spent a season in the same capacity on NBC’s Just Shoot Me and HBO’s Bored to Death. Cary has produced pilots for and developed with: Brillstein Grey, Sony Television, Happy Madison, ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, FX, HBO, the WB, and Nickelodeon. In 2004, Cary created the animated series Lil’ Bush for Ampd mobile cell phones. The show was then picked up by Comedy Central and became the first mobi/webseries ever to move from cell phones to television. To handle the animation Cary founded Sugarshack Animation (Sugarshackanimation.com) with offices in Los Angeles, Miami, and Sofia, Bulgaria. Currently Cary is serving as a CoEP on Fox’s New Girl and directing a feature documentary entitled Bad Trip (a comic exploration of tripping) for Red Hour Films. Cary grew up on Nantucket, graduating from Nantucket High School in 1986.
Nancy Dubuc is Chief Executive Officer of VICE Media, the global youth media brand. As CEO, Dubuc oversees an international network of digital channels; a weekly and daily news programming partnership with HBO; a television and feature film production studio; a magazine; a record label; an in-house creative services agency; and an international television network. VICE operates in over 30 countries, reaching hundreds of millions of young people across all screens and platforms every month. Prior to joining VICE in 2018, Dubuc served as President and Chief Executive Officer of A+E Networks, encompassing A&E®, Lifetime®, HISTORY®, Lifetime Movies®, FYI™, VICELAND™ and other industry-leading brands. Under her leadership, A+E Networks transformed into a global powerhouse, expanding its roster of top-performing channels, generating significant financial growth and reaching over 360 million households in more than 200 territories across a multitude of platforms. As CEO of A+E Networks, Dubuc championed innovative storytelling by investing in early-stage content and technology companies. She became A+E Networks’ third CEO in the company’s nearly 30-year history in June 2013. Dubuc and VICE have shared a strong relationship since 2015, when Dubuc joined VICE’s Board of Directors and oversaw A+E Networks’ joint venture agreement with VICE Media that launched VICELAND, VICE’s linear network, in 2016. Dubuc is known for her out-of-the-box approach toward content and storytelling, promoting diverse and cutting-edge programs. She is an experienced chief executive with an unmatched track record when it comes to running a sprawling international media company while also producing and distributing award-winning content. A graduate of Boston University, Dubuc received a Distinguished Alumni Award from its College of Communications in 2013. Dubuc is also the 2013 recipient of the NCTA Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership.
Doug Gladstone is the founder of the advertising and communications firm Brand Content, headquartered in Boston. His passion for driving inventive solutions for brands as well as fostering a creative, supportive atmosphere for work at the agency has resulted in year over year agency growth and longterm client relationships through two recessions in the agency’s ten year history. With a strong legacy of leading award winning teams and helping clients grow their businesses, Gladstone’s energy and commitment to the solutions that drive success continues to be the engine of the agency today. Previously, Gladstone was Senior Vice President/Creative Director at Hill Holliday in Boston and New York. Doug also serves as a director for the TriCity ValleyCats, a class A minor league baseball team in upstate NY. He is a graduate of Emerson College and holds a BFA in writing and observational sarcasm.
Ginny Grenham is President of Grenham Networks LLC, a communications and public affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. and New York. For the past two decades, Grenham Networks helped clients develop innovative strategic partnerships with non-profit leaders, Capitol Hill, government agencies, and the private sector. Ginny has been involved in several digital and traditional media companies, including iVillage (the first website for women), Revolution Health, Sparkpeople.com, Hearst Media, and others. In addition, Ginny has focused on women’s health and mental health advocacy, and has represented a number of leading companies and non-profits in the health care arena. Grenham Networks is currently engaged in seeking legislation that would create tax incentives for film and television production in Washington, D.C. She is a long-term Board Member of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, and a founder of a scholarship fund at Harvard, which over the last 20 years, has supported dozens of Hispanic students at Harvard, who are interested in Hispanic language, history and culture. Ginny’s interests in U.S. Hispanics grew out of the founding of Entravision Communications Corporation (NYSE:EVC), a leading Spanish-language media company which reaches over 90% of the nation’s 60 million Hispanics (including Boston/Nantucket) through a combination of television, radio, and digital media. Ginny is also on the Board of the Pen Faulkner Foundation, with a focus on the Writers in Schools program – bringing the world’s best writers to underserved urban junior high and high school students.
cecelia joyce johnson
Cecelia Joyce Johnson, originally from the Chestnut Hill area of Philadelphia, received an Associate of Arts degree in Art History and a B.A. in English Literature from George Washington University. She later was accepted into the Graduate Writing Seminars at John Hopkins University and continued on to the New School in New York City where she studied directing and served as a dramaturg. Johnson was instrumental in bringing the Maryland Stage Company's production of three Beckett plays to the 2000 International Samuel Beckett Festival in Germany. In collaboration with the Australian Pianist Alan Kogosowski, she created and produced a series developed for public television on Chopin which was a TV Guide Critics Pick for three consecutive weeks. She produced two albums: ‘Moonlight in the Garden', performed by Mr. Kogosowski; and 'Chris Gillespie Live at the Carlyle'. Johnson produced several off-Broadway plays beginning with Savannah Bay at Theater for the New City, followed by Fathers and Sons by Richard Hoehler at the Lion Theater on Theater Row. She co-produced Theresa Rebeck’s Omnium Gatherum with Bob Cole, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Johnson created and produced three shows at Cafe Carlyle: Remembering Bobby Short, starring Clint Holmes; This Thing Called Love: Cole Porter and Paul Simon, winner of the Bistro Award and created in collaboration with Holmes; and, Stop This Train also in collaboration with Holmes and earned him BroadwayWorld.com’s award for Best Celebrity Male Vocalist. All three were directed by Larry Moss and received critical acclaim. In addition to her production credits, Johnson has published two short stories, one translated into Dutch. She serves on numerous boards including the Martin E. Segal Theater at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Johnson Atelier.
Jill Karp, Vice Chair
Jill Karp is the owner of Nantucket Island Resorts, whose luxury properties include The Wauwinet, the White Elephant, the White Elephant Village Residences & Inn, the Jared Coffin House, The Cottages & Lofts at the Boat Basin, and the Nantucket Boat Basin. Karp is a Board Member and past President of the Children’s Hospital League, Children’s Hospital Boston Board of Overseers, and Children’s Hospital Boston Member. She also serves on the boards of the Nantucket Comedy Festival, the Theatre Workshop on Nantucket, and is a founding member of the Nantucket Project. Karp has also been friend and ambassador to Facing History & Ourselves for over twenty years. Karp’s passion for education began in the classroom as a schoolteacher, and she currently serves as the chair of Facing History’s New England Advisory Board, taking on numerous leadership roles including chairing the 2006 Annual New England Regional Benefit Dinner and serving as a member on the Board of Directors.
Tom Lassally is an Emmy-nominated manager/producer at 3 Arts Entertainment. He recently produced EDGE OF TOMORROW, which opened in June 2014 with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt starring. Among his other films, Mr. Lassally has produced THE TO DO LIST, which CBS Films released in summer 2013, EXTRACT, directed by Mike Judge, STAY, directed by Marc Forster, FIRST SNOW starring Guy Pierce, and HENRY POOLE IS HERE, which was acquired by Overture Films at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Currently he is in post-production on BLUE IGUANA, starring Sam Rockwell and Ben Schwartz, and in production on AN ACTOR PREPARES with Jeremy Irons, Jack Huston, and Mammie Gummer starring. In television, Mr. Lassally produces SILICON VALLEY, which was nominated for both an Emmy and a Critics’ Choice Award for best comedy series for each of its first two seasons, winning the 2015 Critics’ Choice Award. The first season was also nominated for best comedy series at the Golden Globes and won an AFI Award. The show is currently in production on its fourth season. Additionally, he recently produced STAN AGAINST EVIL with Dana Gould, which wrapped season one and is currently airing on IFC. Mr. Lassally previously produced the updated BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD for MTV and Mike Judge’s THE GOODE FAMILY, among others. He also produced pilots for ABC and NBC and the pilot SHADY NEIGHBORS for TRU TV. He has a number of other feature and television projects in various stages of development. Before working at 3 Arts, Mr. Lassally was a long-time executive at Warner Bros where he rose to Executive Vice President in 1995. During his eight year tenure, Mr. Lassally shepherded over twenty-five motion pictures to the screen including: DAVE, HEAT, A TIME TO KILL, BATMAN FOREVER, ANALYZE THIS, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY and ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. He began his career working for Bob Pittman at Warner Communications Inc., shortly after graduating from NYU’s Film School.
Chris Matthews is the host of Hardball on MSNBC and The Chris Matthews Show on NBC. Matthews has been following American politics since the first Eisenhower campaign. Hardly a decade later he was engaged in American politics professionally. Back home from the Peace Corps in Africa, he was working in the US Senate. Then came his tour in the White House as a presidential speechwriter, followed by his frontrow seat as top aide to the legendary Speaker of the House, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. In the late 1980s, Chris switched to fulltime journalism, serving as Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Examiner. In this capacity he covered some of the great historic events of the late 20th century, including the fall of the Berlin Wall and the first allraces election in South Africa. He began his career on television in 1994 as host of a twohour nightly program on the NBCowned America’s Talking network. Three years later, he launched Hardball, now on MSNBC, which was the title of his bestselling handbook on reallife politics published in 1988. He has been on the air every weekday night since. In 2002, NBC inaugurated Sunday morning’s The Chris Matthews Show. He is the author of six bestselling books, including Hardball. They are: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game; Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry that Shaped Postwar America; Now, Let Me Tell You What I Really Think; American: Beyond our Grandest Notions; Life’s a Campaign; and Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.
Kathleen Matthews, Co-Board Chair
Kathleen Matthews is the chief communications and public affairs officer for Marriott International, the leading global hotel company with 3,800 properties in more than 70 countries. She is responsible for the company’s global brand public relations, corporate communications, social responsibility, and government affairs. She co-chairs Marriott’s Executive Green Council and serves on the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board to the Secretary of Commerce, as well as the boards of the U.S. Travel Association, the International Tourism Partnership, and the Economic Club of Washington. She is also ViceChair of the World Economic Forum’s Policy Council on Aviation, Travel and Tourism. Matthews is a 1975 graduate of Stanford University, and was a 2004 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Prior to her career at Marriott, she was an awardwinning news anchor at the ABCTV affiliate in Washington, D.C., for 25 years, and hosted the nationally syndicated “Working Woman” television show. She has been awarded nine local Emmys® and other top honors during her journalism career.
Milan Popelka is the Chief Operating Officer at leading independent entertainment company FilmNation Entertainment. Popelka’s responsibilities include overseeing all day-to-day operations, strategic planning/business development, and finance for the company. FilmNation is consistently ranked as one of the highest-grossing independent international distributors globally, and has garnered a total of 45 Academy Award nominations (including 8 wins) across their sales and production titles. Popelka served as Executive Producer on Denis Villeneuve’s epic Arrival starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, which was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. He has overseen many of the company’s recent notable production/finance titles, including Judd Apatow-produced comedy The Big Sick (NFF 2017 Opening Night Film), John Lee Hancock’s The Founder starring Michael Keaton, and Sebastian Lelio’s Disobedience starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams. Upcoming, FilmNation has This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself, which is set for a Sept 2018 release, and Tom Hanks WWII epic Greyhound which Sony Pictures will distribute worldwide in 2019. International sales credits include, among others: Academy Award Best Picture winner The King’s Speech; Academy Award Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game, Alexander Payne’s Academy Award favorite Nebraska, and Rian Johnson’s sci-fi hit Looper. Prior to joining FilmNation, Popelka oversaw creative/finance at production and financing outfit Samuels Media, which financed and produced Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton starring George Clooney. He also previously worked in the Independent Finance Group at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and served as a management consultant in the entertainment practice of McKinsey & Company. Outside of his professional work, Popelka is a standing member of the Executive Committee of the Science & Entertainment Exchange, an organization within the National Academy of Sciences that brings together the world’s best storytellers with leading science professionals to catalyze the use of science across all entertainment fields. He received a B.A in Economics with Honors from Harvard College.
Abbe Raven is Acting Chairman at A+E Networks, which encompasses A&E, Lifetime, HISTORY, Lifetime Movies, FYI, and VICELAND. She was previously Chairman Emeritus. Prior to that, Raven had been elevated to Chairman after a successful tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer, during which the company’s revenues tripled and its global portfolio expanded. Before becoming CEO, Raven served as head of A&E Network and HISTORY, catapulting them into the top 5 cable networks. She was the original architect of HISTORY’s programming schedule. She joined A+E Networks 36 years ago and is the longest tenured employee at the company. She has been named one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and has been on The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Power 100 list. Raven has received the NCTA Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership and has been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. Raven also serves on the NCTA Board of Directors.
Alice Rogoff is the publisher of AlaskaDispatch.com and founder of the Arctic Imperative Summit. In 2011, Rogoff hosted the summit, the first international policy gathering in Alaska focused on the issues and opportunities presented by the melting sea ice. Beginning in 1985, Rogoff was the chief financial officer of U.S News and World Report, a position she held for 12 years. She also worked at The Washington Post Co. as an assistant to publisher Donald Graham. Rogoff was the creator of the national weekly edition of The Washington Post. From 1978 to 1980, Rogoff was the special assistant to the director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Carter administration. She has served on numerous boards, including those of the Carter Center in Atlanta, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Potomac School, the National Child Research Center, and the National Geographic Society’s Council of Advisors. She holds an M.B.A. from Harvard.
Steve Samuels jointly is a commercial real estate developer on the East Coast and one of the founders of FilmNation Entertainment. With an unorthodox approach to both real estate and film, Samuels approaches every new project with a fresh eye and pushes his team to question the status quo: ultimately, achieving a new/better/more efficient solution. An active real estate developer since 1984, Samuels has redeveloped over fifty projects in seven states. He developed his idea of placemaking-revitalizing neighborhoods and communities and always doing the right thing by those communities—when he founded Samuels & Associates. His company is currently integrally involved in rebuilding the historic Fenway Park area into a thriving 24-hour mixed-use urban village. Taking a page from the strategy and risk involved in real estate development, Samuels launched Samuels Media in 2004 which produced and financed the critical and commercial success Michael Clayton starring George Clooney, as well as the Oscar®-nominated film In The Valley Of Elah starring Tommy Lee Jones, among many others. In 2008, he founded FilmNation Entertainment with veteran international film executive Glen Basner. FilmNation is a leading independent entertainment company focused on the sales representation of international film and television rights as well as the development, production, and financing of feature films. In its short history, FilmNation has secured an industry-leading slate of diverse, high-profile titles for international sales representation including: David Michôd’s The Rover starring Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, a 2014 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection; Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups and an untitled project; Anton Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdams; and The Imitation Game with Benedict Cumberbatch. Recently released sales titles include Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, an In Competition film at the 2013 Venice Film Festival and 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, as well as critically acclaimed films All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, both of which received rave reviews at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, including a Best Actor win for Bruce Dern. FilmNation’s production arm previously released Jeff Nichols' Mud, one of the highest grossing independent films of 2013, starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, and is in development on Denis Villeneuve’s Story of Your Life, The Rules of Inheritance starring Jennifer Lawrence, and The Good House starring Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, among others. In addition to Emerson College and Children’s Hospital Boston Boards, Samuels and his family have long been actively dedicated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Steve holds a bachelor's degree in real estate & finance from Ohio State University. Samuels lives with his wife, and their three children in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Tom Scott, Co-Board Chair
Tom Scott began his career as cofounder and CEO of Nantucket Nectars. The company reached national prominence, appearing on the “Inc. 500” list of fastest growing U.S. companies five years in a row. In 2002, Scott and his partner sold Nantucket Nectars to Cadbury Schweppes. Scott currently serves as Chairman of The Nantucket Project, which he cofounded in 2010. Scott’s vision for The Nantucket Project (TNP) is to energize the public dialogue by creating a venue in which individuals can engage innovative thinking from a fresh perspective. TNP participants include Eric Schmidt, Peter Thiel, Larry Lessig, Julie Taymor, Larry Summers, Dambisa Moyo, Dean Kamen, Rahm Emaunuel, and Craig Venter, among others. Scott is also a film and television creator/producer. His accomplishments in the field include the “doubledouble” he achieved in 2010 when his film Daddy Longlegs received the rare honor of selection to both the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals. The film also received the Independent Spirit Award. That same year, his television series, The Neistat Brothers, aired on HBO. Most recently, Scott produced the documentary film Apple Pushers with Ed Norton. Prior to TNP, Scott was founder and Chairman of Plum TV. He developed a national network of eight stations receiving more than 14 Emmy Awards® in total. Scott is currently enrolled at Yale University where he is a Master’s candidate in Divinity and Political Science.
Stewart was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio in 2009. In addition to his regular duties, he served on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a group of 16 U.S. Attorneys appointed by Attorney General Holder who regularly meet in Washington, DC to provide advice and counsel to the Attorney General on a variety of policy, personnel, and budget issues, from 2012 to 2014. Stewart previously served as chair of the Attorney General’s Child Exploitation Working Group from 2009 to 2011, and currently chairs a working group of U.S. Attorneys focused on addressing racial disparities within the federal criminal justice system. Stewart was recognized as one of Columbus Business First's Forty Under 40 Leaders to Watch in 2008. He also received the John Mercer Langston Bar Association's Emerging Leader Award in 2008, and in 2007 was named by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association as one of ten African-American attorneys to watch nationally. Stewart received a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1997. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Education Policy from Columbia University and received his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Stanford University. After law school, Stewart clerked for the Honorable Robert L. Carter, U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Raymond L. Finch, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of the Virgin Islands.
Ben Stiller is an actor, director, writer, and producer. He has directed and starred in Reality Bites, Zoolander, and Tropic Thunder. His acting credits include There’s Something About Mary, Meet the Parents, The Royal Tenenbaums, Flirting with Disaster, Night at the Museum, and Greenberg. He also cocreated, with Judd Apatow, the Emmy Award®-winning series, The Ben Stiller Show. In 2013, he directed and stared in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
Rhoda H. Weinman, Secretary
Rhoda Weinman is an attorney on Nantucket where she has lived and practiced law for 28 years. Prior to moving to Nantucket, she was a Corporate Attorney at Polaroid Corporation. Weinman is President of the Nantucket Women’s Bar Association, which she cofounded in 1985. Along with three other members of the Nantucket Women’s Bar Association, she founded and served as President of A Safe Place which is an organization on Nantucket dealing with domestic violence and sexual abuse. She was President of the Nantucket AIDS Network for fourteen years, and chaired the Personnel Board for the Town of Nantucket for ten years. Her real passion is her five longhaired dachshunds, and she looks forward to watching her nationally ranked top dogs in shows across the country.