The Nantucket Film Festival was founded by brother and sister team Jill and Jonathan Burkhart in 1996. The Burkharts lived on the island year round, and with their love of movies and the community, they knew it was the perfect place to begin a film festival.
In 1997, Mystelle Brabbée joined the team and today serves as the Executive Director.
NFF continues to thrive, always remaining true to its mission.
Mystelle Brabbée, Executive Director
Before becoming Executive Director of the Nantucket Film Festival in 2012, Mystelle Brabbée curated the festival program for sixteen years, ten of those as Artistic Director. Almost since its inception, she has stewarded the film program, including the line-up of as many as 75 feature, documentary and short films; As Artistic Director, she has been responsible for the overall creative direction of live programs, including the Screenwriters Tribute hosted by Brian Williams, the All-Star Comedy Roundtable Presented by Ben Stiller, the Staged Readings series, Late Night Storytelling, and the Teen View Filmmaking program. Brabbée has been the Senior Programmer for DOC NYC, a documentary festival at the Independent Film Center New York, and Director of Acquisitions for article27, a London-based film rights syndicator. In 2005, Highway Courtesans, a documentary shot in India that played over thirty-film festivals and garnered several awards along the way was released theatrically in the US. She has taught in the Graduate Film Department of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Bill Curran, Festival Producer
Bill oversees operations, marketing, staff management, and administration for the Film Festival and year-round programming. He has been on the NFF staff since 2010, and Producer since 2012. Outside of NFF, he has worked at the Hamptons International Film Festival (2009-2014) in many programming and operational capacities, most recently as an Assistant Programmer (2012-2013). He has also served on the screening committees for the Tribeca Film Festival and the Sarasota Film Festival. Prior to his Festival career, Bill worked in television production for Leopard Films, Inc. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a B.A. in Film/Video and currently resides in Manhattan. In his spare time, he can be found in any of New York City’s repertory movie houses catching up on classic and foreign cinema.
Basil Tsiokos, Film Program Director
Basil Tsiokos is a film festival programmer and consultant to filmmakers. He is a Documentary Programming Associate for the Sundance Film Festival, Director of Programming for DOC NYC, and Film Program Director for the Nantucket Film Festival. As a visiting professor at Pratt, Basil teaches a course on film festivals and oversees the Wallabout student short film festival. In 2010, he co-produced the feature documentary The Canal Street Madam. Between 1996-2008, Basil was the Artistic & Executive Director of NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival. He offers advice and information to filmmakers on Twitter as @1basil1 and on his blog what (not) to doc. Basil holds a Masters degree from New York University in Cinema Studies and two undergraduate degrees from Stanford University.
Megan Inaba, Development Director
Jaclyn Wohl, Operations Manager
Jaclyn manages operations and marketing for the Film Festival. She has worked in varying capacities for the past 7 festivals, and is happy to be working on #8. In addition to NFF, she has consulted for or worked on several other film festivals including Hamptons International Film Festival, Bentonville Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, First Time Fest, Heartland Film Festival, Architecture and Design Film Festival, and New York Television Festival. Outside of festival life, she has worked in event production and operations at the Big Apple Circus, Tribeca Enterprises, LLC and TBA Global, LLC. She graduated from the University at Albany with a B.A. in Theater. Jaclyn is a fabrics artist on her days off, and lives in Manhattan.
Opal H. Bennett, Associate Programmer & Outreach Coordinator
Opal curates the short film programs, manages all film and screenplay submissions, and coordinates the Festival’s social media outreach platforms. After several years in legal practice, Opal has spent the past four years working in various capacities for several film festivals. Beginning as a volunteer for the first Sundance London Film Festival, she has served as a screener for Tribeca, Hamptons, and Rooftop Film Festivals, and a programmer for the Queens World Film Festival. She also programs for DOC NYC and Montclair Film Festival A Columbia Law grad, Opal holds a Masters in Media Studies from the LSE, and received her B.A. from New York University. She loves Argentine wine and bunnies, and Hitchcock is her all-time favorite.
Beth Emelson, Signature Programs Producer
Beth produces the Signature Programs for the Film Festival, for maybe 18 years. She is a theater producer and has been the Producing Director for Atlantic Theater Company, Classic Stage Company, and Naked Angels; and on the staffs of Lincoln Center Theater, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The New York Shakespeare Festival, and Folger Theatre, where she is currently. She has also produced several short films and a comedy series for HBO, and worked for the Tribeca Film Festival.