Finalists Announced for Showtime's Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) Competition

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Congratulations to our three finalists in Showtime's Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay (30 Minute) Competition:

CASEY CAN'T by KAITLIN FONTANA
A dark comedy about a flawed writer who is blackmailed into managing a hipster music blog by its manchild owner, heir to a porn fortune. It's about being too old for this shit before you’re 40.

SUBSCRIBE NOW by CARRIE MCCROSSEN
Wharton grad Christine finds herself the newbie at a YouTube-like company, tasked with finding and developing new content makers.

WAKE by GREGORY BONSIGNORE
81-year-old Maggie moves from Arizona back to NYC to pick up the life she had left as a young woman. 

The winner receives:

  • A $1,000 cash prize from the Nantucket Film Festival
  • An all-inclusive two-weeks-long writer's retreat on Nantucket in June with the Screenwriter's Colony and NFF
  • One-on-one consultation with a Showtime executive
  • A VIP week-long Festival Pass to all events
  • Participation in our Mentor Brunch during the Festival
  • A Showtime-sponsored reception during the Festival in the winners’ honor
  • A Custom leather bound copy of the script, courtesy of Showtime
  • Print and media coverage
  • Name inclusion on Festival program materials as a competition finalist and winner

Stay tuned for the winner, to be announced soon!

Nick Broomfield Will Receive Special Achievement In Documentary Storytelling Award

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield will be presented with the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award at #NFF17. The BAFTA-winning filmmaker is best known for his celebrated work spanning over forty years, including Kurt & Courtney, Biggie and Tupac, Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer, Tales of the Grim Sleeper, and The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife. His latest documentary Whitney: Can I Be Me, co-directed with Rudi Dolezal, tells the story of Whitney Houston's extraordinary life and tragic death.

Broomfield studied film at the National Film School, after discovering his love for photography on a foreign exchange visit in France at the age of 15.

He made his first film Who Cares about Slum Clearance in Liverpool, while at University, by borrowing a wind up Bolex camera, and shooting it on short ends. Professor Colin Young at the NFS had a great influence on his work encouraging participant observation, as well as introducing him to Joan Churchill. Together Joan and Nick made several films, Juvenille Liaison, Tattooed Tears, Soldier Girls, Lily Tomlin, and more recently Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer. They also have a son together.

Broomfield was originally influenced by the observational style of Fred Wiseman, and Robert Leacock and Pennebaker, before moving on largely by accident to the more idiosyncratic style for which he is better known. While making Driving me Crazy, Nick decided to place himself and the producer of the film in the story, as a way of making sense of the event.

This experiment led to a sense of greater freedom, from the confines of observational cinema, and led to a more investigative and experimental type of filmmaking. ie The Leader, the Driver and the Drivers Wife, Aileen Wuornos, Kurt and Courtney, and Biggie and Tupac.

He is the recipient of the following prestigious awards, among others: Sundance first prize, British Academy Award, Prix Italia, Dupont Peabody Award, Grierson Award, Hague Peace Prize, and the Amnesty International Doen Award.

Join us at the Screenwriters Tribute on June 23 to celebrate Nick Broomfield's extraordinary career!

#NFF17 Creative Impact in Television Writing Award Announced

This year's Creative Impact in Television Writing Award, presented at the Screenwriters Tribute, will go to partners Jeffrey Klarik and David Crane.

David Crane is the co-creator with Jeffrey Klarik of the four-time Emmy-nominated Showtime series Episodes, starring Matt LeBlanc, which is about to launch its fifth and final season. For their work on Episodes, Crane and Klarik have received four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. They also shared two Writers Guild of America nominations for Episodes, as well as a BAFTA nomination for Best Situation Comedy and two Golden Globe nominations for Best Television Series — Musical or Comedy. David is best known as the co-creator of the long-running comedy series Friends, for which he won numerous awards including an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. David also co-created the Kirstie Alley comedy Veronica’s Closet, The Powers That Be starring John Forsythe, David Hyde Pierce and Holland Taylor, and the much-beloved HBO series, Dream On, for which he received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. With Jeffrey Klarik, David also co-created the award-wining CBS comedy The Class, starring an ensemble that included Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Lizzy Kaplan and Jon Bernthal.

Jeffrey Klarik has been a writer and producer in television for over 25 years. Jeffrey directed all seven episodes of the final season of Episodes. He also created the series Half & Half which ran for four seasons. His work on the hit comedy Mad About You earned him a Golden Globe award as well as an Emmy nomination. He has also written and produced the comedies INK, The Naked Truth, and Dream On.

David and Jeffrey have been partners in life for 28 years.

Join us on June 23rd to celebrate!

#NFF17 Screenwriters Tribute Award Announced: Tom McCarthy

We're so pleased to announce that writer/director Tom McCarthy will receive the #NFF17 Screenwriters Tribute Award! 

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Tom McCarthy has received critical acclaim for his films The Station Agent (2003), The Visitor (2007), Up (2009), Win Win (2011), and Spotlight (2015) - which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. Overall, Spotlight received six Academy Award nominations, three Golden Globe Awards nominations, two Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, and eight Critics' Choice Award nominations, among many other critical accolades.

Beginning his career as a performer, McCarthy spent several years doing stand-up comedy and theater in Minneapolis and Chicago. He appeared in several films such as Good Night, and Good Luck, Syriana, The Lovely Bones, and Little Fockers and tv shows such as Boston Public and The Wire. He even appeared on Broadway in the 2001 revival of Noises Off!

McCarthy's directorial debut, The Station Agent, which he also wrote, won the Audience Award and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. The film, starring Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson, Bobby Cannavale, also won the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. 

McCarthy's second feature film was The Visitor, which premiered at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival, and won the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for Best Director. He also co-wrote and directed 2011's Win Win based on his experiences as a wrestler at New Providence High School.

Currently, you can see McCarthy's directing work on the new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.

Join us on Friday, June 23 for this incredible evening of celebration! Ticket packages go on sale April 25.

Semi-Finalists for Showtime's Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) Competition Announced

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We're happy to announce the five Semi-Finalists of Showtime's Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) Competition: Gregory Bonsignore, Angelica Cheri, Kaitlin Fontana, Carrie McCrossen, and Ana Parsons. Congratulations to all! Read more about their screenplays below, and stay tuned for the Finalist announcement, coming soon!

THE ASIAN THAT DIDN'T by ANA PARSONS
Being half-asian, a lot is expected of Ana, but she seems to fail at everything she does in this raunchy comedy.

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CASEY CAN'T by KAITLIN FONTANA
A dark comedy about a flawed writer who is blackmailed into managing a hipster music blog by its manchild owner, heir to a porn fortune. It's about being too old for this shit before you’re 40.

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DERAILED by ANGELICA CHERI
Black female creative professional Desiree moves back home to be a success, but is stymied from day one.

SUBSCRIBE NOW by CARRIE MCCROSSEN
Wharton grad Christine finds herself the newbie at a YouTube-like company, tasked with finding and developing new content makers.

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WAKE by GREGORY BONSIGNORE
81-year-old Maggie moves from Arizona back to NYC to pick up the life she had left as a young woman. 

Five Questions With...Molly Martin

There's a new Operations Director at NFF - welcome Molly Martin! Although Molly is new to this role, she's no stranger to Nantucket. Molly is a former year-round resident who runs a summer camp on the island for kids!

Read more from Molly below, and say hello to her this summer at #NFF17!

NFF: Welcome to #NFF17! You've worked with the Festival in the past; how is your new position different, and what made you want to rejoin the team?

Molly: Thanks!  You may not know this, but I was a volunteer in 1999 and 2000 for the Festival!  Then in 2014, started working in the Guest Relations Department, where I would coordinate the transportation of our guests on island for the festival. Now as the Director of Operations I am involved in multiple operational components of the festival.  I love every bit of the process of producing this festival, and can't wait for our 22nd festival this year!  

NFF: As a former year-round Nantucket local, what do you think NFF brings to the community?

Molly: I personally love our Teen View program.  It's an innovative way to give local teens an opportunity to make their own short film and then see it with an audience on the big screen during the festival.  Where else does that happen?  I also appreciate the NFF Now film series in the winter.  It's a program where Independent films screen once a month at the Dreamland Theatre that would not typically be offered on island.  I feel the experience expresses gratitude to the year-round community.

NFF: What surprises you and/or what do you like best about working in the film festival world?

Molly: What I like best about working in the film festival world is the intimate exchange between filmmakers and their audience. I find it fascinating to hear first hand from the filmmakers, actors, and/or directors about their creative process.

NFF: What are you excited about that's coming up in #NFF17?

Molly: There are so many exciting things that are coming up for #NFF17, where do I begin?  Here are my top 3: We are screening at a new venue this year, The White Heron Theatre, NFF is bringing one of our Signature Programs back, and the movies we will be screening are remarkably incredible stories!

NFF: Tell us something about Nantucket that only a local would know.

Molly: I can't reveal any "local" secrets!  But I will give you some advice that a "local" friend recently gave me: "Never believe the weather channel about local weather on the island!"

Five Questions With...Jaclyn Wohl

Our interview series is back, and to kick it off, we're speaking with and introducing you to some of the NFF Staff you may not know. This month, we're profiling Jaclyn Wohl, our Director of Marketing! Learn more about Jaclyn below, and meet her on island at #NFF17!

NFF: You've worked with NFF for several years. Can you tell us how your role has evolved and changed, and what brings you back to the island?

Jaclyn: That is true, my very first NFF was in 2009. I was only on island for a week to sell tickets in the main box office, and I fell in love with the island. It's a spiritual connection that brings me back year after year. I have been lucky to experience a few different departments at NFF over the years, from box office, venues, and production, to registration and now I serve as the Director of Marketing for the festival. I have made this great transition from festival operations to marketing, and I am excited to use my experience and love of the festival to help it grow and stay fresh.

NFF: Can you tell us a little about the poster contest that's running now?

Jaclyn: We have this great long standing partnership with a design firm in Boston (Brand Content), and this year they delivered us this wonderful campaign with 3 great images, and we couldn’t choose our favorite to grace the cover of our program catalogue...so we decided to go to the public to help us pick! It is a great way to get everyone excited about the festival this early in the year, and allow people to have a personal connection and involvement with NFF.

NFF:  How do you think marketing for a film festival is unique?

Jaclyn: I think we are a unique film festival, so we have to be more conscious of our marketing efforts. We definitely approach each year with fresh eyes, and see how we can make it better and exciting. This includes our branding, we have a new look for each festival. It brings a cohesive feeling to each year.

NFF: What are you looking forward to about this year's festival?

Jaclyn: There is so much I am looking forward to this year, but nothing has been officially announced yet so I have to keep my lips sealed! But since year one, I love Late Night Storytelling. Storytelling is such a unique and intimate art form, and is perfectly set against the backdrop of the island and the festival. 

NFF: What bar or restaurant will we find you at during #NFF17?

Jaclyn: This is a hard one - I have a lot favorites on island because the food is so good, especially for a dietary challenged girl like me. But the top places I have to hit when island: The Green, Lemon Press, Provisions and Jetties (the gluten-free Lobster pizza is everything!).

NFF Represented in Awards Season

We'd like to take a minute to say a huge congratulations to all of the #NFF16 alums who have been nominated (and won) this awards season! Watch with us: the BAFTAs on February 12, the Film Independent Spirit Awards on February 25,  and the 89th Academy Awards on February 26, where we'll cheer on Life, Animated (Best Documentary Feature),  Joe's Violin (Best Documentary Short Subject), Piper (Best Animated Short)and Viggo Mortensen (Actor in a Leading Role) from Captain Fantastic.

Cameraperson

Cameraperson

Additionally, congratulations to this year's #NFF16 winners of the CINEMA EYE HONORS (Outstanding Achievements in Documentary Film):

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
Cameraperson

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Nels Bangerter - Cameraperson

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Kirsten Johnson - Cameraperson

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Directed by Nanfu Wang - Hooligan Sparrow

Audience Choice Prize
Directed by Clay Tweel - Gleason

5 Questions With...Paul Serafini, director of ANABELLE HOOPER & THE GHOSTS OF NANTUCKET

We were excited to sit down with Paul Serafini, who has one of the most ‘Nantucket-filled’ films in this year’s program with his feature debut, ANNABELLE HOOPER AND THE GHOSTS OF NANTUCKET. This family friendly adventure features both Bailee Madison (who’s also a producer on the film) as Annabelle, and several of Nantucket’s most iconic locations. We spoke with Paul in advance of the film’s World Premiere at the Festival!

NFF: Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket is your feature debut. What was it like to work on a film with such an amazing location?
Paul Serafini: I came up with the idea for the storyline a few years ago while doing a ghost tour with my then 10-year-old daughter. Nantucket was where my movie education began in the Dreamland when I was very young. I went every night in the 70’s and 80’s and saw all the iconic films from then--like Jaws and Star Wars. When I came up with the idea I thought “why don’t I shoot my first feature there?” We wrote the script around locations that already existed, so we didn’t have to spend a lot on building sets. So many told me to shoot a few days on Nantucket and double it elsewhere but I wouldn’t. The entire movie was set there and couldn’t be duplicated anywhere. As a result the film looks more expensive than it was.

NFF: You’re also a producer on the film, along with Bailee Madison. Talk about the development process (from when it was a script) and what it was like to work with Bailee both as your lead and a production collaborator.
PS: As I mentioned, I came up with the concept “Nancy Drew meets the Goonies” kind of mashup. Once I had that and an outline, I partnered with a screenwriter for a first draft. And it was two or three years to get it from good to great; it had to be great or there was no reason to make it. After that we got Stefne Miller (our screenwriter) involved to polish the script, add story elements and age it up (Annabelle was 12, but when we shot, Bailee was nearly 16.).
As to working with Bailee, I can’t say enough. I’ve never met a more down-to-earth kid. The crazy industry she works in can cause one to get lost, but boy she is so mature and has a wonderful family that keeps her grounded. She only wants to be involved in wholesome and creative projects. I wanted Annabelle Hooper to be a girl for younger girls to look up to and be inspired by, and that’s right in line with Bailee’s creative outlook. It was Bailee’s first time producing. She went out there know she was starting out and was keen to learn, but was also unafraid to speak her mind (as you must!). I don’t think there was a suggestion she made that I didn’t take

NFF: Were there any particular challenges to shooting on an Island; how did the Nantucket spirit contribute to your set?
PS: One thing that was paramount to our production, this being a low-budget film there weren’t going to be bells and whistles in comforts, but the environment people worked in would be happy; there’d be no drama allowed. Period. I wanted everyone to have a great experience. Making movies is hard and we do it because we love it, and there’s no reason it can’t be a good experience for all no matter your position on the film. In terms of the island, they couldn’t have been more accommodating. When we got there, two big productions had already filmed, so the Islanders were perhaps weary, but I’d begun building relationships years ago with locals and when we finally got funding those relationships were in tact.
I wanted to showcase Nantucket’s iconic sights: the Whaling museum, Dreamland, the Sankaty Lighthouse, the First Congregational Church and of course the Athenium Library. Not that Nantucket needs any help in tourism, but the film was kind of a ‘love letter’ to the Island. That’s how Basil [Tsiokos; NFF’s Film Program Manager] referred to it when we were invited. I’ve never thought of it like that, but it fits!

NFF: Can you recount any favorite memories you have from your time working on Nantucket?
PS: Oh boy! I don’t want to give the cliche “every day was memorable,” answer, but truly, every day there was something special to experience.  I remember a lot of laughter and smiles. The people involved with the movie did it because they thought it was something worthwhile. Working on a set like this, away from home on an island, it’s like summer camp. You’re thrust into this family environment, which we became. Bar none, Nantucket is one of the most special places in the world and it’s why I wanted to shoot my first film there. Maybe this movie is my way of giving back to the Island all the wonderful memories it gave me.

NFF: Please tell our audience why they should come see Annabelle Hooper and the Ghosts of Nantucket at NFF?
PS: I think the movie has something for everyone. It will appeal to younger audiences and parents will enjoy it with their kids. And it touches on a lot of universally important themes. It looks beautiful. If you like Nantucket, you’ll get a kick out of seeing all the locations. It has scares, mystery, romance and will take you back to your childhood. And I’ll be there, Bailee will be there and several of the actors, production team and crew will be there. We used local actors and crew, so locals can see their neighbors on screen!

ANNABELLE HOOPER & THE GHOSTS OF NANUCKET plays the Nantucket Film Festival Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26. Stefnee Miller, Paul Serafini and Bailee Madison will be in attendance for both screenings.

5 Questions With...Irene Taylor Brodsky, director of BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN

Journalist and documentarian, Irene Taylor Brodsky, turns a sensitive lens on an incendiary topic--juvenile criminal justice--in her latest documentary BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN. BTS chronicles the 2014 case of a pair of 12-year-old Wisconsin girls who attempted to murder their friend to appease the Slenderman, an Internet bogeyman they were convinced would otherwise harm their families.  Brodsky is this year’s recipient of the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award. We recently spoke with her about this true crime drama that continues to unfold.

 

NFF: You have a background as both a documentarian and a journalist. As a true crime, this is a topic that likely pulled on your skills from both disciplines. Can you speak to the difference in telling a nonfiction story versus reporting on a crime?

Irene Taylor Brodsky: Well when you’re reporting you know you’ll be processing information quickly and publishing towards a deadline. When making a documentary you can take the time to watch things unfold, make a decision and handle things carefully. You can develop trust with your subjects and they can tell you things you don’t have to share right then. You can sit on things and not have to share them with the public. So I knew things before the public knew and didn’t have to reveal it. It’s key because you can get information and research things as a journalist, but you rarely get the time that a documentarian has to sit with the information and analyze it. It’s nice because you can develop an understanding of your subjects and not be an emissary to the public. Now this doesn’t make you an advocate for your subjects, but it is a benefit to be able to have time with the information you’re uncovering.

In this story, we were following a legal case and knew things would come out in the case, but I was able to talk with the parents about mental illness [with Morgan Geyser’s parents] before it was discussed in the case or publicly. It was clear once the outside world knew, even their understanding of their own daughter’s mental illness would change. My film has a first person perspective before everyone got a chance to chime in. This film is not looking at guilt or innocence but whether to be tried as an adult for an adult crime.


 

NFF: At a surface glance BTS may seem to be a film about the perils of online engagement, but you’re actually looking at very specific stories in Anissa and Morgan. It raises questions of mental health and teenagers’ specific vulnerability to influence. Talk about the challenges of covering such issues.

ITB: You know I think the documentary is both for parents and non-parents alike. It does address the horribly modern challenges we face raising kids in the age of the internet. ‘Horribly modern’ because we’ve already had TV, books, and recently films, but the internet is different. The internet is such an echo chamber, and you can always find someone to root on questionable behaviour.

As to the difficulty of addressing mental illness, the film is about brain development, that’s actually where the film initiated. It was born out of a lofty idea which we were unsure of how to tackle; and then this event happened and we saw it as the perfect vehicle to discuss the issues we’d intended to cover. This crime happened a couple of days after Morgan turned 12, so her and Anissa’s love affair with Slenderman happened when they were just 12; juveniles, whose brain development was still very much in flux. Juvenile justice is also at the heart of this story--that somehow children should be held to a different standard than adults.

 

NFF: You were able to speak with the girls’ parents about the worst day of their lives, and what is an ongoing nightmare. Talk about how you went about laying the groundwork of trust to enable such candor from them.

ITB: Well I never approached them physically or directly in court.  I sent them letters and films I had done. I kept my letters brief because I didn’t know what the film would be at that point. My message was, “Don’t let me tell you to trust me; here’s my work.” As I mentioned earlier, unlike journalists who are working under deadline, I could tell them that what they would tell me wasn’t going to be made public immediately; I think that was helpful. I also reached out to their lawyers and sent the same messages. One family said it impressed them that the last film I’d done was “Grief Camp” (about a summer camp for children who were grieving for lost parents). It’d just won an Emmy for Best Kid’s Program and it helped that I had brought a different subject to light which showed how kids are not mini adults. Ultimately you’d have to ask them why they trusted me. I couldn’t have foreseen whether or not my approach would work.

 

NFF: What do you hope audiences will take away from screening BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN?

ITB: That this isn’t just a titillating story of childhood criminal activity. The film forces us to confront how we deal with the internet and it’s something we have to reckon with vis a viz our children. It’s a true crime story, but not a “who done it?” It’s a “why done it?” The legal posture of the case is not to ascertain guilt, but the level of the legal culpability that’s going to be ascribed.

 

NFF: Why should audiences come to see BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN at the Nantucket Film Festival?

ITB: I think it’s a confounding look at the internet universe, rooted in a very tragic story that maybe they can take something away from. You can dabble in theories about the role the internet plays in our lives, but this is a disturbing cautionary tale. Hopefully this event will be an enigmatic blip and not a heralding of things to come. As I said earlier, the internet is here and it’s a huge part of our lives and has a huge impact on our lives. We need to have manifold considerations--legally, morally, pragmatically--around its perils. And it has a great soundtrack!

BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN plays the Nantucket Film Festival tonight at 6:45pm.  Irene is also a part of today's Morning Coffee With... at 9am, with Robert Greene, Barbara Kopple and Roger Ross Williams.