Be a Contestant on #NFF18's Ask Me Another!

Are you a fan of the popular NPR radio show Ask Me Another? Now is your chance to participate, LIVE at the Nantucket Film Festival! A combination comedy and music show featuring puzzles, word games, and trivia played in front of a live audience, Ask Me Another will be hosted on Thursday, June 21 at 6pm by NFF favorite, Ophira Eisenberg, in this brand new event at #NFF18.

Do you want to show off your skills and be a part of the fun? Apply now to be a contestant!

All-Star Comedy Roundtable, The Improv Takeover

 Ben Schwartz ( Parks and Recreation ) and Thomas Middleditch ( Silicon Valley ) 

Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley

At this year's All-Star Comedy Roundtable we're shaking things up - come experience a new, hilarious format: The Improv Takeover! Actors and comedians Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) kick off their national tour with a special version of their hysterical improv show, featuring special participation from Ben Stiller.

THOMAS MIDDLEDITCH

Thomas Middleditch can currently be seen staring as the lead character in Mike Judge’s critically acclaimed HBO series, SILICON VALLEY. Thomas’ performance as the shy, entrepreneur “Richard Hendricks” garnered him a 2016 Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series” along with three Critics' Choice nominations for “Best Actor in a Comedy Series.” The show has received four Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations for “Outstanding Comedy Series.” On the big screen, Thomas will next be seen in and GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS opposite Sally Hawkins and Kyle Chandler and REPLICAS opposite Keaunu Reeves. He was last seen in JOSHY, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and the horror comedy, THE FINAL GIRLS. He also lent his voice to the DreamWorks animated feature, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, along with Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, and Kevin Hart. In 2013, Thomas appeared in Martin Scorsese’s Oscar nominated film, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET oppositeLeonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. He also appeared in Jay Roach’s THE CAMPAIGN opposite Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Thomas’ other credits include: NBC’s television series THE OFFICE as Dwight Schrute's (Rainn Wilson) brother as well as films such as THE BRONZE, THE KINGS OF SUMMER, THE BRASS TEAPOT, FUN SIZE, BEING FLYNN, and SPLINTERHEADS. Thomas performs regularly as half of the improv duo, MIDDLEDITCH & SCHWARTZ and is a member of the critically acclaimed, IMPROVISED SHAKESPEARE COMPANY.

BEN SCHWARTZ

Ben Schwartz is an Emmy® Award-winning writer, actor, and comedian. He's acted in the television shows HOUSE OF LIES and PARKS AND RECREATION as well as the films THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, OUTSIDE IN, NIGHT SCHOOL, and many others. He has lent his voice to many different animated projects, including Dewey in DUCKTALES and Leonardo in TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES. He has penned feature scripts for Universal, Paramount, and Good Universe and is the co-author of the national bestseller GRANDMA'S DEAD: BREAKING BAD NEWS WITH BABY ANIMALS, and its two sequels, as well as his latest book THINGS YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW ABOUT DATING, YOU F*CKING IDIOT, which was adapted into a TV show for CBS and Gary Sanchez Productions.

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:

ALL WE DO IS NGUYEN BY HUONG NGUYEN
An ambitious woman’s fast ride to the perfect life is interrupted when she moves back to her hometown and attempts to fix her hillbilly immigrant family.

FINALE BY GREG FUSCO
When the creator of the world’s most popular show tragically dies its clueless producers must juggle a disorderly cast, a rabid fan base, and an impending deadline to write the perfect three hour finale to a series they know nothing about.

GOING VIRAL BY JORDAN PICK
A half-hour, episodic comedy series about two knuckleheads failing to make their videos go viral.

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 announcement of our winner!

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

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It's that time again - congratulations to our ten Semi-Finalists of Showtime's Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) Competition! Stay tuned for the Finalists, to be announced soon!

 ALL WE DO IS NGUYEN BY HUONG NGUYEN

ALL WE DO IS NGUYEN BY HUONG NGUYEN

 COUPLED BY JANET SILVERMAN

COUPLED BY JANET SILVERMAN

 DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK BY STEPHEN BROWN

DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK BY STEPHEN BROWN

 FINALE BY GREG FUSCO 

FINALE BY GREG FUSCO 

 THE FREEDOM NEWS NETWORK BY ERIC CYPHERS

THE FREEDOM NEWS NETWORK
BY ERIC CYPHERS

 GOING VIRAL BY JORDAN PICK

GOING VIRAL BY JORDAN PICK

 HYPE BY ADRIAN BRINKLEY

HYPE
BY ADRIAN BRINKLEY

 THE LAB BY ALICIA LOMAS-GROSS

THE LAB BY ALICIA LOMAS-GROSS

 PRODUCERS BY LES ZIG

PRODUCERS BY LES ZIG

 THE YEARBOOK OF REVELATION BY PETER SHERER

THE YEARBOOK OF REVELATION
BY PETER SHERER

Apply to be an #NFF18 Social Ambassador

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Do you love social media, attending events, AND #NFF? By helping us to spread the word to your network about what's coming up this summer, you can earn FREE tickets to films, invites to parties, merchandise, and more! Plus, you don't have to be in Nantucket to participate!

Just send the answers to the following questions to allyson@nantucketfilmfestival.org by May 1 - you'll be contacted by May 15 if you've been selected.

1. Please provide your social media handles/accounts for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

2. Where are you based? Would you be willing/able to travel to Nantucket for the festival?

3. What do you like best about social media / communicating with your followers?

4. What do you think makes #NFF unique?

5. Why do you think you'd be the perfect social ambassador for #NFF18?

#NFF17 Films in Awards Season

It's here again - awards season! You may have noticed a few of your favorite films from #NFF17 (as well as NFF alums and upcoming NFF Now films)  making the rounds. Kicking things off on January 11 were the Cinema Eye Honors, last Sunday, February 17th were the BAFTAs, the Film Independent Spirit Awards are coming up on March 3, and the 90th Academy Awards are the following day on March 4. Take a look below at the nominees and winners so far, and cheer on your favorite #NFF17 films next weekend!

 THE BIG SICK

THE BIG SICK

Cinema Eye Honors (Outstanding Achievements in Documentary Film):

Nominee: Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Lindsay Utz for QUEST

Nominee: Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television
THE KEEPERS


BAFTAs (British Academy Film Awards)

Nominee: Outstanding British Film and Adapted Screenplay
THE DEATH OF STALIN (March NFF Now film)

Nominee: Documentary
CITY OF GHOSTS
AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL


 Film Independent Spirit Awards:

Nominee: Best First Feature
MENASHE
PATTI CAKE$

WINNER: INGRID GOES WEST

Nominee: Best First Screenplay
David Branson Smith and Matt Spicer for INGRID GOES WEST
WINNER: Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjani for
THE BIG SICK

Nominee: Best Male Lead
Harris Dickinson for BEACH RATS

Nominee: Best Documentary
MOTHERLAND
QUEST


Nominee: Best Supporting Female
Holly Hunter for THE BIG SICK
Lois Smith for MARJORIE PRIME

Nominee: Best Cinematography
Hélène Louvart for BEACH RATS

WINNER: JEEP TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
QUEST


Academy Awards:

Nominee: Writing, Original Screenplay
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjani for THE BIG SICK

Nominee: Short Film, Animated
Dave Mullins and Dana Murray for LOU

Dispatch From Sundance 2018

Once again, the #NFF Team headed to Sundance to check out this year's top offerings in independent film. Read more below about some of their favorites, and keep an eye out for these titles potentially coming to #NFF18!

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MYSTELLE BRABBÉE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS is a festival and personal favorite documentary about triplets born in New York and given away to separate families to be raised without awareness of one another.  By pure chance they are brought together 19 years later and become instant media stars. The wild plot unravels further when we go on the journey about why they were separated at birth.  

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR explores the history and legacy of America’s favorite neighbor, Mister Fred Rogers.  Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (NFF Alum, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM) has said he wants to show that Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood still has lessons for today. Watching the Sundance premiere, I found myself remembering the characters, songs and most importantly the lessons.  I only wish current and future generations could have Mister Rogers as their neighbor too.

More of a colorful celebration of Robin Williams’ extraordinary career than it is a lament of his loss, director Marina Zenovich weaves together rare footage with the late comedian’s own voice for ROBIN WILLIAMS: COME INSIDE MY MIND.  This loving documentary fills in more of the blanks to the general storyline of Williams’ life and also offers priceless outtakes showing his unique train of thought and how he was always reaching for some beautiful moment of ridiculousness and truth. 

BASIL TSIOKOS, FILM PROGRAM DIRECTOR:

Among the standout documentaries at this year’s Sundance is MINDING THE GAP by director Bing Liu and executive producer Steve James, a previous recipient of NFF’s Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling and now an Oscar nominee for ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL. MINDING THE GAP has been likened to BOYHOOD in its look at the lives of three skateboarding friends followed over several years as they grow up dealing with issues with their fathers and domestic abuse.

The inventive, magical realist doc 306 HOLLYWOOD by Elan and Jonathan Bogarín was one of Sundance's Day One screenings. The sibling filmmaking team constructs an utterly charming, irresistible portrait of their late grandmother, largely through the eclectic belongings found in her longtime New Jersey home at the film’s titular address.

AMERICAN ANIMALS similarly offered Sundance viewers a fresh perspective. Writer/director Bart Layton, known for the documentary THE IMPOSTER, makes his fiction debut with this true story of four young men who attempt to steal valuable rare books from their local university library. The film weaves in interviews with the real-life subjects - and their conflicting memories of the event - as a counterpoint to the dramatic retelling featuring actors like Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan.

COLETTE, among several films to score distribution deals at the festival, presents the empowering and all-too-topical story of the celebrated French woman novelist, played by Keira Knightley, as she finds her voice and fights for recognition under the shadow of her husband who takes credit for her words. This sumptuous period piece is the most recent film from writer/director Wash Westmoreland, whose previous film, STILL ALICE, earned Julianne Moore an Oscar for Best Actress.

OPAL H. BENNETT, ASSOCIATE PROGRAMMER:

In OUR NEW PRESIDENT, Maxim Pozdorovkin uses found footage of Russian propaganda edited to maximum "cautionary tale" effect, painting a broad picture of the deft efficiency of manipulative messaging. A sequence in which the supposed ill-health of then-candidate Hilary Clinton is "reported" on Russia Today as news, only to be repeated by people on the streets of Moscow as fact bears eerie resemblance to some of the media-sponsored fallacies reported in US news outlets. Pozdorovkin skillfully walks a tight rope in this film - using the footage both to illustrate and to indict - and won a Special Jury Award for Editing at Sundance.

Lauren Greenfield's doc GENERATION WEALTH picks up where her last feature, THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, left off - investigating the culture of success/excess in America. While surveying her life's work, Greenfield explores where her area of focus - the perils of extremes - dovetails with her own life. Putting its thesis aside, I found myself more drawn to the portions where Greenfield is vulnerable in revealing her personal journey as the daughter of an ambitious mother, and, in turn, as an ambitious mother and wife to her own family. 

Flynn McGarry has been called the "Justin Bieber of food," rising from precocious elementary schooler to internationally-recognized culinary talent, as beautifully chronicled in Cameron Yates' documentary CHEF FLYNN. His portrait combines archival material from when he began hosting multiple-course meals for friends at 10 years old with current footage of his breakthrough as a teen chef gracing the cover of the New York Times Magazine. Along the way, we see the challenges Flynn has faced both in the kitchen and at home. Flynn's story is an inspiring one where talent and passion combine and yield unforgettable results.

In SHIRKERS, Sandi Tan weaves a tale of youthful talent, precocious passions, DIY filmmaking, mentor sabotage, and a decades-long mystery solved. Tan was a teenager growing up in Singapore and obsessed with independent film. Under the tutelage of a mysterious mentor, she filmed her original script, SHIRKERS over several months, only to see it vanish. Part-memoir, part-mystery, SHIRKERS takes viewers on Tan's journey to becoming an artist and overcoming obstacles, and won a Directing Award at Sundance.

In CRIME + PUNISHMENT, Stephen Maing employs brilliant verité and provides unparalleled access to the NYPD 12 - a group of whistle-blowing cops who expose the ongoing, illegal practice of arrest/citation quotas being carried out by police across New York City precincts. Putting their careers and even their safety on the line, these officers demonstrate how they were coerced into engaging in this activity, and, when they dared to push back, were targeted for systematic retribution. CRIME + PUNISHMENT won a Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking at the festival.

Five Questions With... Rory Kennedy, Director of TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON

If you missed #NFF17 documentary TAKE EVERY WAVE: THE LIFE OF LAIRD HAMILTON, you're in luck - it opens in theaters this weekend!

In this breathtaking portrait, acclaimed documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy (Last Days in Vietnam, NFF 2014) takes on the legendary Laird Hamilton (Riding Giants, NFF 2004), a maverick who has redefined big wave surfing over the past four decades. This visually resplendent film follows the movie-star handsome Hamilton in Hawaii, as he eagerly awaits El Niño-powered waves of an unprecedented size, prompting reflection on his lifelong drive to conquer unrideable waves. Buoyed by the memories of family and friends, the charismatic surfer relates the struggles of his early life, the refuge he found in the ocean, and the fearlessness that has served as a constant source of innovation—and controversy—in his career.

Read more with Rory below, and check out local screening opportunities near you!

 Rory Kennedy at #NFF17

Rory Kennedy at #NFF17

NFF: How did you first become acquainted with and interested in Laird's life and story?

Rory: I was introduced to Laird through a mutual friend who thought throwing two people together who wouldn't normally know each other might be interesting. Although I didn't know much about surfing before, I grew up on the water and have an appreciation for the water, and I grew up with surf and ski movies - and we were surrounded by sports figures - making a film about an athlete in the water was not totally an unfamiliar idea.

NFF: The film is tonally a bit different from others you've made in the past, and focuses on a single subject rather than, for example, a larger group. Was that conscious departure for you as a filmmaker?

Rory: I'm equally passionate about whatever sparks my interest. You commit over a year of your life to the making of a film, so it's hard to work on a subject you don't care about. It took a little while to wrap my head around this particular story and give myself permission to make a "fun" film - but I couldn't let the idea go. I wasn't interested in a typical surf film - I was interested in Laird and his story and his motivations; what he's accomplished on the water and how he's revolutionized the sport. I was curious to explore what makes a person the best they can be.

NFF: Shooting in and around water is notoriously challenging. Can you talk a little about that process making this film?

Rory: It of course presents a new set of challenges - how do you know when the wave is coming, for example. It took some time to understand how waves work and how best to shoot them. I watched a lot of surf films, and I do ski, so I know you can be on the steepest run and it looks flat in pictures, so there's something about the angle of shooting that shapes how it looks. In our case shooting by helicopter was the best way to keep up with Laird.

NFF: What surprised you the most while you were making the film?

Rory: I think I didn't fully appreciate Laird's childhood and what he went through when he was younger. I now have a deeper appreciation for his focus and passion - his personal journey is extraordinary.

NFF: What do you hope audiences will take away from seeing the film?

Rory: I just hope people actually go to the theaters! You need to appreciate the awe and enormousness of the waves on a big screen - we made the film for that experience, so please support the film in theaters, and enjoy the ride and thrill in watching it that doesn't translate to a tv or computer screen. Check out our website for screening times and locations

 take every wave: the life of laird hamilton

take every wave: the life of laird hamilton

#NFF17 In Review

We're taking a look back at all of the exciting films, events, panels, parties, sponsors, and more that happened at #NFF17! Relive your favorite memories below, and SAVE THE DATES FOR 2018: JUNE 20-25!

DAY 1

DAY 2

DAY 3

DAY 4

DAY 5

Five Questions With... Ryan White, Director of THE KEEPERS

The second in our TV AND TALKS Series: From director Ryan White (NFF alum with The Case Against 8, Serena, Good Ol’ Freda) comes a new, riveting seven-part documentary series about the unsolved murder of a nun and the horrific secrets and pain that linger nearly five decades after her death.

Sister Cathy Cesnik, a beloved nun and Catholic high school teacher in Baltimore, went missing on November 7, 1969. In the 1990s, one of Sister Cathy’s former students – a woman only known as “Jane Doe” – came forward to reveal her own harrowing story and disturbing details about Sister Cathy's case – but the truth still remained elusive. White pieces together a larger story that goes beyond the death of a beloved schoolteacher to encompass clergy abuse, repressed memories, and allegations of an extensive cover-up. The Keepers is a Netflix Original Documentary Series.

We're thrilled to present an episode of the series followed by a conversation with Ryan White and “Jane Doe” herself.

Read more with Ryan below, and join us for the screening and conversation on Sunday, June 25 at 11:45 am!

 Ryan White

Ryan White

NFF: You have a personal connection to this material, correct? Could you tell us how the story came to you?

Ryan: My aunt went to the high school that is the epicenter of The Keepers. She was Sister Cathy's student and a classmate of Jane Doe. She told me about the story a few years ago and I went to Baltimore to meet Jane Doe. That's how it all began.

NFF: The "true crime" genre is having a bit of a renaissance - do you have thoughts about why that is?

Ryan: I think Americans are interested in justice, and they get particularly angry when they watch and experience these stories about injustice. If there's any common denominator  of all these true crime series that have gained popularity, I think they are all stories of injustice and a lack of accountability.

NFF: The story here is unbelievably difficult and complicated - did you have a hard time staying objective as a filmmaker?

Ryan: I had to distance myself sometimes from the anger -- anger over what was done to the children and anger about the amount of corruption that's kept these stories buried. But I was also constantly reminding myself that I didn't have to live the pain that my subjects did -- so the least I could do was be a part of having their truths brought to light.

NFF: When you originally started working on The Keepers, did you always envision it as a multi-part show? Or was it meant to be a shorter, more contained movie, like your previous work?

Ryan: We began The Keepers before Serial, The Jinx, or Making A Murderer had come out, so there wasn't really a model yet for the episodic true crime format. But once each of those came out, we realized we might have some more dimensional ways to tell The Keepers. It was really good timing to have a true crime story that seemed to have so many layers and a distributor felt deserved a longer format.

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences will take away?

Ryan: It's my fourth documentary to play here, so I'm thrilled to be back. But mostly I'm excited that Jane Doe will be joining me on stage and talking about her experience. It will be her first public appearance since the series came out last month.