Five Questions With... Lisa Cortés, producer of THE TALE OF FOUR

THE TALE OF FOUR is Oscar®-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe's (EmpirePrecious) directorial debut. We're proud to present this piece at our Afternoon Tea Talk on Sunday, June 25 at 2:15pm, followed by a lively, moderated conversation accompanied by tea and treats.

This multi-layered story inspired by Nina Simone’s “Four Women” spans one day in the lives of four different women connected by their quest for love, agency and redemption. Featuring Jussie Smollett (Empire) and Ledisi.

Sidibe’s directorial debut is part of Refinery29’s Shatterbox Anthology short film series, which works to cultivate and spotlight the voices of women behind the camera, in order to provide emerging female filmmakers with the support to realize their creative vision.

We spoke with producer Lisa Cortés about the film, and are also happy to present the first trailer, below. Take a look, and join us on Sunday!

NFF: Can you talk a little about how this project came to you? Why were you interested in this script?

Lisa: I've had the pleasure of knowing Gabby (Gabourey) since working with her as a Producer on "Precious". When she was putting together the team for The Tale of Four, she and her manager reached out and asked if I'd be interested in joining the team. Hello, where do I sign up? I love when personal and professional relationships come full circle. 

The story is timely and relevant to where we find ourselves right now. The script spoke to me because it compliments much of my work which has been committed to telling expansive stories about our Black bodies.  

NFF: The film asks a lot of questions about identity and how we define ourselves. Do you think self-image is something that can be shaped and changed, or is it more structured and set?

Lisa: Self-image can be fluid. The woman I am is different from the girl I was. The change happened because I did the work (which never stops) and met the right people along the way who supported my quest.  What's important is that we create mirrors in our work that provide vistas and portals to possibility and change.

NFF: Why is this film important right now?

Lisa: The characters in the film were inspired by the women that Nina Simone sang about in 1966 in her iconic song, "Four Women".  Some of the challenging situations and microaggressions that these sisters undergo are still a part of our everyday experiences as Black women. If it's true that "the more things change, the more they stay the same",  I hope that their are lessons for empowerment and self love to be found within our film.

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

Lisa: I have tremendous respect for Gabby and was delighted to see that all the ideals she upholds and represents are a part of her directing style.  We had a set filled with committed, smart and passionate people. Yes, there were challenges but along with the other producers - Refinery29 (Amy Emmerich, Shannon Gibson and Kate Bolger) and Kia Perry we always built upon our community to find solutions.

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

Lisa: I am so looking forward to premiering our film at Nantucket. The strong direction and rich programming of the festival promises to provide a forum for thoughtful exchanges about film and its ability to create empathy and fuel change.

Producer Lisa Cortés

Producer Lisa Cortés

Watch Q&A with Lily Rabe and Julia Hart, Writer/Director of MISS. STEVENS

Feature selection, MISS STEVENS, is Julia Hart's directorial debut, starring Lily Rabe, celebrated veteran of stage and screen. Julia Hart’s debut script "The Keeping Room" landed on the Black List and was made into a feature directed by Daniel Barber starring Brit Marling. She’s written for John Requa and Glenn Ficarra at Fox Searchlight, Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free and has a mini-series in the works at HBO with Anna Paquin and Jack Black. 

MISS STEVENS had its World Premiere at SxSW where Julia sat to speak about the film. She's joined by Actress Lily Rabe (who plays Miss Stevens) and actor Anthony Quintal (who plays Sam).

MISS STEVENS is playing Nantucket Film Festival on June 24th and 25th.

TICKLED director David Farrier talks competitive tickling

Hot off of a successful bow at this year's Sundance Film Festival, New Zealand journalist, David Farrier's TICKLED is part of this year's documentary line-up at NFF.  Farrier came to the topic after his two-minute news segment was met with intimidation and legal action, and expanded into a feature-length documentary.

VICE news spoke with Farrier about the making of the story, and his own ten minutes in a competitive tickling chair!

TICKLED plays Nantucket Fest: Friday, June 24th and Sunday, June 26th. 

Molly Shannon Shines in Dramatic Role in SPOTLIGHT film "Other People"

Molly Shannon teams with SNL alum, and first time filmmaker, Chris Kelly (Broad City), to star in her latest dramatic role, this time about a mother battling cancer.  Despite the film's serious focus, it maintains a thread of humor as Shannon's character, Joanne, and her son, David (Breaking Bad's Jesse Plemons) navigate the realities and poignant moments surrounding her decline in health.  Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) rounds out this stellar cast in Kelly's affecting and unforgettable dramedy.

We proudly present OTHER PEOPLE as one of 2016's Spotlight films. 

Watch Molly Shannon, Jesse Plemons and Bradley Whitford discuss their roles, with director, Chris Kelly.  Courtesy of THR

Watch Mike Birbiglia discuss Spotlight film DON'T THINK TWICE

Mike Birbiglia, star of NFF16 Spotlight film, Don't Think Twice, talks with the NY Times about making the film.

Don't Think Twice co-stars Keegan-Michael Key (Key and Peele) and Gillian Jacobs (Community) and follows a group of comedian friends who rethink their futures as performers when one of them gets a big break and becomes famous.

Dr. Philip Zimbardo and Kyle Patrick Alvarez on The Stanford Prison Experiment

At the Sundance Film Festival, Dr. Philip Zimbardo and director Kyle Patrick Alvarez sat down to discuss the former's psychological experiments, which served as the basis for Alvarez's film, The Stanford Prison Experiment. 1n 1971, Zimbardo embarked on a study of power dynamics as he assigned 24 male Stanford undergraduates to the role of either prisoner or guard, with absolute power given to the enforcers, resulting in a very violent and tense experiment. Check out the video below to learn more from the pair.

Brit Marling on What Attracted Her to The Keeping Room

At The Keeping Room's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Brit Marling (I Origins, Arbitrage) spoke about what attracted her to the Black List topping script, written by Julia Hart. Check out the video clip below to get some insight into this feminist-tinged, survivalist Civil War drama.

Jason Segel, James Ponsoldt and Donald Margulies Talk The End of The Tour

Check out this great video interview with the creators behind our Opening Night film, The End of The Tour, sponsored by Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines. At Sundance, Variety spoke to director James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now, NFF '13), screenwriter Donald Marguiles, and star Jason Segel about the process behind bring the story of David Foster Wallace and Jeff Lipsky to life. Get excited for June 24!