Five Questions With... Hannah Elless (NORA EPHRON GOES TO PRISON)

In NORA EPHRON GOES TO PRISON, two women from different worlds meet in unexpected circumstances, but an unlikely friendship blooms based on their common love of Nora Ephron.

Take a look at our video interview with Director Hannah Elless, and catch the film in the “Laugh Out Loud” block of shorts on Fri, June 21 at 9:15am and Sat, June 22 at 4:15pm!

Five Questions With... Charlene deGuzman, Actor/Writer of UNLOVABLE

After a night of alcohol-fueled sex with strangers, actress Joy (Charlene deGuzman) hits rock bottom and attends a 12-step meeting for sex and love addiction. There, she convinces Maddie (Melissa Leo) to be her sponsor. Maddie allows Joy to recover in her grandmother’s guesthouse, but sets strict rules, including forbidding her from interacting with Jim (John Hawkes), Maddie’s estranged brother and their grandmother’s caregiver. But Joy and Jim each end up being just what the other needs to heal in this fresh dramatic comedy.

We spoke with Charlene deGuzman, who both wrote and stars in UNLOVABLE. Read more with Charlene below, and catch the film on Wed, June 20 at 8:15pm and/or Thurs, June 21 at 8:45pm!

CHARLENE DEGUZMAN

CHARLENE DEGUZMAN

NFF: Can you talk a little about your inspiration for the film?

Charlene: UNLOVABLE is inspired by my personal experiences with sex and love addiction and recovery. I wanted to bring awareness to sex and love addiction, help get rid of the stigma, show a female perspective, and help people feel understood and less alone. And I wanted to do it in a way that uses light, hope, comedy, and music.

NFF: Have you acted in pieces that you've written before? Do you prefer to be in your own work?

Charlene: This is my first feature film I've ever written or acted in, but I've acted in other pieces I've written before - I wrote a few shorts that went viral on YouTube, "I Forgot My Phone" was the one that got the most international attention! It changed my life. I love performing my own work, it's how I can be the most ME. There is no one better to express your own voice than yourself. Plus, I like to write things from my own personal experiences, and the only one who has lived my life - is me.

NFF: How did Mark and Jay Duplass become involved with the film? Had you worked with Mark before as a writer?

Charlene: In 2013, Mark Duplass started following me on Twitter. I sent him a DM telling him that he was my hero. He DM'd me back and told me that if there was anything I had written that I wanted to show him, to send it over. (Tweeting sad and funny thoughts and ramblings is what originally got me a following.) I didn't have anything at the time, but a year later, I started recovery for sex and love addiction. While in my first months of withdrawal, I was in physical and emotional pain, and the thing that kept me going was exploring my creativity. I ended up writing a TV pilot in five days inspired by my own experiences. I sent it to Mark, and the next day he wrote back - he wanted to meet, and he wanted to make a movie!

NFF: Did you face any particular challenges or surprises while filming?

Charlene: So many! I had major Imposter Syndrome - every day I couldn't believe that it was happening, and I kept thinking I had tricked everyone into being there. It was hard to act in scenes with John Hawkes or Melissa Leo and not think, "How am I in a movie with my favorite actor John Hawkes?" or "Oh my God this is Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo." As you could imagine, the pressure to not completely make a fool out of myself in front of these pros was high. I ended up learning so much from the both of them. It was also intense to act out scenes that would have happened in my past. I got triggered a few times. But every time I took a deep breath and remembered why I wanted to make this film, how I wanted to help people, it kept me going.

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences might relate to or takeaway from the film?

Charlene:This is my first time in Nantucket so I'm excited to be there! I hope I inspire others to tell their story. We all have a story to tell, we may even feel ashamed of it at first, or embarrassed, or scared it won't be good enough. But the truth is, telling your story gets rid of the shame. Because you will find that your story is a huge gift you have, because it can help so many people. Humans crave the truth, and they don't even realize it, until they experience it. I hope my movie and story will inspire others to share their truths too!

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.

Sasheer Zamata Added to All-Star Comedy Roundtable!

We're thrilled to announce another acclaimed female comedian joining the All-Star Comedy Roundtable on Saturday, June 24: Sasheer Zamata!

Sasheer Zamata is a comedian, actress, writer, presenter, and host. Most recently a cast member on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," she has also appeared on TBS's "People of Earth," Amazon's "Transparent," Comedy Central's "Inside Amy Schumer," Netflix's "Bojack Horseman," SeeSo's "Night Train with Wyatt Cenac," as well as voiced the role of Maisie in Nickelodeon's "Albert" and Sally in "Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare." She appears in the features "Yoga Hosers," "Sleight," and "Deidra & Laney Rob a Train" on Netflix. She also serves as ACLU's Celebrity Ambassador for Women's Rights. Her one-hour standup comedy special, "Pizza Mind," is available on Seeso.

Get your tickets to this audience-favorite event!

All-Star Comedy Roundtable Returns!

Audience favorite All-Star Comedy Roundtable returns to #NFF17 with an all-female panel! We're excited to announce Whitney Cummings and Kristen Schaal, joined by additional female comedians TBA, and hosted by Pete Holmes. Read more about our guests below, and join us on Saturday, June 24!

Whitney Cummings is a Los Angeles based comedian, actor, writer, producer and director. Best known for creating and starring in the NBC series Whitney, Cummings has also co-created and co-wrote the Emmy nominated CBS comedy series 2 Broke Girls along with Michael Patrick King. She has also appeared in series such as UndateableWorkacholicsMaron and the Netflix series The Ridiculous Six, as well as E!’s Chelsea Lately and Comedy Central’s Roast series. In film, she can be seen in such hits as Maid of Honor, StrikeJust Like Us, 3,2,1…Frankie Go Boom, The Wedding Ringer, and Warner Bros. latest film Unforgettable. Her first one-hour stand up special, Money Shot, premiered on Comedy Central in August 2010 and was nominated for an American Comedy Award. Her second one-hour stand-up special, Whitney Cummings: I Love You, debuted on Comedy Central in June 2014. Her most recent stand-up special, I’m Your Girlfriend aired on HBO earlier last year. 

Kristen Schaal can currently be seen starring in the Fox series, The Last Man On Earth, opposite Will Forte. Kristen will next be seen opposite JK Simmons and Emile Hirsch in All Nighter, as well as Lost In Austin opposite Linda Cardellini and Patrick Warburton.  She can recently be seen in The Boss opposite Melissa McCarthy, and the film A Walk In The Woods, directed by Ken Kwapis, opposite Robert Redford and Nick Nolte, which premiered at Sundance 2015. Additionally, she voices the character Louise in the Fox animated series Bob's Burgers, the lead voice in Zodiac for Dreamworks, and recently won an Annie award for her voice in Gravity Falls. She also lent her voice to The Simpsons. Other film and television credits include Toy Story 3Dinner For Schmucks, 30 Rock, the cult hit series, Flight Of The Conchords, Mad Men, Modern Family, and her Comedy Central half-hour special, Live At The Fillmore,  among others. Kristen appeared in The Coward at The Lincoln Center Theatre, and was awarded The Lucille Lortel Award for her performance.

Pete Holmes' latest project is his new television series, HBO’s Crashing, a single camera comedy he created and is executive producing with Judd Apatow. The series features cameos from comedy heavyweights such as Dave Attell, T.J. Miller, Hannibal Buress, Sarah Silverman, Artie Lange, Jim Norton and many more. It was recently announced the show has been renewed for a second season. In December 2016, Pete released Faces And Sounds, an hour-long special for HBO. He has performed stand-up on numerous late night variety shows such as Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Conan. He has written and performed a multitude of stand-up specials and albums, including two hour-long specials on Comedy Central, Nice Try, The Devil and Impregnated With Wonder.

Watch a clip from SPOTLIGHT comedy, "My Blind Brother"

From Variety, "...it’s weirdly refreshing to see a romantic comedy where selfishness, resentment and sloth are presented as unabashed virtues." "Such is the charm of Sophie Goodhart’s “My Blind Brother,” (played by Adam Scott) which takes an ostensibly dark premise — a man of few qualities attempts to steal his overachieving blind brother’s girlfriend — and turns it into a featherweight frolic as winningly unambitious as its central couple played by Nick Kroll and Jenny Slate."  -- Andrew Barker

We proudly present MY BLIND BROTHER as a 2016 SPOTLIGHT selection. 

Click below to watch a clip.  Courtesy of Deadline Hollywood.

NFF Launches Comedy Writers Retreat with Screenwriters Colony

Screenwriters Colony: Episodic Comedy
in partnership with Nantucket Film Festival
June 10-23, 2016

The Screenwriters Colony and Nantucket Film Festival are thrilled to announce the launch of a new writers program, the Screenwriters Colony: Episodic Comedy, running June 10-23, 2016.

This inaugural collaboration will provide four emerging episodic comedy writers with an all-expense paid trip to Nantucket for an immersive residency and mentorship program. While on Nantucket, the writers will work together with eminent professional industry mentors to experience the writers' room, hone their craft, and develop their pilots.

The Nantucket Film Festival’s Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) Competition winner will receive one of the spots in the writers-in-residence program. The Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions are sponsored by Showtime. The Colony will overlap with the start of the 2016 Nantucket Film Festival, taking place June 22-27.

Eric Gilliland will serve as the Creative Advisor on the curriculum and will run the two-week program in June. Gilliland is a Peabody- and Golden Globe-winning writer/producer whose television credits include Roseanne, The Wonder Years, Who’s The Boss?, and That 70’s Show. Gilliland also produced the documentary God Grew Tired of Us: The Story of The Lost Boys of Sudan, which won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He currently teaches at Tisch’s Goldberg School of Dramatic Writing at New York University.

Writers and mentors for the 2016 inaugural program will be announced in April 2016.

Have a 30-min original comedy pilot script? Submit to NFF's Screenplay Competition today!

Earlybird Deadline: December 14, 2015
Regular Deadline: January 14, 2016

 

Noah Baumbach's Mistress America, Bryan Buckley's The Bronze Added to Program Line-Up

mistressamerica.jpg

We're pleased to share that Noah Baumach and Greta Gerwig's latest collaboration Mistress America (pictured) has been added to our line-up as a Spotlight Film, presented by Delta. The screwball comedy stars Lola Kirke (Gone Girl) as a Barnard freshman whose life is shaken up by her soon-to-be stepsister (Gerwig), in a performance that, according to Variety, "confirms Gerwig as one of the great, fearless screen comediennes of her generation."

We've also added another Sundance Opening Night film, The Bronze, which stars The Bing Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch as a foul-mouthed former Olympic gymnast, desperately clinging to the spotlight. Pre-selection tickets are now on sale for pass and package holders so start mapping out your schedules!