Five Questions With... Geremy Jasper, Writer/Director of PATTI CAKE$ and New Voices in Screenwriting Award Recipient

First-time writer/director Geremy Jasper—a musician and past music video director—showcases his music chops in this brash and bombastic story of unlikely MC Patti “Killa P” Dombrowski. In working-class “dirty Jersey,” Patti and her best friend and music partner, Hareesh, dream of escaping their dead-end jobs and pursuing their dreams of hip-hop superstardom. When they meet reclusive Goth newcomer Basterd, he provides the missing link to elevate their sound. Breakout talent Danielle Macdonald plays Patti with the magnetism and stage presence of a seasoned recording artist, matched by the prodigious talents of Bridget Everett as Patti’s disillusioned mother, who saw her own aspirations of stardom pass by long ago.

Geremy Jasper, who will also be recognized with the New Voices in Screenwriting Award at the Screenwriters Tribute on Friday, June 23, gave us a few minutes of his time to chat about PATTI CAKE$. Take a look below, and join us for the only screening on Saturday, June 24 at 2:45pm!

NFF: How did your background in music and music videos affect or influence your use of light and sound/music in the film?

Geremy: Hmmm. The film encompasses two worlds - an objective rough & raw Jersey reality and Patti’s subjective fantasy world. These two different worlds are lit differently and sound different. One is very natural, minimal lighting and “real” sounding while the other is bold, colorful and kaleidoscopic. My DP Fede Cesca and I were not shy in pushing more color and more smoke into a fantasy scenes. My music video background gave me a love for and vivid colors and surrealism but also a handle on how to capture musical performances that feel dynamic and visceral.  It’s magic catching a song on film. 

I wrote around 25 original songs for the film, so sound was a major focus in how things were shot, edited and mixed. There a many performances that needed to feel raw and authentic and at other times take over the film almost like score.

NFF: Can you talk a little about casting, and how you found the incredible Danielle Macdonald?

Geremy: The character of Patti Dombrowski is so specific physically, emotionally, and musically that it was going to take someone incredibly special and gifted to play her. Luckily my producer Noah remembered Dani from a small role she had in a film called The East. She looked IDENTICAL to the image of Patti I had in my brain so she joined me in Utah for the Sundance Director’s Lab even though she was Australian and had never rapped before in her life. She’s so brilliant and hard working it didn't faze me so we spent the next 2 years training her to rap while developing the character. Dani carries the film on her shoulders and I think she should win every award on the planet.  

NFF: Tell us a little about your inspiration for the film. Do you have a connection to New Jersey?

Geremy: I grew up a chubby blonde, hip hop loving kid from suburban Jersey who filled secret notebooks with endless rhymes. At 23 I was stuck living in my parent’s basement working crappy jobs while nursing an unbelievable hunger to move to NYC and be a musician. I was also raised around big, sarcastic Jersey women who were always called “The Boss” as in you wanted / needed something, “Go ask the Boss.” All this got mixed up into what would become the world of PATTI CAKE$. 

NFF: Are there directors (or musicians) whose style or body of work have influenced you as a filmmaker?

Geremy: Oh yes, they all seem to be named BOB: Bob Dylan, Bob Fosse, Bob Redford, and Bobby Digital (AKA The RZA from WuTang).

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

Geremy: Growing up in Jersey my family used to spend summer vacation at a trailer park in the Poconos (no joke) and to me the idea of “Nantucket” seemed like a mythic East Coast paradise - as well as well as a wonderful word for limericks. This’ll be my first time on the island & I couldn't be more excited. My hope is that the audience will be transported into an exotic blue collar fantasia and will be dancing in the aisles. 

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.

OLIVER STONE TO RECEIVE 2016 SCREENWRITERS TRIBUTE AWARD. SETH MEYERS TO HOST.

Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone

The Nantucket Film Festival will honor Academy Award®-winning screenwriter and director, Oliver Stone, with the 2016 Screenwriters Tribute Award. The award will celebrate Stone’s extraordinary career, whose achievements span both fiction and documentary features, as well as television.  

Stone is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer. With a career spanning over 40 years he has written and directed over 20 full-length feature films, including some of the most influential and iconic films of the last decades.  Stone has also written screenplays for films including MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (for which he won his first Academy Award), SCARFACE, and CONAN THE BARBARIAN.

The Screenwriters Tribute is the crown jewel of the festival, and recognizes and raises the visibility of outstanding screenwriters in the entertainment industry. Previous awardees include luminaries such as Aaron Sorkin, David O. Russell, Judd Apatow, Nancy Meyers and Barry Levinson.

Seth Meyers

Seth Meyers

Comedian and writer Seth Meyers, host of NBC's late-night talk show LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS, will host the 2016 Screenwriters Tribute. Meyers was formerly a head writer for SNL and also hosted the show's news parody segment WEEKEND UPDATE. In 2014, Meyers was host of the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards, and is also the co-creator, co-writer and executive producer of the IFC mockumentary TV series  DOCUMENTARY NOW!.

The Nantucket Film Festival's most esteemed awards recognize writers and filmmakers from film and television for their significant contributions to the art of storytelling.  These honors are presented annually on Saturday evening of the film festival at a gala celebration.  This year's Tribute will take place on Saturday, June 25th at the the 'Sconset Casino.

 

NFF Congratulates Oscar-Nominated Filmmakers

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Several Festival alums have been honored with Oscar Nominations for the 88th Academy Awards in this morning's announcement.

Best Animated Feature
ANOMALISA (Written/directed by past Screenwriters Tribute honoree, Charlie Kaufman)
INSIDE OUT
SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE

Best Documentary Feature
CARTEL LAND, Matthew Heineman
WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?, Liz Garbus

Best Foreign Film
THEEB (pictured, NFF Now screening Jan 21!)

Best Original Screenplay
INSIDE OUT

Best Short Film, Animated
BEAR STORY

Best Song
RACING EXTINCTION

Thomas McCarthy, a past Juror for the Festival, is a Best Director nominee for SPOTLIGHT, and receiving 2 nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress is STEVE JOBS, written by NFF 2014 Screenwriters Tribute Honoree, Aaron Sorkin.

The entire list of screenplay nominees are:

Best Adapted Screenplay
BROOKLYN, Nick Hornby
CAROL, Phyllis Nagy
ROOM, Emma Donoghue
THE BIG SHORT, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
THE MARTIAN, Drew Goddard

Best Original Screenplay
BRIDGE OF SPIES, Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
EX MACHINA, Alex Garland
INSIDE OUT, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter,
Ronnie del Carmen
SPOTLIGHT, Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge & Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

We also want to congratulate NFF alumni who won awards at last night's annual Cinema Eye Honors, which recognizes outstanding achievements in documentary film:
CARTEL LAND
MERU
THE WOLFPACK
HOTEL 22