Five Questions With… Kristian Mercado (PA’LANTE)

An estranged family in Puerto Rico tries to reconnect in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, in the narrative short film PA'LANTE by Writer/Director Kristian Mercado.

Listen as Kristian talks about the film, and see it in the "What I'm Looking For" block of short films on Sunday, June 23 at 11:30am!

Five Questions With... Jim Picariello (PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE DADS)

In PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE DADS, two middle-aged dads want to spend a quiet day with their daughters at the park. When a group of teens drive by too fast and too loud, it spurs them into a self-righteous act.

Take a look at our video chat with Writer/Director Jim Picariello, and catch the film on Saturday, June 22 at 4:15pm!

Five Questions With... Brittany Snow (MILKSHAKE)

In MILKSHAKE, Natalie only wants her mother's approval. Her mother wants a big and different future for them both.

Listen to Writer/Director Brittany Snow talk about the film, playing in the "What I'm Looking For" block of short films on Sunday, June 23 at 11:30am!

Fun fact: you can also see Brittany as a presenter at our Screenwriters Tribute on Saturday at 6:30pm!

Five Questions With... Matt Kay (LITTLE MISS SUMO)

In LITTLE MISS SUMO, female sumo wrestling champion Hiyori confronts obstacles both inside and outside the ring in an attempt to change Japan's national sport forever.

We spoke to director Matt Kay about the film - check it out, and see the film at Nantucket Film Festival on Thurs, June 20 at 9am!

Five Questions With... Tim Wilkime (MILTON)

In MILTON, a guy makes a bad first impression when he meets his girlfriend’s family as they gather at her grandfather’s deathbed.

We spoke with Writer/Director Tim Wilkime about the film. The first screening is sold out, so catch the second in the Laugh Out Loud block on Sat, June 22 at 4:15pm!

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NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film.

TIM: Milton was based off of a personal experience I had watching my wife’s grandmother take her final breath in hospice. The family was in the room but they were catching up with each other so there were unaware of the grandmother’s passing. I had to break the news to them. It was a very surreal, uncomfortable and emotional experience but it all played out pretty normally. Years later, when I started writing shorts, I thought it would be funny to revisit that experience and write it as if it were an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” but with a meek man that keeps putting his foot in his mouth.

NFF: Why (or how) do you use comedy to tell your story?

TIM: My background is in comedy directing so comedy is naturally where I go as a storyteller. Usually I work in sketch where the jokes and performances can be pretty broad but with Milton, being a dramedy, I wanted to ground the humor as much as possible. I thought if the comedy came from a honest and relatable place the emotional moments would be more impactful.

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

TIM: One of the great things about shorts is that you can take bigger risks than with features. My short is pretty grounded in reality but I have kind of an abstracted ending that I don’t think I’d be able to get away with if this were a feature. Audiences embrace bold choices from a short because shorts don’t really have a traditional structure and set of rules that you have to follow. The biggest challenge with making a short is just putting the production together. You usually end up self-funding it and wearing a lot more hats than you’re used to. It can get discouraging at times but the key is just surrounding yourself with a team of people that believe in the project as much as you do.

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

TIM: Currently I’m writing a feature that I hope to be making in the next year. I also directed two episodes of “Adam Ruins Everything” that will be airing later this year on TruTV. You can find my work at www.timwilkime.com.

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?

TIM: As an audience member, there’s no better feeling than being in a theater full of people laughing. The hope is for MILTON to do that for the people of Nantucket. 

Five Questions With... Ron Eyal (THE THERAPIST)

In THE THERAPIST, an unstable therapist is haunted by his own issues while struggling with a challenging patient.

We spoke with writer/director Ron Eyal about his film playing tomorrow morning, on opening day of #NFF2019! Read more below, and check out the “Time Warp” short films at 10:30am at Bennett Hall!

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NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film.

RON: I'm fascinated by therapy and therapists. The power of empathy that a skilled therapist has should be an inspiration to any film director! I had a daydream about a troubled therapist who probably needs more help than his patients, though I can't say much more without spoiling some twists. My co-writer Eleanor Burke and I also took a lot of inspiration from our complicated relationships with our real-life mothers. (Love you, mom!)

NFF: Your film is in the "Time Warp" block. Are you nostalgic for the past, or hopeful for the future?

RON: Yeah, I'm a bit of a nostalgic guy. I have to admit that I love going to thrift stores and looking at old, mostly useless junk. I've got a  morbid streak too and I've thought a lot about the traces people leave behind with each other when they die, and how those traces make us fuller and amplify our instinct for connection.

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

RON: Making this short was a great way for me to experiment and play with new ideas. It can still take a heck of a long time to make a longish short though, so I'm thinking for my next one I'll try to cram it all in under 5 minutes...

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

RON: I'm currently developing THE THERAPIST for television.

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?

RON: I'm so excited to screen in Nantucket. Even though the therapist in my short has an experience that's a bit out of the ordinary, I hope the audiences can feel a bit of themselves in the film too.

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... Emilie McDonald, Bruce Smolanoff, & Urvashi Pathania (CHURROS, NAAN & BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE)

We spoke with the filmmakers behind two of the shorts in the “What I’m Looking For” block, playing on Sunday, June 23 at 11:30am.

Read more with Emilie McDonald and Bruce Smolanoff of CHURROS and Urvashi Pathania of NAAN & BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE, and see the films on the 23rd!

NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film.

URVASHI: 2016, the end of democracy, some say, also happened to coincide with the end of my first relationship. This film was an attempt to make sense of it all.

NFF: Your film is in the "What I'm Looking For" block. What do you think your characters are in search of?

EMILIE & BRUCE: Jo-Jo is in search of a sense of security and belonging. Maria is in search of safety and comfort for her family, seeking to see the beauty rather than the blemishes in their daily struggles. 

URVASHI: Maya is searching for her own identity. As a woman on the brink of adulthood, she is finally learning about herself, her own preferences, even if the process leads to some painful discoveries.

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

EMILIE & BRUCE: The biggest advantages of making a short are that you can finish things *slightly* more quickly - the script, the shoot and the edit, although the process is still quite time-consuming. Another advantage in our case is that we have a piece of work to show our vision in trying to make the feature version of the film. The biggest challenges of making a short are that you have only a finite number of days to get everything in the can (and in our case our DP was here from out of town so we had no flexibility with timing), and must face whatever challenges come up head-on (we had locked parks where you are supposed to film, unexpected multi-day rainstorms, and more). Ultimately the challenges are part of the work and make their way into making the work more layered.

URVASHI: Shorts give you more room to experiment with form. The viewer of a short has not been conditioned to expect a three-act structure in the same way they have for a feature. Of course, they’re also cheaper and less time-consuming. I have yet to make a feature, but I look forward to having the running time to explore my characters more deeply! I also think excess is more forgivable in features. I love scenes that veer off course, but in a delicious way that adds an unexpected nuance to the story. There's rarely time for that in the short film format.

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

EMILIE & BRUCE: We are working on the feature version of Churros :)

URVASHI: I’m entering the final year of my MFA at USC this fall and will be traveling to Rajasthan, India to shoot my thesis film! You can follow my journey on my website www.urvashipathania.com or on instagram @swurvashi.

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?

EMILIE & BRUCE: We are excited to screen in Nantucket for many reasons. We have heard that the festival and audiences are just incredible and we cannot wait to meet everybody. We of course are also excited to see Nantucket for the first time. We have never been there and it almost seems like a magical Shangri-la so will be nice to see the real thing in person. We hope Nantucket audiences will relate to the plight of a young boy grappling with a big decision, and will be able to put themselves in the shoes of a new immigrant trying to provide for her family.

URVASHI: This film is five minutes of densely layered half thoughts. It was the first film I made in my MFA, and I felt a sort of need to scrap together all of my ideas and emotions. I hope the audience derives some pleasure from the mixed-media format and that it inspires some creativity.

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