5 Questions with...Tom Scott, co-founder of The Nantucket Project (TNP)

NFF:  Mr. Tom Scott: co-founder of Nantucket Nectars; co-founder of TNP; Chair of the Nantucket Film Festival board.  I think it’s safe to say you love this place!  Where does your love for Nantucket come from?

TS: I grew up going to Cape Cod; went there every summer of my life. In college, I wanted space from my family and went to Nantucket and fell in love with the place.  It’s an inspiring place and one of the things about it is everyone is enterprising; so many work both for themselves and a variety of jobs. Being surrounded by that was inspiring to me. On Nantucket you have to perform and that spirit of enterprise relates to how I’ve grown here.

NFF: TNP operates across three separate platforms: (1) the annual September event on Island, (2) TNP IdeaFilms, in partnership with Harbers Studios, and (3) TNP Scholars.  Can you give a thumbnail portrait of each and describe how it evolved into this configuration?

TS: TNP is like this ‘message co-op’; all these curious people who want to be in a beautiful place are together.  People who are trying to impact the world and be the beneficiaries of what we do and grow year round in Nantucket.  Holly [Gordon, of TNP Scholars] is the galvanizing force of all the co-operative efforts.  At the September gathering, the best ideas from the Scholars are taken and shared, or are the basis for Films. Ideas become Talks that become Films.

NFF: TNP/Harbers Studios Presents is a new event at the Festival, marrying your TFF and TNP roles into the Ideas/Talks/Films Program.  Talk about how this program emerged.

TS: Mystelle [Brabbee, NFF’s Executive Director] brought it up and The Nantucket Project’s IdeaFilms notion is ideas from TNP scholarship that lead to talks at TNP that yield films which hopefully galvanize the entire effort. In conversations with directors, you’re often defining what it means as you discuss it; ultimately it manifests in different ways. But at the Festival, as at the September conference, the setting is perfect--a theater, short films--and it may or may not be obvious what we’re doing, but we hope that the TNP experience is preserved and NFF audiences will get a sample of what we do each year.  I’m glad Mystelle planted the seed!

NFF:  The Nantucket Project had its 5th Anniversary last year; looking back, what are you most proud of about its accomplishments so far and where would you like to see it in 2020?

TS: That’s a good question. It’s an unwieldy thing, what we’re trying to accomplish, but behind it is an ethos--we believe in cultivating things. People with a good spirit, working hard to create open communication are valuable and necessary. It doesn’t always work, but by and large it does, and in order for it to do so, it takes work. There’s a nuance we can directly appreciate, and hopefully others can too. All that I’ve said here can be best utilized and actualized through our films which are the most shareable aspect of our work. All the work we put into the in-person experience can’t be captured but for film. All the world can feel an impact through it. We did a film with Larry Lessig [Harvard Law Professor] seen by 5 million people, and it’s the one film that is the best distillation of the TNP talk experience [see it here]. It’s meant to give you the experience of being there. And if you get the right film, people, and director, you can make these transcendent pieces.

NFF: In your own words, why should people attend TNP/Harbers Studios Presents Ideas/Talks/Films?

TS: I think it’s efficient, valuable, enjoyable storytelling and you can’t separate enjoyment from learning...or, you shouldn’t!

The inaugural TNP/Harbers Studios Presents IDEAS/TALKS/FILMS takes place on Thursday, June 23 at 7:45pm in Dreamland Main. Tickets are available here.