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!

TheTherapist_RonEyal_Headshot_big.jpg

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... 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.

Churros.jpeg
Naan+and+Balsamic.jpeg

Five Questions With... Christopher Guerrero (WHITE GUYS SOLVE SEXISM)

The Weinstein scandal causes two men to discover all of their favorite movies are now sexist in WHITE GUYS SOLVE SEXISM, playing in the “Laugh Out Loud” block of shorts on Friday, June 21 at 9:15am and Saturday, June 22 at 4:15pm.

We spoke with Writer/Director Christopher Guerrero about the film - read more, and see it next weekend!

GND11581_GOOD_5x7.jpg

NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film. Why (or how) do you use comedy to tell your story?

CHRISTOPHER: The idea for WHITE GUYS SOLVE SEXISM originated after a conversation with a close friend. they told me about a number of male filmmakers from a famous University coming together to mourn the ‘loss of filmmaking’ in a post-Weinstein world. These men were so blindsided and shocked that women could be treated so terribly for so long… and they… THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW. While Weinstein’s abuse is both shocking and horrifying, it is far from the first sign of sexism in the film industry.

WHITE GUYS SOLVE SEXISM is an expression of the absurdity of men freaking out about something incredibly obvious to everyone else in the room. It is my hope that viewers can identify the absurdity, not unlike the characters in the short.

I also wanted to make a short about self-congratulatory elements of filmmaking. If this were ever to win an Academy Award, I would have to look out upon a sea of white men, hoisting a trophy, saying ‘We did it!’. Even recognizing that this film is good is a sort of congratulating itself. Give yourself a pat on the back, white guys. Ya did it.

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

CHRISTOPHER: It really depends on the project for me, this project was conceived shot and edited within about 72 hours worth of time.  Which is great because it allows you to come up with something quickly and then show it to the world. Though in other short films I've made, it was really hard to be concise, clear, and to the point. In shorts, you don't have much time have to choose wisely, which is an amazing challenge.

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

CHRISTOPHER: The same day (June 21st) that WHITE GUYS SOLVE SEXISM screens in Nantucket I will be having the world premiere of my latest pilot/short film CAR STEALERS at the TCL Chinese theater for "Dances With Film" which is very exciting.  You can find out more at: https://www.carstealers.com

Currently, projects getting ready to shoot are a short film called THE CUCK. "After being fired, a Drama teacher becomes an Alt-Right fanatic writing a play about a " Cuck", but he's too naive to see that the "Cuck" is in fact himself."  Also, a short film called GIRL AFRAID with my partner Stef Estep-Gozalo which takes place in my home town of Selma, CA (near Fresno) about a young Latinx woman and how hard it is for young poor underprivileged mothers to get health care. In the realm of features, I am in pre-production and funding on a feature called THREE BULLSHIT DAYS with writer Ryan Gilmore its sort of THE BIG CHILL but about a metal band instead of college friends.

You can see more of my work at my website https://www.christopherguerrero.com, my latest finished projects will be there as well as click on my CV to view everything in chronological order.

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?

CHRISTOPHER: I've been told for many years by many close film mentors that Nantucket was by far their favorite film festival to go to; it's intimate and you get to meet amazing people. I really hope people are able to take away how absurd the "white savior complex" is and how absurd it is for "men" not to realize that sexism exists or have turned a blind eye to it for so long. I would love to make people "wake up" and realize that horrible things are happening around them.

White+Guys+Solve+Sexism_Photo+1.jpg

Five Questions With... Thomas Matthews (LOST HOLIDAY)

Back home in Washington, DC, for the holidays, a young woman and her irresponsible friends find themselves embroiled in an unexpected adventure involving kidnapping, drugs, and extortion. LOST HOLIDAY features Kate Lyn Sheil, Thomas Matthews, William Jackson Harper, and Joshua Leonard.

Writer/director/producer/actor Thomas Matthews answered our five questions in the video below - take a look, and see LOST HOLIDAY on Thurs, June 20 at 6:45pm and/or Sat, June 22 at 2pm!

#NFF2019 Showtime's Tony Cox Short Screenplay FINALISTS Announced!

Our final screenwriter announcement is here! Read more below about these writers, their scripts, and the prize!

Tony Cox Slider - Shorts.jpg

Short Screenplay Finalists:

FOREVER TONIGHT by Swetha Regunathan
An Indian-American girl sneaks out on prom night to pursue a longtime crush. 

I KNOW YOUR NUMBER BY HEART by Alexis Barzin
A short sci-fi drama detailing a young woman’s slide into isolation as she watches the things in her life that she once loved fall away.

TONY AND ANNETTE by Daisy Egan
A mockumentary that follows a couple through a 50 year career as wannabe cabaret stars.

One Winner Receives:

  • $500 cash prize from the Nantucket Film Festival;

  • VIP week-­long Pass to Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Attend Showtime ­sponsored reception during the Film Festival;

  • Participation in Mentors Brunch with prominent screenwriter during the Film Festival;

  • Name inclusion on Festival catalogue and website as Competition winner;

  • Print and media coverage.

Five Questions With... Wiebe van den Ende (INCITEMENT)

Sara returns from working abroad to boyfriend Luis. When she reveals that she has to leave again, Luis gets a big confession off his chest... with a very peculiar motive.

We spoke to Director/Screenwriter Wiebe van den Ende about his short film, INCITEMENT, as part of NFF’s Enter the Story: Virtual Reality Experiences, available in our Legacy Lounge in the Harborview Room. Read more with Wiebe, and experience the film for yourself!

Wiebe van den Ende__BW (png).png

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

WIEBE: Storywise, I like to create real people. Characters that resonate and connect with the audience. Have a peak in their extraordinary lives and then surprise and shock the audience, gently. Technically I love to push boundaries subtly. There is so much happening behind the camera that people don’t really notice. Six out of the eight shots are emoting and with more than half you don’t really notice. It’s the subtle movement that helps to propel emotions and play with the mindset of the viewer. There went a lot of thought, preparation and post production into making that look smooth.  

NFF: Why do you enjoy working in VR to express your vision?

WIEBE: I like to really think a lot and hard about whatever I write and put on screen. Attention to details in characters, but also framing, editing, blocking staging, camera movement. Everything tells an extra story and adds up to the overall experience. There’s a lot of mind exploration that goes into tricking the audience and play them like a conductor. In VR, you can multiply those challenges by a lot. How to keep focus where you want, where provide freedom to roam. Eventually, it’s creating a more detailed world and deleting the frame. 

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a film in this way, vs. "traditional" filmmaking?

WIEBE: The biggest advantage is the immersion, presence, and being able to play with the the social perception of the viewer. You can really trigger and play with instinct way more than traditional film. The biggest challenge is budget. Everything is so much more expensive and the market is still very small.  Eventually everything that we can think of can be done, but all with a large price tag.

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

WIEBE: Currently I am developing a VR / TV Series called MY ONLY WAY OUT. About a group of friends who are caught up in a power grab amongst some big time gangsters. The VR  part would be a 10 x 20 minutes Cinematic VR crime drama. We have the story arch of the series, good character outline and a decent draft of the first two episodes. Even though the setting of the story is a thriller / crime drama, the main arch is all about people searching for themselves and their place amongst one another. Friendship, loyalty, relationship patterns, personal growth, betrayal. But this will take some years before it will see the light of day.

And I am working on my first traditional feature film. An American Indie called: CAMERON AND HOW TO NEVER OUTSHINE A BRIDE AND OTHER FUTILITIES IN A LIFE AND DEATH SITUATION.

It’s about Cameron, who discovers on Friday morning that he is terminally ill and then gets to spend the rest of the weekend at the wedding of the best friend of his girlfriend who hates his guts.

All my short films can be seen at:  wiebevandenende.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?

WIEBE: It’s hard to say what my takeaway would be without spoiling the plot. I think I have to go for the realization there can be true love lurking behind a brutal confession.

INCITEMENT+SXSW+still+stereo.jpeg

Five Questions With... Matthew Bonifacio & Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio (MASTER MAGGIE)

In MASTER MAGGIE, a strange acting student seeks help from a guru (Lorraine Bracco). The short film also co-stars Brian Dennehy and Kenan Thompson.

We spoke with director/writer/producer Matthew Bonifacio and writer/producer Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio of MASTER MAGGIE, playing in the shorts program “What I’m Looking For” on Sunday, June 23 at 11:30am. Read more with Matthew and Julianna, and catch the film on the 23rd! 

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

MATTHEW: As a former actor and current private acting coach and professor (when I’m not directing), I’ve always wanted to make a film about a private acting coach. I really wanted to zone in on the one-on-one experience between an actor and teacher. Julianna has been producing my films for the last ten years, but has a real talent for story and writing, so I pitched her the idea, and she cleverly came up with the twist. We were off and running writing our first screenplay together.

JULIANNA: It went so well, we’ve continued writing together. 

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

MATTHEW: Lorraine Bracco’s character is looking for companionship...

JULIANNA: … And relevancy. And Graham — Neil Jain’s character — is looking for help from the only person he feels can help him.

MATTHEW: Kenan Thompson and Brian Dennehy are just looking to book their reboots!

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

MATTHEW: When making a short over a feature, the advantage is the page count and shooting schedule are shorter, and you put together a smaller budget. However, shorter doesn’t mean easier. There are always creative, technical, and financial challenges that come along for both shorts and features. Our goal is to approach any length with the same mindset, and to tell a compelling story at the highest level possible.

JULIANNA: Yeah, we’ve spent about the same amount of time — start to finish — on some of our shorts as on some of our features. Each project is unique, with different challenges and different things that just fall into place. Sometimes, pre-production will go by without a hitch, and then it rains every scheduled exterior shooting day. You just have to be prepared for all of it.

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

MATTHEW: Some of our features (LBS., THE QUITTER, etc.) and shorts (FORTUNE HOUSE, MIGRAINE) can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, etc.

JULIANNA: And we currently have two new projects that we’re hoping go into production in 2020. Plus, we’re looking forward to continuing to follow “Master Maggie” around on its festival run.

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?

MATTHEW: We were fortunate to have another short (FORTUNE HOUSE) screen at the Nantucket Film Festival in 2013, and it won the Teen View Jury Award. Our time and experiences at NFF13 have us really looking forward to NFF19!

JULIANNA: Yeah, we knew if MASTER MAGGIE was accepted, we’d have to come back to the island. Nantucket is definitely one of our favorite festivals.

MASTER+MAGGIE+STILL_NEIL+JAIN_+LORRAINE+BRACCO.jpg

#NFF2019 Showtime's Tony Cox Feature Screenplay & Episodic Screenplay (60 Min) FINALISTS Announced!

Read more below about the finalists’ scripts and the prizes up for grabs!

Tony Cox Slider - Feature.jpg

Feature Screenplay Finalists:

10 by Charles Forbes  
The life story of famed, gay author, Tennessee Williams.

GREENWOOD by Nathan Patton
Buck Franklin is an African American lawyer in 1920s Oklahoma, struggling to find work and provide for his family. When he hears of an all black community in Greenwood, he decides to visit the town and explore his opportunities. Shortly after his arrival, an incident involving a young black man and white woman sparks a race riot and the destruction of the black community, and Buck sets out to bring justice to the people of Greenwood.

SUNDOGS by Elizabeth Chatelain 
When Alex's father dies and their family farm slips into debilitating debt, she takes her 12-year-old daughter Jenny West with her to work on the North Dakota oilfields. But after the oil industry's decline begins and Alex loses her job, she must decide which is more important: the farm, or her fragile relationship with her daughter.

Finalists Receive:

  • VIP week-­long Pass to Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Attend Showtime ­sponsored reception during the Film Festival;

  • Participation in Mentors Brunch with prominent screenwriter during the Film Festival;

  • Name inclusion on Festival catalogue and website as Competition winner;

  • Print and media coverage.

And One Winner, to be announced during the Festival, will receive:

  • $5,000 cash prize from the Nantucket Film Festival;

  • All expenses paid, month­-long stay at exclusive Screenwriters Colony on Nantucket in October;

  • VIP week-­long Pass to Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Round­ trip from New York to Nantucket to attend Film Festival;

  • Accommodations in Nantucket during the Film Festival;

  • A Showtime­ sponsored reception during the Film Festival in the winner’s honor;

  • Participation in Mentors Brunch with prominent screenwriter during the Film Festival;

  • Name inclusion on Festival catalogue and website as Competition winner;

  • Print and media coverage.

Tony Cox Slider - 60 Min.jpg

Episodic 60 Minute Pilot Screenplay Finalists:

BACK-ALLEY by Young Eun (Grace) Kim 
Ada, a disgraced former surgeon, decides to team up with a motley medical devices engineer and become the Robin Hood of medical procedures.

COMPTON, NH by Hyun Chessman
A small, rural town is turned upside down by the sudden appearance of the City of Compton in its backyard.

LIVING by Kate Levitt
Ezra, a seventeen-year-old Jewish James Dean, leads a double life--at home, Orthodox and pious, and at school, drugging and partying.  As he juggles the two worlds, his “pious" family faces their own challenges.  

One Winner Receives:

  • $1,000 cash prize from the Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Private one-on-one consultation with Showtime executive;

  • VIP week-­long Pass to Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Attend Showtime ­sponsored reception during the Film Festival;

  • Participation in Mentors Brunch with prominent screenwriter during the Film Festival;

  • Name inclusion on Festival catalogue and website as Competition winner;

  • Print and media coverage.

#NFF19 Showtime's Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) FINALISTS Announced!

Read more below about our finalists, their scripts, and the prizes up for grabs!

Tony Cox Slider.jpg

Episodic Screenplay (30 Min) Finalists:

FLORIDA WOMAN SAVES THE DAY by Leanna Adams
The lives of three strong women with nothing in common become intertwined in the linty underbelly of the Sunshine State.

Leanna Adams has written, directed, produced, edited and starred in dozens of award-winning shorts that have screened in festivals around North America, some of which have aired on TBS and Fox's LaughsTV and been featured by Huffington Post and Funny or Die. Her short films and scripts have also received numerous awards. Leanna’s TV pilot, FLORIDA WOMAN SAVES THE DAY, was a finalist in the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival, a finalist in the 2018 WIF/The Black List Episodic Lab, a finalist in the 2018 Shore Scripts TV Pilot competition, a quarter-finalist in the ScreenCraft Pilot Launch competition and has received numerous positive evaluations on The Black List including a rare 8/10.

FUNDERLAND by Sasha Perl-Raver
During the golden age of Public Access Television—1985 New York City—an aspiring puppeteer could be the next big thing, if only his Tourette’s syndrome weren’t so severe.

Sasha Perl-Raver has written, produced, and appeared on television and digital platforms including FX, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, LOGO, Style Network, TV Guide Channel, Facebook, and many others. She is a USC grad, a former Food Network chef, and was once proclaimed “Funniest in LA” by the NY Daily News. Most recently, Sasha was one of just six women awarded a spot in the prestigious Black List/Women in Film Episodic Lab.

WATCH OUT GALS! by Madalyn Baldanzi
When a perfectionist producer becomes the first woman to produce her own game show in 1982, she faces the challenging reality behind her dream job.

Madalyn Baldanzi is a comedy writer, director, and teacher in New York City. She recently wrote for Go90's Mr. Student Body President. At the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre, Madalyn wrote for several house teams and shows including running shows Bullshit Women, A Date With Every Boy, and currently, Sketch Cram. She is the co-writer of Above Average series Katie: A Lady and was a long-time contributor to Funny Or Die.  She was a 2017 Made In New York Writers Room Fellow.  Madalyn is extremely fond of teaching sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Training Center. She also enjoys directing live theatre, as well as directing and producing videos through her production company, Fancy Family. 

Finalists Receive:

  • VIP week-­long Pass to Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Showtime ­sponsored reception during the Film Festival;

  • Participation in Mentors Brunch with prominent screenwriter during the Film Festival;

  • Name inclusion in Festival catalogue and on website

And One Winner, to be announced during the Festival, will receive:

  • $1,000 cash prize from the Nantucket Film Festival;

  • All-inclusive two-weeks-long episodic comedy writer's retreat on Nantucket in June with Screenwriters Colony and NFF;

  • One-on-one consultation with Showtime executive;

  • VIP week-­long Pass to Nantucket Film Festival;

  • Showtime ­sponsored reception during the Film Festival;

  • Participation in Mentors Brunch with prominent screenwriter during the Film Festival;

  • Name inclusion on Festival catalogue and website as Competition winner

Academy Awards 2019

The 91st Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and NFF alums are in the mix! Take a look, and root for your NFF favorites on February 24.

Actress in a Leading Role
Glenn Close, THE WIFE

Animated Feature Film
INCREDIBLES 2, Brad Bird

Short Film (Animated)
BAO, Domee Shi

Original Screenplay
FIRST REFORMED, Paul Schrader GREEN BOOK, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly*
*longtime host of Late Night Storytelling

Documentary (Feature)
MINDING THE GAP, Bing Liu
RBG, Betsy West, Julie Cohen - NFF Now

Documentary (Short Subject)
END GAME, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

Foreign Language Film
SHOPLIFTERS (Japan) - NFF Now