Nantucket Dumpster Chronicles 12: Nantucket Film Festival

The Dumpster Chronicles: A Whimsical and Irreverent Guide to Nantucket, Being Part 12

Nantucket Film Festival
By Kerry Hallam

The Nantucket Film Festival happens in June each year, which is still technically winter but, somehow, it has always fallen into the category of a spring event.

This year the weather has not been at all co-operative. According to the people at, May this year was in fact July and there is every likelihood that June could well break all records by becoming August. But enough of this weather chat because it is once again time to brush shoulders with the glitter of the silver screen.

Cranes and earth moving equipment have been working round the clock to complete the erection of a 500 ft screen over on Coatue and if the weather holds it will be ready for the big week.

The Nantucket Film Festival has been a staple event for ten years give or take, and has chosen to “give the bird” to the big boys in Hollywood by focusing the affair on screenplays, screen writers, silver screens, silk screen printing and occasional giclee.

Every now and then an out of work celebrity gets nailed to present an award and this is always a ton of fun. I remember one year Marisa Tomei was the guest of honor and I had a long conversation with her. Since she had no idea who I was, the conversation was somewhat one sided but I have to say that she ignored me with the consummate skill of an accomplished actress.

Big sycamores from little acorns grow and nowhere can this be found to be more apt. What was once a fledgling idea in the mind of Jill and Jonathan Burkhart has escalated into a world renowned event, apart from parts of Mongolia and certain suburbs of Los Angeles, but hey, you can’t win ’em all.

The NFF has been fastidious in their insistence on the highest quality film presentations, immaculate catering and T shirts, together with script writing and fishing workshops. They lead by example. When the Festival was in it’s infancy, it was Jill and Jonathan who held a white bed sheet taught for almost an hour to provide a screen on which the movie could be projected.

Little has changed but the bed sheets have been replaced by a mixture of polyester and cotton which is drip dry, resists wrinkles and has a more agreeable hang. There is nothing more rewarding than a well hung screen.

Kerry Hallam was born and raised in the North of England. He was elected to the Royal Society of Artists and later established his first studio in the South of France. Kerry has lived and painted on the island for the past thirty years. He is represented internationally by Chalk and Vermilion of Greenwich, and has held extensive one man shows in the States, Japan, France and the U.K. His autobiography ‘Getting to Nantucket’ was recently published, and in the past few years, he has issued seven C.D.’s of own written and performed music. All illustrations are by Kerry Hallam. This column will appear regularly.

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