Category Archives: Festivals

Nantucket Comedy Festival


Nantucket Film Festival Update


Executive Director Colin Stanfield and Artistic Director Mystelle Brabbée today announced the full lineup of films for the 2010 Nantucket Film Festival, which runs from Thursday, June 17 through Sunday, June 20. Passes are now available on the NFF website. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 28th.

New this year will be Ben Stiller’s All-Star Comedy Roundtable.

Returning this year will be the always unpredictable Late Night Storytelling featuring celebrities and audience members. Past storytellers have included Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Tina Fey, Mos Def, Rosie Perez, Cheryl Hines, Laird Hamilton, Olympia Dukakis, Paul Rudd, Alan Cumming, Fisher Stevens, and Brian Williams.

Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor, Cheryl Hines, Fisher Stevens from NFF 2009. Photos by Gene Mahon.,

The opening night films for this year’s Nantucket Film Festival will be “Toy Story 3”, from Disney•Pixar, and NFF’s veterans Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s “The Extra Man” from Magnolia Pictures. Closing the festival this year will be John Lennon biopic “Nowhere Boy” from The Weinstein Company.

The Festival will announce the winner of Showtime’s annual Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting in early June, and the winner will be honored at the Showtime Award Ceremony at the Festival.

Other awards given at NFF this year will be The Compass Rose Acting Award, The Audience Award for Best Feature & Best Short, Showtime’s Tony Cox Awards for Best Screenwriting in a Feature Film and Short Film, Teen View on NFF Award, Best Storytelling in a Documentary Film, the Adrienne Shelly Excellence in Filmmaking Award, and, new this year, a New Voices in Screenwriting Award.

Returning this year will be Morning Coffee With . . ., with host Jace Alexander hosting this intimate mix of coffee, conversation, bagels and shoptalk with some of Festival’s best filmmakers.

Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti and Chris Matthews from NFF 2009. Photos by Gene Mahon.,

Last year the NFF presented 40 feature and short films, including soon-to-be Academy Award winners “The Hurt Locker” and “The Cove”. Guests included Ben Stiller, Meg Ryan, Ben Foster, Brain Williams, Cheryl Hines, Harold Ramis, Fisher Stevens, Paul Giamatti, Peter & Bobby Farrelly, Lily Taylor, Chris Matthews, John Hamburg, Anne Meara, and many more.

Additional films, events and attendees to be announced soon. More information at


Nantucket Film Festival Update 2

The Films of the 2010 Nantucket Film Festival:

A Small Act – Jennifer Arnold directs the inspiring and captivating story of Chris Mburu and his “guardian angel” Hilde Back. When Hilde sponsored the education of a young, impoverished Kenyan student, she thought nothing of it. Now a UN lawyer, Chris decides to replicate Hilde’s generosity by starting his own scholarship fund.

Bill Cunningham New York – The film chronicles a man who is obsessively interested in only one thing – the pictures he takes that document the way people dress. With this singular goal, he has managed to create a poignant and ongoing portrait of New York City itself.

The Birth of Big Air – Academy Award nominee Spike Jonze and extreme sport fanatic Johnny Knoxville, along with director Jeff Tremaine, showcase the inner workings and exploits of Matt Hoffman, the man who gave birth to “Big Air.”

Cairo Time – With a West-meets-East quality, Cairo Time describes the unexpected, unrequited love between an Arab man and a North American woman. Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Cairo to meet her husband. A UN official working in Gaza, Mark is unavoidably delayed and sends his friend Tareq to escort her throughout the beautiful and exotic city.

The Concert – A celebrated Russian conductor, whose championing of Jewish musicians cost him a demotion to janitor, plans to reunite his long gone orchestra and make a triumphant return. Along the way, he reunites with a young violin virtuoso (Mélanie Laurent), who holds the key to his past and to his future.

The Extra Man – Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini return to the Nantucket Film Festival with a sophisticated and offbeat comedy. Louis (Paul Dano) moves to New York City and finds residence sharing a tiny apartment with Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline), a man with a bizarre unpredictable schedule as an “extra man” – a male escort who serves as a social companion for wealthy widows.

Freedom Riders – A masterful example of filmic journalism, Stanley Nelson’s Freedom Riders tells the powerful, harrowing, and ultimately inspirational story of more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives by simply traveling together on buses and trains through the Deep South in 1961, deliberately violating Jim Crow laws.

Get Low – With outstanding performance by Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, and Sissy Spacek, Get Low is based on the true story of Felix “Bush” Breazeale, a backwoods recluse who rides to town with a shotgun and a wad of cash and announces his intention to stage a “living funeral,” where anyone who has heard a story about him is welcome to tell it.

His & Hers – A mesmerizing cinematic mosaic, His & Hers tells a 90-year-old love story through the collective voice of 70 women at different stages of their lives. The hallways, living rooms, and kitchens of the Irish Midlands become the canvas for the film’s rich tapestry of female characters.

Last Train Home – Emotionally engaging and visually beautiful, Last Train Home portrays the fractured lives of a single migrant family caught up in the desperate annual migration that takes place every Chinese New Year when millions of migrant factory workers attempt to return home by train.

Mister Rogers & Me – America’s Favorite Neighbor, PBS icon Fred Rogers, sends a MTV producer Benjamin Wagner on a quest for depth and simplicity amidst a shallow and complex media landscape. Armed with an HDDV camera, Wagner and his brother set out to find out more about the man himself.

Nowhere Boy – Liverpool 1955: in a family full of secrets, two bold women clash over John: Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas), the buttoned-up Aunt who raised him, and Julia, the prodigal mother. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock n’ roll in Sam Taylor-Wood’s extraordinary first feature about John Lennon’s early years.

The Romantics – Katie Holmes gives an impressive performance in Galt Niederhoffer’s daring directorial debut, The Romantics. The wedding of Lila Hayes (Anna Paquin) and Tom McDevon (Josh Duhamel) reunites a group of Yale friends, including Lila’s maid of honor and Tom’s ex-girlfriend Laura (Katie Holmes).

The Secret of Kells – Adventure, action, and danger await Brendan who must fight Vikings and a serpent god to find a crystal and complete the legendary Book of Kells in this gorgeous and inventive film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Smash His Camera – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him, Marlon Brando broke his jaw and Steve McQueen gave him a look that would have killed, if looks could kill. To the celebrities he pursued, photographer Ron Galella was the beast who threatened beauty. Yet he found something essential in his real-life subjects, and he gave it permanence.

Summer Pasture – Locho and his wife Yama depend on their herd of yaks for survival, just as their ancestors have for generations. Summer Pasture offers unique and breathtaking access to a highly insular community and a sensitive portrait of a family at a time of great transition, posing unprecedented challenges to nomadic life in eastern Tibet.

The Tillman Story – Featuring candid and revelatory interviews with Pat’s fellow soldiers as well as his family, Amir Bar-Lev’s emotional and insightful film not only shines a light on the shady aftermath of Pat’s death and calls to task the entire chain of command, but also examines themes as timeless as the notion of heroism itself.

Toy Story 3 – Directed by Lee Unkrich,produced by Darla K. Anderson and written by Academy Award-winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine), Toy Story 3 welcomes Woody, Buzz, and the whole gang back to the big screen as Andy prepares to depart for college and his loyal toys find themselves in…Daycare!

Waiting for “Superman” – The director of The Inconvenient Truth, Davis Guggenheim, examines the crisis of public education in the United States through multiple interlocking stories from a handful of students whose futures hang in the balance, to the educators and reformers trying to find real and lasting solutions within a dysfunctional system.

15th Anniversary Sidebar:

Another Harvest Moon – With a powerful performance by Anne Meara as Ella, Another Harvest Moon is a sensitive drama about four elderly Americans coping with life in a nursing home.

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work – This hilarious, perceptive, and entertaining new film by talented filmmakers and Nantucket Film Festival alumni, Annie Sundberg and Ricky Stern, exposes the private dramas of irreverent comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers.

When The World Breaks – Depression-era life and art come alive with rare film clips and personal stories from survivors of the Great Depression of the 1930s like Ray Bradbury, Jerry Stiller, Buzz Aldrin, and Phyllis Diller to take us beyond the bread lines and dust bowls into a vibrant cinematic portrait of this formative decade in American history.

Winter’s Bone – 2002 Tony Cox Screenwriting Competition Award winner, Debra Granik comes back to the Nantucket Film Festival with the story of 17 year-old Ree Dolly as she sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, Ree and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods.

Nantucket Film Festival Films Win at the Oscars

Film Festival Alums

Ben Stiller at NFF 2009; Photo by Gene Mahon

Films screened at the 2009 Nantucket Film Festival continued to rack up awards this past weekend at the Academy Awards (where NFF board member Ben Stiller was a presenter) and the Independent Spirit Awards:

Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow at NFF 2009; Photo by Gene Mahon

“The Hurt Locker”: Best Picture (Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier and Greg Shapiro, Producers), Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), Best Writing Original Screenplay (Mark Boal), Film Editing (Bob Murawski and Chris Innis), and Sound Mixing (Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett).

Fisher Stevens at NFF 2009; Photo by Gene Mahon

“The Cove”: Best Documentary Feature (Producers Louie Psihoyos and Fisher Stevens)

Spirit Award winners:
“Humpday”: John Cassavetes Award for the best feature made for under $500,000 (Lynn Shelton)

Charles Hambleton with Nantucket’s Scott Leonard at NFF 2009; Photo by Gene Mahon

In a related New York Times story, “The Cove’s” Louie Psihoyos, Ric O’Barry, Fisher Stevens, and “director of clandestine operations” Charles Hambleton (pictured here) heard that an L.A. restaurant was serving whale sushi. In the week leading up to the Academy Awards, fitted with a hidden camera and microphone, they went to the Hump restaurant near the Santa Monica airport and ordered the chef’s choice. The waitress described one dish as whale, which would violate federal laws. They stashed some samples, sent them off for testing, which later proved to be Sei whale. Prosecution is expected.

Nantucket Wine Festival Update


The Nantucket Wine Festival 2010 Website is up and tickets are for sale – this year the festival runs from May 19 – 23. Some events sell out right away, so jump on the site today.

The Grand Tastings will again be held at the historic Nantucket Yacht Club on Saturday and Sunday, May 22nd and 23rd, with more than 165 wineries already registered.

The biggest change this year is for the Sunday Grand Tasting: instead of 2 different 2 hour sessions there will be one 3 hour session from 12 – 3pm. Saturday remains the same with tastings from 12 -2 pm and 3 -5 pm.

In addition to the usual Friday 11 – 2:30 Luncheon Symposia, there will be a Thursday lunch as well that will pair West Coast Pinot Noir with East Coast pork.

The annual Nantucket Historical Association auction dinner at the White Elephant Hotel will showcase the cuisine of Brooke Vosika from the Four Seasons in Boston.


Frequent participant and dedicated supporter of the Festival, Ming Tsai will be this year’s “Luminary of the Year”, an annual award presented to one of the country’s most notable chefs. Ming launched Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley in 1998, is the producer/host of Simply Ming, his emmy nominated tv show, and is the author of Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai.

Some of Ming’s accolades: “Chef of the Year” by Esquire magazine, Zagat Top 20 and 2nd Most Popular Boston Restaurant from 2002 – present, Boston magazine’s 2008 Best of Boston Award, Restaurateur of the Year 2005 from the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, “Best Chef Northeast 2002” by the James Beard Foundation, and 3 stars from The Boston Globe.

Information: 508.228.1128.

Photo by Gene Mahon at the Pearl Anniversary Party in December, 2009.

Nantucket Film Festival Update

“The Hurt Locker”, “The Messenger”, and “The Cove”, all of which screened at the 2009 Nantucket Film festival, have collectively garnered 12 Academy Award nominations.

The 15th Annual Nantucket Film Festival will take place from June 17-20, 2010. Patron passes purchased before March 15 will receive a 10% discount.

Last year the NFF presented 40 feature and short films, and honored screenwriter Harold Ramis. Celebrities included Ben Stiller, Meg Ryan, Ben Foster, Brain Williams, Kathryn Bigelow, Cheryl Hines, Paul Giamatti, Fisher Stevens, Peter & Bobby Farrelly, Lily Taylor, Chris Matthews, Jerry Stiller, Anne Meara, and John Hamburg.

The NFF Best Screenwriting in a Feature Film last year was awarded to “The Hurt Locker” writer Mark Boal; the Audience Award for Best Feature and for Best Storytelling in a Documentary Feature went to “The Cove”.

At the American Cinema Editors’ annual ACE Eddie awards, “The Hurt Locker” won Best Edited Feature – Dramatic (Bob Murawski, Chris Innis), and “The Cove” won Best Edited Documentary (Geoffrey Richman).

The deadline for submissions to the 2010 Nantucket Film Festival is March 12.

Other alumni of previous festivals:

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal at Morning Coffee at the 2009 NFF. Photo by Gene Mahon.

“The Hurt Locker” (2009)
Nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Jeremy Renner), Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal)

“The Messenger” (2009)
Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Woody Harrelson), Best Original Screenplay (Alessandro Camon and Oren Moverman)

“The Cove” (2009)
Nominated for Best Documentary Feaure
– Screened at NFF 2009. By the way, “The Cove” finally has distribution in Japan, with a release date of April 2010. The film chronicles the annual Dolphin slaughter in Taiji. Local fisherman had threatened legal action when the film first appeared in the 2009 Tokyo Film Festival.

Lee Daniels (2007)
Nominated for Best Director and Best Picture, “Precious: Based on the Novel ÔPushÕ by Sapphire”
Ð Juror, Writer/Director Award, NFF 2007

Jason Reitman (2000-2001)
Nominated for Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (co-written with Sheldon Turner), and Best Picture, “Up in the Air”

Stanley Tucci (2001)
Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, “The Lovely Bones”. Juror, Tony Cox Showtime Screenwriting Award.


Dedicated to the belief that at the heart of every great film is a talented writer with a great story, with the help of professional readers, the NFF is now offering constructive evaluations of your script’s structure and marketability. You can learn what does and doesn’t work before your screenplay reaches an executive’s desk. The analysis includes a log-line to describe your story; genre suggestion; scores on story structure, plot development, character development, dialogue, marketability, and originality; evaluation of the script’s strengths, weaknesses and areas that need improvement.

The Script Analysis service is available to applicants of Showtime’s Tony Cox Award Screenplay Competition for an additional $125. Apply online


Nantucket Comedy Festival Update

Comedian Kevin Flynn and national educator Mike DiSpezio will present an informational training session on Project Comedy’s new Teen Stand-Up Program, an education-based comedy writing and performing program for children and teens.

This year, the festival will be held on Wednesday, July 28th – Saturday July 31st, with children’s comedy workshops, fun community events, and special comedy shows celebrating the power of laughter and the universal appeal of comedy.

Kevin and Mike will present techniques and materials that they will provide to the community to support on-going stand-up comedy and comedy writing classes for local students, who will then be encouraged to write and perform in a year round program that will prepare them for performance opportunities during the Nantucket Comedy Festival this summer. Saturday, February 13th, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at The New School. Free.


Nantucket Arts Festival

The Nantucket Arts Council’s 17th Annual Arts Festival will take place from Friday, August 28 through September 7 (Labor Day). Heading the committee responsible for organizing the Festival is Nantucket Arts Council board member Elisabeth Hazell.

This year a new event–“InsomniACK: Art After Dark” – will kick off the Festival. On Friday, August 28 during “InsomniACK,” downtown businesses, galleries, and nonprofits will keep their doors open until midnight, when the evening will conclude with a cash prize drawing. Special events being organized by participating businesses and organizations downtown and on the wharves will take place throughout the night, leading up to the midnight cash drawing.

The Festival will showcase the creative talents of many talented Nantucketers -from talented local photographers, painters, weavers and musicians to Nantucket High School students, who will be staging a premiere of a creative video project they have been working on for the past year.

The Arts Council expects to attract over 4,000 participants throughout the Festival, concluding with the busy Labor Day weekend. A printed map and program will be distributed free all over the island. The deadline is August 1 to submit listings for the printed program. All listings must be submitted online. To list your organization or business and events, go to

Nantucket Film Festive Last Night Storytelling

The Nantucket Film festival Late Night Storytelling took place on June 19, 2009 at the ‘Sconset Casino. The theme this year was “Stories of Change”, stories about something lifechanging. The night was again hosted by Anne Meara and Peter Farrelly.

Some of the people we saw: Bobby Farrelly, Donnick Cary, Susan Cary, Bill Farrell, Amy Stiller, Ben Foster, Kate Bayer, Christine Mallia, Will & Julia Conroy, Rene Gold, Helen Hennigam, Nickii, Scott Thomas, Tania Jones, Lisa Kolp, Paul Nicholson, Linda Just, Sherri DeLott, Brandon Winston, Dan Ross, Blake Young, Nick Scott, Amelia O’Connor, Connor Wells, Gabi Burnham, Courtney O’Neil, Bruce Beni, Jamie & EBob Dickenson, Emily and Doug Forregger, Elisa Allen, Jennifer DiMartino, Melanie Hajjar, Susan Daltroy, Scott Simonsen, Joe Zito, John Stanton, Darya Afshari, Chris Oberg, jay Harmon, Rhoda Weinman & Joe McLaughlin, Kathryn Kay, Robert Young, Bruce Miller, Jean Casey, Mystelle Brabbee, Peter Farrelly, Ben Stiller, Anne Meara, Gerry Stiller, Fisher Stevens, Cheryl Hines, Brian Williams, and Dr. Mary Murray. Photos by Gene Mahon, assisted by Amanda Morgan. More photos online.

NFF Storytelling 2