Running June 26-30, 2013, the 18th Annual Nantucket Film Festival has announced its full feature film lineup. From the official press release:
The Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) is proud to announce that the festival will open with the documentary TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM. The film tells the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends in rock and roll history. Disney•Pixar’s animated MONSTER’S UNIVERSITY will be the festival’s traditional opening day film. IN A WORLD… will be the centerpiece film and AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS will be the closing night film. The festival runs from June 26th through the 30th and passes are currently on sale on the NFF website (www.nantucketfilmfestival.org), with individual tickets going on sale May 23rd.
Three-time Academy Award nominee David O. Russell will be presented with the 2013 Screenwriters Tribute on Saturday, June 29th. The SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK writer/director is also acclaimed for THE FIGHTER (2010), which earned seven Oscar nominations. Russell is currently directing AMERICAN HUSTLE, which stars Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence and Jeremy Renner and will be released in December 2013. Past Nantucket Film Festival Screenwriters Tribute honorees include Nancy Meyers, Paul Haggis, Judd Apatow, Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Steve Martin, and James Schamus.
“At the core of each year’s Festival is the Screenwriters Tribute, which gives our audience an inside look at the works of today’s finest film storytellers,” said Festival Director Mystelle Brabbée. “We are especially pleased with our three honorees this year. Writer/director David O. Russell’s singular vision has made a significant impact on American cinema, Barbara Kopple is one of the all-time great documentarians, and Lake Bell brings a refreshing new voice to comic screenwriting.”
“With a record-breaking number of submissions, this year’s film selection was particularly challenging, but we are incredibly proud of the wide range of distinct perspectives that we were able to include in the final film lineup,” adds Programming Director, Daniela Bajar.
NFF is delighted to honor two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple with the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award, which will be presented by Mariel Hemingway. Kopple’s most recent project is the documentary RUNNING FROM CRAZY, which follows actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of the legendary writer Ernest, as she explores her family’s disturbing history of mental illness and suicide. IN A WORLD… writer/director/star Lake Bell will be receiving the New Voices in Screenwriting Award. Bell’s first short film WORST ENEMY screened at the Nantucket Film Festival in 2011, winning The Showtime Tony Cox Award for Screenwriting in a Short Film.
The four spotlight films at this year’s festival are RUNNING FROM CRAZY, BLACKFISH, DRINKING BUDDIES, and GIRL MOST LIKELY. On the heels of the Winter Film Series, which featured films including VENUS AND SERENA and SWEET DREAMS, the Festival will be expanding its programming this year.
NFF is also thrilled to announce the return of the beloved Beach Screening series to the Nantucket community with THE PRINCESS BRIDE and WINGED MIGRATION.
The feature film program slate for the 2013 Nantucket Film Festival is listed below.
Director: Stuart Zicherman
Featuring a superb comic ensemble, A.C.O.D. is a sharp commentary on the idiosyncrasies of modern families. Though Carter has been caught in the crosshairs of his parents’ bitter divorce for much of his life, he is seemingly well-adjusted—until he discovers that he was featured in the definitive book on children of divorce. He decides to set the record straight, and ends up proving to hilarious effect that we may grow up, but we never escape our childhoods.
AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS
Director: David Lowery
Ain’t them Bodies Saints, a triumphant tale of estranged love, tells the story of Bob Muldoon and Ruth Guthrie, an impassioned young outlaw couple on an extended crime spree, are finally apprehended by lawmen after a shootout in the Texas hills. Although Ruth wounds a local officer, Bob takes the blame. But four years later, Bob escapes from prison and sets out to find Ruth and their daughter, born during his incarceration, while Ruth—compelled by the responsibilities of motherhood and her evolving relationship with the deputy she shot—remains haunted by her intense feelings for Bob. A poetic and stunningly shot film driven by powerful performances that follows the lines of outlaw classics the likes of Bonnie and Clyde.
Director: Freida Mock
In 1991, young, brilliant African American Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during Senate hearings and ignited a firestorm about sexual harassment, race, power, and politics. For the first time, in this riveting documentary Anita Hill speaks on-camera about her experience and her impact on issues of gender, workplace rights for women and men, social justice, and equality. Anita is stirring as both a personal and a sociological document.
Director: Jerusha Hess
Austenland is a delightful and light-hearted romantic comedy about 30-something and single Jane Hayes, a seemingly normal young woman with an unhealthy obsession with all things Jane Austen. When she decides to spend her life savings on a trip to an English resort catering to Austen–crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency–era gentleman suddenly become more real. A smart and literate treat for Austen lovers.
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
One of the most talked about films at the Sundance Film Festival, Blackfish takes a close look at orcas—majestic, friendly giants that are capable of killing viciously—and one orca in particular. Unlike any orca in the wild, performing whale Tilikum has taken several lives while in captivity. What went wrong? This wrenching story challenges humans’ relationship with nature and reveals how little we have learned from these intelligent and sentient fellow mammals.
Director: Steve Hoover
Winner of the Audience and Grand Jury Awards at Sundance, Blood Brother is an incisive documentary—a transformative experience for audiences and filmmakers alike. Hoping to clear his mind, Rocky traveled to India as a tourist. He visited an orphanage for children with HIV and after a couple of months of repeat visits decided to stay and devote his life to them. Rocky’s playful spirit and determination prove invaluable in the face of despair and formidable challenges.
Writer/Director: Kyle Patrick Alvarez
The first film adaptation of David Sedaris’ work, C.O.G. is a smart study of convincingly complicated characters. A cocky young man fresh out of Yale travels across the country to work on an Oregon apple farm. Out of his element, he finds his lifestyle picked apart by the eccentric locals who cross his path. With nowhere else to go, though, he must swallow his pride and create a place for himself.
Writer/Director: Stacie Passon
Concussion focuses on Abby, a forty-something married lesbian housewife who—after suffering a blow to the head from her son’s baseball—confronts a mounting desire for something beyond her suburban life. Walking the city streets, Abby recalls what it feels like to be sexy, and her pent-up libido shakes off its inhibitions, inaugurating a double life as a high-end escort. Sensual and contained, Concussion is a keen observation of the complicated contours of a midlife crisis.
Director: Sebastian Silva
Largely entertaining, vigorously filmed odyssey hinges on a group of friends who decide to travel north into the Atacama Desert to find the legendary San Pedro cactus that yields the mescaline celebrated by Aldous Huxley in The Doors of Perception. Jaime, an obsessive and self-absorbed American living in Chile, invites a complete stranger to come along failing to realize that this free-spirited woman, Crystal Fairy, is ready and willing to accept any invitation that comes her way challenging her male companions in ways they cannot predict. Michael Cera delivers one of his best’s performances yet.
CUTIE AND THE BOXER
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
This candid New York story explores the 40-year marriage of renowned “boxing painter” Ushio Shinohara and his wife, Noriko. Ushio, now 80, is struggling to establish his artistic legacy, while Noriko at last earns recognition for her own art—a series of drawings entitled “Cutie” that depict her turbulent history with Ushio. Cutie and the Boxer wrestles with the eternal themes of sacrifice, disappointment, and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.
Director: Joe Swanberg
In this sweetly sexy relationship comedy, Kate and Luke, who work together at a craft brewery, have a friendship that feels like it could be more. But Kate is with Chris and Luke is with Jill—and Jill wants to know whether Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer becomes clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend. Drinking Buddies is a funny and light-hearted film filled with superb performances.
FIRST COMES LOVES
Director: Nina Davenport
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. For filmmaker Nina Davenport, the nursery rhyme didn’t go as planned. Still single at age 40, she decides to have a baby on her own–or rather, with the help of her best friend Amy as birth partner and her gay friend Eric as sperm donor- documenting the process along the way. This honest, often hilarious and extraordinarily brave documentary discusses basic human relationships: mother and son, daughter and father, husband and wife, and how the modern family is being re-imagined.
Writer / Director: Dawn Porter
This powerful documentary follows Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander, and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who represent the poor and disenfranchised in the Deep South. These idealistic lawyers challenge the assumptions that drive the criminal justice system, reminding us that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. They also live paycheck-to-paycheck, working long hours and handling staggering caseloads. Stirring and eye-opening, Gideon’s Army won a Grand Jury Prize and an Audience Award at the Miami Film Festival.
GIRL MOST LIKELY
Director: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman
When wannabe New York socialite Imogene attends a bridal shower, she becomes frustrated that her live-in boyfriend has still not yet proposed to her. She and her friends devise a plan to manipulate him into marrying her, but the plan backfires and instead, he announces that he’s leaving her. Desperate to win him back, Imogene plots to fake her own suicide as a ploy for sympathy. But instead of winning him back, her eccentric mother Zelda and the rest of her family, kidnap her and take her back to her home town in this comedy about love, family and finding your roots.
GOD LOVES UGANDA
Director: Roger Ross Williams
Through vérité interviews and hidden camera footage, God Loves Uganda takes viewers inside the evangelical movement in Uganda, where American missionaries have been credited with both creating schools and hospitals and promoting dangerous religious bigotry. Shocking, horrifying, touching, and enlightening, the film raises complex issues about religion and its meaning.
Writers: Jessica Lawson, Ryan White
Director: Ryan White
Freda Kelly was a shy Liverpool teenager when she was hired by a local band hoping to make it big. That band was the Beatles, and loyal Freda would be the group’s secretary for 11 years. In Good Ol’ Freda, one of few films with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, she tells her stories for the first time, offering an insider’s perspective of the band that changed music history.
Director: Fredric King
With vivid footage of post-earthquake damage, Haitians who are struggling but coping, and renewal projects that are moving ahead, Haiti Redux shows that there is hope. Urban planners hear residents voice their ideas on how to rebuild their city. Engineers demonstrate low-cost ways of collecting and filtering water. Artists and architects create light and airy residences and community centers. A much-needed school is repaired. Land is acquired for a cramped urban orphanage to move to a beautiful agricultural community. Shot in the span of three years, Haiti Redux shows a country where progress is slow, but real.
I LEARN AMERICA
Directors: Jean-Michael Dissard, Gitte Peng
One High School, One School Year, Five New Americans. I Learn America is a fascinating documentary that takes place at the International High School, a NYC public high school dedicated to newly arrived immigrants from all over the world. Through the lives of five vibrant teenagers we witness how they strive to master English, adapt to families they haven’t seen in years, cope with a new culture while trying to maintain their own identity, and create a future of their own. Amidst the complexity and diversity of American life in and out of school, they open their lives, stories and struggles to the cameras while coming of age in a new land.
IN A WORLD…
Director: Lake Bell
Lake Bell shows her multiple talent as a writer-director-actor in her delightful feature debut In A World…Clever, sweet and full of comedic grace, the film follows Carol Solomon, a struggling vocal coach, who musters the courage to pursue her secret aspiration to be a voice-over star after years living under the shadows of the reigning king of movie-trailer voice-over artists; her father. Encouraged by sound technician and not so secret admirer Louis, Carol goes after her first voice-over gig against not other than his father and industry raising star Gustav Warner. Amidst pride, sexism, and family dysfunction, Carol sets out to fight the odds and finally finds her voice.
LIFE ACCORDING TO SAM
Director: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine
When Sam was diagnosed with Progeria, an extremely rare and fatal disease characterized by accelerated aging symptoms, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns were told to simply enjoy their son while they could. The doctors refused to believe this was the answer spearheading a campaign to save Sam and the other children in the world who share his disease. In less than a decade, their extraordinary advances have led to amazing discoveries and Sam is turning 16 this year. Life According to Sam is an inspiring film about the power of family and how we make the most of our lives in the time we are given.
Director: Matt Creed
Diagnosed with breast cancer and nearing the end of her treatment, Lily turns her focus to the rest of her life with newfound clarity. Wandering through atmospheric New York City streets, she reevaluates what she has built for herself, including her life with an older boyfriend and her feelings about her long-absent father. Lingering in intimate, charged moments with Lily during this vulnerable period, the film delivers a delicate and heartfelt portrait that deals with life after cancer. Loosely based on the real-life experiences of co-writer and lead actress Grantham, Lily is a mature, stylish character piece reminiscent of classic French New Wave.
LOST FOR LIFE
Director: Joshua Rofé
America is the only country that allows juvenile offenders to be sentenced to Life Without Parole, currently there are more than 2,500 child lifers in the US. Lost for Life is an uncompromising and urgent look at what it is to lock up a kid for life, both the ‘deserving’ and the ‘undeserving’, what that means for the kids, for the adults who have lived behind bars since childhood. And what it says about us as a nation and a culture that we still wield this form of punishment on the unformed. Are there alternatives for kids like these? Or do we simply throw them in the box and dispose of them?
Director: Jillian Schlesinger
In the wake of a yearlong battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a storm of media scrutiny, 14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. Maidentrip depicts the young sailor’s brave, defiant voice through video and voice recordings and intimate vérité footage from locations including the Galápagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, and South Africa.
MONEY FOR NOTHING
Director: Jim Bruce
Nearly 100 years after its creation, the power of the U.S. Federal Reserve has never been greater. Yet the average person knows very little about the most powerful financial institution on earth. Money For Nothing is the first film to take viewers inside the Fed and reveal the impact of their policies on our lives. Current and former Fed officials debate the decisions that helped lead the global financial system to the brink of collapse in 2008, and why we might be headed there again. This must-see documentary is filled with wonderful narrative and fascinating images that capture the world of finance throughout the Twentieth Century.
Director: Dan Scanlon
Full of laughter and heart, Monsters University tells the story of Mike Wazowski, who since he was a little monster has dreamed of becoming a scarer—and the best scarers come from Monsters University. During Mike’s first semester there, he crosses paths with James P. “Sulley” Sullivan, a natural-born scarer. The pair’s out-of-control competitive spirit gets them kicked out of the university’s elite Scare Program. They need to work together, and with a bunch of misfit monsters, to make things right.
Director: Greg “Freddy” Camalier
The town of Muscle Shoals in Alabama has been the unlikely breeding ground for some of America’s most outstanding music. At the heart of Muscle Shoals is Rick Hall, who overcame poverty and tragedy to found FAME Studios and bring black and white together to create music that would endure for generations. Bono, Mick Jagger, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Percy Sledge, Jimmy Cliff, Clarence Carter, and other major musical talents bear witness to the magnetism of Muscle Shoals in this heartfelt account.
Director: Shaka King
A Brooklyn repo-man and his globetrotting girlfriend forge an unlikely romance. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this dark ballad of chemical dependency—part coming-of-age romance, part hallucinatory adventure. The convincing performances and chemistry of the main characters deliver a truly authentic feel to this beautifully layered, clear-eyed portrait of life in contemporary Brooklyn.
Director: Jay Craven
Northern Borders tells the story of ten year-old Austen Kittredge, who is sent by his father to live on his grandparents’ Vermont farm, where he experiences wild adventures and uncovers long-festering family secrets. It’s 1956 and the farm becomes a magical place for Austen, full of eccentric people and his stubborn grandparents, whose thorny marriage is known as the Forty Years War. A humorous and sometimes startling coming-of-age story, Northern Borders evokes Vermont’s wildness, its sublime beauty, a haunted past, and an aura of enchantment.
Director: Penny Lane
Throughout Richard Nixon’s presidency, three of his top White House aides—H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin—obsessively documented their experiences with Super 8 home movie cameras. A few years later the once idealistic trio would be in prison. This unique visual record was seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation, then filed away and forgotten for almost 40 years. Our Nixon is a uniquely constructed all-archival documentary and an intimate portrait of the Nixon presidency.
Director: Will Slocombe
Presided over by eminent scholar and patriarch Poppy, the Turner’s clan Thanksgiving holiday turns into a disastrous weekend when black sheep daughter Nina pays her first visit home in 15 years. Nina immediately clashes with stepmother, Deborah, and competes with her siblings for Poppy’s affection – and money. The family gradually disintegrates over who will get Poppy’s money – only to discover Poppy has his own bad news to share… With outstanding performances by Peter Bogdanovich, this dysfunctional family drama explores how a family deals with honesty, love, and deception.
RUNNING FROM CRAZY
Director: Barbara Kopple
Hailed as one of the most distinguished families in American literature, the Hemingways have always exposed both their bright brilliance and their harrowing secrets. Running From Crazy follows actress Mariel Hemingway, a granddaughter of the legendary writer Ernest, as she explores her family’s disturbing history of mental illness and suicide. Evocative home movies shot by Mariel’s supermodel sister, the late Margaux Hemingway, shape the actress’ courageous journey of acceptance.
SHORT TERM 12
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at SXSW, Short Term 12 is the touching and uplifting story of Grace, a twenty-something social worker who has channeled the demons of her own troubled past into a passion for helping at-risk teens. Her newest ward, Jayden, forces Grace to relive her own difficult upbringing just as she and her boyfriend Mason are on the cusp of making a decision that will change their lives. Funny, moving and surprising, the film delivers an emotional powerhouse through tremendous performances and a smart script.
Director: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer
Based on his play by the same name, Neil LaBute’s script follows a successful writer who, on the eve of his wedding, travels across the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for past relationship transgressions. Crisscrossing from Seattle to Boston, he reunites with high school sweetheart Sam, sexually free-spirited Tyler, married college professor Lindsay, his best friend’s little sister Reggie, and “the one that got away” Bobbi. An astute and provocative film about the journey of a man stumbling through a familiar landscape to most of us – messy breakups.
THE COLD LANDS
Director: Tom Gilroy
When Atticus’ mother dies unexpectedly, the eleven year old flees the authorities to survive on his own in the forests of The Catskill Mountains. Wandering the woods in shock, relying on what meager food and shelter he comes across, his grasp of reality wears thin. Atticus latches onto the eccentric Carter, a scruffy wildman who lives out of his car, chain-smokes pot, and sells handmade necklaces on the music festival circuit. A wary alliance forms, with each of them dependent on the other, but neither sure he’s making the right decision. An original, thoughtful and beautifully shot coming of age film imbued with a strong spirit of place, independence and personal choice.
THE CRASH REEL
Director: Lucy Walker
The Crash Reel takes an exhilarating ride through the life of Kevin Pearce, the American snowboarding champion. While preparing for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and challenging the dominance of his friend and rival Shaun White, Pearce experienced a life-changing crash. This moving portrait shows how an extraordinary family came together to help a gifted athlete rediscover himself as a brain injury survivor and find purpose and meaning in the wake of a lost dream.
Director Christina Voros
An intimate portrait of Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, The Director spans 18 months behind the walls of the legendary Italian fashion house, exploring the intricacies and inspiration of the quietly brilliant power woman, whose own evolution as the brand’s creative force is as nuanced as that of the fashion house itself. Produced by multitalented James Franco, The Director features unprecedented access to Giannini’s creative process from the selection of fabrics, the casting of runaway models, and her search for inspiration in the fashion house’s rich archive, the cinema, and life.
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
The Hunt is a riveting depiction of gossip, doubt, and malice igniting a witch-hunt that threatens to destroy an innocent man’s life. Mads Mikkelsen won the Best Actor Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival for his penetrating portrayal of Lucas, a former schoolteacher starting over after a divorce and the loss of his job. Just as things are looking up, an untrue remark throws his small community into a collective state of hysteria.
THE SHORT GAME
Director: Josh Greenbaum
The Short Game follows the lives of eight of the best 7-year old golfers in the world as they train for and compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf, alongside 1500 young golfers from 54 different countries to determine who will be crowned golf’s next phenom. In its course, the eight stories entwine to form a fascinating and often funny portrait of a group of very young athletes and their families, in which the narrow-focused, peculiar and highly competitive junior golf subculture becomes both a window into contemporary global society.
THE SPECTACULAR NOW
Director: James Ponsoldt
In this funny and poignant coming-of-age tale, an unlikely romance becomes a sharp-eyed snapshot of the heady confusion and haunting passion of youth. Sutter Keely, a charming high school senior with a flask full of Seagram’s and a quip always at hand, just lets life happen. After being dumped, he unexpectedly falls in love with a “good girl.” The film won U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Acting at Sundance.
Writer / Director: Lynn Shelton
With great performances by a remarkable ensemble cast, Touchy Feely examines massage therapist Abby, who develops an uncontrollable aversion to body contact. Meanwhile, rumors of her brother Paul’s “healing touch” miraculously begin to invigorate his flagging dental practice, as well as his life outside the office. As Abby navigates her way through an identity crisis, her formerly skeptical brother discovers a whole new side of himself.
TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM
Director: Morgan Neville
Twenty Feet From Stardom shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices, and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.
TWO WHO DARED: THE SHARPS’ WAR
Director: Artemis Joukowsky III
During WWII, Reverend Waitstill Sharp and his wife Martha battled political and social blockades, broke laws to get imperiled individuals exit visas, and laundered money on the black market in order to enable the clandestine transportation of refugees. Over the course of two missions: in Prague (1939), and in Southern France (1940), the Sharps, and their underground confederates, played a vital role in saving hundreds from persecution. Through the inspiring true story of Waitstill and Martha Sharp, Two Who Dared: The Sharps’ War reveals a timeless lesson of personal sacrifice and courage to be shared with future generations.
Writer / Director: Haifaa Al Mansour
Ten-year-old Wadjda desperately wants a bicycle to race her friend Abdullah. But Wadjda’s mother fears repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl’s virtue. Wadjda’s only chance is to win a Koran recitation competition at her school for a cash prize. The first film shot in Saudi Arabia by a female director, Wadjda is a charming story that unveils the everyday frustrations Saudi women shoulder, while offering hope of change for the next generation.
WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL
Director / Producer: Ben Nabors
In his native Malawi, 14-year-old William Kamkwamba teaches himself to build a power-generating windmill from junk parts and successfully rescues his family from poverty and famine. Celebrated in the developing world, he meets American entrepreneur Tom Rielly, who becomes his mentor and helps him imagine a new future. Fame, opportunity, stress, and isolation follow. William and the Windmill won the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW 2013.
WOOD / SAIL / DREAMS
Writer / Director / Producer: John Stanton
Forty years ago, the rise of fiberglass boats nearly pushed wooden sailboats to the brink of extinction. Wood/Sails/Dreams examines the resurgence of wooden boats, and the way of life that was built alongside those boats, through the stories of the men and women whose days were spent chasing the romantic notion of repairing wooden boats to live on and to charter.
The 18th Annual Nantucket Film Festival will take place this year from June 26 – 30. For further information on the 2013 Nantucket Film Festival, please visit www.nantucketfilmfestival.org