by Sarah Teach
Want to hit the big events at the 17th Annual Nantucket Film Festival, but skip the rest? Here is all you need to know about the events of June 20-24.
Morning Coffee With… (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. in The Dreamland, So. Water Street) These Morning Coffees allow you to interact face-to-face with a handful of the directors of the movies being shown at the festival. It’s your chance to see these film legends on as personal a level as will be possible throughout the weekend. One never knows just who might show up at these early events; so if you are trying to meet one director in particular, try to make it to as many Morning Coffees as you can.
Late Night Storytelling (Friday at 8 p.m. at the Sconset Casino) This is the part of the festival where everyone – from big celebrities to your neighbor on Nantucket – hangs out together and has a drink or three. Attendees share both stage and audience space as people tell hilarious, five-minute stories about life in a theme-based fashion. This year’s stories will be centered on “red flags.” (Think of that time you knew you should stop dating the guy with a swastika tattooed on his forearm.) Returning to host Late Night Storytelling is Boston-born comedian Mike O’Malley, whose name you might recognize from Glee or the 2010 romantic drama Eat Pray Love. O’Malley’s many summers in Madaket have allowed him to gather a rich range of Nantucket-specific jokes that never fail to keep the Casino filled with laughter.
All-Star Comedy Roundtable (Friday at 3 p.m. in the Nantucket High School auditorium) Ben Stiller’s discussion of the craft of comedy brings a full circle of today’s funniest faces, including Jim Carrey and Chris Rock. In years past, we’ve seen Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Andy Samberg, Aziz Ansari, and Seth Myers along with other Saturday Night Live favorites. This year, proceeds from the All-Star Comedy Roundtable will benefit the newly minted Nantucket Film Institute, a branch of the Festival that serves to foster screenwriting skills in Nantucket teens though establishing on-island resources such as writing labs. Not a bad place to put your donations!
Screenwriters Tribute (Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Sconset Casino) Go to this awards show if you care about the screenwriter being honored; otherwise, skip it. You can always laugh at Brian Williams’ antics on NBC for free in your jammies. However, if you enjoyed either of the Father of the Bride movies, The Parent Trap, What Women Want, or It’s Complicated, then you’ll love the entire body of work made by this year’s honoree, Nancy Meyers. The 62-year-old writer/director/producer has been making smash hit films since the late 70s and just keeps getting better at what she does. Meyers’ longtime friend and collaborator Diane Keaton will present her with the Screenwriters Tribute award. After the tribute, stick around the Casino ‘til 10 p.m. when Meyers’ 2003 romantic comedy, Something’s Gotta Give, will be screening. (If you simply cannot fathom staying out until after midnight, then you can see the film at the Sconset Casino at 4 p.m. on Thursday.) Both Meyers and Keaton will be in attendance at the screenings. Too bad we’re not going to meet Keaton’s co-star, Jack Nicolson… or will we? When it comes to the Screenwriters Tribute, you never know who you might bump into.
In Their Shoes (Two sessions: Saturday at 10:15 a.m. with Frank Langella; and Sunday at 11:30 a.m. with Nancy Meyers. Both held at the Dreamland.) If you like the way Chris Matthews plays hardball, then come check out In Their Shoes. Organized much like a TV interview, talking-heads style; the audience watches Chris onstage interviewing his famous guest. Chris asks very in-depth questions about his interviewee’s work, and offers an expert perspective on what he has seen the interviewee create. This event allows you to familiarize yourself with someone’s work and hear about the specifics of their career, making it the perfect event for an aspiring filmmaker. During his appearance as Saturday’s guest, Frank Langella will be given the Compass Rose Acting Award, which recognizes profound acting performances.