July 14, 2020

Virtual Nantucket film fest offers ‘stories that should be heard’ – Entertainment & Life – Wicked Local Millis


NFF Now: At Home is a virtual festival that takes place on the same dates the Nantucket Film Festival would have filled the island.

Movies about Jimmy Carter’s connection to rock and roll, the fight for better working conditions and an 83-year-old spy in a nursing home are among the 12 feature films that will be shown online starting Tuesday for the virtual Nantucket Film Festival.

There will also be 19 short films available in three programs, recorded talks with filmmakers and “In Their Shoes” interviews. Comedians Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) and Ben Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation”), who first created their improv show now on Netflix at the 2018 Nantucket festival, were recently added to the interview lineup, which also includes TV legend Norman Lear and Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth.

The online festival is taking place during the same dates it would have taken place on the island before COVID-19 concerns made it impossible to gather in a large group. Instead, NFF Now: At Home will be an online “film and conversation series” Tuesday through June 30 designed to celebrate screenwriting and storytelling, and to reach out to movie fans far and wide.

Passes are $75, granting access to all films and conversations: www.nantucketfilmfestival.org.

The film choices were based in part on what they have to say to the world right now, according to program director Basil Tsiokos, and continue the festival’s 25-year history of storytelling by bringing movies to people at home during the pandemic.

“This announcement comes at a particularly challenging time in our country,” he said when the film list was released last week. “NFF stands with those speaking truth to power. We believe in the importance of words, the impact of voices, and the healing capacity of shared stories.” The virtual option offers “a new selection of stories that should be heard.”

The 12 feature films explore the worlds of art, politics, music and comedy. They include the world premiere of Susan Sandler’s “Julia Scotti: Funny That Way,” the comeback story of a trans comedian; “Jimmy Carter, Rock & Roll President,” directed by Mary Wharton; “Lapsis,” a sci-fi parable written and directed by Noah Hutton about humans competing with robots in a near-future gig economy; “9to5: The Story of a Movement,” by Academy Award-winning directors Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (“American Factory”), about the secretary-led movement for better work conditions; “Aggie,” a portrait of filmmaker Catherine Gund’s mother, a philanthropist and social justice activist; and “Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art,” directed by Barry Avrich.

There’s also: “The Mole Agent.,” Maite Alberdi’s story of that 83-year-old spy; “Miracle Fishing,” directed by Miles Hargrove, a story of kidnapping and ransom negotiations in 1990s Colombia; “Mayor,” David Osit’s portrait of life under occupation through the mayor of Ramallah’s story; “Through the Night,” directed by Loira Limbal, about the owner and families of a 24-hour daycare center; “Baby God,” directed by Hannah Olson, about the unexpected secret of an acclaimed fertility doctor; and “River City Drumbeat,” directed by Marlon Johnson and Anne Flatté, which follows the co-founder of a Louisville drum corps as he passes the torch to the next generation.

The short films will be presented in three collections. A narrative program is “Family Matters,” described as “a deep dive into the meaning of family”; another narrative program that explores “modern life with a bit of levity” is Humor and Honey”; and the “Excellence in Action” documentary program shines a spotlight on breaking barriers.

For the conversations, Roth, who was named in March as the recipient of this year’s Screenwriters Tribute Award and won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Forrest Gump,” will discuss his newest films: “Dune,” with Timothée Chalamet, Jason Momoa, Zendaya and Josh Brolin; and “Killers of the Flower Moon,” to be directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro. Roth also received Oscar nominations for the 2018 version of “A Star is Born,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Munich” and “The Insider.”

Lear — who is 97 with “no plans to retire,” according to festival officials — is a film and television writer/director/producer known for “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “The Jeffersons,” “Good Times,” “Sanford and Son” and “One Day at a Time.” National Public Radio’s Ophira Eisenberg will interview him.

 



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