The Nantucket Film Festival has announced the opening night selection for its 2016 festival will be The Orchard/A&E IndieFilm’s LIFE, ANIMATED, directed by Roger Ross Williams. A real-life fairy tale about Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who used Disney animated films to communicate with his family, this award-winning documentary is an unforgettably story of the magic of cinema, and of a family’s love and determination. And, for the seventh year in a row, NFF will screen a Disney•Pixar film on opening day. This year the studio brings to the festival the eagerly-awaited animated feature FINDING DORY, directed by Andrew Stanton and co-directed by Angus MacLane, a return to the beloved characters from the acclaimed FINDING NEMO.
Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU, a portrait of the influential creator behind legendary sitcoms like ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS, will be the festival’s centerpiece film. The Orchard’s HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE, written and directed by Taikia Waititi, closes this year’s edition. This hilarious comedy adventure starring Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, is based on Barry Crump’s novel Wild Pork and Watercress, and tells the story of a national manhunt that is ordered for a rebellious kid and his foster uncle who go missing in the wild New Zealand bush.
Spotlight Films include Jeff Feuerzeig’s AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY; Mike Birbiglia’s DON’T THINK TWICE, starring Birbiglia, Keegan-Michael Key and Gillian Jacobs; Clay Tweel’s GLEASON; Sophie Goodhart’s MY BLIND BROTHER, starring Nick Kroll, Adam Scott and Jenny Slate; Chris Kelly’s OTHER PEOPLE, starring Molly Shannon, Jesse Plemons and Bradley Whitford; and Sian Heder’s TALLULAH, starring Ellen Page and Allison Janney.
More than 30 additional feature selections are also announced today, including two world premieres: Xavier Manrique’s CHRONICALLY METROPOLITAN, a sardonic romantic comedy about a young writer’s attempts to win back his ex, starring Shiloh Fernandez, Mary-Louise Parker, and Chris Noth; and Paul Serafini’s ANNABELLE HOOPER AND THE GHOSTS OF NANTUCKET, a mystery adventure shot on Nantucket following a teenager’s investigation of a legendary ghost story, starring Bailee Madison.
“We are thrilled to announce such an incredible lineup of films at the festival this year,” said Mystelle Brabbée, Executive Director, Nantucket Film Festival. “This island has become a haven for both established and up-and-coming talent as we celebrate cinema and screenwriting every June.”
“Each year we are highly selective in choosing fresh, standout new work to bring to the festival that epitomizes our focus on screenwriting and storytelling. This year’s slate showcases an exciting, wide range of talent,” said Basil Tsiokos, Film Program Director, Nantucket Film Festival.
The 2016 festival runs from June 22-27. Passes and ticket packages are currently on sale on the NFF website, with individual tickets going on sale May 20.
Previously announced, Oliver Stone will receive the 2016 Screenwriters Tribute. Seth Meyers will host the event on Saturday, June 25. Signature Programs and additional honorees for NFF’s 21st Screenwriters Tribute, will be announced next week..
The past 20 years have seen the Nantucket Film Festival mixing highly anticipated awards contenders with the films of talented emerging filmmakers. NFF has brought together the film industry’s most recognized screenwriters and storytellers, including Steve Martin, Judd Apatow, Beau Willimon, Kathryn Bigelow, Sarah Silverman, Alexander Payne, David O. Russell, Diane Keaton, Robert Towne, Glenn Close, and Aaron Sorkin. NFF has also produced the All-Star Comedy Roundtable Presented by Ben Stiller; the ever-popular staged readings series, with previous casts including Will Ferrell, Mos Def, Paul Rudd, Stiller, Cynthia Nixon, and Rosie Perez and the 2015 eye-opening panel Women Behind the Words, presented by EPIX, featuring Jacqueline Bisset, Lily Taylor, Cynthia Littleton, Leslye Headland, Stacey L. Smith, Nancy Dubuc, and Ophira Eisenberg.
The full feature film program for the 2016 Nantucket Film Festival is listed below.
OPENING NIGHT FILM – LIFE, ANIMATED:After years of struggling to connect with his autistic son Owen, Ron Suskind discovers that Disney animated films provide the key. Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams reveals the inspirational story in this warm coming-of-age portrait, the winner of the US Documentary Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
OPENING DAY FILM – FINDING DORY:
Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory. When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, she recruits Marlin and Nemo for a life-changing adventure across the ocean.
CENTERPIECE FILM – NORMAN LEAR: JUST ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU
Norman Lear, arguably the most influential creative force in television history, changed the face of the small screen through a series of hit shows including All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons which tackled taboos of race, class, and gender through humor. Presented in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM – HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE:
After his new foster home in the New Zealand countryside doesn’t quite work out, a rebellious young city kid and his cantankerous foster uncle escape into the bush only to find themselves the subjects of a national manhunt in this hilarious adventure comedy.
AUTHOR: THE JT LEROY STORY: Shy 16-year-old JT Leroy erupted onto the mid-1990s literary scene as an immediate, if unlikely, star, turning a background of teenage prostitution and drug addiction into gritty bestsellers. But in truth, the stranger than fiction story behind this lost boy was that of a woman, Laura Albert, who reveals all in Feuerzeig’s fascinating look back at the erstwhile literary sensation.
DON’T THINK TWICE: A close-knit New York City improv troupe confronts the realities of success and failure when one of its own gets a big break, becoming a new cast member for the biggest sketch comedy show on television. Starring Mike Birbiglia, Keegan-Michael Key, and Gillian Jacobs.
GLEASON: When former New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, he began a video journal for his unborn son and set out to help others living with the devastating disease, as recounted in Clay Tweel’s emotionally powerful portrait, an audience award winner at SXSW.
MY BLIND BROTHER: Bill (Nick Kroll) has grown up in the shadow of his over-achieving blind brother Robbie (Adam Scott), a local hero and accomplished athlete. But when the woman he likes, Rose (Jenny Slate), inadvertently ends up becoming Robbie’s girlfriend, Bill has had enough in this SXSW award-winning romantic comedy.
OTHER PEOPLE: David (Friday Night Lights’ Jesse Plemons), a struggling comedy writer, moves back home to help his sick mother (Molly Shannon) even as he contends with his own personal issues: a recent break-up with his longtime boyfriend, a homophobic father (Bradley Whitford), and life in his conservative hometown.
TALLULAH: An aimless young woman rashly decides to rescue an infant from a negligent mother. Quickly realizing she’s in over her head, she turns to her ex-boyfriend’s mother for help, passing the baby off as her own. This feature debut by Sian Heder (Orange is the New Black) stars Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Tammy Blanchard.
FEATURE FILM PROGRAM
AFTER SPRING: An intimate exploration of two families living in Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp, which hosts nearly 80,000 Syrians, as they demonstrate resilience and create community in the face of an uncertain future.
ALL THIS PANIC: Following several teenage girls as they grow up in New York City over three years, Gage’s remarkable debut film captures their coming of age as it unfolds, balancing the excitement and drama of finding their way with the bittersweet changes young adulthood brings to family and friendships.
ANNABELLE HOOPER AND THE GHOSTS OF NANTUCKET: While vacationing on Nantucket with her family, teenage Annabelle, an aspiring writer, stumbles onto a legendary ghost story and recruits new friends to solve the mystery.
BEWARE THE SLENDERMAN: Why did a pair of twelve-year-old girls attempt to murder their friend? Brodsky’s sensitive investigation into the strange inspiration for this tragic crime serves as a cautionary tale about the dark side of the Internet.
BLACK MOUNTAIN POETS: In this appealing offbeat romantic comedy, two professional con artist sisters pass themselves off as acclaimed authors at a poetry retreat, where they find unexpected possibilities for a fresh start.
CAMERAPERSON: Acclaimed documentary cinematographer Johnson (Citizenfour, Fahrenheit 9/11) constructs a unique visual memoir, revealing the woman behind the camera through evocative scenes she’s filmed over the past 25 years.
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC: When tragedy strikes, a devoted father living off the grid in the forests of the Pacific Northwest with his six kids must re-enter society, confronting his estranged in-laws and challenging his conception of parenthood. Starring Viggo Mortensen.
CHRONICALLY METROPOLITAN: A promising young author returns to New York City unannounced to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, make peace with his estranged parents, and conquer his writer’s block in this sardonic comedy starring Shiloh Fernandez, Ashley Benson, Josh Peck, Mary-Louise Parker, and Chris Noth.
CLAIRE IN MOTION: After her husband Paul vanishes, Claire (Betsy Brandt, Breaking Bad) refuses to give up hope for his return, even after the police have ended their investigation and her son has begun to grieve. But how well did she truly know her husband…?
COMPLETE UNKNOWN: When Tom and his wife host a dinner party to celebrate his birthday, one of their friends brings a surprisingly familiar date who sets the evening off in unexpected directions. Starring Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz.
CUSTODY: The lives of three women intersect in a child protective services’ New York City family court custody case in this drama starring Viola Davis, Hayden Panettiere, and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
EQUITY: Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) stars as an ambitious Wall Street investment banker facing both cut-throat betrayal and the glass ceiling as she attempts to lead a controversial tech IPO.
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE: Still reeling from his wife’s accidental death, Sherwin (David Oyelowo) agrees to visit his estranged mother-in-law, Lucinda (Dianne Wiest), as they both attempt to deal with their loss.
GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM: After a woman’s body is found in an abandoned New Hampshire farmhouse, her journal chronicles her life with poignancy, humor, and unexpected beauty.
THE HOLLARS: In this dysfunctional family dramedy, a frustrated New York City artist and expectant father returns to his Middle American hometown to deal with a family crisis, forcing him to revisit old anxieties. Starring John Krasinski, Anna Kendrick, Margo Martindale, and Richard Jenkins.
HOOLIGAN SPARROW: Young Chinese filmmaker Wang faces harassment alongside her subject, Ye Haiyan, also known as Sparrow, a dissident women’s rights activist on a mission to expose a horrific scandal.
JEAN OF THE JONESES: The winner of the Showtime Tony Cox Feature Screenplay Competition at the 2012 Nantucket Film Festival is the story of the matriarchal Jamaican-American Jones family, as viewed through the acerbic perspective of aspiring novelist Jean, as they confront long-simmering drama.
KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE: This melding of psychological thriller and investigative documentary follows actor Kate Lyn Sheil as she explores the complex and tragic history of her latest role. A Special Jury Award winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
LITTLE BOXES: In this appealing comedy, an interracial family struggles to fit in and be understood when they move from New York City to a predominantly white small town.
LITTLE MEN: After 13-year-old Jake moves into a new Brooklyn home, he befriends Tony, whose immigrant mother runs a dress shop in the building – until gentrification threatens both her livelihood and the boys’ close bond.
LO AND BEHOLD, REVERIES OF THE CONNECTED WORLD: In his signature, ever-inquisitive style, the acclaimed director of Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams explores the past, present, and potential future of our constantly connected, technologically-enabled virtual lives.
MISS STEVENS: Troubled young high school English teacher Rachel Stevens (American Horror Story’s Lily Rabe) chaperones three of her students on a weekend drama competition that results in some highly questionable choices.
MOM AND ME: Set in Oklahoma City, “the manliest city in the United States,” this intimate and often humorous film explores the unique bond between men and their mothers.
NEWTOWN: A poignant profile of a small town as it reckons with the unparalleled tragedy of Sandy Hook and tries to find a way forward.
NIGHT SCHOOL: In this affecting portrait, three adult students in inner-city Indianapolis attempt to finally earn their high school diplomas in the hopes of improving their futures, ending the cycle of poverty, and fulfilling their potential.
NUTS! : This Special Jury Award winner from this year’s Sundance Film Festival is the curious, animated tale of the eccentric John Romulus Brinkley, a 1920s physician who made a fortune curing men of impotence using goat testicles, built the world’s most powerful radio station, and nearly became the Governor of Kansas.
SERENA: An intimate portrait of four-time Olympic Gold Medalist and international sports icon Serena Williams, exploring the pressures that come with being number one in the world.
SILICON COWBOYS: The entertaining David vs Goliath story of Compaq, an unlikely computer upstart which took on seemingly unstoppable industry leader IBM, introducing revolutionary ideas that paved the way for the modern-day ubiquity of digital technology.
SONITA: The winner of both an audience award and grand jury prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival introduces a spirited young Iran-based Afghani teenager, whose fledgling hip hop dreams offer a potential escape from oppressive, sexist traditions.
TICKLED: After chancing upon a bizarre online competition involving tickling, New Zealand television personality is met by even stranger hostility when he attempts to learn more, prompting an in-depth investigation that uncovers unexpected twists and turns in this fascinating documentary.
UNDER THE SUN: What starts as an authorized portrait of a typical North Korean family soon becomes a wry exposé of the closely-controlled nature of Kim Jong-Un’s regime.
WHEN TWO WORLDS COLLIDE: This Special Jury Award winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival reveals the battled waged between indigenous Peruvian leaders resolute in protecting their land and the nation’s president, eager to develop Peru through the exploitation of its natural resources – no matter the cost.
WIENER-DOG: The newest dark comedy from the provocative filmmaker behind Welcome to the Dollhouse follows the stories of the various owners of a dachshund, and stars Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Zosia Mamet, and Ellen Burstyn.
The Nantucket Film Festival was founded by brother and sister team Jonathan and Jill Burkhart in 1996 to promote the cultural awareness and appreciation of the fine art of screenwriting in the world of cinema. Since then, NFF has become one of the premier destination film festivals in the world. Visitors come from all over to experience the preview screenings, unique signature programs, and stand out hospitality on a magical island rich with history, a friendly atmosphere, and beautiful sandy beaches. In addition to screening over 75 films across six days, NFF presents the Screenwriters Tribute, In Their Shoes… hosted by Chris Matthews, Late Night Storytelling, and our daily Morning Coffee With… series.
The 21st Annual Nantucket Film Festival will take place June 22-27. For further information on the 2016 Nantucket Film Festival, please visit www.nantucketfilmfestival.org.