The Nantucket Film Festival announced today that acclaimed Academy® & Emmy®-Award nominated House of Cards creator and screenwriter Beau Willimon will be honored with Variety’s Creative Impact in Television Writing Award. The award will celebrate Willimon’s extraordinary career, whose achievements include projects in television, film and stage. Variety’s Managing Editor of TV, Cynthia Littleton will be present at the festival’s Screenwriters Tribute on Saturday, June 27. The 20th anniversary festival will run from June 24th to 29th in Nantucket.
The Screenwriters Tribute is the crown jewel of the festival, which seeks to recognize and raise the visibility of outstanding screenwriters in the entertainment industry. Previous awardees include luminaries such as Aaron Sorkin, David O. Russell, Nancy Meyers and Barry Levinson. Further 2015 awardees will be announced in the coming days.
Willimon is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and producer. As creator of original series House of Cards, Willimon also serves as showrunner and executive producer. House of Cards made television history in its first season when it earned nine Emmy®-Award nominations. In addition Willimon’s play Farragut North became the basis for the motion picture screenplay The Ides of March, which he co-wrote with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. The screenplay earned Willimon Academy Award®, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations. Willimon’s recent stage productions include The Parisian Woman and Breathing Time.
“We are honored to announce Beau Willimon as the first-ever recipient of Variety’s Creative Impact in Television Writing Award. His striking ingenuity was evident with the debut of House of Cards, which not only marked his television debut, but was also the first original series for Netflix, and the first American program to release a season’s worth of episodes in one fell swoop,” said Mystelle Brabbée, Executive Director of the Nantucket Film Festival.
“House of Cards was a trailblazer for original digital series. It opened the industry’s eyes to the possibilities for high-end series production on SVOD platforms. But first and foremost, Beau Willimon and his team delivered the most important factor in a successful TV series – a fantastic story and compelling characters,” said Cynthia Littleton, Variety’s Managing Editor of TV.
In addition, the Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) is thrilled to announce legendary screenwriter Robert Towne as the recipient of the 2015 Screenwriters Tribute, presented by EPIX. NFF will also honor What Happened, Miss Simone?’s Liz Garbus and Sleeping With Other People’s Leslye Headland.
Towne is known for his Academy Award®-winning script for Chinatown, cited as one of the greatest screenplays of all time in a 2006 industry poll conducted by the Writers Guild of America. Other notable credits include The Last Detail, Shampoo, and Mission: Impossible, as well as famously uncredited work on The Godfather and Bonnie & Clyde. Past Tribute recipients have included Aaron Sorkin, David O. Russell, Nancy Meyers, Harold Ramis, Judd Apatow, Steven Martin, Charlie Kaufman, and Alexander Payne. Robert Towne will also participate in an In Their Shoes…® conversation at the festival with Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball and NBC’s The Chris Matthews Show.
At the festival, premiere entertainment network EPIX will also present a special panel, “Women Behind the Words: Stories from Hollywood’s Front Lines.” Moderated by NPR’s Ophira Eisenberg, the panel will feature an in-depth and lively discussion between USC Professor Stacy L. Smith, A&E Network’s President and CEO Nancy Dubuc, and additional panelists to be announced in the coming weeks.
NFF will produce a live staged reading of an original, unproduced TV pilot, Spencer Sloan’s Bob Fisher’s My Roommate. Presented in association with Bob Fisher himself, a producer and the screenwriter of Wedding Crashers, and actor/comedian Denis Leary (Rescue Me), Bob Fisher’s My Roommate is a meta-comedy that follows Pete Davidson (Saturday Night Live) as Sloan, a writing assistant who lives in the same apartment as his executive producer boss Fisher (television comedy veteran Dave Foley), while filming the first season of USA Network’s show Sirens. Past NFF staged reading casts have included Will Ferrell, Mos Def, Paul Rudd, Ben Stiller, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie Perez, Steve Zahn, Amy Sedaris, and Lake Bell.
Late Night Storytelling, a long-standing Signature Program at the festival, will take place Friday, June 26. This fun and unpredictable evening invites NFF guests and islanders alike to share stories live on stage, on this year’s theme: “Fact vs. Fiction.” The evening will once again be hosted by writer/comedian Ophira Eisenberg, host of NPR’s weekly comedy trivia show Ask Me Another. Last year’s storytellers included Michael Ian Black, Mark Duplass, and Fred Willard.
The conversation series, Morning Coffee With…®, returns, this year with comedian Eddie Brill (Late Show With David Letterman) as host and moderator. Morning Coffee offers audiences the chance to hear writers and filmmakers talk about their craft in an informal discussion at the start of each day at NFF.
Additionally, NFF will screen two late additions to its previously announced feature film program: Mistress America, the latest comedy from Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha), casts Lola Kirke as a lonely Barnard freshman whose life is shaken up by her impulsive future stepsister, played by Gerwig. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and will be released later this summer by Fox Searchlight.
The Bronze, directed by Bryan Buckley, stars Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory), who also wrote the script, together with Winston Rauch. The satirical comedy, about a one-time Olympian gymnast desperately clinging to past glory, debuted as one of the opening night selections at this year’s Sundance, and was acquired by Relativity Media.
The 2015 Nantucket Film Festival features over 100 screenings, signature programs, and events, including “In Their Shoes…” hosted by Chris Matthews, Late Night Storytelling, and the daily “Morning Coffee With…” series. For additional information on the festival and to purchase tickets visit http://www.nantucketfilmfestival.org/.
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. These days, 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.