by Eleni Sinnis
The Nantucket Film Festival is back for its 28th consecutive year, jam-packed with various films for all ages and genres.
From the Dreamland Theatre to Siasconset, the island will be teeming with award-winning documentaries, internationally acclaimed films, family-friendly fun, and opportunities to hear from some of your favorite screenwriters and actors. The Festival runs from June 21 to 26, and the island will indeed be buzzing with exciting festival events.
The NFF was founded with the mission of storytelling and commitment to supporting screenwriters. In 2000 Mystelle Brabbee, NFF’s Artistic Director at the time, was inspired by the festival’s mission and wanted to create a program for local teens to learn the basic tenets of filmmaking and then have the festival experience their short films. Since then, Teen View has grown and evolved, each year experimenting with new programs: from inf luential screenwriters going to the high school to speak with the students to the students sharing their films with students from the Haiti Cine Institute. This year’s festival will be no exception: the teens of Nantucket have a couple of special productions for the island.
Nantucket High School students participating in the Teen View Labs with Nantucket Community Television have produced five short films for the Festival. The short films are a fantastic opportunity for Nantucket teens to experiment with film production and create compelling stories. According to Mark Carapezza, NCTV education coordinator, each viewer should look forward to “charming, insightful, and sometimes spooky films made by local kids, feeling inspired.” The films will each resonate with a certain part of us all. The teen directors and writers are from various grades, from “Imperfect Soul” by 12th grader Misho Minevski, which shows a soldier coming to grips with his past and present reality, to “Gone” by 9th grader Lucy Bell, featuring a teen using her imagination in finding comfort in a friend. Most of the films are not location specific, with the exception of “Dreamland Ghosts” by Kevin Serrano. “Dreamland Ghosts,” will certainly give audiences a little fright, exploring the spookier side of the island, with a reenactment of ghost sightings in the very seats they’re occupying in The Dreamland Theatre. “Tunnel Vision” by Olivia Davis tells the story of a young woman blindsided by love until she discovers a dark truth. “Kidnapping Shakespeare” by Diogo De Lima Dias begs the question, what would you do if you had Shakespeare at your mercy? Finally “PFAS” by Anna Popnikolova is an insightful documentary on PFAS and its effects on local islanders. Carapezza says, “every film is the creative brainchild of the filmmaker.”
The students have been working for nine months on their study of filmmaking and storytelling. Mark Carapezza, has been running the program since 2020, after splitting time between Nantucket and Rishikesh, India, producing a global art event. The course focuses on media literacy, teaching students how media is made through writing, recording, lighting, acting, directing, filming, and editing. Carapezza says what sticks with the students through this process is comprehension and appreciation of film, they “will now watch films, shows, commercials, and even social media content with a deeper appreciation and understanding of how it is created. Their taste in films and ability to discuss them will become more sophisticated.”
This year is the second that a film produced by Nantucket Middle School students will be showcased as a Teen View Junior Film. The 2023 film is called “The Lollipop Cowboy,” and it features the adventure of a cowboy who is new to town and stealing lollipops from babies. The film stars and is directed by Eila Boyd, Ben Congdon, Sebastian Coutinho, Carrington Gerstmyer, Jack Hunter, Knox Keating, Madison Massey, Gabriel Petkov, Olivia Shuttleworth, and Lilly Sylvia.
A group of middle school students comprise the Teen View Jury, which judges the new films each year. They screen, deliberate, and determine the best short film deserving of the Short Film Award. Through this process, the students are taught the fundamental process of film analysis.
According to Carapezza the Teen View showcase “for locals will be a wonderful time to see kids they know being proud of their work, expressing themselves,” and “the questions and answers with the filmmakers after the screening is also very insightful, fun, and inspiring.”
The Teen View Films will be shown in the Dreamland Theatre on Monday, June 26 at 12:30 pm and run for 90 minutes. Tickets to this Nantucket Film Festival event are $16 and are available at nantucketfilmfestival.org/events/teenviewshowcase. A Q&A with the teen filmmakers will follow the screening. For detailed schedules and showtimes on all festival events visit nantucketfilmfestival.org.