By Brian Brooks | Indiewire April 23, 2009 at 9:46AM
Details of the early summer's North American film festivals have started trickling in with Nantucket unveiling its 14th edition Thursday. Opening this year's festival is writer/director Sophie Barthes' "Cold Souls," which will have its theatrical debut in early August by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The film stars Academy Award nominee and recent Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti as well as an ensemble cast of David Strathairn, Dina Korzun, Katheryn Winnick, Lauren Ambrose and Emily Watson.
For this year's edition, the Nantucket Film Festival has added one more day, running June 18 - 21 on the resort island off Massachusetts Cape Cod. Fest highlights include its screenwriters tribute, signature late night storytelling with celeb guests and "Morning Coffee" panel chats. "The Cove" by Louie Psihoyos will screen as NFF's Centerpiece, while "Harold Ramis' comedy "Year One," starring Jack Black, Michael Cera, and Olivia Wilde will close the festival.
"With this year's program, we worked toward having a film lineup that has a unique relation to the island," commented NFF Artistic Director Mystelle Brabbee in a statement. "Our Centerpiece film 'The Cove' for example hits close to Nantucket because of its relationship with various seaside industries. 'Cold Souls' is a former winner of the Tony Cox Screenwriting Award, and it was at the festival where Paul Giamatti was first introduced to the script."
Feature films of the 2009 Nantucket Film Festival (Descriptions provided by the festival):
"Amreeka" - Cherien Dabis's award-winning, extraordinary first feature, loosely based on her family's experiences, brings humor to the story of a Palestinian mother and son's bittersweet adjustment to life in "Amreeka" (or America).
"Beeswax" - Talented young director Andrew Bujalski makes a splash in the underground film world with this beautiful, naturalistic new film about the romantic and business entanglements of a pair of lively and lovely twin sisters in Austin, Texas.
"The Burning Plain" - Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger star in the directorial debut of screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros, Babel, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada), in which a passionate affair between a married Texan woman and and a married Mexican man has surprising effects pm his son and her teenage daughter.
"City of Borders" - Hated by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike, five people risk everything rather than deny their sexual identities in Yun Suh's humorous and courageous documentary about the tiny, brave gay community in--of all places--Jerusalem.
"Cold Souls" - In the midst of an existential crisis, a famous American actor (Paul Giamatti playing himself) stumbles upon a "Soul Storage," a private lab offering New Yorkers a relief from the burden of their souls.
"The Cove" - In this riveting film, a fearless, ambitious crew of international adventurers, led by documentarian and National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, employ military spy techniques to record a horrific secret dolphin slaughter in Taiji, Japan.
"The Exploding Girl" - College student Ivy (Zoe Kazan) spends a sunny, lazy Brooklyn summer with her mom (Maryann Urbano) and old buddy Al (Mark Rendall) in Bradley Rust Gray's gorgeously photographed, poetic reverie on the hazy boundary between friendship and love.
"Facing Ali" - Three-time World Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali defeated almost every top fighter of the golden age of boxing and symbolized the sport for generations of fans. Now, ten of his acclaimed rivals pay tribute to perhaps the world's most beloved and inspiring athlete in Facing Ali, Pete McCormack's enthralling new documentary.
"Humpday" - In Lynn Shelton's riotous film, Ben and Anna (Mark Duplass and Alycia Delmore) find their domestic routine--and their trust in each other--abruptly shaken when a wild pal dares Ben to enter Seattle's annual porn contest, Humpfest, with him.
"The Hurt Locker" - Defusing bombs in Iraq, Sergeant Will James (Jeremy Renner) grows increasingly addicted to danger in this suspenseful action thriller from director Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days, Point Break).
"The Maid" - The ornery maid of a wealthy Chilean household (played by the exceptional Catalina Saavedra) dispatches any threat of competition with passive-aggressive ingenuity in this riotous, perceptive, and acclaimed new film by Sebastian Silva.
"The Messenger" - In the gripping directorial debut of acclaimed screenwriter Oren Moverman (I'm Not There), a young soldier returns from Iraq to his toughest assignment yet: joining Tony (Woody Harrelson) in notifying families--from Samantha Morton to Steve Buscemi--when their loved ones die in the line of fire.
"Racing Dreams" - Kids of all ages will flip for Marshall Curry's rousing documentary about three competitive racers competing in the World Karting Association's National Pavement Series. Clocking speeds up to 70 mph, Brandon Warren (age 13), Annabeth Barnes (age 12), and Joshua Hobson (age 12) chase the National Championship title, aspiring to careers as death-defying NASCAR drivers.
"The Reckoning" - Documentarian Pamela Yates follows dynamic International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo for three years and across four continents as he issues arrest warrants for Resistance Army leaders in Uganda, puts Congolese warlords on trial, and charges Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur.
"Serious Moonlight" - High-powered lawyer Louise (Meg Ryan) resorts to desperate measures when her husband Ian (Timothy Hutton) decides to leave: she takes him hostage in this surprising comedy, directed by Cheryl Hines from the last script by Adrienne Shelly (Waitress).
"Still Walking" - Voted critics favorite at the Toronto Film Festival, this brilliant, closely observed new film from auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda (Nobody Knows) unfolds over a single day, as a traditional Japanese family reunites on the fifteenth anniversary of their son's death.
"The Way We Get By" - In a small Maine airport, strength and inspiration are given and received in equal measure.as group of senior citizens use hugs and handshakes to play a critical role in the Iraq war. Since 2003, nearly one million soldiers and marines from across the country have been greeted by seniors like Bill Knight, Joan Gaudet, and Jerry Mundy, who share their candid, wrenching stories.
"Year One" - Jack Black and Michael Cera star as lazy primitives on a hilarious journey in this riotous film from producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin)and legendary writer/director Harold Ramis (Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Meatballs, Caddyshack).