Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Small and Highly Desirable, Nantucket Film Festival Plays to its Strengths

By island standards, it was a startling sight for a Sunday afternoon: an endless queue that wrapped around the Nantucket High School for the Nantucket Film Festival's third annual All-Star Comedy Roundtable. "This is the longest line I've ever seen in Nantucket," marveled Los Angeles-based screenwriter Steven Fife as he drove up to the school, "and I've been coming here for years."
2
Small and Highly Desirable, Nantucket Film Festival Plays to its Strengths
Nantucket Film Festival executive director Colin Stanfield (left), with Kaitlin McLaughlin, artistic director Mystelle Brabbée, and J.C. Chandor. Photo by: Lawrence Akiya/Belugamedia

By island standards, it was a startling sight for a Sunday afternoon: an endless queue that wrapped around the Nantucket High School for the Nantucket Film Festival's third annual All-Star Comedy Roundtable. "This is the longest line I've ever seen in Nantucket," marveled Los Angeles-based screenwriter Steven Fife as he drove up to the school, "and I've been coming here for years."

Whether "here" meant Nantucket the film festival or the island was unclear and ultimately, irrelevant: In its 16th year, the NFF remains as much a part of its historic location as its weather-grayed clapboard shingles and cobblestone streets.

And, just as Nantucket residents are obliged to newly side their homes each year and grit their teeth as their cars' finely tuned suspensions bounce down Main Street, NFF attendees take the occasional annoyance in stride.

Yes, the roundtable was oversold. A program typo misstated a film's start time by a half hour. NBC's Brian Williams compared the quirky film-schedule layout to interpreting "a periodic table of the elements." And when "Cars 2" writer Ben Queen stepped on stage to accept his Nantucket Screenwriters Award Saturday evening, the the title card projection read Sreenwriter.

At Sundance, SXSW or Tribeca, those missteps could inspire an uprising. In Nantucket, the protests began and ended with Williams' tart but affectionate ribbing. Because, as Roundtable moderator Seth Myers might say: Really? You're in Nantucket.

And above all, this festival still feels like Nantucket. The festival's combination of small scale and a highly desirable audience has allowed it to pull off the neat trick of growing its base of tony sponsors (new this year: BMW and The Atlantic) and its audience (the festival broke its ticket-sales record) without a commensurate increase in bouncers and other gatekeepers.

Beyond the obvious charms of its location, the NFF means easy access -- to filmmakers like Vera Farmiga, Paul Haggis and J.C. Chandon; to supportive locals (and NFF board members) like Williams and Chris Matthews, who hosted events with the goodwill and enthusiasm usually reserved for national showcases; and of course to top titles from the festival circuit like "Buck," "Margin Call" and "Higher Ground." And if there's a prize for festival-sponsored libations, Nantucket took it with Scholium Project white wine and homemade strawberry-basil lime rickeys.

It also means a centerpiece like the Roundtable, which gave audiences the opportunity to witness -- in a high school auditorium! -- 90 minutes of good-natured and occasionally spiky sparring between Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Stiller, Colin Quinn and Aziz Ansari, with SNL head writer Seth Myers as moderator.

And because the programmers' primary is focus is bringing good films to Nantucket rather than chasing new ones, the festival reserves its biggest competition for screenplays (full disclosure: I was a juror this year, along with MOMA film curator Rajendra Roy and USA Today film reporter Susan Wloszczyna ). It's a smart bet: While premiere pickings are inherently slim in late June, the 14-year-old screenplay competition has a track record that includes "Cold Souls" (2006) and "Down to the Bone" (2002).

Another smart bet: At the close of the comedy roundtable, NFF board member Ben Stiller said, "We'll do this again next year."






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More