The Rabbi Reports: The Nantucket Film Festival, Part 1
by Mark Rabinowitz
For the three or four of you familiar with the journal of my trip to the 1996
South by Southwest Film Festival, don’t worry, I’ll spare you the overlong,
self-indulgent travel log this time. Suffice it to say that my day began at
6:30 am in East Hampton, NY and I arrive on the island of Nantucket at 7:15
pm, having missed 2 out of 4 ferries by a combined 4 minutes. Once it was
even my fault!
Anyway, I arrived and snagged a ride with Joe Grifasi (“Heavy“, “Matewan“) and
Matt Dawson who were both here to participate in the staged reading of Warren
Leight’s (“The Night We Never Met“) script, “Love-40“. As they were getting a ride in a two-seater Alfa Romeo Graduate, Matt and I sat on the trunk with
our feet behind the front seats. We rode through Nantucket waving to the
masses, feeling like we were on a Rose Parade float. Weird.
I got to my Bed & Breakfast (with an odd, unintentional side trip to Anne
Meara’s house) and was very happy with the digs that had been arranged for
me. My own bathroom, nice bed and 2 glasses and an ice bucket…..where’s the
From there it was on to the opening night party, with vittles provided by Mumm Champagne and Connoisseur Brands caviar. I of course missed the caviar.
Of course, had I arrived on time, they would’ve had to pry that little silver
spoon from my cold, dead fingers to get it away from me.
Saw some old friends- Greg Mottola (“The Daytrippers“), here as a judge in the
screenplay competition; Roland Legiardi-Laura (curator of the Fifth Night
reading series in New York and festival advisory board member);
director/producer R.J. Cutler (prod. “The War Room“, dir. “A Perfect Candidate“), and writer/director Dorne Pentes (“The Closest Thing to Heaven“), met some new ones
like Cybele Chivian, a fest employee who’s also an indieWIRE contributor.
Apparently, Marla Maples was at the bash, but I just didn’t feel like
hounding her for the ten bucks she owes me, so I never actually saw her. Also
present, actor/director/Nantucket festival mainstay and all-around indie film
fan, John Shea and his wife, fine arts photog Laura Pettibone.
This fest is shaping up to be a nice change from the hell of over-crowding
and poor screening conditions, or chaotic disorganization that other fests
(you guess!) have become. Everyone involved with the fest is more than
willing to help, and they seem to have boundless energy, actually caring
about people and <GASP!> the press. Nantucket is a beautilful place,
especially when you leave the wharf area where the stores that sell
whale-shaped jewlery boxes and harpoon refrigerator magnets. A small New
England village this is (albeit with a VERY upscale town center), and the
festival seems to have been infected with the good will that floats around
this place (even if there are a lot of Red Sox fans here). The lineup is a
solid, if veteran list of indies (“Hugo Pool“, “Star Maps“,”Colin Fitz“, “Sunday“)
along with a program of professionally cast staged screenplay readings, a
series of documentary shorts from the MSNBC series EDGEWISE, and even a
softball game on Friday.
Let’s see how the weekend shapes up, hunh? Maybe I’ll get to see a movie!