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16th Nantucket Film Festival Releases Lineup, Openers and Closer

16th Nantucket Film Festival Releases Lineup, Openers and Closer

The 16th Annual Nantucket Film Festival has announced its lineup of 55 films. It will open with John Lasseter’s “Cars 2” and the documentary “Buck” and close with Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut “Higher Ground.”

It will also feature a screenwriting tribute to Paul Haggis as well as a screenwriting award for “Cars 2” scribe Ben Queen.

Additional highlights will include the Late Night Storytelling program, the All-Star Comedy Roundtable with Ben Stiller and a daily panel entitled “Morning Coffee With…”

Finally, the festival will feature an emphasis on education. “Helping students cultivate an interest in storytelling through film is an important part of our mission,” said artistic director Mystelle Brabbée. “NFF attracts some of the most talented storytellers from around the world, and the students get to work with them in creating their own short films.”

The festival will run June 22-26 in Nantucket.

Below is a full list of films, with Information and credits provided by the festival.

“Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey”
Director: Constance Marks (co-director: Philip Shane)
Beloved by children of all ages around the world, Elmo is an international icon. Few people know his creator, Kevin Clash, who dreamed of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey” offers a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop. Winner of the Special Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Benavides Born”
Writer/Director: Amy Wendel
Welcome to Benavides, Texas, where petite girls can deadlift 280 pounds, military recruiters roam high school halls, and a patriotic Mexican-American community that has been there since before it was Texas struggles with an economy literally collapsing around it. Luz Garcia wants out, and powerlifting is her ticket. It’s all or nothing for her… until nothing stares her in the face.

“Beyond the Road”
Writer/Director: Charly Braun
Santiago, a 30-year-old Argentinean, travels to Uruguay searching for a piece of land inherited from his parents who were tragically killed in an accident a few years earlier. On his arrival in Montevideo he meets Juliette, a young Belgian searching for an old love. He offers her a ride, and on the way they develop a relationship of growing affect. When they arrive in Punta del Este, however, the glamorous universe of the seaside town stands between them.

“Bobby Fischer Against the World”
Director: Liz Garbus
Using the narrative tension of the 1972 match between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer, this documentary explores the nature of genius, madness, and the game of chess itself. “Bobby Fischer Against the World” tells the stranger-than-fiction story of the rise and fall of an American icon.

“Buck” (Opening Night Film)
Director: Cindy Meehl
“Buck,” a richly textured and visually stunning film, follows Buck Brannaman from his abusive childhood to his phenomenally successful approach to horses. A real life “horse-whisperer”, he eschews the violence of his upbringing and teaches people to communicate with horses through leadership and sensitivity, not punishment. Buck possesses near magical abilities as he dramatically transforms horses – and people – with his understanding, compassion and respect. In this film, the animal-human relationship becomes a metaphor for facing the daily challenges of life. A truly American story about an unsung hero, Buck is about an
ordinary man who has made an extraordinary life despite tremendous odds.

“Cars 2” (Opening Night Film)
Director: John Lassetter
Star racecar Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and the incomparable tow truck Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) take their friendship to exciting new places in “Cars 2” when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world’s fastest car. But the road to the championship is filled with plenty of potholes, detours and hilarious surprises when Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage. Mater finds himself torn between assisting Lightning McQueen in the high-profile race and towing the line in a top-secret mission orchestrated by master British super spy Finn McMissile (voice of Michael Caine) and the stunning rookie field spy Holley Shiftwell (voice of Emily Mortimer). Mater’s action-packed journey leads him on an explosive chase through the streets of
Japan and Europe, trailed by his friends and watched by the whole world. The fast-paced fun includes a colorful new all-car cast, complete with menacing villains and international racing competitors.

Director: Maryam Keshavarz
A tale of love and family upended by obsession and suspicion, “Circumstance” is also a provocative coming-of-age story that cracks open the hidden world of Iranian youth culture. The film explores a modern Iran rarely seen by outsiders, an exhilarating, invisible realm of illicit parties where young hipsters risk arrest, and their futures. In this world, two vivacious teenage girls take risks every day to lead their own lives.

Writer/Director: Tiffany Shlain
An exhilarating stream-of-consciousness ride through the interconnectedness of humankind, nature, progress and morality at the dawn of the 21st century. With insight, curiosity and humor, the film weaves both a personal and global story about interdependence. For centuries people have been declaring independence; this film asks if perhaps it’s time to declare interdependence instead.

“Donor Unknown”
Director: Jerry Rothwell
JoEllen has always known her family ‘wasn’t like other families’. She grew up in Pennsylvania with two mothers, and a burning curiosity to know more about her anonymous sperm donor father she only knows as Donor 150. When she discovers an online registry that connects donor-conceived children, she manages to track down over 12 half-siblings across the USA.

“Five Days Gone”
Writer/Director: Anna Kerrigan
After her father passes away, Camden discovers she has an illegitimate half sister: Alice. The two couldn’t be more different; but Camden is confident that the two of them are destined to be great friends. Alice on the other hand, is not quite convinced. In an effort to bond, the sisters and their significant others take a trip to Lionshead, the family estate in Massachusetts where tensions build and ultimately explode.

Writer/Director: Pamela Yates
The five main characters whose destinies collide in “Granito” are connected by the war-torn Guatemala of 1982, when a genocidal campaign by the military exterminated nearly 200,000 Maya people. The five sift for clues buried in archives and historical memory, and become integral to the overarching narrative of wrongs done and justice sought pieced together by each of them adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale.

“Happy, Happy”
Director: Anne Sewitsky
Kaja is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting and refuses to have sex with her because she “isn’t particularly attractive” anymore. But when “the perfect couple” moves in next door, Kaja struggles to keep her emotions in check. These new neighbors open a new world with consequences for everyone involved. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Higher Ground” (Closing Night Film)
Director: Vera Farmiga
Starring and directed by Vera Farmiga, the film follows one woman’s spiritual journey as she joins a small fundamentalist community where she finds meaning and stability. But some of its more conservative tenets leave her unsettled, driving her into a profound crisis of faith that turns her world upside down.

“Hot Coffee”
Director: Susan Saladoff
Stella Liebeck’s personal legal battle over a spilled McDonald’s cup of coffee serves as a springboard into understanding the American civil system. Since Stella’s fateful day, big business has brewed a dangerous concoction of manipulation, distortions and outright lies to protect corporate interest. “Hot Coffee” show our audience that many of their long-held beliefs about our civil justice system have been paid for by corporate America.

“The Last Rites of Joe May”
Writer/Director: Joe Maggio
Featuring a powerful performance by Dennis Farina and the full impact of Chicago’s urban landscape, “The Last Rites of Joe May” chronicles the final days of an aging short-money hustler who has always believed that a glorious destiny awaits him around every corner. Now in his sixties, his health failing and resources dwindling, May is presented with one last shot at greatness when a single mother suggests they share the apartment.

“Life in a Day”
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Producers of “Life in a Day” enlisted the global community to capture a moment of their lives on camera on a single day and the world responded by submitting more than 80,000 videos, creating a unique experience that shows, in beautiful, humorous, and joyful honesty, what it’s like to be alive on earth today.

“The Lie”
Writer/Director: Joshua Leonard
A candid portrait of a young idealist couple forced to settle down after the birth of their baby. Drowning in an unfulfilling job, Lonnie decides he needs some time off and calls in sick. When his abusive boss demands he shows up or get fired, Lonnie tells a shocking lie to justify his absence – and once the lie is out, there is no going back.

“Mia and the Migoo”
Writer/Director: Jacques-Rémy Girard
Mia sets out on a journey to search for her father, who has been trapped in a landslide at a construction site on a remote tropical lake. In the middle of the lake stands the ancient Tree of Life, watched over the Migoo. It is the Migoo who have been disrupting the construction to protect this sacred site. Created from 500,000 gorgeous hand-painted frames of animation, “Mia and the Migoo” is a breathtaking work of art.

“Mozart’s Sister”
Writer/Director: René Féret
A delightful period drama, “Mozart’s Sister” paints a detailed portrait of the traveling players and a speculative account of Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart teenage years from 1759 to 1762. A musical prodigy in her own right, Nannerl has given way to Wolfgang as the main attraction, as their strict but loving father Leopold tours his talented offspring in front of the royal courts of pre-French revolution Europe.

“The Names of Love”
Writer/Director: Michel Leclerc
An intelligent and charming romantic comedy about two very different people and the dysfunctional families they hail from. A beautiful young free spirit, Baya is so passionate about progressive causes that she uses the force of her sexual appeal to convert misguided right-wing men to her political positions. So far she has achieved exceptional results until she meets an uptight middle aged, middle- of-the road scientist.

“Nantucket by Nature”
Director: Kit Noble
Featuring never-before-seen images of grace and beauty, “Nantucket by Nature” provides an extraordinary four-season glimpse of the splendors of the Island.Supported by a stirring and poignant score recorded by local musicians, the film is a remarkable chronicle of the Island in all its grace and glory.

“On the Ice”
Director: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean
On the snow-covered Arctic tundra, at the top of the world in Barrow, Alaska, two teenagers try to get away with murder. The boys stumble through guilt-fueled days, avoiding the suspicions of their community as they weave a web of deceit. With their future in the balance, they are forced to explore the limits of friendship and honor. Winner of the Crystal Bear for Best Film in the Generations Section and Best First Feature Award at the Berlin Film Festival.

“One Lucky Elephant”
Writer/Director: Lisa Leeman
When Flora the elephant loses her zest for performing, Circus Flora’s producer, David Balding, goes on a journey of mammoth proportions to find her a new home, revealing the unintended consequences of raising a wild animal in captivity. Caught between the human and animal world, Flora epitomizes the harsh reality elephants face in our expanding man-made world.

“The Other F Word”
Director: Andrea Blaugrund Nevins
Featuring a large chorus of punk rock’s leading men — Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against — this wise and insightful portrayal of fatherhood explores what happens when a generation’s ultimate anti-authority figures become society’s ultimate authorities.

“Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times”
Writer/Director: Andrew Rossi
With the Internet surpassing print as our main news source, newspapers going bankrupt, and outlets focusing on content they claim audiences (or is it advertisers?) want, Page One chronicles the media industry’s transformation and assesses the high stakes for democracy if in-depth investigative reporting becomes extinct.

“Point Blank”
Writer/Director: Fred Cavayé
A riveting thriller, “Point Blank” follows Samuel as he races against time to save his delicate pregnant wife. A nurse-in-training at a hospital, Samuel spots someone threatening a patient. He goes by the book and confronts the intruder, saves the wounded man, and reports the incident to the authorities. But Samuel’s world is turned upside down when the dangerous criminal behind the attempted murder kidnaps Samuel’s wife.
Paris provides a magnificent backdrop to the action as Samuel dodges rival gangsters and trigger-happy police to save the lives of his wife and unborn child.

Director: Asif Kapadia
With a cinematic approach that makes full use of astounding footage, Senna follows the racing legend’s remarkable story, charting his physical and spiritual achievements on the track and off, his quest for perfection, and the mythical status he has since attained. The documentary spans his years as an F1 driver, from his opening season in 1984 to his untimely death a decade later.

Writer/Director: Richard Ayoade
Based on Joe Dunthorne’s acclaimed novel, “Submarine” is a captivating coming- of-age story with an offbeat edge. One boy must fight to save his mother from the advances of a mystic and simultaneously lure his eczema- strafed girlfriend in to the bedroom armed with only a wide vocabulary and near-total self-belief. His name is Oliver Tate.

Director: Azazel Jacobs
A moving and often funny film about the relationship between Terri, an oversized teen misfit and the garrulous but well-meaning vice principal, who reaches out to him, “Terri” is a film about the courage it takes to build relationships and the rewards of taking that sometimes terrifying leap.

“To Be Heard”
Directors: Edwin Martinez, Amy Sultan, Deborah Shaffer, Roland Legiardi-Laura
Intimately shot over four years, “To Be Heard” is the story of three teens from the South Bronx whose struggle to change their lives begins when they start to write poetry. As writing and reciting become vehicles for their expressions of love, friendship, frustration and hope, they emerge as accomplished self-aware artists, who use their creativity to alter their circumstances.

Writer/Director: Paddy Considine
The film follows the story of Hannah and Joseph, two lonely, damaged people brought together by circumstance. When the pair is brought together, Hannah appears as Joseph’s potential savior, but as the story develops and events spiral out of control, Joseph becomes her source of support and comfort.

Director: Marc H. Simon
Days before Bernie Madoff made headlines with his billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, respected Manhattan attorney Marc Dreier was arrested for orchestrating his own massive hedge fund fraud. Confined to his Upper East Side penthouse, Dreier allows Simon inside as he counts down the final days before his sentencing. An irresistible glimpse into the mind of a consummate trickster, “Unraveled” is a fascinating study of deception and downfall.

“We Still Live Here: Âs Nutayuneân”
Director: Anne Makepeace
Celebrated every Thanksgiving as “the Indians” who saved the Pilgrims, then largely forgotten, the Wampanoag of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, spurred on by their intrepid Wampanoag linguist and MacArthur honoree Jessie Little Doe Baird, are saying loud and clear, in their Native tongue, “Âs Nutayuneân,” – “We still live here.”

“When the Drum is Beating”
Director: Whitney Dow
A rhythmic meeting of music and history, “When the Drum Is Beating” brilliantly interweaves the stories of Haiti and its most celebrated band, Septentrional. With its distinctive fusion of Cuban big band rhythms and Haitian vodou beats, the 20- piece band has been around for more than six decades.

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