2023 Nantucket Film Festival early lineup includes ‘Elemental,’ ‘The Pod Generation,’ ‘You Hurt My Feelings’
The Nantucket Film Festival, presented by Bank of America (NFF), announced today its first selection of films, Signature Programs, and a slew of additional artists for the 28th annual edition, which will run from June 21-26, 2023, including Disney/Pixar’s Elemental, Sophie Barthes’s The Pod Generation starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Emilia Clarke, Christian Petzold’s Afire, Problemista from Julio Torres and starring Tilda Swinton, and A24’s You Hurt My Feelings, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, who will be accepting the Screenwriters Tribute Award at this year’s festival.
NFF will return to the Dreamland Theater, the ‘Sconset Casino, and the White Heron Theatre this year to celebrate the diversity of human experience through the art of screenwriting and storytelling. The festival will also launch the inaugural Maria Mitchell Visionary Award, honoring a female filmmaker who pushes innovative boundaries within the arts. This award joins the other honors given by the Festival, including the Adrienne Shelly Award and the Tony Cox Awards for screenwriting.
For the first time, the festival will screen four Opening Day Films on Wednesday, June 21st, highlighting one film each from the narrative, documentary, family, and Green Carpet Cinema categories. For the twelfth year NFF will screen a Disney and Pixar film on opening day. This year the festival will showcase the anticipated animated family feature, Elemental, directed by Peter Sohn, with a screenplay by John Hoberg & Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh and story by Peter Sohn, John Hoberg & Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh. This all-new, original feature film is set in Element City, where fire-, water-, land-, and air-residents live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted, and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in and the person she wants to be. Additional Opening Day Films include two documentary features, Joan Baez I Am a Noise, by Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky, and Maeve O’Boyle, following legendary folk singer/activist Joan Baez, facing the end of a 60-year musical career, as she takes an honest look back and a deep look inward, with film subject Joan Baez in attendance; and Patrick and the Whale, also screening as part of Green Carpet Cinema, directed by Mark Fletcher, which is the inspiring and engaging tale of diver Patrick Dykstra and a sperm whale named Dolores. The fourth Opening Day Film is Roadside Attractions’ narrative feature The Pod Generation, written and directed by Sophie Barthes, and starring Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor, which takes place in the not-so-distant future, amid a society madly in love with technology, when a tech giant offers couples the opportunity to share their pregnancies via detachable artificial wombs.
Jules, directed by Marc Turtletaub and written by Gavin Steckler, will screen as the Closing Night film. Starring Sir Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, and Jane Curtin, Jules follows the story of an elderly man in a small town who receives an unexpected visitor, completely upending his life and the lives of two women in his community.
Narrative features include Sideshow and Janus Films’ Afire, written and directed by Christian Petzold; Bad Behaviour, written and directed by Alice Englert; Roadside Attractions’ Dreamin’ Wild, written and directed by Bill Pohlad; A24’s Earth Mama, written and directed by Savanah Leaf; Fairyland, written and directed by Andrew Durham; Kino Lorber’s Final Cut, written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius; Girl, written and directed by Adura Onashile; Bleecker Street’s The Lesson, directed by Alice Troughton and written by Alex MacKeith; Sony Pictures Classics’ A Little Prayer, written and directed by Angus MacLachlan; Music Box Films’ My Sailor, My Love directed by Klaus Härö and written by Jimmy Karlsson and Kirsi Vikman; A24’s Problemista, written and directed by Julio Torres who will be in attendance; Kino Lorber’s Scrapper, written and directed by Charlotte Regan; and A24’s You Hurt My Feelings, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener, who will be accepting the Screenwriters Tribute Award at this year’s festival.
Documentary features include After the Bite, directed by Ivy Meeropol; Netflix’s The Deepest Breath, directed by Laura McGann; The Disappearance of Shere Hite, directed by Nicole Newnham; Food and Country, directed by Laura Gabbert; Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project, directed by Joe Brewster and Michele Stephenson; Going Varsity in Mariachi, directed by Alejandra Vasquez and Sam Osborn; Hail to the Breadsticks!, directed by Donick Cary; Utopia’s Hung Up on a Dream, directed by Robert Schwartzman; Invisible Beauty, directed by Bethann Hardison and Frédéric Tcheng; Hulu/Onyx Collective’s The Lady Bird Diaries, directed by Dawn Porter; Pianoforte, directed by Jakub Piątek; and Netflix’s The Saint of Second Chances, directed by past NFF Documentary Storytelling Award-winner Morgan Neville and Jeff Malmberg.
New this year, the festival will launch the Maria Mitchell Visionary Award. Named after the Nantucket native who was the first woman inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, this award will be given to a female filmmaker who stretches innovative boundaries. The recipient of the award will be announced during the festival and will receive a $5,000 grant and an engraved telescope designed by Nantucket jeweler Anna Jay. The award was created in partnership with The Maria Mitchell Association. It joins longtime festival honors, including the Adrienne Shelly Award, named in honor of the late actor and director, which also comes with a $5,000 grant, and the Tony Cox Screenplay Competition Awards named for the industry executive and early supporter of the power of storytelling in television writing.
“The Maria Mitchell Association is thrilled to partner with The NFF on creating the Maria Mitchell Visionary Award – to honor a female filmmaker, writer, producer who is conducting visionary work in their field,” said Joanna Roche, Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association. “Maria Mitchell was the first female admitted to the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1848 for her discovery of a comet here on Nantucket. We honor her legacy and hope to help other young women to be recognized.”
Signature and additional programming to be announced in the upcoming weeks. Bank of America joins as a Presenting Sponsor of the festival. The festival is also supported by longtime partner White Elephant Resorts as Major Sponsor; A&E IndieFilms and Delta Air Lines, as Signature Sponsors; Douglas Elliman, The Inquirer and Mirror, and WB Mason as Producing Sponsors. NFF is the recipient of the Mass Cultural Council Recovery Grant.
The 28th Annual Nantucket Film Festival runs from June 21-26, 2023. Festival passes are currently on sale now, and ticket packages will go on sale today April 26th at noon on the festival’s website (www.nantucketfilmfestival.org).
OPENING DAY FILMS
Director: Peter Sohn
Screenplay: John Hoberg & Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh
Story: Peter Sohn, John Hoberg & Kat Likkel and Brenda Hsueh
Producer: Denise Ream
Disney and Pixar’s Elemental is an all-new, original feature film set in Element City, where fire-, water-, land-, and air-residents live together. The story introduces Ember, a tough, quick-witted, and fiery young woman, whose friendship with a fun, sappy, go-with-the-flow guy named Wade challenges her beliefs about the world they live in and the person she wants to be.
JOAN BAEZ I AM A NOISE
Directors: Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky, Maeve O’Boyle
Producers: Karen O’Connor, Miri Navasky
Facing the end of a 60-year musical career, legendary folk singer/activist Joan Baez takes an honest look back and a deep look inward as she tries to make sense of her large history-making life and reveals, for the first time, personal struggles she’s kept private until now. Joan Baez in attendance.
PATRICK AND THE WHALE
Documentary Feature, Green Carpet Cinema
Director: Mark Fletcher
Producers: Walter Köhler, Wolfgang Knöpfler
An inspiring and engaging tale of diver Patrick Dykstra and a sperm whale named Dolores.
THE POD GENERATION
Writer/Director: Sophie Barthes
Producers: Geneviève Lemal, Yann Zenou, Nadia Kamlichi, Martin Metz
In a not-so-distant future, amid a society madly in love with technology, tech giant Pegazus offers couples the opportunity to share their pregnancies via detachable artificial wombs or pods. And so begins Rachel and Alvy’s wild ride to parenthood in this brave new world. Featuring Emilia Clarke and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Winner: Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, Sundance Film Festival.
CLOSING NIGHT FILM
Director: Marc Turtletaub
Writer: Gavin Steckler
Producers: Marc Turtletaub, Michael Clark, Alex Turtletaub, Debbie Liebling, Andrew Daly
Milton is becoming more forgetful and isolated with age, but when a UFO crash lands in his backyard, he discovers a new purpose as he and his two neighbors are brought together in this unexpected and humorous tale of human connection. Featuring Sir Ben Kingsley, Harriet Sansom Harris, and Jane Curtin.
FEATURE FILM PROGRAM
Writer/Director: Christian Petzold
Producers: Florian Koerner von Gustorf, Michael Weber, Anton Kaiser
Four young people come together, friends old and new. As the parched forests around them begin to ignite, so do their emotions. Winner: Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize, Berlin International Film Festival.
AFTER THE BITE
Documentary Feature, Green Carpet Cinema
Director: Ivy Meeropol
Producers: Xan Parker, Ivy Meeropol
A shark fatality on Cape Cod forces local lifeguards, fishermen, surfers, scientists and citizens to confront dramatic changes to their environment and way of life.
Writer/Director: Alice Englert
Producers: Molly Hallam, Desray Armstrong
Lucy, a former child actor, seeks enlightenment at a retreat led by spiritual leader Elon while she navigates her close yet turbulent relationship with her stunt-performer daughter, Dylan. Featuring Jennifer Connelly, Ben Whishaw, and Alice Englert.
THE DEEPEST BREATH
Documentary Feature, Green Carpet Cinema
Director: Laura McGann
Producers: John Battsek, Sarah Thomson, Jamie D’Alton, Anne McLoughlin
A champion freediver and expert safety diver seemed destined for one another despite the different paths they took to meet at the pinnacle of the freediving world. A look at the thrilling rewards — and inescapable risks — of chasing dreams through the depths of the ocean.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE
Director: Nicole Newnham
Producers: Nicole Newnham, Molly O’Brien, R.J. Cutler, Elise Pearlstein, Kimberley Ferdinando, Trevor Smith
Shere Hite’s 1976 bestseller, The Hite Report, liberated the female orgasm by revealing the most private experiences of thousands of anonymous women. Her findings rocked the establishment and presaged current conversations about gender, sexuality, and bodily autonomy. So how did Shere Hite disappear? Narrated by Dakota Johnson.
Writer/Director: Bill Pohlad
Producers: Bill Pohlad, Kim Roth, Jim Burke, Karl Spoerri, Viviana Vezzani, Christa Zofcin Workman, Dan Clifton, Steven Snyder, Tobias Gutzwiller
Thirty years after making an LP that sank without a trace, a record label wants to reissue Don and Joe Emerson’s teenage tracks, rekindling the siblings’ ambitions and competitiveness. Featuring Casey Affleck, Zooey Deschanel, Chris Messina, Jack Dylan Grazer, Walton Goggins, and Beau Bridges.
Writer/Director: Savanah Leaf
Producers: Cody Ryder, Shirley O’Connor, Medb Riordan, Sam Bisbee, Savanah Leaf
A pregnant single mother with two children in foster care embraces her Bay Area community as she fights to reclaim her family. Featuring Tia Nomore, Erika Alexander, and Doechii.
Writer/Director: Andrew Durham
Producers: Sofia Coppola, Andrew Durham, Megan Carlson, Siena Oberman, Greg Lauritano, Laure Sudreau
Set against the backdrop of San Francisco’s vibrant cultural scene in the 1970s and ’80s, a chronicle of a father-daughter relationship as it evolves from an era of bohemian decadence to the heartbreaking AIDS crisis. Based on the best-selling memoir Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father by Alysia Abbott. Featuring Scoot McNairy, Emilia Jones, and Geena Davis.
Writer/Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Producers: John Penotti, Noëmie Devide, Alain de la Mata, Brahim Chioua, Michel Hazanavicius, Vincent Maraval
Things go badly for a small film crew shooting a low-budget zombie movie when they are attacked by real zombies… but all is not what it seems. Featuring Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo.
FOOD AND COUNTRY
Documentary Feature, Green Carpet Cinema
Director: Laura Gabbert
Producers: Laura Gabbert, Ruth Reichl, Paula P. Manzanedo, Caroline Libresco, Lisa Remington
Worried for the survival of small independent farmers, ranchers, and chefs, trailblazing food writer Ruth Reichl reaches out across political and social divides to uncover the country’s broken food system and the innovators risking it all to transform it.
Writer/Director: Adura Onashile
Producers: Rosie Crerar, Ciara Barry
Eleven-year-old Ama and her mother, Grace, take solace in the gentle but isolated world they obsessively create. Ama’s growing up threatens the boundaries of their tenderness and forces Grace to reckon with a past she struggles to forget. Featuring Déborah Lukumuena, Danny Sapani, and Le’Shantey Bonsu.
GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT
Directors: Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson
Producers: Joe Brewster, Michele Stephenson, Tommy Oliver
Intimate vérité, archival footage, and visually innovative treatments of poetry take us on a journey through time and space to reveal the enduring influence of one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators. Winner: US Documentary Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival.
GOING VARSITY IN MARIACHI
Directors: Alejandra Vasquez, Sam Osborn
Producers: James Lawler, Luis A. Miranda Jr., Julia Pontecorvo
Under the guidance of Coach Abel Acuña, the teenage captains of Edinburg North High School’s mariachi team must turn a shoestring budget and squad of inexperienced musicians into state champions. Winner: US Documentary Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award, Sundance Film Festival.
HAIL TO THE BREADSTICKS!
Director: Donick Cary
Producers: Joshua Neuman, Stevie Salas
A father and son embark on a cross-country journey to educate themselves about Native Americans after learning the name of their favorite football team is problematic.
HUNG UP ON A DREAM
Director: Robert Schwartzman
Producers: Russell Wayne Groves, Robert Schwartzman
British Invasion icons The Zombies reflect on paving 60 years and counting of their musical path from teenage friends to legends in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Directors: Bethann Hardison, Frédéric Tcheng
Producer: Lisa Cortés
Fashion revolutionary Bethann Hardison looks back on her journey as a pioneering Black model, modeling agent, and activist, shining a light on an untold chapter in the fight for racial diversity.
THE LADY BIRD DIARIES
Director: Dawn Porter
Producer: Kim Reynolds
Lady Bird Johnson’s audio diaries tell the story of one of the most influential and least understood First Ladies in history. Winner: Louis Black “Lone Star” Award, SXSW Film Festival.
Director: Alice Troughton
Writer: Alex MacKeith
Producers: Camille Gatin, Cassandra Sigsgaard, Judy Tossell, Fabien Westerhoff
An aspiring young writer accepts a tutoring position at the family estate of his idol. Soon, he becomes ensnared in a web of family secrets. Featuring Richard E. Grant, Julie Delpy, and Daryl McCormack.
A LITTLE PRAYER
Writer/Director: Angus MacLachlan
Producers: Angus Maclachlan, Lauren Vilchik, Max A. Butler
In the South, a man tests the limits of patriarchal interference to protect his daughter-in-law when he discovers that his son is having an affair. Featuring David Strathairn, Jane Levy, Celia Weston, and Anna Camp.
MY SAILOR, MY LOVE
Director: Klaus Härö
Writers: Jimmy Karlsson, Kirsi Vikman
Producers: Kai Nordberg, Kaarle Aho, David Collins
A retired sea captain and his daughter must reassess their strained relationship after he begins a new romance with a widowed housekeeper. Featuring James Cosmo, Brid Brennan, Catherine Walker, and Nora-Jane Noone. Winner: Audience Award, Chicago International Film Festival. Featuring any cast?
Director: Jakub Piątek
Producer: Maciej Kubicki
An intimate coming of age portrait of young pianists taking part in the legendary International Chopin Piano Competition. A unique chance of a lifetime, portrayed from backstage and set to Chopin’s music.
Writer/Director: Julio Torres
Producers: Julio Torres, Dave McCary, Ali Herting, Emma Stone
Alejandro is an aspiring toy designer from El Salvador, struggling to bring his unusual ideas to life in New York City. As time on his work visa runs out, a job assisting an erratic art-world outcast becomes his only hope to stay in the country and realize his dream. Featuring Julio Torres, Tilda Swinton, and RZA. Julio Torres in attendance.
THE SAINT OF SECOND CHANCES
Directors: Morgan Neville, Jeff Malmberg
Producers: Danny Breen, Morgan Neville, Jon Berg
The wild tale of the Veecks, the unlikely baseball dynasty that cares about one thing above all else… fun. But after Mike Veeck blows up his legendary father’s career with Disco Demolition Night, he’s kicked out of the game he loves and spends the next few decades learning the value of a second chance.
Writer/Director: Charlotte Regan
Producer: Theo Barrowclough
Jason returns from his life in Ibiza to live with his 12 year-old daughter, whom he has never previously met, after her mother Olivia dies. Featuring Harris Dickinson and Lola Campbell. Winner: World Cinema Dramatic Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival.
YOU HURT MY FEELINGS
Writer/Director: Nicole Holofcener
Producers: Anthony Bregman, Stefanie Azpiazu, Nicole Holofcener, Julia Louis-Dreyfus
A novelist’s long-standing marriage is suddenly upended when she overhears her husband giving his honest reaction to her latest book. Featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tobias Menzies, Michaela Watkins, Owen Teague, David Cross and Amber Tamblyn.
SHORTS PROGRAMS at NFF 2023
NARRATIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: LINE OF SIGHT
Stories that approach life from different perspectives.
REFRAME (Writer/Director: Michael Yuchen Lei | Producers: David Kim, Jeffrey Dinghua Lei, Michael Yuchen Lei)
OUT OF WATER (Writer/Director/Producer: Madi Stine)
BIENVENIDOS A LOS ÁNGELES (Writer/Director: Lisa Cole | Producers: Lisa Cole, Vivian Johnson, Cindy Lu, Ben O’Keefe, Jolene Mendes, Lolia Etomi)
SOIL (Writer/Director: Sam Lembeck | Adam Bradshaw, Vero Shamo-Garcia, Natalie Lembeck)
BREAKING FAST WITH A COCA-COLA (Writer/Director: Amy Omar | Producers: Jordan Hart, Karine Benzaria, Amy Omar)
MAILMAN (Writer/Director: Nicholas Pelacanos | Producers: Ginny Grenham, Christine Kohler, Nick G. Pelecanos)
NARRATIVE SHORTS PROGRAM: AIN’T LIFE FUNNY?
Comedic tales about the ups and downs of life.
STARVING (Writer: Micah Cohen, Matthew McMullen | Director: Bobby Louise & Brig | Producers: Bobby Louise, Matthew Mullen)
MAHOGANY DRIVE (Writer: James III, James Carr, Jonathan Braylock, Jerah Milligan | Director: Jerah Milligan | Producers: Jerah Milligan, Blaine Morris), James Carr), Andrew Carlberg)
HIT FRIENDS (Writer/Director: Daniel Rashid | Producers: Sterling Jones, Daniel Rashid), Elizabeth Valenti, Melissa Ganzi)
WHEEL (Writer: Thea Lux | Director: Honora Talbott | Producer: Thea Lux)
THE BREAKTHROUGH (Writer/Director: Daniel Sinclair | Producers: Kate Chamuris, Valerie Steinberg)
THE SINGLES RETREAT (Writer/Director: Jo Firestone | Producer: Harris Mayersohn)
DOCUMENTARY SHORTS PROGRAM: WHO WE ARE: PAST & PRESENT
Stories about personal and communal histories and their impact on the present.
BLACK GIRLS PLAY: THE STORY OF HAND GAMES (Directors/Producers: Joe Brewster, Michéle Stephenson)
BELOW SURFACE (Director: Lukas Hauser | Producer: Judith Bookbinder, Sam McConnell)
NINA & IRENA (Director/Producer: Daniel Lombroso)
BETWEEN EARTH & SKY (Director: Andrew Nadkarni | Producers: Andrew Nadkarni, Swetha Regunathan, Katie Schiller)
Tales for our youngest audience members (suitable for ages 5-10)
NO DOGS ALLOWED (Writer/Director/Producer: Kane Keenan Pilapil)
SWING TO THE MOON (Writers/Directors: Marie Bordessoule, Adriana Bouissie, Nadine de Boer, Elisa Drique, Chloé Lauzu, Vincent Levrero, Solenne Moreau | Producer: ESMA)
PETE (Writers: Bret Parker, Pete Barma | Director: Bret Parker | Producers: Pete Barma, Jake Kaplan)
POLAIRE (Writers/Directors: Laura Al Bayati, Sélène Bentz, Sara Briand, Alice Hobadam, Leonis Levy, Fanny Martin, Morgane Michel | Producer: ESMA)
PAOLO’S HAPPINESS (Writers: Thorsten Droessler, Sandra Luchsinger | Directors: Thorsten
Droessler, Manuel Schroeder | Producers: Grit Wisskirchen, Sereina Gabathuler, Alena Vandasova)
SOUND OF LIGHT (Writers/Directors: Julia De Araujo, Coline Fagot, Marine Hubo, Laura Lucinus, Remer Alice, Renaud Lisa, Mangeot Chloé | Producer: ESMA)
A NATURAL FORCE (Writer/Director/Producer: Gordon LePage)
GHOST SHEEP (Writers/Directors: Pauline Boutelliez, Mathilde Faugeras, Juliette Navarro, Noémie Paul, Clara Radouant, Eve Ramet, Jérôme Tortet, Théo Wagner | Producer: ESMA)
PHAO (Writers/Directors: Lisa Campi, Capucine Weissenfels, Nicolas Dequiedt, Carl Helman, Dorian Loubierres, Lucien Rodier, Léah Roubin | Producer: ESMA)
MALACABRA (Writers/Directors: Marylou Bort, Mathilde Bourges, Hugo Florin, Jeremy Guibert, Valentine Miniot, Vincent Nogues, Axel Prukop, Pierre Segonds | Producer: ESMA)
RACHEL (Director: Toko Shiiki | Producer: Donald Harrison)
SHORTS BEFORE FEATURES
A selection of shorts paired to screen alongside feature programming
CARL’S DATE (Writer/Director: Bob Peterson, Producer: Kim Collins, Voice Cast: Ed Asner, Bob Peterson)
HOW TO COPE WITH YOUR TEAM CHANGING ITS NATIVE AMERICAN MASCOT (Writer/Director/Producer: Joey Clift)
6 THINGS YOU DIDN’T LEARN ABOUT NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLE IN HIGH SCHOOL (Writer/Director/Producer: Joey Clift)
THE OTTISONS: A TRUE NANTUCKET STORY (Director: Laura Cunningham, Producer: Nantucket Land Bank)
COSKATA-COATUE: A REFUGE ON THE EDGE (Director: Laura Cunningham, Producer: Nantucket Conservation Foundation)