The 14th annual Nantucket Film Festival ended this past Sunday and I felt the usual ambivalence of sadness, joy and relief.Â I have attended 14 of 14, and as I get older, it gets more and more challenging to see films all day, party all night and not run my business into the ground.Â This year was the usual marathon:Â currentVintage co-sponsored the Opening Night party at the Chanticleer following â€œCold Soulsâ€ and people seemed to appreciate above-average party wine.
Late-Night Storytelling was wildly funny & bizarre as usual.Â I loved Cheryl Hineâ€™s story of hospitalization with no health insurance or pocket change on the eve of her transition to stardom via â€œCurb Your Enthusiasmâ€.Â I may never get over our local GYNâ€™s tale of a hit and run, and I delight in knowing that Ben Stiller took acid and lost his virginity on Nantucket (perhaps at the same time?).
The Tribute Event, honoring Harold Ramis, was larger than life, in that it featured the 40â€™ tall Ghostbusters Stay-puft marshmallow man outside the Sconset Casino.Â Brian Williams was side-splittingly funny as usual, which served as our annual reminder of how his talent is wasted on the nightly news.
Thereâ€™s really nothing better than being around passionate people and I think thatâ€™s why I love the NFF so much.Â Each morning, I drag myself to work at the crack of dawn so I can make it to theÂ â€œMorning Coffee with a writerâ€ panel at the Rose & Crown.Â It is such an amazing opportunity to drop in on the lives of people who are living their (usually far from glamorous) dream.Â There are filmmakers with hedgefund-blank-check-produced projects sitting next to some who financed their short on five credit cards and a loan from their parents.Â Both solemn and irreverent things are saidâ€¦Cherien Dabis told that the racism in â€œAmreekaâ€ was based on her own life experiences growing up in Ohio.Â John Shea, noting that only 6 out of 5400 film submissions to Sundance got distribution, suggested filmmakers be hearded into â€œthe coveâ€.Â Anne Meara said it was a great panel because no one brought up â€œvisionâ€ or â€œarcâ€.Â The writers and filmmakers meet each other, stories are shared, connections are made and the audience learns as well.
For years, this vicarious dream-living appealed to me because I was less than enchanted by my own work.Â Owning two casual, seasonal eateries with a zillion employees was grueling and ungratifying and I was completely fascinated by anyone in more creative pursuits, which generally included everyone at the Nantucket Film Festival.Â These days, I have a fabulous new business and Iâ€™m so creative I could drop, but I still love meeting inspired and inspiring people at the NFF each year, and this weekend they were present in large numbersâ€¦
Any brush with Ric Oâ€™Barry, Fisher Stevens, Louis Psiphoyos, party boy Charles Hambleton and the gang from â€œThe Coveâ€ was memorable.Â These guys are combination activists, evangelists and adrenaline junkies.Â They spent years and millions to expose the ugly Japanese dolphin industry, risking life and limb.Â Their mission evolved on the journey from saving ocean reefs to saving cetaceans (dolphins and whales) to a public health cry for mercury-awareness.Â Ricâ€™s passion and commitment to stop the dolphin slaughter in Taiji are palpable and contagious and will no doubt prevail with the help of the Cove team and the visceral reaction and inevitable action of every single person who sees the film.
â€œThe Messengerâ€ was another film that really moved me.Â An army story centered around casualty-notification starring Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson in powerful performances, it was quite depressing, but a little bit hopeful. I watched it back to back with â€œThe Coveâ€ and could hardly get out of my seat when it was over.Â The Stiller Family sat right behind me for the double feature and their enthusiasm and observations made for interesting Q&A discussions following both films.Â Thatâ€™s what I mean about passionâ€”the fact that Anne Meara, Jerry Stiller, Amy and Ben were still sitting in the Sconset Casino all afternoon on day 4 of the festival, after all that had gone before, was very cool indeed.
Marshmallow photos: Mai Norton