Film Festival Announces Awards

Waverly Brannigan •

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The 28th annual Nantucket Film Festival wrapped up over the weekend with the announcement of the 2023 festival winners, highlighting a wide variety of films exhibiting the work of many talented directors, writers, and actors.

NFF Audience Winners

The Narrative Feature Audience Award went to My Sailor, My Love, directed by Klaus Härö and written by Jimmy Karlsson and Kirsi Vikman. The film follows the relationship between a retired sea captain and his daughter when he begins a new romance with a widowed housekeeper.

Morgan Neville and Jeff Malmberg’s The Saint of Second Chances tied with Robert Schwartzman’s Hung Up on a Dream for the Documentary Feature Audience Award.

The short film Starving, directed by Bobby Louise and Brig and written by Micah Cohen and Matthew Mullen received the Narrative Short Film Audience Award. The film discusses the mental health impact of the increasing isolation people feel as their lives speed up.

The Documentary Short Film Audience Award went to The Ottisons: A True Nantucket Story directed by Laura Cunningham. In the film, the beloved Nantucket family paints a picture of their history through the lens of their unique property on the Creeks.

NFF’s Best of Fest

Pianoforte, directed by Jakub Piatek, and A Little Prayer, written and directed by Angus MacLachlan were among NFF’s Best of Fest selections. Pianoforte is a documentary that tells the once-in-a-lifetime story of young pianists taking part in the legendary International Chopin Piano Competition, and A Little Prayer is a drama about a man who tries to protect his daughter-in-law when he discovers that his son is cheating.

Tony Cox Screenplay Competition

The prestigious Tony Cox Screenplay Competition recognizes the best-unproduced screenplays and television pilots submitted to the festival by emerging writers. This year, Smoke as Directed by Greg Scharpf won top prize in the Feature Screenplay Category. This is a true story set in the '70s, following speechwriter Robert Randall as he accidentally discovers that marijuana lessens the effects of his glaucoma, and his subsequent battle with the DEA and FDA to advocate for the use of medicinal marijuana in America.

The 60-Minute Episodic Screenplay Competition went to The Current by Jenny Goddard-Garcia. This script revolves around sisters who join forces with a resistance group to attempt to stop the brainwashing signal taking over their home.

Wicked Bayou by Morgan Milender won the 30 Minute Episodic Screenplay Competition, where a family is banished to an off-the-grid swamp community after a viral TikTok accidentally outs their dad as a former Boston mobster.

The Short Screenplay Competition winner was Favors by Agnes Skonare Karlsson, which is about a stressed traveler who claims she’s been asked to watch a stranger’s baby in a busy train station but tries to get rid of the baby.

The Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award, which recognizes a female filmmaker and was named in honor of the late actor and director, went to Nicole Newnham for her film The Disappearance of Shere Hite, part of NFF’s documentary feature lineup this year.

The inaugural Maria Mitchell Visionary Award went to filmmaker Sophie Barthes for The Pod Generation.

The Teen View Jury Award went to writer and director Jerah Milligan and writers James III, Jonathan Braylock, and James Carr for Mahogany Drive.

Oscar®-nominated screenwriter and director Nicole Holofcener accepted the Screenwriters Tribute Award (You Hurt My Feelings, Enough Said, Friends with Money, Walking, and Talking).

The Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award went to Oscar®-nominated filmmaker Ken Burns and his producing and directing partner and Emmy®-Award winning filmmaker, Lynn Novik.

Actress Lola Tung, who stars in the television adaptation of The Summer I Turned Pretty, presented the New Voices in Television Award to New York Times best-selling author Jenny Han.

Mystelle Brabbée, Executive Director of the Nantucket Film Festival, and Anita Raswant, Lead

Programmer of the Nantucket Film Festival thanked all who helped make this year’s festival possible in a statement, saying “As a festival focused on screenwriting, it is a privilege to be able to honor the talented and hardworking writers and filmmakers who are the center of the industry and have made this year’s edition so special.” Photos from this year’s festival can be found here.

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