Nantucket Film Festival Announces 2024 Award Winners

Nantucket Current •

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Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock for Nantucket Film Festival

The 29th annual Nantucket Film Festival (NFF) on Tuesday announced the Audience Award winners for this year's festival.

Cuba-set early ‘90s coming of age tale "Los Frikis," written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, won the Narrative Feature Audience Award.

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A scene from "Los Frikis"

Brendan Bellomo and Slava Leontyev’s "Porcelain War," focused on Ukrainians using their art to resist during war, was the recipient of the Documentary Feature Audience Award.

"Puppy Love," directed by Daniel Rashid and written by Rashid and Elizabeth Valenti, about a woman who has to decide if her connection with a new man is a deep one or if she just likes his dog, received the Narrative Short Film Audience Award.

Tom Dey’s "Jumpman," profiling the photographer behind the iconic Michael Jordan mid-air shot, took home the Documentary Short Film Audience Award.

"Widow Clicquot," written by Erin Dignam and directed by Thomas Napper; and "Maya and the Wave," directed by Stephanie Johnes; as well as the short film "Lost In Nevers Land," directed by Penny Dey; were named NFF’s Best of Fest selections and were granted special repeat screenings due to popular demand.

NFF also announced the winners of the prestigious Tony Cox Screenplay Competition, which recognizes the best-unproduced screenplays and television pilots submitted to the festival by emerging writers. Missy Hernandez received the top prize as the winner of the Feature Screenplay Competition for "I Don't Dream In Spanish Anymore."

The Episodic 60 Minute Screenplay Competition nod went to Daniel Hernandez-Zapata for "The Soloist,"; the 30 Minute Episodic Screenplay Competition was won by Phillip Roquemore for "Illicit Bids For Dying Kids," and the Short Screenplay Competition winner was "Who Raised You?" by Daniel Gonzalez.

The Film Screenplay Competition jury was composed of New York Magazine’s Rebecca Alter, filmmaker and actor Katie Aselton Duplass, and filmmaker and playwright Derek Nguyen.

The Episodic Screenplay Competition jury was composed of film and music video director Katherine Dieckmann, writer and director of "Winner" Susanna Fogel, and UTA motion picture business affairs executive Sarah Vacchiano.

The Festival also announced the winner of the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award, a $5,000 grant recognizing the achievement of a female filmmaker, and named in honor of the late actor and director. This year’s award went to "Every Little Thing," directed by Sally Aitken and screening as part of NFF’s documentary feature lineup. Producer Bettina Dalton attended the festival and accepted the award on behalf of the film. Aitken also received a second award: this year’s Maria Mitchell Visionary Award, presented to a female filmmaker who demonstrates vision and innovation. Sponsored by the Maria Mitchell Association, the awardee receives a $5,000 grant in the name of Maria Mitchell, the first female inducted into the Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Nantucket native.

The Children’s Resilience in Screenwriting Award presented by Shine Global is a new prize given to a film with outstanding storytelling that effectively portrays the resilience and strength of children. "Los Frikis," written and directed by Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, received the inaugural award, which included a prize of $2,500 and an invitation to participate in Shine Global’s upcoming 2024 Resilience Awards events. The award-winning non-profit media company Shine Global’s annual Resilience Awards honor exceptional films that center around the resilience of children and further the organization’s mission of improving children’s lives by harnessing the power of storytelling.

The Teen View Jury Award, selected by a group of Nantucket seventh and eighth-graders as the most inspiring out of all of NFF’s short films, went to writer and director Chris Cole for "Terminally Ill," with a special mention for "The Ugandan Quidditch Movement," directed by Ben Garfield.

“It is a privilege to honor this cohort of both established and emerging screenwriters and storytellers, who represent the heart of our industry, at the 2024 edition of the festival,” said Mystelle Brabbée, executive director of the Nantucket Film Festival, and Anita Raswant, lead programmer of the Nantucket Film Festival. “Thank you to all of our attending filmmakers and writers for sharing their powerful stories with us and our passionate audiences who continue to turn out to the theaters and support our mission. We would like to take a moment to recognize our jurors, sponsors, staff, and volunteers, all of whom worked to make another incredibly successful festival possible.”

Comedian, writer, and radio host Ophira Eisenberg hosted the Screenwriters Tribute from the ‘Sconset Casino on Friday, June 21st. Oscar, Emmy, and Peabody award-winning director, producer, and writer Roger Ross Williams accepted the Career Achievement in Filmmaking Award, presented by author and anti-racism activist Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. While at the festival, Williams screened his film "Stamped From The Beginning," based on the best-selling book of the same name by Dr. Kendi, and participated in an extended Deep Dive screening talkback alongside Dr. Kendi, moderated by The View’s Sunny Hostin.

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Roger Ross Williams, Sunny Hostin, and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock for Nantucket Film Festival

Emmy and Golden Globe Award-nominated writer and producer Kerry Ehrin was honored with the Excellence in Television Writing Award, presented by "The Morning Show" actor June Diane Raphael.

Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Meredith Scardino received the New Voices in Television Writing Award, presented by "GIRLS5EVA" cast members: Emmy Award-winning writer Paula Pell and Tony Award-winning performer Renée Elise Goldsberry. At the festival, Scardino and fellow honoree Kerry Ehrin were joined by Pell and Goldsberry for a special Garden Conversation program, moderated by Ophira Eisenberg, that gave a behind-the-scenes look at producing their television works from script to screen.

Special guests who attended NFF 2024 included Ken Burns, Kerry Ehrin, Ophira Eisenberg, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Hostin, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Jason Mantzoukas, Paula Pell, June Diane Raphael, Luke Russert, Meredith Scardino, Paul Sheer, Roger Ross Williams, and more.

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