Lights, Camera, Action! -June 2019

2019 Nantucket Film Festival Overview

by: Joshua H. Balling

There’s something magical about sitting in the dark, in a movie theater, surrounded by strangers, watching a story unfold on the big screen in front of you, enveloped in Surround Sound, that can’t be captured on a television screen or an iPad.

The Nantucket Film Festival was founded 24 years ago to celebrate that magic. It rolls into town June 19-24, with an eclectic six-day lineup that includes more than 100 feature-length and short films, and a tribute to “Mrs. Doubtfire” screenwriter Leslie Dixon.

“Yesterday,” about a struggling singer-songwriter who wakes up after a freak accident to discover that The Beatles never existed, and only he remembers their songs, will open the festival.

Organizers say they’ve chosen a program of narrative films and documentaries this year that stays true to the festival’s founding principle, to honor the story – and the storyteller – on the big screen.

“Is it a well-written script? Do the characters pop to life? Is the dialogue crisp? Is it fresh, interesting, memorable?” film-program director Basil Tsiokos said in describing what he looks for when choosing films for the festival.

“We’re a summer festival on a beautiful island. We generally want to have a nice mix of lighter and more serious work. We want to give audiences the opportunity to be transported watching these films. That doesn’t always happen watching TV at home, where you might be distracted by the phone, or cooking dinner. Sitting in a dark room with a bunch of friends, or strangers, or both, it transports you to a different time or place.”

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