the Nantucket Film Festival

It was the year that films felt more like television. That communal feeling of a light flickering on a big screen, while you sit in the audience being told a story, gave way to streaming services and sitting alone on your couch.

by: John Stanton

The COVID-19 pandemic took the heart out of much of American life, and the idea of going to the movies was on that list. Things were simply not the same.

“In many ways this dialogue started even before the pandemic, Mystelle Brabbée, executive director of the Nantucket Film Festival, said. “Where does the film festival have its place in the changing way that people are seeing stories, at a time when films are being released on streaming services immediately?During the pandemic that conversation got even louder.”

Mavis Staples and Mahalia Jackson in the “Summer of Soul: (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised). The documentary, directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is this year’s opening- night film.

Brabbée and her staff want to begin turning away from the digital platform and back toward an in-person film festival.

“It’s absolutely going to be a hybrid,” she said. We’ll be keeping an online component, and growing it. Last year we offered about 12 feature films. This year about 30, maybe more. And we’re spreading it out. We definitely learned lessons last year about what works for people when they’re viewing a film festival from home.”

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