The 23rd Nantucket Film Festival taking place June 2 to 25, 2018, will open with “Boundaries,” written and directed by Shana Feste. The film tells the story of single mom Laura (Vera Farmiga) who is forced to drive her estranged, pot-dealing father Jack (Christopher Plummer) from Seattle to Los Angeles after he is kicked out of a retirement home. The comedy also stars Bobby Cannavale, Peter Fonda, Christopher Lloyd and Kristen Schaal.
“Love, Gilda,” directed by Lisa D’Apolito, will close the festival. The documentary reveals the personal side of iconic comedian Gilda Radner through rare personal recordings and journal entries.
Morgan Neville’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?″ will screen as the festival’s centerpiece film. The documentary depicts the life and legacy of the late Fred Rogers, host of the popular children’s television series “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and a longtime Nantucket summer resident.
For the ninth year in a row, the festival will screen a Disney‒Pixar film on opening day. This year the studio will showcase the animated feature “Incredibles 2,” with Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Samuel L. Jackson, John Ratzenberger and director Brad Bird reprising their characters from the first film.
The festival will also continue its relationship with the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra in screening a classic silent film accompanied by a new orchestral score. This year, Berklee students will perform their original score for the new restoration of “The Man Who Laughs”(1928), based on the Victor Hugo novel and starring Mary Philbin and Conrad Veidt. Veidt’s character is widely acknowledged to have been the genesis of the iconic Batman villain, the Joker.
Nearly 50 feature selections have been announced, including two world premieres: Galt Niederhoffer’s “10 Things We Should Do Before We Break Up,” starring Christina Ricci and Hamish Linklater as strangers who decide to try to be a couple when a one-night stand results in pregnancy; and Donal Lardner Ward’s “We Only Know So Much,” a multigenerational family drama featuring Jeanne Tripplehorn and “Stranger Things’ ” Noah Schnapp.
The festival will also present four Sundance Audience Award winners: Andrew Heckler’s KKK drama “Burden,” starring Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker and Andrea Riseborough; Aneesh Chaganty’s “Searching,” a thriller starring John Cho and Debra Messing which takes place entirely on a laptop screen; Rudy Valdez’s personal documentary about his incarcerated sister, “The Sentence;” and Alexandra Shiva’s “This Is Home,” a documentary about Syrian refugees adjusting to life in Baltimore.
Notable among this year’s narrative titles are several which highlight strong female leads, including Susanna White’s “Woman Walks Ahead,” starring Jessica Chastain; Isabel Coixet’s “The Bookshop,” starring Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson; Marianna Palka’s “Egg,” starring Christina Hendricks and Alysia Reiner; Marc Turtletaub’s “Puzzle,” starring Kelly Macdonald; Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade,” starring newcomer Elsie Fisher; Björn Runge’s “The Wife,” starring Glenn Close; and Richard Eyre’s “The Children Act,” starring Emma Thompson.
Other highlights include new films by acclaimed documentary filmmakers, including Marina Zenovich’s “Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind,” Lauren Greenfield’s “Generation Wealth,” Susan Lacy’s “Jane Fonda In Five Acts,” Rory Kennedy’s “Above And Beyond: NASA’s Journey To Tomorrow,” Barbara Kopple’s “A Murder In Mansfield,” Eugene Jarecki’s “The King” and Dana Adam Shapiro’s “Daughters Of The Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story Of The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.”
“We always aim to bring a mix of programming that is equally entertaining, eye-opening and engaging to the festival each year, and this year’s lineup continues that tradition,” festival film-program director Basil Tsiokos said. “And, of course, foremost in our minds is to share with our audience really great stories, artfully told, and these films won’t disappoint.”
Oscar-nominated writer/director Noah Baumbach will receive the 2018 Screenwriters Tribute Saturday, June 23. Neville, also an Oscar winner, will receive the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award and Andrew Heckler the New Voices in Screenwriting Award. Ben Stiller will present and participate in The All-Star Comedy Roundtable, “The Improv Takeover,” an evening of spontaneous storytelling and improvisational comedy, featuring actors and comedians Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) and Ben Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation”) on Friday, June 22. In addition, the festival will present a live taping of NPR’s “Ask Me Another” with host Ophira Eisenberg Thursday, June 21.
Over the past 22 years the festival has mixed highly-anticipated awards contenders with the films of emerging and established filmmakers, and brought together the film industry’s most recognized screenwriters and storytellers, including Oliver Stone, Steve Martin, Judd Apatow, Tom McCarthy, Beau Willimon, Kathryn Bigelow, Sarah Silverman, Alexander Payne, David O. Russell, Diane Keaton, Robert Towne, Glenn Close and Aaron Sorkin.
It has also produced the All-Star Comedy Roundtable Presented by Ben Stiller, and the conversation series “In Their Shoes With . . .,” which has included Robin Wright and Beau Willimon with Chris Matthews, Tom McCarthy with Bobby Cannavale, Molly Shannon with Michael Ian Black and Bradley Whitford with Matthews.