23rd Nantucket Film Festival Announces Audience Winners for Narrative, Documentary, and Short Films

Garrett Hedlund appears in Burden by Andrew Heckler, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Michael Muller.

The 23rd annual Nantucket Film Festival, held in Nantucket, Massachusetts, announced their audience winners for the 2018 festival.

Andrew Heckler‘s “Burden” won Best Narrative Feature. The film stars Garrett Hedlund and premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Jesse Peretz‘s “Juliet, Naked” was named as the runner up.

Dava Whisenant‘s “Bathtubs Over Broadway” is the Best Documentary Feature winner, and Rudy Valdez’s “The Sentence” is the runner up. Irene Taylor Brodsky’s “Homeless: The Soundtrack,” is awarded Best Short film, and Randall Christopher’s, “The Driver Is Red,” is the runner up.

NFF also announced the winners of the prestigious Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition. The competition recognizes the best-unproduced screenplays and television pilots by emerging writers. Henry Hayes and Zolan Kanno-Youngs won the award for Feature Screenplay with “Cambridge.” Kellen Hertz won for Episodic Screenplay with “Legacy,” as did Huong Nguyen for “All We Do Is Nguyen.” And Margaret Kane-Rowe‘s “Cinderella War” won the Short Screenplay Compeition. 

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Henry Hayes and Zolan Kanno-Youngs’ “Cambridge”showcases the life of Boston Bomber, ‎Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as seen by friends who knew him before the event, and who struggle to rationalize their friend with the killer he became. Hayes receives a $5000 cash prize, VIP access to this year’s Festival, a bound copy of his script, and an exclusive spot in the Screenwriters Colony writers retreat on Nantucket for the entire month of October.

The Showtime Tony Cox Award for Episodic 60-Minute Pilot, “Legacy” by Kellen Hertz, explores the unearthing of a conspiracy behind a notorious, decades-old murder at an elite Connecticut university. Hertz receives a $1000 cash prize, as well as a consultation with a Showtime executive.

The Half-Hour Episodic Screenplay winner, “All We Do Is Nguyen” by Huong Nguyen, is inspired by her family’s Vietnamese-Midwestern background, following an over-achieving grown-up daughter as she adjusts to living back in her parents’ home. Nguyen receives a $1000 cash prize, VIP access to this year’s Festival, a consultation with a Showtime executive, and one of only four slots in the Screenwriters Colony: Episodic Comedy, a two-week immersive writing and mentorship program on Nantucket earlier this month.

The Short Screenplay Competition winner, “Cinderella War” by Margaret Kane-Rowe, shares the story of a quiet family in Ireland who receive a hostile visit from the Irish Republican Army. Kane-Rowe receives a $500 cash prize and VIP access to this year’s Festival.

The Feature & Shorts Screenplay Competition jury was comprised of Miranda Bailey, filmmaker/actor (“You Can Choose Your Family”); Dade Hayes, editor, Deadline Hollywood; and Janet Pierson, director of film, SXSW.

The Episodic Screenplay Competition jury was comprised of writer/producer Paul Eckstein (“Godfather of Harlem,” “Narcos”), showrunner/writer/producer Sera Gamble (“You,” “The Magicians”), and Lydia Cavallo Zasa, executive director, Screenwriters Colony.

NFF also announced the winner of the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award, a $5,000 grant to an emerging female filmmaker in honor of writer, director, and actor Adrienne Shelly and her contributions to film. This year’s recipient is Nancy Schwartzman, director of “Roll Red Roll,” an investigation into a notorious case of sexual assault by members of small town high school football team.

The Festival’s Teen View on NFF Award, selected by a group of Nantucket junior high school students, went to “Bao,” written and directed by Domee Shi, an animated short about an aging mother who gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life. (That film screens ahead of Disney/Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2.”)

Nantucket Golf Club Foundation, ReMain Nantucket Fund, and The Nantucket Fund provided grant support for the Teen View Jury. NFF worked in partnership with the Nantucket Community Television (NCTV) on the program curriculum and operation for the Teen View Program.

Mystelle Brabbee, Executive Director of the Nantucket Film Festival, and Basil Tsiokos, Film Program Director, said:

“As our 23rd edition comes to an end, we offer our heartfelt congratulations to the winners and are thrilled the audience resonated with their incredible, thought provoking and vibrant films. We thank all of our filmmakers, audience members, staff, sponsors and volunteers for making the festival possible and such a success this year.”

Ben Stiller and Mike Birbiglia co-hosted the Screenwriter’s Tribute Awards over the weekend. Academy Award nominee Noah Baumbach received the award, which was presented by Adam Driver, who starred in Baumbach’s “While We’re Young” and “Frances Ha.”

Morgan Neville accepted the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling for “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Dr. François Clemmons, known as Officer Clemmons, presented the Award. And Andrew Heckler received the New Voices in Screenwriting Award from Garrett Hedlund.

The Nantucket Film Festival was founded in 1996 by the brother and sister team Jonathan and Jill Burkhart. NFF’s goal is “to promote cultural awareness and appreciate of the fine art of screenwriting in the world of cinema.”