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‘The Peanut Butter Falcon,’ ‘For Sama’ Lead Top Awards at Nantucket Film Festival

The Nantucket Film Festival have announced their winners for this year’s edition. Leading the top honors in the Audience Awards are Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz’s adventure narrative, “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” and Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ impactful documentary, “For Sama.” 

Nilson and Schwartz’s film follows Zak, a man living with Down syndrome, as he’s run away from his care home to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a wrestler. The film, which has been received quite well in the festival circuits, stars Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, newcomer Zack Gottsagen, Jon Bernthal, Jon Hawkes, Thomas Haden Church and Bruce Dern. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” was acquired by Roadside Attractions in May and has kept a stable chatter around it since its SXSW Film Festival debut. The film is set for an August 9 release date.

The best documentary feature of the fest, al-Kateab and Watts’ “For Sama,” depicts the realities of a young woman struggling with love, war and motherhood over the span of five years in a suffering Syria. The doc captures the hardships of her life having lived through the fall of Aleppo. The documentary won the Golden Eye Award at Cannes Film Festival as voted on by an international jury. The feature is also collecting an impressive string of prizes in festivals globally, from Sheffield Doc Fest to Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival. The festival also presented the Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking Award, granted to an emerging female filmmaker with a $5,000 prize. That went to “Mickey and the Bear” writer/director Annabelle Attanasio.

The Nantucket Film Festival ran from June 19-24. Read the full list of winners below.

Adrienne Shelly Award

Annabelle Attanasio, Mickey and the Bear

Narrative Feature

Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwartz, The Peanut Butter Falcon

“For Sama”

Documentary Feature

Waad al-Kateab & Edward Watts, For Sama

Narrative Short

Matthew Bonifacio & Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio, Master Maggie

Documentary short

Erin Sanger & Taylor Hess, Mack Wrestles

Teen View on NFF Award

Erin Sanger & Taylor Hess, Mack Wrestles

What do you make of this year’s Nantucket Film Festival winners? Could “The Peanut Butter Falcon” push itself into critical awards contention? Comment below!


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Written by Jessica Peña

Jessica Peña studied journalism at Volunteer State Community College before she began writing about film on a personal blog that sprouted from an electronic media course. She is now a film journalist for Awards Circuit, as well as a content editor and writer for the UK-based site JumpCut Online. She also loves the Child's Play/Chucky franchise with no end in sight.

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