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Nantucket Film Festival returns with in-person screenings and events

Some 60 feature films and documentaries, plus live events, are on the program

Katia Krafft wearing aluminized suit near a lava burst at Krafla Volcano, Iceland, in "Fire of Love."COURTESY OF THE NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL/Image'Est

The Nantucket Film Festival is holding all screenings and events in-person this year, returning to the Dreamland Theater and Siasconset Casino June 22-27. The program for the 26th annual film festival features more than 60 films and other special events.

“It’s a festival that was founded to celebrate the art of storytelling,” said Lori Donnelly, the NFF’s programmer. This year’s lineup, she said, was tailored to emphasize “the fact that we are in person together for the first time at the Dreamland in two years, [and] we really wanted to celebrate that.”

The festival officially kicks off with “Fire of Love,” a documentary about two volcanologists who hold a fiery passion for volcanoes — and each other. This film is the crowning jewel of the festival’s Green Carpet Cinema program, a new initiative that spotlights films about climate change.

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“Every year we show one or two films that are about the environment,” said Mystelle Brabbée, the festival’s executive director. This year planners decided to “harness that energy and create a real program,” she said.

The festival will feature other documentaries, such as “The Pez Outlaw,” a film that follows a Michigan farmer who made a small fortune smuggling collectible Pez dispensers in the ‘90s. Other nonfiction showings include “The Old School,” “Descendant,” “Calendar Girls,” “2nd Chance,” and more.

The centerpiece of the festival is a narrative feature film “892,” titled after the amount of money veteran Brian Easley was owed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Directed by Abi Damaris Corbin and based on a true story, the film follows Easley, played by John Boyega, as he holds a bank hostage in an attempt to be heard by the VA. The film was awarded the Special Jury Award for its ensemble cast at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

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Other highlighted features include “Emily the Criminal,” starring Aubrey Plaza as the titular Emily. Written and directed by John Patton Ford, the film follows Emily as she falls deep into the world of black market goods after taking a gig as a “dummy shopper.” “God’s Country” centers on Sandra Guidry, an estranged professor played by Thandie Newton, who is pulled into a conflict with two hunters looking for access to the woods beside her home.

John Boyega as Brian Easley in the Nantucket Film Festival's centerpiece film, "892."COURTESY OF THE NANTUCKET FILM FESTIVAL

The NFF’s schedule includes more than just screenings. An art installation envisions how sea levels will rise, projecting them onto the side of a sea shanty owned by fifth-generation Nantucket resident Ginger Andrew. A “Morning Coffee With…” series takes place daily at 9 a.m. from June 23 to 26. Festival-goers can start their day by hearing filmmakers discuss their craft.

Another special event is Skate Jam, a free community event with giveaways, ice cream, and an appearance by Nora Vasconcillos, the star of the documentary “Skate Dreams.” A special screening of Apple TV+’s “Severance” is also scheduled and includes a Q&A with director Ben Stiller and cast member John Turturro.

Ben Stiller attended the Screenwriters Tribute at the 2018 Nantucket Film Festival.Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for Nantucket Film Festival

The festival will hold its 2022 Screenwriters Tribute on Sunday, June 26, honoring talented storytellers for their achievements. Among the honorees is rising star director-writer Cooper Raiff, whose highly anticipated second feature “Cha Cha Real Smooth” is showing at the festival.

Brabbée believes “people are ready” to return to the festival in person. “Everything is more infectious when you see it with 300 other people,” she said.

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The full schedule and tickets for the Nantucket Film Festival can be found at https://nantucketfilmfestival.org/


Danielle Momoh can be reached at danielle.momoh@globe.com.