A whale of a tribute

Nantucket Film Festival kicks off

At an NBC U hosted tribute to writer-director Robert Benton at the Nantucket Film Festival on June 16, anchorman Brian Williams proved he could turn to comedy if he ever loses his day job.

Acting as event emcee, Williams scoured the nautical (and opulent) environs. “I was out whaling with my son today,” he deadpanned, later adding with an eye roll that in “Alaska, they harvest every part of the whale,” versus the tradition of “whaling for sport here.”

GE vice chair Bob Wright, who hosted a brunch at his Nantucket house earlier in the day, ribbed Williams for “always hoping for a breakthrough, but still no film deals.”

Producer Stanley Jaffe praised Benton for being “extraordinarily dedicated and selfless,” noting he did 14 more drafts on “Kramer vs. Kramer” after they’d gotten a greenlight.

When Benton got his turn at the dais in the white tent on the beach, he told the crowd, “Movies saved my life,” and urged, in this $300 million tentpole age, that “it’s vital we pay attention to films that change our hearts.”

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