Nantucket pays tribute to scribe Kaufman

Writer's works include 'Malkovich,' 'Human Nature'

The Nantucket Film Festival will honor Oscar-nominated scribe Charlie Kaufman with this year’s NBC Screenwriter Tribute, to be presented during the closing ceremony of the June 16-20 event.

In addition to current Focus Features release “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” helmed by Michel Gondry, Kaufman penned the screenplays for Spike Jonze’s “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation,” George Clooney’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” and Gondry’s “Human Nature.”

Announcing the award, Nantucket fest director Jill Burkhart and artistic director Mystelle Brabbee said Kaufman’s cerebral style in pushing the boundaries of traditional film writing and his exploration of the craft of screenwriting in “Adaptation” made him a fitting honoree for the award.

“Charlie Kaufman’s work is refreshing, self-referential and jumps into the surreal head-first while often focusing on the endless mind-body dilemma,” Brabbee said. “His story structures play with invention while his characters simply struggle with the awkward business of being human, giving us a wonderfully new filmgoing experience.”

“I guess I feel a little uneasy about this, but they assured me it wasn’t a lifetime achievement award,” Kaufman told Daily Variety. “I’ve got five films out there and I’m just starting out. But they liked the idea of recognizing somebody who’s in the middle of something rather than at the end of it, so I said OK.”

Kaufman is working on the screenplay for his third feature with Jonze and plans to follow that with his own directing project.

“The frustration with my lot in life is how the business sees writers,” scribe said. “But that’s not going to lead me to direct. I’m going to direct for reasons I hope are more substantial.”

The Nantucket fest’s principal mandate is to turn the spotlight on the work of screenwriters.

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