“Burden,” the story of a man’s attempt to break from the KKK, won for narrative feature. “Juliet, Naked,” Jesse Peretz’s sweet-natured romantic comedy starring Rose Byrne, Chris O’Dowd, and Ethan Hawke, was runner up for narrative feature. Rudy Valdez’s “The Sentence,” the story of a woman’s “Orange Is the New Black”-esque odyssey through the criminal justice system, was runner up in the documentary field.
“Bathtubs,” directed by Dava Whisenant, tells the story of “Late Show With David Letterman” writer Steve Young whose life is changed when he stumbles into the “hidden world” of corporate musicals, or Broadway-style musical recordings commissioned to burnish corporate images and promote their products.
The short film nod went to “Homeless: The Soundtrack” from Irene Taylor Brodsky.
Morgan Neville’s acclaimed Fred Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” won the best of the fest honor on the docu side. “Juliet, Naked” was the pick for narrative feature.
Henry Hayes and Zolan Kanno-Young won the fest’s screenplay competition for “Cambridge,” the story of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The pair receive $5,000 and a slot in the Screenwriters Colony script development program held on Nantucket in October.
The 60-Minute Pilot award went to Kellen Hertz for “Legacy,” which tells the unraveling of a decades-old murder mystery in Connecticut. Huong Nguyen won for Half-Hour Episodic screenplay, for “All We Do is Nguyen,” about an overachiever Vietnamese-American woman who has to adjust to moving back in with her parents.
The NFF’s annual Adrienne Shelly Foundation Excellence in Filmmaking laurel went to Nancy Schwartzman, director of “Roll Red Roll,” a documentary that revisits the shocking 2012 rape case in Ohio involving a 16-year-old girl incapacitated by alcohol and two star high school football players.
“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,” said Mystelle Brabbee, the fest’s exec director of the Nantucket Film Festival and Basil Tsiokos, film program director.