The Nantucket Shorts Festival, originally founded by five local artists back in 2013, has returned to the island for its seventh year. The main focus of the festival is to create a setting for both professional and amateur filmmakers to display their work on a forum and in front of an engaged audience. Actor and local parent John Shea hosted the event which was open to the community. The event itself took place over the weekend of October 6th, conflicting greatly with the homecoming festivities at the high school. The Dreamland movie theater kindly opened its doors for this production, using the main theater to display the various films.

The festival also encourages high school students to take advantage, creating a high school category where students can submit a short film between two and ten minutes that must take place on or be about Nantucket. Three seniors at Nantucket High School, Mookie Richards, Sawyer Phillips, and Matthew Nesselrodt, participated in the short festival, submitting work they had filmed over the previous months. Some of the contestants also had previous experience in the Teen View program, a program in which the Nantucket Film Festival provided assistance from experienced professionals to teens creating their own short films.  

Mookie Richards, in regards to his festival experience, said, “The best part is seeing all these films play in a huge movie theater for hundreds of people. It feels as though you’re a Hollywood director. It’s also nice to see your film be understood and give off the message you wanted it to give off.”

Senior Matthew Nesselrodt was also grateful for the experience as he was able to express his creative mindset. Nesselrodt explained about his film, “We all progress through our lives as if on a linear path. But in actuality, there is a web of cause and effect. My movie displays a possibility of a certain path on that web, and displays another path that may have been. Or maybe that path was.”

While the shorts festival is divided up into categories, overall winners were declared for Best New Filmmaker and Audience Award winner. Congratulations to 2018 Audience Award winner John Copenhaver, and to 2018 Best New Filmmaker Award winners Rebecca Nimerfroh and Mark Pommett. These films, as well as all the other contributor’s works, were also available for viewing again on October 27th. Phillips was unable to see his works on the festival weekend but was glad that he had the opportunity to witness them later on. For those who missed both viewing dates and want to see any of the films, they are available on or YouTube.


By Anna Steadman

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