Noah Baumbach Tapped for Screenwriters Tribute at Nantucket Film Festival

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Noah Baumbach, Thomas Middleditch

Other honorees include Morgan Neville ('20 Feet From Stardom'), while 'Silicon Valley' star Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz ('Parks and Recreation') will lead the All-Star Comedy Roundtable presented by Ben Stiller.

Noah Baumbach will receive this year's screenwriters tribute at the Nantucket Film Festival.

The Oscar-nominated writer-director behind The Squid and the Whale will join other honorees, including Morgan Neville, at the annual festival that runs June 20-25. Neville, whose 20 Feet From Stardom won the best feature documentary Oscar in 2014, has been tapped for the special achievement in documentary storytelling award. And Sundance Film Festival audience award winner Andrew Heckler will receive the new voices in screenwriting award.

The screenwriters tribute will take place Saturday, June 23. The festival will see the return of the popular All-Star Comedy Roundtable, with a twist: This year’s event has a focus on improv, led by Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation) and presented by Nantucket Film Festival regular and frequent Baumbach collaborator Ben Stiller.

New this year, the festival will present a live-taping of NPR’s Ask Me Another with host Ophira Eisenberg. Special guests for the taping will be announced at a later date.

Since his feature debut in 1995 with Kicking and Screaming, Baumbach has become a magnet for talent with his semiautobiographical New York-set films that have included Mistress America, Frances Ha, While We’re Young and Greenberg. Baumbach most recently wrote and directed The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), which debuted in competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Baumbach just wrapped production on an untitled film he wrote and directed starring Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern. Previous recipients of the screenwriters tribute award include Tom McCarthy, Oliver Stone, David O. Russell, Judd Apatow, Paul Haggis, Aaron Sorkin, Nancy Meyers and Steve Martin.

Neville, whose Best of Enemies screened at the 2015 Nantucket Film Festival, won an Emmy Award for that film, which chronicled a series of TV debates in 1968 between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley. Other credits include Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — depicting the life and legacy of the late longtime Nantucket resident Fred Rogers. That film made its world premiere in January at Sundance and will be released by Focus Features in June. Past recipients of this award include Nick Broomfield, Rory Kennedy, Steve James, Liz Garbus, Davis Guggenheim, Barbara Kopple, and Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady.

Heckler, who has enjoyed a long career as a stage and screen actor, made his writing and directorial feature film debut with Burden, the true story of the redemption of a Ku Klux Klansman, a passion project he’s wanted to bring to the screen for 20 years. The film, starring Garrett Hedlund, Forest Whitaker and Andrea Riseborough, premiered at Sundance 2018, where it won the audience award in the U.S. dramatic competition. Heckler founded Workhouse Theater in New York City, where he has produced, directed and acted in more than 35 productions. Previous recipients of this award include Geremy Jasper, Sian Heder, Leslye Headland, Ben Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar, Michael Arndt, Lake Bell and Mike Cahill.

“The Nantucket Film Festival has always recognized exemplary screenwriting and storytelling, and this year we are delighted to honor such incredibly talented filmmakers and welcome them into our festival family,” Nantucket Film Festival executive director Mystelle Brabbee said. “It’s a great joy to celebrate the work of these brilliant creators, from Noah Baumbach and his commitment to the written word, bringing us witty dramas full of all-too human characters, to Morgan Neville and his revealing and insightful documentary portraits, to Andrew Heckler and his all-too-timely breakout drama about racial divide and the possibility of redemption. Their stories consistently entertain and enlighten and we are thrilled to recognize their achievements this June.”

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