(June 30, 2022) As soon as they hit the stage, Nantucket Screenwriters Tribute hosts Ophira Eisenberg and Bethany Van Delft couldn’t contain their excitement that the Nantucket Film Festival was back to normal after two years of restrictions. related to the pandemic.
Saturday’s tribute at Sconset Casino, the highlight of the festival, honored actor John Turturro with his Compass Rose Award for Career Achievement.
Oscar winner Barry Jenkins received the Screenwriters Tribute, Ramin Bahrani the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling Award for his film “2nd Chance”, and the up-and-coming Cooper Raiff received the New Voices in Screenwriting Award.
Turturro, who has starred in more than 60 films over the past four decades, including “Do the Right Thing,” “The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and “The Batman,” received his award from Ben Stiller, who spoke about his time working with the actor on the set of “Severance,” an Apple TV series he recently produced and directed.
“I have to spend about eight months of watching John’s process last year, mostly behind the protection of a mask and shield,” he said. “Sometimes I felt like a scientist observing a rare breed of highly skilled acting creature.”
As with the other winners, Turturro received a Nantucket-style quarter board engraved with his name. After speaking to Stiller about “Tropic Thunder,” he opened up about his acting journey to the more than 200 people in attendance.
“I still love what I do. I’m very lucky to have had this opportunity,” he said. “I always fantasized that one day I could be in a movie, and then I saw Dustin Hoffman in ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this guy looks like someone in my family and I was like, ‘Well, maybe there’s a chance’ .
He thanked everyone who helped him along his journey and said he was grateful that people still find him interesting.
“It’s always your fear, that you’re going to be boring,” he said.
Jenkins, who co-wrote and directedThe 2016 Oscar-winning best picture “Moonlight”, as well as “The Underground Railroad” and “If Beale Street Could Talk”, was not present and instead pre-recorded a video.
“Thank you to everyone at the Nantucket Film Festival and the community of Nantucket which I imagine is a very beautiful place with people wearing Sperrys and polo shirts,” he joked before thanking a number of people, including his college English teacher.
Bahrani has written and produced a number of stories films such as “The White Tiger”, “Blood Kin” and “Fahrenheit 451”. His new film “2nd Chance” is his first feature documentary. It chronicles the life of Richard Davis, the man who invented the concealable body armor and killed himself 196 times to prove his product worked. In his acceptance speech, Bahrani mentioned a lesson he learned from Robert J. Flaherty’s documentary “Nanook of the North” about the Inuk.
“When it came to carving, they wouldn’t go to a rock and say, ‘Rock, you’ll be a sea lion,'” he said. “Instead, they went to rock and said, ‘Rock, what do you want to be’. And the rock said, ‘Well, look at me, I’m a whale.’ And they’d carve a whale out of that rock. And when I approach storytelling, that’s what I’ve always tried to do.
Raiff, just 25, has already written, directed and starred in two movies: 2020’s ‘Shithouse’ and ‘Cha Cha Real Smooth’, which screened at the film festival this year.
Her award for New Voices in Screenwriting was presented remotely by actress Dakota Johnson, who co-starred alongside Raiff in “Cha Cha Real Smooth.”