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'Five Days Gone' goes to Nantucket

Anna Kerrigan (left) and Austin Lysy costar in 'Five Days Gone,' which will be featured at the Nantucket Film Festival. Anna Kerrigan (left) and Austin Lysy costar in "Five Days Gone," which will be featured at the Nantucket Film Festival.
By Loren King
Globe Correspondent / June 19, 2011

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Celebrating its 16th season, the Nantucket Film Festival (Wednesday through next Sunday) has carved out its niche among area summer film events as a writer’s festival. This year’s annual Screenwriters Tribute (Saturday) honors Academy Award-winning writer-director Paul Haggis (“Crash,’’ “Million Dollar Baby’’). Also featured at the tribute will be Disney/Pixar’s “Cars 2’’ scripter Ben Queen, honored with the NFF’s New Voices in Screenwriting Award.

But the NFF does not only showcase acclaimed Hollywood writers. Anna Kerrigan’s debut feature, “Five Days Gone,’’ which earned best screenwriting honors at the Brooklyn Film Festival, will have its New England premiere Saturday and next Sunday, with Kerrigan engaging in question-and-answer sessions with the audience.

“Five Days Gone’’ was shot entirely in Western Massachusetts, an area Kerrigan came to love while working as a directing intern at the Williamstown Theater Festival. “I was inspired by an estate in Stockbridge, owned by a friend’s family, that dates to the 1700s. Once I knew we had that location, I began to think about a story that could be set there and shot on a low budget,’’ says Kerrigan, who also directed and stars in the Chekhov-inspired tale about sibling rivalry and family wealth. Local actors in the film include Stockbridge chief of police Richard Wilcox in “an amazing cameo’’ as himself, says Kerrigan. Her play “The Talls’’ will premiere in August Off-Broadway at Second Stage. She says she has two films in development and plans to shoot her second feature in Massachusetts.

“Cars 2,’’ director John Lasseter’s sequel to the animated hit, and Cindy Meehl’s documentary, “Buck,’’ about horse whisperer Buck Brannaman, are the festival’s opening-night films. Other highlights include the documentaries “Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times’’ and “Unraveled,’’ about Manhattan lawyer Marc Dreier, who orchestrated a massive hedge-fund fraud scheme. Narrative features include the indie hits “Submarine’’ and “Terri.’’

Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga’s directing debut, “Higher Ground,’’ will close the festival. Farmiga will participate in a conversation moderated by Time magazine film critic Richard Corliss on Thursday. A conversation with Haggis takes place on Friday, moderated by Chris Matthews, host of talk shows on MSNBC and NBC.

Other signature NFF events include the popular All-Star Comedy Roundtable next Sunday, hosted by longtime NFF supporter Ben Stiller and his to-be-announced special guests. Not to be outdone is Stiller’s mom, Anne Meara, who will be joined by “Glee’’ star Mike O’Malley for “Late Night Storytelling’’ on Friday. This is another NFF staple, in which writers, actors, filmmakers, and islanders share unscripted stories. This year’s theme is “Off on the Wrong Foot.’’

For more information, visit www.nantucketfilmfestival.org.

While you’re on Cape Cod The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater has a great reputation for cutting-edge plays, but the CinemaWHAT Series brings notable stage events to the screen. The Roundabout Theater production of Oscar Wilde’s classic “The Importance of Being Earnest,’’ nominated for a Tony Award for Brian Bedford as Lady Bracknell (he also directs the comedy), will show on Saturday at 2 p.m. For information, visit www.what.org.

Appetite for Adventure The Regent Theater in Arlington is the site of the Adventure Film World Tour Show, premiering Tuesday and Wednesday. This year’s festival premieres 10 independent films from around the world that “ignite a passion for travel, discovery and change.’’ The eclectic lineup features exploration, surfing, climbing, biking, skiing, as well as films that tackle environmentalism, global awareness, and social issues. After its main festival in Boulder, Colo., Adventure Film hosted two sold-out shows in Chamonix, France, and Santiago, Chile, for the third year in a row. Adventure Film will bring the 2010 award winners to audiences during the current world tour program.

For tickets, visit www.regenttheatre.com/details/adventure_film_festival. For more information about Adventure Film visit, www.adventurefilm.org.

Buñuel bonanza The Harvard Film Archive’s Luis Buñuel retrospective is sure to be one of the most commended local film series of the year. Now through June 27, the HFA presents films from each end of the illustrious career of the great Spanish director. Tonight’s 7 p.m. screening is “Land Without Bread (Las Hurdes: Tierra Sin Pan),’’ a film that has remained controversial since its premiere in 1933, when it was banned by the Spanish government.

“Buñuel — The Beginning and the End’’ continues Monday with “The Milky Way (La voie lactée),’’ made in France in 1969, about a pair of tramps who take a journey through time and space on their way to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. Two of Buñuel’s most famous and successful films, both made in France, screen Friday and Saturday. “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie)’’ won the 1972 Oscar for best foreign film. The landmark “Belle de Jour’’ (1967) stars Catherine Deneuve in one of her signature roles.

For more information, visit hcl.harvard.edu/hfa.

Loren King can be reached at loren.king@comcast.net.

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