Screenwriters Tribute

The Nantucket Film Festival’s most esteemed awards honor the careers of noted screenwriters who have brought distinction to the craft of writing for film. Ceremony and Reception Presented by:


Saturday, June 27 – 6:30 pm – ‘Sconset Casino




RobertTowne_HeadshotRobert Towne is a seasoned and prolific screenwriter best known for his Oscar®-winning screenplay for the classic film Chinatown. His script for that much-lauded film, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway and directed by Roman Polanski, is widely considered one of the greatest screenplays of all time. Dozens of lines of dialogue from Chinatown still stand as cultural touchstones, perhaps none more powerfully than the film’s final words: “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Towne has penned three other scripts that were nominated for Academy Awards: Shampoo, The Last Detail, and Greystoke. His numerous other screenwriting credits include Mission: Impossible 1 and Mission: Impossible 2, The Firm, and Days of Thunder. He is also one of the most sought-after script doctors in Hollywood with uncredited work on blockbusters such as The Godfather, Bonnie and Clyde, Crimson Tide, and Armageddon. Towne has stepped behind the camera to direct four of his own scripts, most recently the 2006 film noir Ask the Dust, which stars Colin Farrell and Salma Hayek. He also directed and wrote Personal Best (starring Mariel Hemingway), Tequila Sunrise (with Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kurt Russell), and Without Limits, a critically acclaimed feature film about the great Oregon distance runner Steve Prefontaine that earned actor Donald Sutherland a Golden Globe nomination. Towne most recently completed the script for The Battle of Britain for Graham King’s GK Films and an as-yet-untitled original screenplay for David Fincher, director of Gone Girl and The Social Network. Towne also served as a consulting producer and writer on the final season of the acclaimed AMC series Mad Men. The Nantucket Film Festival is honored to pay tribute to Robert Towne for his masterful storytelling skill. His ability to weave together narrative threads and his ear for original and compelling dialogue are unique and make him a standard-bearer in American cinema.



Screenwriter, playwright, and producer Beau Willimon is the creator of the original Netflix series House of Cards and serves as its showrunner and executive producer. House of Cards made television history in its first season when it earned nine Emmy® nominations, including one for Outstanding Drama Series, becoming the first online streaming show ever to receive substantial Emmy recognition. Since then, the show has garnered multiple nominations for Emmy, Golden Globe, Producers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, and Writers Guild of America awards, and it has won in many categories.

Willimon’s play Farragut North became the basis for the motion picture screenplay The Ides of March, which he co-wrote with George Clooney and Grant Heslov. The screenplay earned Willimon Academy Award®, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations.

Willimon’s recent stage productions include The Parisian Woman (South Coast Repertory, 2013) and Breathing Time (Fault Line Theatre, 2014). He currently has play commissions at South Coast Repertory and the National Theatre of Great Britain.

Willimon was a recipient of a fellowship from the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard and was the 2008 writer in residence at the Donmar Warehouse; he is also a two-time winner of the Lincoln Center Lecomte du Nouy Award.

Through Westward Productions, a film and television production company that Willimon co-founded, he is currently producing several documentaries. One of them—about adventurer Karl Bushby’s quest to walk around the world on foot—will air on the National Geographic Channel this year.

A St. Louis native, Willimon now resides in Brooklyn. READ MORE >>



LizGarbusAcademy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award®-winning producer/director Liz Garbus is one of America’s most prominent documentary filmmakers. Her most recent documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone?, opened the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and screens as NFF’s 20th Anniversary Centerpiece. Set for worldwide release on Netflix, the film delves into the life of Nina Simone, drawing on more than 100 hours of never-before-heard audiotapes, rare concert footage, and archival interviews of the celebrated musician and civil rights activist. Garbus’ first documentary, The Farm: Angola, USA, made in collaboration with Jonathan Stack, raked in nearly a dozen festival and critics’ awards, including the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, and was nominated for an Oscar in 1999. Several of her films as director have aired on HBO, including Love, Marilyn; There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane; Shouting Fire: Stories From the Edge of Free Speech; The Execution of Wanda Jean; and Bobby Fischer Against the World, which also earned a Primetime Emmy nomination. In 1998, Garbus co-founded Moxie Firecracker Films with producer/director Rory Kennedy. The two made the feature-length documentary Girlhood, which won the Audience Award at NFF 2003, and executive produced Street Fight, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2006. Other producing credits include Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, the Emmy-winner for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special of 2007; and Killing in the Name, an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short in 2011. Award Sponsored by: A&E_indiefilms_pos_purple_warm_gray_9U_CMYK


LeslyeLeslye Headland began her career by writing for the theater, with such plays as Bachelorette (Second Stage), Assistance (Playwrights Horizons), and the Seven Deadly Plays series (IAMA Theatre Company). Several of these plays would later serve as the basis for film and television projects. Headland broke into features in 2012, when she made her directorial debut with the film adaption of Bachelorette, starring Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, and Adam Scott. The film had its world premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and went on to become one of the most successful VOD releases to date. Following the success of Bachelorette, Headland’s next script, About Last Night, was immediately greenlit by Screen Gems. The film, directed by Steve Pink and starring Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy, was released in February 2014 and grossed more than $50 million domestically. Headland’s latest film, her second as writer/director, Sleeping With Other People—which screens as a Spotlight Film at NFF this year—debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by IFC Films.


BobSuzanneWrightPresenters: Maureen Orth and Luke Russert Bob and Suzanne Wright were early and dedicated champions of the Nantucket Film Festival. As chairman of NBC Universal, Bob provided access to many of the artists and films we’ve been proud to feature over the past 20 years. Suzanne was an early board member and loyal sponsor, and she helped to forge the foundation on which the Festival was built. With their advocacy for storytelling and the written word and their stalwart support of film, they have both left an indelible mark on the Festival. Ten years ago, the Wrights turned their focus, energy, and passion to founding Autism Speaks, now the largest organization representing families of people with autism in the United States. We are proud to honor the Wrights with the Visionary Award for their work, dedication, and ability to effect change with both the Nantucket Film Festival and Autism Speaks. 2015 Screenwriters Tribute: