On a pristine, sunny day in October 2011, Saturday the 8th to be exact, local filmmaker Kit Noble and the Dreamland Theater orchestrated an ambitious day of film- making. Not since JAWS attacked the Vineyard, has an island off the coast of Massachusetts been taken by such movie madness. Like frantic paparazzi, 70 Nantucketers ran amuck on the island wielding video cameras. When they called it a wrap, Kit Noble had the fodder to launch a film for the island, by the island, titling it Nantucket 24: One Day on Island Time.
If there was something to film from 5AM October 8th to 5AM October 9th on Nantucket, it was filmed. Cameras ruggedly designed for extreme sports were mounted to surfboards, catamarans and mountain bikes. Others documented impromptu interviews at the Farmer’s Market, youth football games, and the Cranberry Festival. Cameras caught music performances at Cisco Brewery, the Chicken Box and the Muse. Then there were the nature shots: the Serengeti, the Moors, beaches from Madaket to ‘Sconset, once again captured in motion pictures. Filmmakers got behind the bars of restaurants, behind the lines in kitchens, and behind the scenes of a slew of island events. The 70 people behind the cameras ranged from seasoned professionals like Dan Driscoll, Scott Capizzo and Lisa Frey to first-time filmmakers like Angela Raynor, Brian Leonard, and 7-year-old Bella Quinn.
24’s trailer went viral within days of its online release, receiving well over 3,000 hits in just a few weeks. Comments flooded the Web, praising the two-and-a-half minute clip as a moving tribute to the Nantucket community, or as one viewer commented: “It’s a wonderful island tapestry.” Of course, making a mini montage is quite different than editing together an entire film. Kit and his editor, Christo Tsiaras of Nantucket by Nature, faced the bewildering task of bringing cohesion to a hodgepodge of footage, essentially putting a film together with scraps on the cutting room floor. They trudged through hours upon hours of clips, some shot with smooth professional precision, others as shaky as a scene from COPS. “The interviews really became the glue binding the film,” says Kit. “Some of the exchanges are very insightful, while others hilariously entertaining.” Indeed, the film’s off-the-cuff interviews give 24 a voice that spans generations, professions and island tenure, all bound by a shared love for the Grey Lady and the life she provides.
“Fishin’. Fishin’ and the beach,” Joe Dooley says in a 24 interview when asked what quintessential Nantucket is to him. Dooley speaks in a gravely Boston accent as he tools his boat through the harbor, often looking off to the glistening horizon then returning to the camera with a thoughtful insight. “Nature…The solitude. Sunrise, sunset, and unobstructed views of ‘em. Wild surf. Watchin’ the beach wash away one month, and come back the month after.” He scratches his head and concludes, “We are a unique place in the world I think. Just like the people are.”
For the Dreamland, which will be showing Nantucket 24 on its newly unveiled silver screen, producing this community-created film exemplifies the new role the theater seeks to play. “When Kit came to me with the idea for doing the film on Nantucket, I thought it was a perfect way to bring together our focus on film and our mission as a community center and resource,” says Patty Roggeveen, Dreamland’s executive director. “The Dreamland is committed to celebrating film on Nantucket through screening, education and production. Nantucket 24 jump-starts this mission in a way that’s participatory and exciting.”
As for Kit Noble, Nantucket 24 holds some personal significance. Kit washed ashore three years back from Connecticut as a veteran photographer conditioned to the anonymity of the Big Apple. This could explain why Kit’s first film, Nantucket by Nature, was such a solitary undertaking. For two years, a camera was Kit’s primary company, turning him into a reclusive modern day Thoreau. Since then, Nantucket has become more than just his muse; it’s become his home. “The island’s natural beauty inspired my first film,” Kit says. “The island’s wonderful community inspired me to move my life out here. Nantucket 24 is a tribute to this community that has welcomed me.