This year 23rd annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival running as an all-virtual experience October 24 – 31, will screen 148 films, including 20 narrative films, 17 documentary films and 111 shorts, with 14 world premieres, four U.S. premieres and four North American premieres.
The festival kicks off Saturday, October 24, with the opening-night Gala Screening of I’m Your Woman, directed by Julia Hart and featuring Spotlight Award honoree Rachel Brosnahan. The festival culminates Saturday, October 31, with the closing-night Gala Screening of One Night in Miami, directed by Regina King. Minari will be featured as a Gala Spotlight Screening on Mon., October 26, with a special Q&A with actor Steven Yeun and director Lee Isaac Chung.
The 2020 schedule includes Gala and Signature Screenings, professional and student competition films, Docs to Watch, Shorts Spotlight, Global Shorts Forum, and the Wonder Women and Below the Line panel series.
SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace said, “SCAD screens the stories that matter to our students and to viewers around the globe. And this year, everybody’s got the best seat in the house!”
“We are so excited for the virtual program we’ve put together this year, from our film screenings to our amazing guests and panelists,” said SCAD Savannah Film Festival Executive Director Christina Routhier. “I am even more proud that the festival will be screening films from more than 64 women filmmakers and hosting our annual Wonder Women panels, making us one of the few festivals that continues to highlight the work of women artists from around the world.”
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is renowned for spotlighting major award contenders, screening a multitude of studio films prior to their wider release. Ten films have been selected for the distinguished Gala Screenings, which are followed by Q&As with the directors and select cast:
- The Father (directed by Florian Zeller and featuring Olivia Colman, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots and Rufus Sewell)
- The North American premiere of Francesco (directed by Evgeny Afineevsky)
- I Carry You With Me (directed by Heidi Ewing and featuring Armando Espitia, Christian Vázquez, Michelle Rodríguez and Ángeles Cruz)
- I’m Your Woman (directed by Julia Hart and featuring Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, Frankie Faison and Bill Heck)
- Minari (directed by Lee Isaac Chung and featuring Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho and Scott Haze with Yuh-Jung Yuon and Will Patton)
- Nine Days (directed by Edson Oda and featuring Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale and Bill Skarsgård)
- One Night in Miami (directed by Regina King and featuring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Joaquina Kalukango and Nicolette Robinson with Beau Bridges and Lance Reddick)
- Sound of Metal (directed by Darius Marder and featuring Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff, Chelsea Lee, Shaheem Sanchez and Mathieu Amalric)
- Sylvie’s Love (directed by Eugene Ashe and featuring Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Aja Naomi King, Jemima Kirke, Tone Bell, Alano Miller, Eva Longoria and Wendy McLendon-Covey)
- Uncle Frank (directed by Alan Ball and featuring Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root and Lois Smith)
The Signature series features premiere and special screenings, followed by Q&As with select directors, writers, actors, and producers. This year’s selection of films includes:
- Be Water (directed by Bao Nguyen)
- Black Bear (directed by Lawrence Michael Levine and featuring Aubrey Plaza, Sarah Gadon, Alex Koch and Christopher Abbott)
- Farewell Amor (directed by Ekwa Msangi and featuring Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson, Joie Lee and Nana Mensah)
- Herself (directed by Phyllida Lloyd and featuring Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill, Cathay Belton, Clare Dunne and Rebecca O’Mara)
- Stardust (directed by Gabriel Range and featuring Jena Malone, Johnny Flynn, Marc Maron, Anthony Flanagan and Aaron Poole)
Docs to Watch
The seventh annual Docs to Watch series will be accompanied by a roundtable with the directors, hosted by Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter. Selected films include:
- Boys State (directed by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss)
- Crip Camp (directed by Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht)
- Dick Johnson Is Dead (directed by Kirsten Johnson)
- The Dissident (directed by Bryan Fogel)
- The Human Factor (directed by Dror Moreh)
- MLK/FBI (directed by Sam Pollard)
- Time (directed by Garrett Bradley)
- The Truffle Hunters (directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw)
- The Way I See It (directed by Dawn Porter)
- Welcome to Chechnya (directed by David France)
As Hollywood A-listers migrate to episodic storytelling on the small screen, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival presents TV Sidebar, a special screening that highlights the best in television.
- The Good Lord Bird (created by Ethan Hawke and featuring Ethan Hawke, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Beau Knapp, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Nick Eversman, Ellar Coltrane, Daveed Diggs and Steve Zahn. Produced by Blumhouse Television and Showtime.)
Animation has experienced an artistic resurgence that informs and entertains across generations and across the globe.
- Wolfwalkers (directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart)
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s nod to the Halloween season includes this late-night feature film — selected to thrill, scare and shock — followed by a Q&A with Omari Hardwick.
- Spell (directed by Mark Tonderai and featuring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley and Andre Jacobs)
SCAD will honor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Trial of the Chicago 7) with the Distinguished Performance Award, Rachel Brosnahan (I’m Your Woman) and Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods) with the Spotlight Award, Millie Bobby Brown (Enola Holmes) with the Maverick Award, Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird) with the Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Award, Jennifer Hudson (Respect) with the Virtuoso Award and Glen Keane (Over the Moon) with the Lifetime Achievement in Animation Award.
Join the SCAD Savannah Film Festival for conversations and panels with industry stars and insiders. This year’s panels include:
- The Old Guard Creative Spotlight Conversation, a special presentation and discussion with acclaimed director Gina Prince-Bythewood, actor KiKi Layne, editor Terilyn A. Shropshire, and VFX supervisor Sara Bennett.
- The Wonder Women series, focusing on the cinematic achievements and contributions of women directors, producers, writers and below-the-line talent in film and television.
- The Below the Line series, highlighting the contributions of below-the-line talent to the art of cinema with a focus on costume design, cinematography and production design.
- The influential female voices at Blumhouse host the panel Women of Blumhouse: Shaping Genre Storytelling at the Iconic House of Horror to discuss working at the studio and offer a glimpse into how the sauce gets made, from creative to production to casting.
- The State of the Industry presentation, sponsored by SAGindie,which offers a glimpse into the complicated landscape of film, television and new media production in 2020 and beyond.
- The panel New Realities of Representation for Actors, Writers, and Directors with talent managers, agents and producers.
- The SCAD Alumni Panel, highlighting graduates of the university’s top-ranked film and television degree program.
- The exclusive Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass Panel and Entertainment Weekly’s Breaking Big Panel and Awards, hosted by festival media partner Entertainment Weekly.
- Roundtables with the directors of films in the Professional Shorts and Documentary Features categories.
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival celebrates the work of established and emerging filmmakers, from feature-length films to two-minute shorts. The juried competition showcases the best of professional, animated and student films selected from more than 1,500 entries annually.
From side-splitting comedies to heart-wrenching dramas, the narrative feature films selected represent diversity in storytelling, excellence in acting and directing, and exemplary cinematography and editing.
- Dramarama (directed by Jonathan Wysocki and featuring Anna Grace Barlow, Nico Greetham, Nick Pugliese and Zak Henri)
- Electric Jesus (directed by Chris White and featuring Brian Baumgartner, Judd Nelson, Andrew Eakle and Shannon Hutchinson)
- The world premiere of Killing Eleanor (directed by Rich Newey and featuring Annika Marks, Jenny O’Hara, Jane Kaczmarek and Betsy Brandt)
- The Outside Story (directed by Casimir Nozkowski and featuring Brian Tyree Henry, Sonequa Martin-Green and Sunita Mani)
- Small Town Wisconsin (directed by Niels Mueller and featuring David Sullivan, Kristen Johnston and Bill Heck)
Beyond simple subject matters, documentaries present compelling stories that illuminate and educate audiences in a thought-provoking and timely manner.
- Chuck Connelly Into the Light (directed by Benjamin Schwartz)
- Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man (directed by Allen Farst)
- Free Color (directed by Alberto Arvelo)
- Kusasa (directed by Shane Vermooten)
- That’s Wild (directed by Michiel Thomas)
Running the gamut of subject matter and style, these short films are selected based on their individual merits in storytelling and execution:
- Alina (directed by Rami Kodeih and featuring Alia Shawkat, Rebeca Robles, Edin Gali and Mark McCullough)
- Dawn in the Dark (directed by Runyararo Mapfumo and featuring Livia Nelson and Percelle Ascott)
- A Glimpse (directed by Tom Turner and featuring Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton)
- The Heart Still Hums (directed by Savanah Leaf and Taylor Russell)
- Master Maggie (directed by Matthew Bonifacio and featuring Lorraine Bracco, Neil Jain, Brian Dennehy, Kenan Thompson and Chris Henry Coffey)
- My Brother’s Keeper (directed by Laurence Topham)
- The Seeker (directed by Lance Edmands)
- Skywatch (directed by SCAD graduate Colin Levy and featuring Uriah Shelton and Zach Callison)
- Sky West and Crooked (directed by Heather Edwards and featuring Matt Jones, Vivienne Rutherford, Martha MacIsaac and Ethan Jones)
- Sitting (directed by Jones and featuring Allyson Morgan and Louis Changchien)
These animated films represent the diversity of the craft — from simple, hand-drawn figures to stop-motion and digital rendering — showcasing unique storytelling at its finest.
With solid storytelling and emerging vision, these films represent a broad range of categories including live action, narrative, documentary and animation. SCAD student films that are part of the competition include:
- Death of Childhood (directed by McKinley Benson)
- Eyes of Eidolon (directed by Davi Pena)
- Growing Indoors (directed by Maria Primera Darwich)
- The Light Breaks (directed Hailey French)
- The Mandrake (directed by Quincy Baltes)
- Windchimes (directed by Alice Aguiar)
Global Shorts Forum
The Global Shorts Forum is a curated collection of international shorts across multiple genres that focus on world issues. This year’s themes include:
- Black Voices, offering a critical dialogue on the Black experience in the U.S. and around the world.
- Far from Home, spotlighting filmmakers who reckon with ideas of home, issues of displacement and the struggles of immigration.
- HER Story, bringing the feminine perspective into focus.
- One Planet, taking on planetary issues including climate change, clean earth activism and environmental justice.
This year’s Shorts Spotlight themes include:
- Animated Gems, featuring animated shorts by both student and professional filmmakers.
- Overcoming Obstacles, presenting stories of people with disabilities who overcome hardship to pursue their dreams and a better quality of life.
- Pride Parade, exploring ideas of identity and the LGBTQIA experience
- Trigger Warnings, examining the things that trigger us, the fears that stir in us and the inner struggle for emotional and mental resiliency. The film November is directed by SCAD student Mae Mann.
Originated in 2019, Southern Voices showcases short films with Southern soul, representing the authentic voices of the region. Six short films have been selected for this year’s edition.