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SCAD Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) will celebrate 20 years of cinematic creativity Saturday, Oct. 28 to Saturday, Nov. 4 at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival. The 2017 line-up of films includes Gala Screenings, Docs to Watch, Signature Series and a Global Shorts Forum. This year’s festival will screen a total of 131 films, including 33 narrative films, 16 documentary films and 82 shorts. For a complete list of films and to see the full festival schedule, visit

The nation’s largest university-run festival will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 28 with the Opening Night Gala Screening of “Molly’s Game,” written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain. The Centerpiece Gala Screening will be “Lady Bird,” written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan.

This year, SCAD will honor 13 masters of their craft: Richard Gere (Lifetime Achievement Award), Zoey Deutch (Rising Star Award), Mariska Hargitay (Humanitarian Award), Ashley Judd (Virtuoso Award), Kyra Sedgwick (Spotlight Award), Andrea Riseborough (Outstanding Supporting Actress Award for “Battle of the Sexes”), and Willow Shields (Rising Star Award), joining previously announced honorees John Boyega, Salma Hayek Pinault, Holly Hunter, Robert Pattinson, Aaron Sorkin and Sir Patrick Stewart.

“For 20 years, SCAD has celebrated the best of the best in film, and each year at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, guests and industry greats alike see that the best is yet to come,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “In a week packed with premieres, panels, and screenings galore, there’s much to watch, learn, and adore. Come be dazzled by the star power of SCAD!”

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival attracts visitors from around the world to experience exclusive screenings, competition films, documentaries, shorts, animated films and panel discussions at SCAD’s historic theaters and industry-leading studios. Now a key stop on the Oscar festival circuit, the festival draws crowds of more than 55,000 with films like “La La Land,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Arrival.” SCAD’s annual tribute to excellence in film has screened over 100 Oscar-nominated films and honored over 75 legendary actors, directors, producers, writers and filmmakers.

More than 8,100 SCAD students and alumni work in the fields of animation, entertainment, motion pictures, media production, writing, editing, broadcast media and performing arts, with over 2,800 in Georgia alone. Graduates of SCAD’s preeminent film and television program are Academy Award-winning professionals and the SCAD Casting Office has placed over 250 roles to date. Last year, more than 50 SCAD graduates worked on ten Oscar-nominated films, including the Best Picture winner “Moonlight,” which screened at the 2016 SCAD Savannah Film Festival.


The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is known for shining a spotlight on upcoming award contenders, screening many studio films prior to their wider release.  Last year, the festival screened five films that went on to receive Academy Awards, including 2017 Best Picture winner Moonlight.  Seventeen films have been selected for the distinguished Gala Screening spot:

• “Call Me Be Your Name” (Director: Luca Guadagino. Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, and Michael Stuhlbarg)
• “Darkest Hour (Director: Joe Wright. Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane and Ben Mendelsohn)
• “Downsizing” (Director: Alexander Payne. Cast: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, and Kristin Wiig)
• “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” (Director: Paul McGuigan. Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, and Vanessa Redgrave)
• “The Florida Project” (Director: Sean Baker. Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, and Valeria Cotto)
• “I, Tonya” (Director: Craig Gillespie. Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, and Allison Janney)
• “Into the Rainbow” (Director: Norman Stone, Gary Wing-Lun Mak. Cast: Willow Shields, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Wu Lei Leo and Jacqueline Joe) U.S. Premiere
• “Lady Bird” (Director: Greta Gerwig. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lois Smith, and Stephen McKinley Henderson)
• “Last Flag Flying” (Director Richard Linklater. Cast: Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne)
• “LBJ” (Director: Rob Reiner. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Stahl-David, Rich Sommer, Bill Pullman, C. Thomas Howell, Jeffrey Donovan and Richard Jenkins)
• “The Leisure Seeker” (Director: Paolo Virzi. Cast: Helen Mirren, and Donald Sutherland)
• “Molly’s Game” (Writer and Director: Aaron Sorkin. Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner)
• “Mudbound” (Director: Dee Rees. Cast: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan)
• “The Shape of Water” (Director: Guillermo del Toro. Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, and Octavia Spencer)
• “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Director: Martin McDonagh. Cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes, and Zeljko Ivankek)
• “The Upside” (Director: Neil Burger. Cast: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, and Nicole Kidman)
• “Wonderstruck” (Director: Todd Haynes. Cast: Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore, and Millicent Simmonds)


Sponsored annually by The Hollywood Reporter, the Docs to Watch series returns to the festival this year, focusing exclusively on ten of the top must-see documentaries for the year, as well as those gaining award season attention. Industry guests will participate in a Q&A for their respective films, and the directors from each documentary will join a panel moderated by Scott Feinberg, awards columnist for The Hollywood Reporter to be held on Sunday, Oct. 29. Last year’s Best Documentary Feature winner “O.J. Made in America” participated in the Docs to Watch panel.

Expected to attend this year are directors Evgeny Afineevsky (“Cries from Syria”); Greg Barker (“The Final Year”); Bryan Fogel (“Icarus”); Yance Ford (“Strong Island”); Amanda Lipitz (“Step”); Brett Morgen (“Jane”); Jeff Orlowski (“Chasing Coral”); Laura Poitras (“Risk”); John Ridley (“Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992”) and Ceyda Torun (“Kedi”).


The Signature Series features premiere and special screenings, from narrative to documentary films, followed by a Q&A session with the film’s actors, directors, producers, or writers. This year’s selection includes:

• “Beatriz at Dinner” (Director: Miguel Arteta. Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Chloë Sevigny, Connie Britton, David Warshofksy, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and John Early)
• “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” (Director: Jared Moshe. Cast: Bill Pullman)
• “Battle of the Sexes” (Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Bill Pullman, Elisabeth Shue, Austin Stowell, and Natalie Morales)
• “The Big Sick” (Director: Michael Showalter. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoey Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano)
• “Detroit” (Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Cast: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, and Jacob Latimore)
• “Flower” (Director: Max Winkler. Cast: Zoey Deutch, Adam Scott, and Kathryn Hahn)
• “Gifted” (Director: Marc Webb. Cast: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, and Octavia Spencer)
• “Good Time” (Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie. Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benny Safdie, Buddy Duress, and Barkhad Abdi)
• “I Am Evidence” (Producer Mariska Hargitay. Director: Trish Adelsic, Geeta Gandhbir)
• “Logan” (Director: James Mangold. Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Dafne Keen)
• “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer” (Director: Joseph Cedar. Cast: Richard Gere, Michael Sheen, and Steve Buscemi)
• “Ruby in Paradise” (Director: Victor Nuñez. Cast: Ashley Judd, Todd Field, and Bentley Mitchum)
• “Served Like a Girl” (Director: Lysa Heslov. Cast: Nichole Alred, Jas Boothe, and Rachel Engler)
• “Story of a Girl” (Director: Kyra Sedgwick. Cast: Kevin Bacon, Sosie Bacon, and Ryann Shane)
• “Strange Weather” (Director: Katherine Diekmann. Cast: Holly Hunter, Carrie Coon, and Ransom Ashley)
• “Tulip Fever” (Director: Justin Chadwick. Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, and Holliday Grainger)
• “The Year of Spectacular Men” (Director: Lea Thompson. Cast: Madelyn Deutch, Zoey Deutch, Lea Thompson, and Avan Jorgia)


The Global Shorts Forum is a curated collection of 45 international shorts that focus on world issues, such as refugee, climate, and hunger crises.


The Below the Line panel series welcomes professional guests from casting, costume design, music supervision, production design and post production to engage in insightful conversations about their craft.

To coincide with the phenomenal success of Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival will present a series of panels dedicated to the cinematic achievements of women in the film industry.

Three panels of directors, producers and up-and-coming talent will highlight and discuss their experiences in the industry.

For a complete list of films and the full festival schedule, visit Tickets and passes are available for purchase online at, by telephone at 912.525.5050, or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia.


Humanitarian, actor, producer and Golden Globe winner, Richard Gere is known for his roles in films such as “An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Days of Heaven,” “American Gigolo,” “Breathless,” “Pretty Woman,” “First Knight,” “Primal Fear,” “Unfaithful,” “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” “The Cotton Club,” “Shall We Dance,” and “Internal Affairs.” Gere won his first Golden Globe Award as Best Actor for his portrayal of the infamous tap dancing lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. Gere’s most recent film credits are “The Dinner” and “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer.” His other recent credits include “The Benefactor,” “Time Out of Mind,” “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Arbitrage,” “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale,” “Brooklyn’s Finest,” “The Hoax,”  “I’m Not There” and “Three Christs.”

A vibrant, diversely talented, and charming actress, Zoey Deutch is steadily building on her body of work with dynamic roles alongside notable actors and filmmakers. She can currently be seen opposite Kevin Spacey and Nicholas Hoult in “Rebel in the Rye” and earlier this year starred in “Before I Fall” for director Ry Russo-Young. Both films premiered at the Sundance International Film Festival. Deutch will next be seen in Max Winkler’s “Flower” as well as “The Year of Spectacular Men,” which stars and is written by her sister Madelyn Deutch and directed by their mother Lea Thompson. Deutch recently wrapped production on “Richard Says Goodbye” opposite Johnny Depp as well as the Netflix romantic comedy “Set It Up” opposite Glen Powell. Last year she co-starred in “Everybody Wants Some!!” from writer/director Richard Linklater; “Why Him?” opposite Bryan Cranston and James Franco, and “Dirty Grandpa” opposite Robert De Niro and Zac Efron.

Mariska Hargitay plays Lieutenant Olivia Benson on the NBC series “Law & Order: SVU,” where she is also an executive producer and has directed multiple episodes. She won an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama, a Golden Globe Award, and earned an additional seven Emmy nominations, five SAG Award nominations, and two Gracie Allen Awards for American Women in Radio and Television. Mariska’s role on SVU awakened her to burdens that survivors of trauma often carry: the weight of shame, judgement and isolation. Inspired by their courage, she founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004, whose mission is to transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever. At the heart of their advocacy work is the “End the Backlog” campaign, which aims to eliminate the backlog of hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sitting in storage across America, so that survivors can get the closure they deserve.  She also produced “I Am Evidence,” an HBO documentary film on the topic that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017.

Ashley Judd is well known for dexterously starring in both box office hits and for turning in unforgettable performances in fine independent films. From her debut in Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner, “Ruby In Paradise,” to “Where the Heart Is,” “Simon Burch,” “Helen,” “De-Lovely” and “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” her films tell very personal stories.  Her other credits include “A Time to Kill,” “Kiss the Girls,” “Double Jeopardy,” “High Crimes,” “Dolphin Tale,” “Olympus Has Fallen” and the “Divergent” film series. Next up, Judd can be seen starring in the second season of EPIX’s espionage drama “Berlin Station,” as “BB Yates” the new Chief of Station.  The second season will premiere on October 15, 2017.

Andrea Riseborough can currently be seen in Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ “Battle of the Sexes” starring as Marilyn Barnett alongside Emma Stone and Steve Carell. Her other credits include “Nocturnal Animals,” “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Never Let Me Go,” “Made in Dagenham,” “Brighton Rock,” “Resistance,” “W.E,” “Oblivion,” “Welcome to the Punch,” “The Silent Storm,” “Hidden,” “Shadow Dancer Hulu’s National Treasure,” “Bloodline” and “The Witness for the Prosecution.”  Her upcoming projects include Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin,” Andrew Heckler’s “Burden,” Christina Choe’s “Nancy,” which she also served as a producer, Netlfix’s “Black Mirror,” and the six-part limited series “Waco” set to air on Paramount Network in January 2018.

Kyra Sedgwick has conquered success on stage, screen and television. She has received multiple Golden Globe nominations (2007 win for “The Closer”), Emmy nominations (2010 win for “The Closer”), seven SAG nominations as well as two Independent Spirit Award nominations, a Theater award, Los Angeles Drama Desk Critics Circle Award and a Dramalogue Award. She can currently be seen in the new ABC series “Ten Days in the Valley,” in which she also serves as the executive producer. Sedgwick also made her directorial debut this year with the independent feature “Story of a Girl,” based on the novel of the same name by Sara Zarr. Her other film credits include “The Edge of Seventeen,” “Submission,” “The Humbling,” “Time Out of Mind,” “After Darkness,” “Kill Your Darlings,” “The Road Within,” “Reach Me,” “The Possession,” “Man on a Ledge,” “Gamer,” “The Game Plan,” “Loverboy,” “The Woodman,” “Secondhand Lions,” “Personal Velocity,” “Phenomenon,” “What’s Cooking,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Singles,” “Lemony Sky” and “Heart and Souls.”

Willow Shields is best known for her role of Primrose Everdeen in the globally successful “The Hunger Games” film franchise. She currently stars in the film Into “The Rainbow,” a 3D family fantasy-adventure, in which she stars as the protagonist, Rachel, who is challenged to prevent an unusual environmental global catastrophe.  Her other film credits include “In Plain Sight” and “Beyond the Blackboard.” She is currently filming the independent drama “Woodstock or Bust” and is slated to star in a Jennifer Lynch feature thriller entitled, “A Fall From Grace.” Other upcoming feature projects include “Thunder Roads” and “Forever China” scheduled for the spring of 2018.


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