Written by Senior Editor, Mollee D. Harper
Georgia Film News previews the 2016 Savannah Film Festival beginning this Saturday, October 22, through the following Saturday, October 29. This annual event is hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and includes eight full days of cinematic creativity from award-winning industry professionals as well as emerging student filmmakers. More than 40,000 people are scheduled to participate in the festivities hosted at various locations around Savannah during the next week. The spectacular lineup includes film competitions, screenings, workshops, panel discussions and lectures, along with notable and honored guest speakers from the industry.
The festival and competition is an important venue for the city of Savannah as one of the primary film and entertainment hubs in the state of Georgia, now the country’s third largest film producer. It also provides SCAD’s 13,000 enrolled students with unique opportunities to connect locally with leaders from the entertainment industry.
The Savannah Film Festival features tons of great independent and studio film screenings and sneak previews in several categories: Gala Screenings, Signature Screenings, Docs to Watch, Global Shorts Forum, After Dark, and VR Showcase. The opening night Gala Screening showcases the film Jackie at the Trustees Theater, an intimate portrayal of first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy starring Natalie Portman. The Gala Spotlight screening this year is La La Land starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling as jazz musicians pursuing their dreams in Hollywood. Arrival is the Centerpiece Gala Screening a suspenseful Sci-Fi featuring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.
SCAD will be rolling out the red carpet for this year’s honored guests including Molly Shannon, Miles Teller, Sam Claflin, and Mahershala Ali. Spotlight Award honoree Molly Shannon stars in the signature film – Other People – the story of a comedy writer dealing with life’s difficult twists and turns. Vanguard Award honoree Miles Teller is featured in Bleed for This – a true story about boxer Vinny “The Pazmanian Devil” Pazienza. Spotlight Award honoree Sam Claflin stars in Me Before You, the story of a young paralyzed banker that finds unexpected love. Discovery Award honoree Mashershala Ali portrays a young black man and his plight to find his place in the world in Moonlight. Each of these esteemed entertainers will be available for Q&A by viewers after their respective film screenings.
The film competition provides a rich lineup of stars in several categories, from narrative and documentary films to a wide range of short films including: pros, animations, student submissions, super shorts and global forums on immigration, poverty, race and prejudice, LGBTQ, the refugee reality, wartime witness and other current events. The panels and workshops provide unique forums for relevant industry discussions on career paths in filmmaking, writing for television, creating the sounds for movies, editing music for films, the business and legal side of filming in Georgia, and IMAX productions, with a special behind the scenes look at a Nickelodeon production. Attendees will also have special opportunities to learn from Oscar®-nominated art director of Blade Runner, David L. Snyder, Writer’s Guild Foundation panelists’ Ben Young and Eric Heisserer, as well as leading audio and video filmmaking artists and SCAD’s alumni panel.
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is a private, nonprofit accredited university offering more than 100 academic degree programs in 42 majors across its locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia in the U.S., Hong Kong, France, and online. For more information or tickets to the 2016 Savannah Film Festival, visit http://filmfest.scad.edu/.