How a University-Run Film Festival in Georgia Became a Go-To Stop for Oscar Hopefuls

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From Utah to the South of France to Toronto, when it comes to the awards festival circuit, a select few destinations come to mind. The latest locale to join the club: Georgia. The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Savannah Film Festival, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, has steadily become a go-to stop for films that are gunning for a little extra buzz before heading into the thick of awards campaigning.

The fest was launched by SCAD founder and president Paula Wallace, who says, “SCAD knows film. And when we say ‘film,’ we’re really talking about dozens of creative professions! Each with its own identity. As a student you can study: dramatic writing, performing arts, production design, sound design, animation, visual effects, producing, and directing.”

SCAD’s film fest started primarily as a competition platform for the college’s students, the fest now regularly features titles that emerge as Oscar best picture nominees and winners, including Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight. And from Lady Bird to Molly’s Game to The Shape of Water, this year’s lineup includes nearly every awards contender (17 gala screenings in all) that already has passed through Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. SCAD artistic director Christina Routhier (who has been with the fest for 18 years) spoke with THR about two decades of reinvention and growing pains.

See more at THR.

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