The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) proudly announces the initial lineup for the 2021 SCAD aTVfest. Now in its ninth year, the university’s annual signature event celebrating all things television and streaming will be a virtual experience taking place Feb. 4-6, 2021.
“SCAD aTVfest 2021—our inaugural virtual edition, streaming worldwide—marks another SCAD first,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “This dramatic digital debut extends the festival’s preeminent reputation, built over the past eight years, to a global audience. SCAD aTVfest showcases the finest content, freshest experiences, and most fabulous stars in dozens of screenings, masterclasses, and panels with industry insiders—Cynthia Erivo, Chrissy Metz, Bryan Cranston, and more. Exclusive. Live. Commercial-free. Enjoy!”
“I think we can all agree that this past year has presented us with many challenges, but television has continued to provide us steady comfort to get us through each day,” said SCAD aTVfest Executive Director Christina Routhier. “I have seen so many outstanding programs and performances over the last year, and we are beyond excited to feature some of the best at this year’s SCAD aTVfest. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate these amazing shows and talented industry professionals. We sincerely thank our network and streaming partners for their continued support in helping us to showcase the best in the industry for our SCAD students and audience.”
Bryan Cranston (Your Honor) will receive the Icon Award, Cynthia Erivo (Genius: Aretha) will receive the Spotlight Award, Javicia Leslie (Batwoman) will receive the Rising Star Award, Chrissy Metz (This Is Us) will receive the Vanguard Award, Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country) will receive the Distinguished Performance Award, Kenan Thompson (Kenan) will receive the Virtuoso Award and the cast of Good Girls (Christina Hendricks, Retta, Mae Whitman) will receive the Maverick Cast Award.Honorees are scheduled to attend virtual screenings and participate in conversations regarding their performances and careers.
Notable guests and shows virtually attending this year’s festival include (subject to change):
- A Million Little Things (ABC) guests to be announced
- Batwoman (The CW) with actor Javicia Leslie and showrunner, writer, and executive producer Caroline Dries
- Delilah (OWN) with actors Maahra Hill and Jill Marie Jones, creator Craig Wright, and director and executive producer Charles Randolph-Wright
- Everything’s Gonna Be Okay (Freeform) with actors Kayla Cromer, Adam Faison, and Maeve Press
- For All Mankind (Apple TV+) guests to be announced
- The Goldbergs (ABC) guests to be announced
- Good Girls (NBC) with actors Christina Hendricks, Retta and Mae Whitman
- Good Trouble (Freeform) with actors and executive producers Maia Mitchell and Cierra Ramirez, and actors Sherry Cola, Zuri Adele, Emma Hunton, Tommy Martinez, Josh Pence and Beau Mirchoff
- It’s a Sin (HBO Max) with actors Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris, Omari Douglas, Callum ScottHowells, Nathaniel Curtis, and Lydia West, and creator, showrunner, executive producer, and writer Russell T Davies
- Kenan (NBC) with actor and executive producer Kenan Thompson and actors Don Johnson, Chris Redd, Dani Lane, Dannah Lane, and Kimrie Lewis
- Lovecraft Country (HBO) with actor Jurnee Smollett
- Nancy Drew (The CW) with actor Kennedy McMann and executive producers Melinda Hsu Taylor and Noga Landau
- Queen Sugar (OWN) with actors Rutina Wesley, Kofi Siriboe, and Dawn-Lyen Gardner
- Superstore (NBC) with actors Ben Feldman, Mark McKinney Lauren Ash, Colton Dunn, Nico Santos, Nichole Sakura, and Kaliko Kauahi
- Tell Me Your Secrets (Amazon Prime Video) – with actors Lily Rabe, Amy Brenneman, Hamish Linklater, and Enrique Murciano, creator, writer, and executive producer Harriet Warner, and executive producer Bruna Papandrea
- The Unicorn (CBS) with actors Walton Goggins, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, Omar Miller, and Maya Lynne Robinson
- This Is Us (NBC) with actor Chrissy Metz
- Woke (Hulu) with actor Lamorne Morris, co-creator and executive producer Marshall Todd, and co-creator and executive producer Keith Knight
- Your Honor (SHOWTIME) with actor Bryan Cranston
The SCAD aTVfest panel series also welcomes industry experts from a myriad of professions to engage in meaningful conversations about their work. Entertainment Weekly (EW) returns for the fourth year as media partner to create exclusive interview content and curate the Women Who Kick Ass Panel.This year’s panels with industry experts include:
- “-Ish” Happens: A Conversation with the Stars of the “-ish” Universe, a behind-the-scenes look atBlack-ish, Grown-ish, and Mixed-ish
- The Making of Murder on Middle Beach, featuring SCAD alumni and filmmakers Madison Hamburg and Solomon Petchenik
- Screen Style: Netflix’s Ratched and The Queen’s Gambit, a stylish look at the garments of each critically acclaimed series
- Moving Pictures: Adapting Invincible for Animation, an exclusive look at Amazon’s upcoming animated series with creator Robert Kirkman
- Creating Outer Space: Building Worlds with VFX Studio Crafty Apes
- Raise the Roof with HGTV House Party
- Producing ABC Unscripted Series During a Pandemic
- In Conversation series includes insightful talks with actor Cynthia Erivo and singer and composer Linda Perry
- The annual Wonder Women series, featuring actors, directors, showrunners, and “below-the-line” production staff
- Inside the Writers’ Room
- Meet the Executives
- SCAD Alumni Voices, an exclusive panel featuring university graduates working in television and digital media
Explore the current festival lineup at atvfest.com.
Bryan Cranston is an Academy Award nominee and Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Tony, and Olivier Award winner. Best known for his portrayal of Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad and Hal on FOX’s Malcolm in the Middle, Cranston is currently starring on the SHOWTIME limited series Your Honor, in which he serves as executive producer. On film, Cranston most recently appeared in Disney’s The One and Only Ivan, reprised his role as Walter White in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, and starred opposite Kevin Hart and Nicole Kidman in The Upside, which grossed over $125 million worldwide. Cranston made his Broadway debut as President Lyndon B. Johnson in All the Wayand produced the film adaptation for HBO through his company Moonshot Entertainment. In 2018, he returned to the Broadway stage, starring as Howard Beale in Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Network after a run at the National Theatre in London. Through Moonshot Entertainment, Cranston has developed four series for television –Sneaky Pete, Supermansion, Dangerous Book for Boys,and Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams.
Cynthia Erivo is a Tony®, Emmy® and Grammy® Award-winning actress and singer, as well as Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, and SAG nominee. Since bursting onto West End and Broadway stages in The Color Purple, Erivo has taken the world by storm. She can soon be seen as legend Aretha Franklin in National Geographic’s Emmy-winning anthology Genius. The first-ever scripted series on the Queen of Soul premieres in March 2021. Erivo recently starred in the HBO limited series The Outsider, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Best known for her leading role in Kasi Lemmons’ critically acclaimed Harriet, where her portrayal of Harriet Tubman earned Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, Erivo will star in the upcoming film Talent Show and a future biopic about Nigerian princess Sara Forbes Bonnetta. Erivo is also a Grammy-nominated songwriter and performer. In addition to performances at the Kennedy Center Honors, the 2020 Academy Awards, the 2017 Governor’s Ball, and the 2017 Grammy Awards, Erivo also co-wrote and sang Harriet‘s title song, “Stand Up,” which earned multiple major award nominations. Erivo is currently working on her debut album with Verve/Universal Music Group, with a planned summer 2021 release. In August 2020, Erivo launched her production company, Edith’s Daughter, and announced a first-look deal with MRC Television and Civic Center Media. Edith’s Daughter will focus on projects that express the beauty in the stories and people who are often overlooked and underrepresented.
Recently named by The Hollywood Reporter as their “Next Big Thing” and by Los Angeles Magazineas their “One to Watch,” Javicia Leslie is the first bisexual, Black actress to play Batwoman. The CW’sBatwoman premiered in 2019 as the first superhero series in TV history to feature an avowed LGBTQ character as the central character. Leslie made her debut in the iconic cape as a new character named Ryan Wilder when Batwoman returned for its second season in January 2021. Leslie’s breakout performance came in the CBS drama God Friended Me, following early appearances in the Lifetime film Swim at Your Own Risk and the TV shows Chef Julian and MacGyver. Her first starring role came alongside Ernie Hudson in the BET series The Family Business. On film, Leslie recently tackled the lead role in Always a Bridesmaid, a Netflix comedy penned by Yvette Nicole Brown, and directed the short films Black Excellence and Howl. Born in Germany to military parents, Leslie was primarily raised in Maryland and appeared in several productions while she was a student at Hampton University. After graduating, she worked in Washington, D.C., helping soldiers and their families before she decided to pursue acting full-time and moved to Los Angeles, where she was discovered working the booth of a pop-up shop event. As driven philanthropically as she is in her career, Leslie has started an annual charity drive timed to give back to youth in her community. This year, she collected donations of sports items via her charity, The Chandler Foundation.
Music and acting are intertwined throughout the career of Chrissy Metz, from her role on NBC’s award-winning series This Is Us to her Oscar-nominated song from the film Breakthrough. Raised in Japan and Gainesville, Fla., Metz dreamed of being a singer but found her footing on screen. Metz began her Hollywood story as an assistant and an agent while she auditioned for acting parts. Early roles in Entourage, All of Us, My Name Is Earl, Huge, and American Horror Story preceded her breakout role as Kate Pearson in This Is Us, earning her Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award supporting actress nominations. On film, Metz has starred in Sierra Burgess Is a Loser and as devoted mother Joyce Smith in Breakthrough. In the first season of This Is Us, Metz wowed with her rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time,” a precursor to her budding music career that continued with “I’m Standing With You,” the Diane Warren-penned, Oscar-nominated song she performed in Breakthrough. Metz sang the song at the 2019 ACM Awards with Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Mickey Guyton, and Maddie & Tae, and again at the 2020 Academy Awards, live performances that led to an album deal with EMI Records Nashville. Metz is currently writing and recording her first album which is expected to release in 2021. Metz is also the author of a bestselling memoir, This Is Me, in which she describes her journey to self-love and acceptance following a tough upbringing.
Jurnee Smollett is an award-winning actress and activist of rare talent and conviction. Smollett most recently starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed Lovecraft Country and as Black Canary in the DC Extended Universe film Birds of Prey. Her acting career began with a breakthrough role at the age of 11, starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson in Eve’s Bayou, a performance that garnered her the Broadcast Film Critics Award for Best Youth Performance. Smollett also starred in The Great Debaters, earning her the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture, Temptation, One Last Thing, Hands of Stone, Roll Bounce, Gridiron Gang, and Beautiful Joe. She will next star in the Netflix original film Escape from Spiderhead with Chris Hemsworth and Miles Teller. On the small screen, Smollett had a starring role in WGN’s Underground, which followed the escape and risk-filled travel along the Underground Railroad and became the highest-rated original-scripted premiere in the network’s history. Other television credits include the HBO cult classic True Blood, NBC hits Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, FOX’s House, Lifetime’s Strong Medicine, and ABC’s NYPD Blue and Grey’s Anatomy. She also lent her voice to several episodes of the popular Disney animated seriesSofia the First. In addition to acting, Smollett is an activist for HIV/AIDS causes and Time’s Up. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Defense Fund.
Kenan Thompson is currently in his 18th season on Saturday Night Live as the show’s longest-running cast member. He also stars in and executive produces the new NBC comedy Kenan, premiering at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16. Thompson has made numerous contributions to SNLwith his slew of hilarious impressions, including The Rev. Al Sharpton, Charles Barkley, Steve Harvey, and David Ortiz, and memorable characters like DJ Dynasty Handbag; Weekend Update correspondent Jean K. Jean; Black Jeopardy host Darnell Hayes; and talk show host Diondre Cole on What Up With That. In 2018, he received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for the SNL song “Come Back, Barack” and was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2018 and 2020. Thompson has also served as producer and judge alongside Chrissy Teigen, Jeff Foxworthy, and Amanda Seales on NBC’s comedy competition series Bring the Funny. An Atlanta native, Thompson made his TV debut as a member of Nickelodeon’s all-kid sketch comedy series All That. Thompson now serves as an executive producer on the 2019 Nickelodeon reboot. He and Kel Mitchell debuted on the spinoff Kenan and Kel in 1996. On film, Thompson has appeared in Hubie Halloween,Snakes on a Plane, Wieners, The Magic of Belle Isle, D2: The Mighty Ducks, and Good Burger, among others. He has showcased his voice talents in The Grinch, Trolls World Tour, Wonder Park, The Smurfs, Space Chimps, Rock Dog and more. Upcoming projects include Paramount’s Clifford the Big Red Dog and the Disney+ Home Alone reboot.
When three suburban moms (Christina Hendricks, Retta, and Mae Whitman) get tired of trying to make ends meet, they decide to stick up for themselves by robbing the local grocery store. But when the manager catches a glimpse of one of them and the loot is far more than expected, it doesn’t take long for the three best friends to realize the perfect getaway is harder than they think. Good Girls, a comedy-infused drama mixing Breaking Bad with Thelma & Louise, also stars Reno Wilson, Manny Montana, Lidya Jewett, Isaiah Stannard, and Matthew Lillard.