The 25th SCAD Savannah Film Festival kicked off in huge fashion as the east end of Broughton St. outside the Trustees Theatre was packed with lines of people waiting to attend some of the featured screenings on Saturday and Sunday night.
Both days has screenings that started that morning and wrapped that night. Hundreds filled the streets at night to see the stars walk the red carpet while they wait for the movies to start.
SCAD freshman Matteo Pane is studying film and television and was excited to attend the festival for the first time.
“Being a film student and being surrounded by a lot of directors and actors at the festival is an indescribable feeling that I am really excited to witness. I have friends who went to SCAD, and they said the film festival is something I one hundred percent must do,” said Pane.
The festival has something to offer for everyone including those who love movies and those who work in the film industry.
Zoe Vatekeh, a Savannah native who works as crew in the film industry was touched by the documentary “Is That Black Enough for You?!?”
The documentary is about African American contributions to films released in the landmark 1970’s era and how these works were often overlooked in modern discourse.
“Attending the festival as an actor inspired me to want to produce and create my own work. The documentary was an eye opener for me. Many African Americans during that time had to act in films to survive and it wasn’t about the fame,” said Vatekeh, author of “Stand Out While Standing In” which is a how to for stand-ins on set.
On opening night Kerry Condon, one of the stars of the film “The Banshees of Inisherin,” was in Savannah for the festival to receive the Distinguished Performance Award for her role in the film. She talked about what attracted her to the project.
“It was Martin McDonagh [the director] for sure. I’ve worked with him since the beginning of my career and throughout it in film and theater. It was because he asked me to do it,” said Condon.
The movie is set on a remote island off the coast of Ireland, Pádraic (Colin Farrell) is devastated when his buddy Colm (Brendan Gleeson) suddenly puts an end to their lifelong friendship. With help from his sister (Kerry Condon) and a troubled young islander, Pádraic sets out to repair the damaged relationship by any means necessary.
Also, on Saturday night the “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” movie screened, and the director and writer Eric Appel was there and talked about making the film and how great it was working with the music legend on the film.
“From the jump we decided that we weren’t really going to tell his true story. The only way to do a Weird Al biopic is to do a parody of biopics. It was incredible working with Al on this. I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember,” said Appel.
The film, a satire of biopics and loosely based on Yankovic's life and career, stars Daniel Radcliffe as Yankovic.
On Sunday Ron Howard, Eddie Redmayne, Jeremy Pope, and Jenna Ortega screened films and participated in talk backs with SCAD students about their careers and work.
As an actor Howard is known for roles in “The Andy Griffith Show,” “American Graffiti,” and” Happy Days.” As director is known for films like “Splash,” “Apollo 13,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” and “A Beautiful Mind,” which earned Howard Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards.
“It’s ever more important to keep shining a light on voices from all over the world and acknowledge and amplify their achievements,” said Howard who was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Directing.
Howard screened his film Thirteen Lives. The recounts the incredible true story of the global effort to rescue a Thai soccer team trapped in a cave after an unexpected rainstorm.
Jeremy Pope gave a strong and moving performance in the film “The Inspection.” In this film based on director Elegance Bratton's own touching story, a young, gay Black man with few options for his future decides to join the Marines, doing whatever it takes to succeed in a system that would throw him aside.
Pope was presented with the Distinguished Performance Award after the screening of the film.
Redmayne and Ortega hit the red carpet and was met with crowds of adoring fans cheering and screaming. They even took the time to give autographs to fans and snap photos. Pane even got his shoes signed by both actors.
“I am a fan of Eddie Redmayne and I’ve saw a little of Jenna’s work but after I got Eddie’s my friends told me to see how many I could get,” said Pane.
Redmayne, an Academy Award winning actor, was there to screen “The Good Nurse” in which her stars WITH Jessica Chastain. The film is out now on Netflix.
"The Good Nurse," a movie based on the true-crime book of the same name is based on the story of Charles Cullen who was found responsible for the murder of dozens of patients over a period of sixteen years, across two states and nine hospitals, without being charged.
Redmayne, who received the Virtuoso award at the festival, got to have a conversation with SCAD students Sunday afternoon ahead of the screening.
“It felt amazing. I’ve never been in the room with such passionate and joyous people filled with a love for what we do. It’s something revitalizing about the next generation coming up with that passion and that hunger. I think I probably took away more than they did,” said Redmayne.
Ortega was there to screen the film “X,” an intense horror film with cringe worthy moments. The film is about a group of young filmmakers that set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.
“It’s a genre [horror] that I really enjoy. It’s hard for me to turn down a good script and I do like things that are a little disturbing. It’s fun and they are some of the best sets to be on because everyone is so passionate,” said Ortega.
Ortega can be seen in the next installment of the horror franchise “Scream,” and she is the new Wednesday Addams in Netflix’s “Wednesday,” a new take on the iconic character.
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival continues through Saturday, Oct. 29, including 3 films made in Georgia. The full schedule is at filmfest.scad.edu.