SCAD announces schedule and star-studded line up for the 24th SCAD Savannah Film Festival


The largest university-run film festival in the U.S. is returning for its 24th year. 

The Savannah College of Art and Design will present the 24th annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival in-person and virtually October 23–30, 2021. 

The eight-day celebration honors both professional and student filmmakers and welcomes major industry giants, including award-winning directors, writers, and actors. 

“We are so excited to be back in person to celebrate the best in cinema at the 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and to continue our diverse programming, championing wonder women and artisan talent trailblazers in the industry,” said SCAD Savannah Film Festival Executive Director Christina Routhier.

The festival is an exciting one to attend for filmmakers and film lovers. 

Guests also can catch some of the biggest stars in Hollywood walk the red carpet, and snap photos right here in Savannah. 

Anticipation for the film festival passes this year was so high that film fans camped outside of the box office to be some of the first to get tickets.

The festival kicks off Sat., Oct. 23, with the opening-night Gala Screening of “Belfast,” directed by Kenneth Branagh (a 2021 Honoree).

The festival culminates Sat., Oct. 30, with the closing-night Gala Screening of “King Richard” with Aunjanue Ellis (also an Honoree this year).

Both films have been generating Oscar buzz after screenings at a couple of festivals so far.

Belfast is a 2021 British-Irish black-and-white coming of age comedy-drama film written and directed by Kenneth Branagh. It is a semi-autobiographical film which chronicles the life of a working-class family and their young son’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the Northern Ireland capital.

King Richard, a 2021 American biographical drama film directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green that follows the life of Richard Williams, the father and coach of famed tennis players Venus and Serena Williams stars Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis, has been creating Oscar buzz already for Will Smith as a contender for best actor, a category he’s been nominated in twice—losing both times.

The Centerpiece Gala Screening C’mon C’mon will feature on Wed., Oct. 27 with director and writer Mike Mills. 

“C’mon C’mon” is a 2021 American black-and-white drama film starring Joaquin Phoenix, about an artist (Phoenix) left to take care of his precocious young nephew as they forge an unexpected bond over a cross-country trip.

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is a key stop on the Academy Awards festival circuit, and this year the festival will screen 157 films, including 45 narrative feature films, 15 documentary feature films and 97 shorts, with 14 world premieres, one U.S. premiere, and three North American premieres—with 63 of these films directed by women. 

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival has screened more than 120 Academy Award-nominated films and has honored more than 100 legendary actors, directors, producers, writers, and filmmakers from around the world. 

“We meet filmmakers from around the world and ones that are deep in the industry. Seeing people doing the things we want to do is important as students because they are where we want to be. They also give us advice and tips on how to get industry jobs,” said frequent festival attendee Jewel Hamrick IV, a SCAD Film and Television graduate student and founder and CEO of IV Vision. 

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is renowned for spotlighting major award contenders, screening a multitude of studio films prior to their wider release and 20 films were selected this year. 

The eighth annual “Docs to Watch” series will be accompanied by a roundtable with the directors, hosted by Scott Feinberg of “The Hollywood Reporter.”

“Settle into your seats and marvel at the magic of stellar cinema at this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace.

The 2021 schedule includes Gala and Signature Screenings, professional and student competition films, Docs to Watch, Shorts Spotlight, Global Shorts Forum, and the Wonder Women and Below the Line panel series.

“With in-person events that prioritize safety, comfort, and community, SCAD’s signature festival dazzles with a display of more than 150 films and an assortment of stars from living legends like Kenneth Branagh to luminaries such as Aunjanue Ellis. There’s always more premieres, panels, and masterclasses. That’s SCAD. Home to the world’s largest and most lauded university film studio complex, home to tomorrow’s top talent,” said Wallace. 

This year, like years past, a list of industry elite will be honored. 

SCAD will honor Kenneth Branagh with the Lifetime Achievement in Acting and Directing Award for “Belfast;” Adrien Brody with the Vanguard Award for “The French Dispatch;” Clifton Collins, Jr. with the Distinguished Performance Award for “Jockey;” Aunjanue Ellis with the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award for “King Richard;” Harry Gregson-Williams with the Lifetime Achievement in Composing Award for his body of work including “The Last Duel;” Maggie Gyllenhaal with the Rising Star Director Award for “The Lost Daughter;” Phil Lord and Chris Miller with the Outstanding Achievement in Animation Award for “The Mitchells vs. The Machines;” Mike Mills with the Auteur Award for “C’mon C’mon;” Ruth Negga with the Spotlight Award for “Passing;” Dylan Penn with the Rising Star Award for “Flag Day;” Sandy Powell with the Variety Creative Impact in Costume Design Award; and Odessa Young with the Discovery Award for “Mothering Sunday.” 

Routhier shared her excitement about returning to being in person and she shared there will be some new features. 

“This year we have a stellar lineup of films, honorees, and panelists that will be at the event to engage with our audience and students. New to the festival will be an added outdoor screening venue, featuring some Halloween favorites that are sure to be very popular,” she said.

Festival passes are on sale now and if you want to see the full schedule of screenings, workshops, honorees and more visit

About The Author

Kareem McMichael

Kareem McMichael is a filmmaker, documentarian, writer, and multimedia content creator. The Macon native enjoys entertainment, and sharing with locals and visitors’ stories about Savannah’s art and culture scene. When he is not working, he enjoys relaxing at the beach, grabbing a drink, hitting a fun art event,...
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