SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees


The Savannah College of Art and Design is celebrating 25 years of the largest university-run film festival in the country, as the annual star-studded SCAD Savannah Film Festival returns October 22–29, with screenings and events taking place in-person. The eight-day celebration of cinematic distinction honors both professional and student filmmakers, including several Savannah-shot features.

“Join me as we celebrate the cultural phenomenon of film at SCAD’s silver anniversary SCAD Savannah Film Festival,” said SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. “Each year, the world’s preeminent university-run film festival delights tens of thousands of theater goers who love to escape into the screen to preview future Academy Award winners. The lights will be bright, the red carpets rolled out, and Hollywood royalty will be in the house. No telling who you might see strolling down Broughton Street.”

click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Ron Howard

This year a host of industry veterans and recent industry heavy hitters are being honored. Jonathan Majors will receive the Spotlight Award for “Devotion,” which was shot in Savannah, and J.D. Dillard (Director) will receive the Rising Star Director Award. Nicholas Hoult will receive the Vanguard Award for “The Menu,” which was also shot in Savannah.

Academy Award winner Ron Howard will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in Directing for “Thirteen Lives.” Hit Rapper Colson Baker, known as Machine Gun Kelly, will receive the Discovery Award for the film he performs in and co-wrote called “Taurus.” 

click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Colson Baker (Machine Gun Kelly)

Miles Teller (2016 Vanguard Award recipient) will attend an In Conversation following a Special Presentation of "Top Gun: Maverick."Former U.S. Congresswoman and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gabby Giffords will appear with Oscar nominated directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West following a Special Screening of the celebrated documentary "Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down."

Grammy nominated musician and actress Janelle Monáe will receive the Spotlight Award for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” and Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne will receive the Virtuoso Award for “The Good Nurse.”

click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Sadie Sink

Other honorees included Kerry Condon with the Distinguished Performance Award for “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Emmy and Tony award nominee Jeremy Pope with the Distinguished Performance Award for “The Inspection,” Academy Award winner Sandy Powell with the Variety Creative Impact Award in Costume Design for “Living,” Henry Selick with the Outstanding Achievement in Animation Award for “Wendell and Wild.” “Stranger Things” star Sadie Sink will receive Rising Star Award for her role in that film, (also starring Brendan Fraser) which is garnering worldwide accolades.

The festival kicks off Saturday, Oct. 22, with the opening-night Gala Screening of “The Banshees of Inisherin,” directed by Martin McDonagh. The festival culminates on Saturday, Oct. 29, with the closing-night Gala Screening of “Living” and a Spotlight Gala Screening of “The Whale,” directed by Darren Aronofsky, will feature on Friday, Oct. 28.

More information and tickets can be found at


Gala Screenings

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is renowned for spotlighting major award contenders, screening a multitude of studio films prior to their wider release. Twenty-two films have been selected for the distinguished Gala Screenings:

click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Nicholas Hoult
  • Aftersun (Director Charlotte Wells)
  • Armageddon Time (Director James Gray)
  • The Banshees of Inisherin (Director Martin McDonagh)
  • Bones & All (Director Luca Guadagnino)
  • Broker (Director Hirokazu Kore-eda)
  • Causeway (Director Lila Neugebauer)
  • Corsage (Director Marie Kreutzer)
  • Close (Director Lukas Dhont)
  • Decision to Leave (Director Park Chan-wook)
  • Devotion (Director JD Dillard)
  • Empire of Light (Director Sam Mendes)
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Director Rian Johnson)
  • The Good Nurse (Director Tobias Lindholm)
  • Holy Spider (Director Ali Abbasi)
  • The Inspection (Director Elegance Bratton)
  • Living (Director Oliver Hermanus)
  • The Lost King (Director Stephen Frears)
  • The Menu (Director Mark Mylod)
  • One Fine Morning (Director Mia Hansen-Løve)
  • She Said (Director Maria Schrader)
  • Taurus (Director Tim Sutton)
  • Till (Director Chinonye Chukwu)
  • Women Talking (Director Sarah Polley)
click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Eddie Redmayne

Signature Screenings

The Signature Screenings series features premiere and special screenings, followed by Q&As with select directors, writers, actors, and producers. This year’s selection of films include:

  • 38 at The Garden (Director Frank Chi)
  • Blade Runner: The Final Cut and 40th Anniversary Panel (Director Ridley Scott)
  • Fenom (Director Kayla Johnson)
  • Freedom on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom (Director Evgeny Afineevsky)
  • Gabby Giffords Won't Back Down (Directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West)
  • Is That Black Enough for You?!? (Director Elvis Mitchell)
  • Orlando: Celebrating 30 Years of Sony Pictures Classics (Director Sally Potter)
  • Thirteen Lives (Director Ron Howard)
  • Top Gun: Maverick (Director Joseph Kosinski)
  • Triangle of Sadness (Director Ruben Östlund)
click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
JD Dillard

Docs to Watch

The ninth annual Docs to Watch series will be accompanied by a roundtable with the directors, hosted by Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter. Selected films include: 

  • All That Breathes (Director Shaunak Sen)
  • Bad Axe (Director David Siev)
  • Descendant (Director Margaret Brown)
  • Fire of Love (Director Sara Dosa)
  • Good Night Oppy (Director Ryan White)
  • Last Flight Home (Director Ondi Timoner)
  • Moonage Daydream (Director Brett Morgen)
  • Navalny (Director Daniel Roher)
  • Retrograde (Director Matthew Heineman)
  • The Return Of Tanya Tucker — Featuring Brandi Carlile (Director Kathlyn Horan)

After Dark

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival's home for late night fun and genre fare, these soon-to-be cult classics are selected to thrill, scare, and entertain:

  • The Atomic Dream (Director Guy Kent)
  • Enys Men (Director Mark Jenkin)
  • Murmur (Director Mark Polish)
  • Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (Director Eric Appel)


Join the SCAD Savannah Film Festival for conversations and panels with industry stars and insiders. This year’s panels include: 

click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Sandy Powell
  • The exclusive Entertainment Weekly's Breaking Big Panel and Awards, hosted by festival media partner Entertainment Weekly. Participants will be announced at a later date.
  • The inaugural Variety 10 Artisans To Watch. The 10 artisans selected are cinematographer Todd Banhazl (“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”), make-up head Michelle Chung (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”), composer Amie Doherty (“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law”), sound designer Mike James Gallagher (“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”), VFX artist and SCAD alumnus Jessica Love (“Thor: Love and Thunder”), hair department head Deaundra Metzger (“Till”), editor Scott Morris (“Armageddon Time”), costume designer Gersha Phillips (“The Woman King”), supervising sound editor Mac Smith (“Moon Knight) and production designer Ethan Tobman (“The Menu”).
  • The Wonder Women series, focusing on the cinematic achievements and contributions of women directors, producers, and below-the-line talent in film and television.
  • The Below the Line series, highlighting the contributions of below-the-line talent to the art of cinema, with a focus on costume design and production design.
  • The SCAD Alumni Panel, highlighting graduates of the university’s top-ranked film and television degree programs.

Competition Films

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival celebrates the work of established and emerging filmmakers, from feature-length films to two-minute shorts. The juried competition showcases the best of professional, animated, and student films selected from more than 1,700 entries annually.

Narrative Features

From side-splitting comedies to heart-wrenching dramas, the narrative feature films selected represent diversity in storytelling, excellence in acting and directing, and exemplary cinematography and editing:

  • The Big Bend (Director Brett Wagner)
  • Dealing with Dad (Director Tom Huang)
  • The Moon & Back (Director Leah Bleich)
  • Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game (Directors Austin Bragg and Meredith Bragg)
  • Stay Awake (Director Jamie Sisley)
click to enlarge SCAD Savannah Film Festival Celebrating 25 years with Oscar-buzzworthy films, huge Hollywood names as honorees
Henry Selick

Documentary Features

Beyond simple subject matters, documentaries present compelling stories that illuminate and educate audiences in a thought-provoking and timely manner:

  • Afghan Dreamers (Director David Greenwald)
  • Butterfly in the Sky (Directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb)
  • Crows are White (Director Ahsen Nadeem)
  • The Quiet Epidemic (Director Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch)
  • Sam Now (Director Reed Harkness)

Professional Shorts

Running the gamut of subject matter and style, these short films are selected based on their individual merits in storytelling and execution:

  • A Better Half (Director Marco Calvani)
  • The Bardia (Director Gabriella Garcia-Pardo)
  • The Daughter (Director Soumyak Kanti DeBiswas)
  • Long Line of Ladies (Directors Shaandiin Tome and Rayka Zehtabchi)
  • Love, Barbara (Director Brydie O'Connor)
  • Miss Patti (Director Kate Hamilton, Grasie Mercedes)
  • North Star (Director P.J. Palmer)
  • Rosie's Theater Kids (Director Steven Cantor)
  • The Ruth Brinker Story (Director Apo W Bazidi)
  • Soft Sounds of Peeling Fruit (Director So Young Shelly Yo)

Documentary Shorts

In this mesmerizing collection of shorts, filmmakers explore art, history, politics, and personal profiles to offer a captivating panorama of our world.

  • A Very Fragile Thing (Directors Selah Eshetu and Ryan De Franco)
  • Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices From A Plantation Prison (Director Cinque Northern)
  • Bacon 'N' Laces (Director Stephen Michael Simon)
  • The Flagmakers (Directors Cynthia Wade, Sharon Liese)
  • Invisible Seams (Director Jia Li)
  • Kinderland (Director Amy Grappell)
  • Of the Moment: Sculpting a Union's Future (Director Jacob Moises Menache)
  • Our League (Director Sam Cullman)
  • State of Alabama vs Brittany Smith (Director Ryan White)

Animated Shorts

These animated films represent the diversity of the craft — from simple, hand-drawn figures to stop-motion and digital rendering — showcasing unique storytelling at its finest:

  • Black Slide (Director Uri Lotan)
  • Cat and Moth (Director India Barnardo)
  • Ex Creta (Director Jon Portman)
  • Letter to a Pig (Director Tal Kantor)
  • Manō (Director Brittany Biggs)
  • Memento Mori (Director Paul O'Flanagan )
  • New Moon (Directors Jeff Le Bars and Jérémie Balais)
  • Pour Games (Director Patrick Smith)
  • Regular Rabbit (Director Eoin Duffy)
  • Reparations (Director Wilson Borja)
  • Toddler Talks (Director Diana Reichenbach)

Student Shorts

With solid storytelling and emerging vision, these films represent a broad range of categories including live action, narrative, documentary, and animation. Shorts from student filmmakers at SCAD and universities in France, Germany, Canada, and the U.S. that are part of the competition include:

  • Avalanches (Director Liz Lian)
  • Blue Curry (Directors Magali Dunyach, Chien-Ju Hung, Jimin Jung, Vajra Pancharia, and Léa Pietrzyk)
  • Clicker (Director Charles Kugler)
  • Darkside (Director Spencer Zimmerman)
  • Goodbye Jérôme! (Directors Gabrielle Selnet, Adam Sillard, and Chloé Farr)
  • He Was Hope (Director Taylor Conley)
  • Kaghati (Directors Stanley Soendoro and Amanda Jayapurna)
  • Laika & Nemo (Directors Jan Gadermann and Sebastian Gadow)
  • Lost Souls (Director Christina Giordano)
  • Maayanagri (A City of Dreams) (Director Sourab Reddy)
  • Memoria(l) (Director Ian Kelly)
  • Mileage (Directors Jennifer Wu, Kym Santiana, Ruyee Lu, Christopher Hsueh, Nicole Taylor-Topacio, Joy Zhou, Ruby Saysanasy, Miranda Li, and Saul Benavides
  • The Pope's Dog (Director Neko Pilarcik-Tellez)
  • The Promised Land (Director Tanaseth Tulyathan)
  • Remnants of the Night (Director Kathie Yang)
  • The Soloists (Directors Mehrnaz Abdollahinia. Feben Woldehawariat, Razahk Issaka Celeste Jamneck, and Yi Liu)
  • The Uncertain Snow (Directors Marion Boisrond, Marie-Liesse Coumau, Gwendoline Legendre, Ada Hernaez, and Romane Tisseau)
  • Where No One Lives (Director Li Anne Liew)
  • This Wild Abyss (Director Thomas Mendolia)

Global Shorts Forum

The Global Shorts Forum is a curated collection of international shorts across multiple genres that focus on world issues. This year's themes include:

  • XX: A nuanced selection of films examining female-identifying perspectives drives this collection.
  • Of the Land: These short films explore the unique and sometimes harrowing relationships that humans have with the natural world and their environment, offering diverse perspectives and experiences.

Shorts Spotlight

This year’s Shorts Spotlight themes include:

  • Amusing Perspectives: A short film collection that reminds us that life is too short to miss out on the pursuit of amusement or a good laugh.
  • Person First: Through struggles great and small, at the heart of every story is a unique human being trying to navigate their way through a world riddled with unknown challenges and obstacles to survive.

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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