23rd Annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival Brings Stars and Students Together

This year, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival and its official media partner, Entertainment Weekly, have teamed up to create the first virtual film festival at any university in the U.S.

The 2020 honorees are Billy Crystal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Millie Bobby Brown, Ethan Hawke, Delroy Lindo, Rachel Brosnahan, Glen Keane, Jennifer Hudson, Tessa Thompson, Steven Yeun, and Samuel L. Jackson, among others. All honorees engage with SCAD students via virtual masterclasses and creative talks, in addition to a series of signature and gala screenings and industry panels. The virtual festival took place during the week of Oct. 24-31.

As media partner, Entertainment Weekly curated, moderated, and hosted panels all week long, including Entertainment Weekly’s Breaking Big Panel and Awards and Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass Panel.

Billy Crystal, legendary comedian and actor and winner of the Tony Award and Emmy Award, was honored for a lifetime of unforgettable comedy, including classics like Analyze This, When Harry Met Sally, and City Slickers. Crystal is a nine-time Oscar host, a former Saturday Night Live cast member, and is currently working on a musical adaptation for Broadway of Mr. Saturday Night, his enduring 1992 comedy about the life of a comic.

Samuel L. Jackson, the iconic star of films like Revenge of the Sith, Snakes on a Plain, Pulp Fiction, Black Snake Moan, and more than 100 other films, was honored by SCAD and held forth in a masterclass on acting and performance with SCAD performing arts students.

The four-time Oscar-nominated Ethan Hawke, star of Hamlet, Training Day, Boyhood, Before Sunset, and Before Midnight, currently stars in Showtime’s The Good Lord Bird.

Jennifer Hudson, winner of a Grammy and an Academy Award for role as Effie in Dreamgirls, stars in the forthcoming biopic Respect, where she portrays music legend Aretha Franklin.

Tessa Thompson, one of the memorable stars of Westworld, stars in Sylvie’s Love, a film she produced alongside Nnamdi Asomugha, her co-star.

Clare Dunne, Ciara Bravo, Elle Lorraine, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Talia Ryder, and Jo Ellen Pellman are each recipients of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s Breaking Big Awards. All six actors convened on Saturday, Oct. 31, on the final day of the festival, for a panel on getting started in the industry.

Festival honoree and Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen, who took home the award for his role in HBO’s Watchmen, in which he played Doctor Manhattan, can be seen in upcoming films like Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan, who has won critical acclaim for her turn as Midge Maisel in Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, currently stars in Amazon Studio’s I’m Your Woman.

Sharing the Spotlight Award with Brosnahan is Delroy Lindo, the frequent Spike Lee collaborator and star of Crooklyn, Malcolm X, and Da 5 Bloods.

SCAD students were especially excited to hear from Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown, who stars as Enola Holmes in the titular film, which she also produced.

“The film industry is in the midst of a global resurgence, and SCAD leads that  historic transformation,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “Audiences want and need new stories, and that’s precisely what you’ll see at the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Production across the state is up and running, and so is our historic, beloved SCAD Savannah Film Festival—where the world’s best students engage the industry’s top talent and everyone enjoys the stories our world needs more than ever.”

“Look at this list of screenings and premieres!” Wallace said. “These are the movies and shows the world’s been waiting for, like Good Lord Bird, MLK/FBI, and I’m Your Woman. The voices and characters on display at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival will change the world. SCAD screens the stories that matter to our students and to viewers around the globe. And this year, everybody’s got the best seat in the house!”

2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Signature Screenings

The Signature Series features special screenings and premieres, including intimate and interactive virtual talks with directors, writers, actors, and producers. Select signature screenings included:

  • Be Water
  • Black Bear
  • Farewell Amor
  • Herself
  • Stardust

2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Gala Screenings

This year’s big award contenders and studio films being screened at the festival, followed by interactive Q&As with filmmakers, included:

  • The Father
  • Francesco
  • I Carry You With Me
  • I’m Your Woman
  • Minari
  • Nine Days
  • One Night in Miami
  • Sound of Metal
  • Sylvie’s Love
  • Uncle Frank

2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival: Docs to Watch:

Selected documentary films, followed by a roundtable with all documentary directors (hosted by The Hollywood Reporter), included:

  • Boys State
  • Crip Camp
  • Dick Johnson Is Dead
  • The Dissident
  • The Human Factor
  • Time
  • The Truffle Hunters
  • The Way I See It
  • Welcome to Chechnya