As summer slowly transitions to fall, the world is returning, ever so slowly, to normal. Students have returned to classrooms, the NBA and NHL playoffs are in full swing, and concerts have begun rescheduling dates for later this year. While some of these events have been able to return thanks in large part to hard quarantines (NHL and NBA players aren’t able to have families visit their bubbles), other events are returning virtually to ensure the safety of the performers and audience.
This year, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival will be joining other high-profile events such as the Democratic and Republican National Conventions by going virtual. Set to kick-off the 23rd annual event on October 24 and run through Halloween, the film festival will once again celebrate the wonder of the silver screen.
As the largest university-run film festival in the U.S., this annual celebration honors both professional and emerging student filmmakers. The 2020 virtual festival will include traditional fan favorite experiences and events such as the gala and signature screenings, Docs to Watch, professional competition films, Animation Corner, Shorts Spotlight, Global Shorts Forum, student films, and the Wonder Women forum featuring women directors, producers, writers, and below-the-line talent. The festival will also include exclusive video messages from filmmakers, live Q&A events, and other original content.
Understanding that art and cinema have connected people from the very beginning of the medium’s emergence, SCAD has worked tirelessly to ensure the festival will take place in all its grandeur and glory. In years past, the festival has drawn more than 63,000 film lovers to Downtown Savannah including huge stars like Olivia Wilde, Daniel Kaluuya, Samantha Morton, Alan Silvestri, Aldis Hodge, Elisabeth Moss and many others.
Since its inception in 1997, the festival has become an important home to critically acclaimed and award-winning films. From Academy Award winners such as Parasite, (Best Picture, 2020) and Green Book (Best Picture, 2019) to Academy nominated films like The Two Popes, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and If Beale Street Could Talk, Savannah has become synonymous with excellence.
While the festival will look different this year, one thing is for certain, SCAD students will still have the opportunity to showcase their work side-by-side the major releases. This will once again highlight the talent, ingenuity, and storytelling abilities of the next wave of artists and film makers. SCAD believes in giving young creators opportunities and platforms to shine.
“The university hosts this major festival for two reasons: to show our students what professional excellence looks like, and to provide unparalleled networking opportunities as they launch their careers,” SCAD Founder and President Paula Wallace said. “Students experience exemplary screenings. They take master classes and attend panels from the biggest names in the industry. Their hearts are moved; their minds grow.”
In 2018, SCAD honored John Krasinski with SCAD Savannah Film Festival Vanguard Award, and his partner Emily Blunt with the festival’s Icon Award. Both were seen joyously speaking with students and attendees, much to the delight of everyone in attendance. SCAD will work to have that same intimate feeling again this year.
“What a joy, what a privilege it is for me, personally, to honor industry icons and rising stars alike at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival each year,” Wallace Said. “This year will be no different.”
The festival will incorporate technology in a way that was previously only dreamed of. For the first time, filmmakers in London will be able to contribute, enjoy, and participate as though they were standing on Broughton St. in Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.
This year’s award winners and film line-up have not yet been named, and SCAD will inevitably have a star-studded line-up. Tickets for the virtual event will go on sale Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 10:00 am Eastern.