There are many fun and unique festivals and other events held in the Savannah area each year. That is one of the things that locals (and visitors) love about Savannah. The Savannah Film Festival, which has been running for 25 years, stands out on the calendar of annual events for many reasons.
First, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival is the largest university-run film festival in the world! Also, the festival often draws A list celebrities, such as Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Jackman, and Emily Blunt.
About the Savannah Film Festival
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival was established in 1997 and hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). It brings together film industry talent and expertise for students at SCAD and the larger Savannah community. The festival is held in a relaxed atmosphere that encourages education and fosters collaboration.
Festival enters its 25th anniversary with expanded shorts programming, international programming, and a continued pursuit to showcase excellence in filmmaking while providing a rich and enriching experience for its more than 65,000 visitors.
The Savannah Film Festival is committed to independent filmmaking and offers emerging filmmakers a break from the countless submission fees that they must pay in order to be seen. Student films are exempt from submission fees until March 15th each year. Animation shorts have a window to waive submission fees up until April 1st.
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is one of few film festivals that was founded by an arts college. It showcases independent filmmaking at its best, including feature-length films and shorts.
Savannah Film Festival location
Built in 1946, the Trustees Theater is the main venue of the festival. It is located in historic downtown Savannah and has a capacity of over 1,100. The Lucas Theatre for the Arts, which was built in 1921 and seats around 1,200, is located just around the corner. This downtown area is among the most sought after Savannah neighborhoods.
Both theaters feature Sony 4K digital projection, Spectral 240 silver screens for pristine 2D/3D imagery, as well as 35mm projection, and 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound and RealD 3D capabilities at the Trustees Theater, projected by one of the top teams in film festival projection around the globe.
Savannah SCAD Film Festival attendees
The festival screens competition films before they go on to the big screen. Before the gala screenings, the festival honors the industry’s top directors, producers, actors, screenwriters, editors and entertainment journalists.
Previous festival honorees include Sir Kenneth Branagh, Adrien Brody, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mike Mills, Samuel L. Jackson, Millie Bobby Brown, Hugh Jackman, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Kaluuya, Ethan Hawke, Billy Crystal, Alan Silvestri, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Mahershala Ali, Molly Shannon, Meg Ryan, Jeremy Irons, Glen Keane, Gena Rowlands, Olivia Wilde, John Goodman, Matt Dillon, Stan Lee, Diane Lane, Lily Tomlin, Oliver Stone, Ray Liotta, Aaron Eckhart, Geoffrey Fletcher, Ellen Barkin, Liam Neeson, Sir Ian McKellen, Isabella Rossellini, Woody Harrelson, Arthur Penn, Michael Douglas, Roger Ebert, Kathleen Turner, Norm Jewison, Sidney Lumet, and Peter O’Toole just to name a few.
The films of the SCAD Film Festival
- The Savannah Film Festival is a prestigious stop on the path to the Academy Awards. The festival has presented more than 150 Oscar-nominated films, honored over 100 legendary directors, producers, writers, and filmmakers, since its inception.
- The past honorees of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival include Hugh Jackman and Maggie Gyllenhaal as well as Emily Blunt, John Krasinski (Salma Hayek), Salma Harek, Olivia Wilde and Robert Pattinson.
- Kenneth Branagh received the Lifetime Achievement in Directing and Acting Award at the 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival. This was in addition to Branagh’s 2022 Academy Award win for Best Original Screenplay for Belfast. Branagh directed and wrote the film.
- In 2016, Mahershala Ali received the Discovery Award from the SCAD Savannah Film Festival. This was his first award, before he won the 2017 Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for the performance in the film Moonlight.
- Other Academy Award-winning guests are actors Adrien Brody and Jennifer Hudson, Holly Hunter and Jeremy Irons. Screenwriters Geoffrey Fletcher, Aaron Sorkin and screenwriters Geoffrey Fletcher also made an appearance. Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman were the songwriting duo.
- The 2021 festival featured screenings of Dune, The Harder They Fall and The Power of the Dog. Also, Belfast, The Last Duel (King Richard), Jockey, Cyrano, and King Richard.
Things to do at the Savannah Film Festival
This week-long festival transforms Savannah into a paradise for film lovers. There are plenty of chances to see the beautiful sights of Savannah. There will be panels, workshops, informal coffee talks, and screenings of animated and narrative films, as well as evening and daytime showings. Industry insiders present master classes that give tips on everything, from selling films to special effects.
Filmmakers who are selected for competition get complimentary tickets to the festival. They also enjoy unparalleled hospitality that includes panel discussions and engaging networking opportunities.
Savannah Film Festival Tickets
Tickets to attend the annual event range from 100 to 500 dollars, depending on what level of access you’re looking for. For more information or to buy tickets to the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, CLICK HERE.
Facts about the SCAD Film Festival
- The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is the largest university-run film festival in the world.
- The festival receives record numbers of submissions for the competition film series.
- Two billion media impressions were made during the 2021 SCAD Film Festival.
- Yearly Savannah Film Festival attendance rose above 63,000 in 2019.
- The SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s education series provides youth in disinvested local communities and regional high schools with tickets to film screenings and post-show discussions.