This year, the Savannah Film Festival will celebrate 20 years of cinematic creativity from Saturday, Oct. 28 to Saturday, Nov. 4. The 2017 line-up of films for the largest university-run festival in the country includes Gala Screenings, Docs to Watch, Signature Series and a Global Shorts Forum. A total of 131 films will screen at the festival , including 33 narrative films, 16 documentary films and 82 shorts.
The festival will kick off on Saturday, Oct. 28 with the Opening Night Gala Screening of Molly’s Game written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jessica Chastain. The Centerpiece
Gala Screening will be Lady Bird written and directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saoirse Ronan.
For two decades, the festival has attracted visitors from all over the world and helped support Georgia’s progressive film industry. Festival founder, and SCAD President and Founder, Paula Wallace, has played a significant role transforming Georgia into a bastion of creative film- making. Wallace not only created the festival, but also expanded the number of film and television degrees offered in Atlanta and Savannah to directly fill the need for talent in Georgia productions. She also established the only university-run casting office in the country, and
launched SCAD FILM, an elite program for film and entertainment arts professionals. As a steward of excellence in design education and elevated artistic proficiency, Wallace is an influential leader for the film industry.
A key stop on the Oscar festival circuit, the Savannah Film Festival draws crowds of more than 55,000 with films like La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and Arrival. SCAD’s annual tribute to excellence in film has screened over 100 Oscar-nominated films and honored over 75 legendary actors, directors, producers, writers, and filmmakers from around the world. Seventeen films were selected for the distinguished Gala Screening spot which include:
• Call Me Be Your Name (Director: Luca Guadagino. Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, and Michael Stuhlbarg)
• Darkest Hour (Director: Joe Wright. Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane and Ben Mendelsohn)
• Downsizing (Director: Alexander Payne. Cast: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, and Kristin Wiig)
• Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Director: Paul McGuigan. Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, and Vanessa Redgrave)
• The Florida Project (Director: Sean Baker. Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, and Valeria Cotto)
• I, Tonya (Director: Craig Gillespie. Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, and Allison Janney)
• Into the Rainbow (Director: Norman Stone, Gary Wing-Lun Mak. Cast: Willow Shields, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Wu Lei Leo and Jacqueline Joe) U.S. Premiere
• Lady Bird (Director: Greta Gerwig. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lois Smith, and Stephen
• Last Flag Flying (Director Richard Linklater. Cast: Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne)
• LBJ (Director: Rob Reiner. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Stahl-David, Rich Sommer, Bill Pullman, C. Thomas Howell, Jeffrey Donovan and Richard Jenkins)
• The Leisure Seeker (Director: Paolo Virzi. Cast: Helen Mirren, and Donald Sutherland)
• Molly’s Game (Writer and Director: Aaron Sorkin. Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner)
• Mudbound (Director: Dee Rees. Cast: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige and Rob Morgan)
• The Shape of Water (Director: Guillermo del Toro. Cast: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, and Octavia Spencer)
• Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Director: Martin McDonagh. Cast: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Lucas
Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, Clarke Peters, Samara Weaving, John Hawkes, and Zeljko Ivankek)
• The Upside (Director: Neil Burger. Cast: Bryan Cranston, Kevin Hart, and Nicole Kidman)
• Wonderstruck (Director: Todd Haynes. Cast: Oakes Fegley, Julianne Moore, and Millicent Simmonds)
DOCS TO WATCH
Sponsored annually by The Hollywood Reporter, the Docs to Watch series returns, focusing exclusively on ten of the top must-see documentaries from this year, as well as those gaining
award season attention. Attending guests will participate in a Q&A for their respective films with a panel moderated by Scott Feinberg.
Expected to attend this year are directors Evgeny Afineevsky (Cries from Syria); Greg Barker (The Final Year); Bryan Fogel (Icarus); Yance Ford (Strong Island); Amanda Lipitz (Step); Brett Morgen (Jane); Jeff Orlowski (Chasing Coral); Laura Poitras (Risk); John Ridley (Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992) and Ceyda Torun (Kedi).
The Signature Series features curated premiere and special screenings from narrative to documentary films followed by an in-depth Q&A session with the film’s actors, directors,
producers, or writers. This year’s selection includes:
• Beatriz at Dinner (Director: Miguel Arteta. Cast: Salma Hayek, John Lithgow, Chloë Sevigny, Connie Britton, David Warshofksy, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and John Early)
• The Ballad of Lefty Brown (Director: Jared Moshe. Cast: Bill Pullman)
• Battle of the Sexes (Director: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Alan Cumming, Bill Pullman, Elisabeth
Shue, Austin Stowell, and Natalie Morales)
• The Big Sick (Director: Michael Showalter. Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoey Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano)
• Detroit (Director: Kathryn Bigelow. Cast: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Will Poulter, and Jacob Latimore)
• Flower (Director: Max Winkler. Cast: Zoey Deutch, Adam Scott, and Kathryn Hahn)
• Gifted (Director: Marc Webb. Cast: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, and Octavia Spencer)
• Good Time (Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie. Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benny Safdie, Buddy Duress, and Barkhad Abdi)
• I Am Evidence (Producer Mariska Hargitay. Director: Trish Adelsic, Geeta Gandhbir)
• Logan (Director: James Mangold. Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Dafne Keen)
• Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (Director: Joseph Cedar. Cast: Richard Gere, Michael Sheen, and Steve Buscemi)
• Ruby in Paradise (Director: Victor Nuñez. Cast: Ashley Judd, Todd Field, and Bentley Mitchum)
• Served Like a Girl (Director: Lysa Heslov. Cast: Nichole Alred, Jas Boothe, and Rachel Engler)
• Story of a Girl (Director: Kyra Sedgwick. Cast: Kevin Bacon, Sosie Bacon, and Ryann Shane)
• Strange Weather (Director: Katherine Diekmann. Cast: Holly Hunter, Carrie Coon, and Ransom Ashley)
• Tulip Fever (Director: Justin Chadwick. Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, and Holliday Grainger)
• The Year of Spectacular Men (Director: Lea Thompson. Cast: Madelyn Deutch, Zoey Deutch, Lea Thompson, and Avan Jorgia)
GLOBAL SHORTS FORUM
The Global Shorts Forum is a collection of 45 curated international shorts that focus on world issues such as refugee crisis, climate change and hunger.
The Savannah Film Festival will host a series of Below the Line Panels which will welcome guests from the areas of Casting Costume Design, Music Supervision, Production Design and Post Production to provide insightful conversations about their craft. To coincide with the phenomenal success of Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival presents a series of panels dedicated to the cinematic achievements of women in the film industry.
The full festival line- up can be found at filmfest.scad.edu