SAVANNAH, GEORGIA — The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) today announces additional honorees and programming for the 23rd annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival, taking place as a virtual experience Oct. 24–Oct. 31. The largest university-run film festival in the U.S., this annual tribute to cinematic excellence will honor Samuel L. Jackson with the Legend of Cinema Award, Tessa Thompson (Sylvie’s Love) with the Vanguard Award and Steven Yeun (Minari) with the Discovery Award.
They join previously announced honorees Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Rachel Brosnahan, Millie Bobby Brown, Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Hudson, Glen Keane and Delroy Lindo.
Festival media partner Entertainment Weekly will also host the Breaking Big Awards and Panel on Saturday, Oct. 31. This year’s honorees include Ciara Bravo, Clare Dunne, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Elle Lorraine, Jo Ellen Pellman and Talia Ryder, who will participate in a panel discussion and receive their awards.
New festival programming includes the Lionsgate film Wander Darkly, written and directed by Tara Miele and starring Sienna Miller and Diego Luna, with both Miele and Miller participating in a Q&A following the screening. The short film Our Side will also screen at the festival in its Southeast premiere. Directed by SCAD student Nicola Rinciari, the film was written by Rinciari and fellow SCAD student Emily Dillard.
Samuel L. Jackson – Legend of Cinema Award
Appearing in more than 100 films, Samuel L. Jackson has made an indelible mark on American cinema. He recently starred opposite Anthony Mackie in the Apple drama The Banker and can next be seen in the EPIX docuseries Enslaved, which he also executive produced. In 2021, he will be seen in the Saw sequel, Spiral, as well as The Asset. Jackson will also reprise his role in The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to the 2017 Lionsgate film The Hitman’s Bodyguard.
In 2019, Jackson starred in the Warner Bros. film Shaft, Sony’s Spider-Man: Far from Home, and as a young Nick Fury in the massive global hit Captain Marvel. Jackson also reprised his role as Mr. Glass in M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass. In 2018, Jackson lent his voice to the Academy Award-nominated film Incredibles 2, reprising his role as Lucius Best/Frozone. In 2017, Jackson starred in the Warner Bros. film Kong: Skull Island. In 2015, he appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award-nominated western The Hateful Eight. That same year, Jackson appeared in Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service and Spike Lee’s Chiraq.
In 2016, Jackson was seen in David Yates’ The Legend of Tarzan and Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Also in 2016, Jackson completed production on Brie Larson’s directorial debut Unicorn Store; Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself; and The Last Full Measure. In 2012, Jackson starred in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. He also starred in The Avengers as part of his nine-picture deal with Marvel Studios and reprised his role in both Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was released in April 2014, and the 2015 sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Jackson’s other past film credits include RoboCop, Oldboy, Mother and Child, Iron Man 2, Lakeview Terrace, Soul Men, The Spirit, Jumper, Resurrecting the Champ, 1408, Black Snake Moan, Snakes on a Plane, Freedomland, Coach Carter, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, S.W.A.T., Changing Lanes, Formula 51, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones, The Caveman’s Valentine, Eve’s Bayou, Rules of Engagement, Deep Blue Sea, Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace, The Negotiator, The Red Violin, Jackie Brown, One Eight Seven, A Time to Kill, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Jungle Fever, Sphere, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Ragtime, Sea of Love, Coming to America, Do the Right Thing, School Daze, Mo’ Better Blues, Goodfellas, Patriot Games, and True Romance.
Tessa Thompson – Vanguard Award
Tessa Thompson is a critically acclaimed film, television, and theater actor and producer. She stars in Sylvie’s Love, which she produced alongside co-star Nnamdi Asomugha. Her past film credits include Creed, Creed II, Men in Black: International, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother You, Selma, and Dear White People. She can also be seen on television portraying Charlotte Hale in HBO’s Westworld. Thompson will next star in the indie film Passing, directed by Rebecca Hall, and will also begin production on Thor: Love and Thunder in Spring 2021. She is a producer of QCode’s fiction podcast The Left Right Game, which is being adapted into a television series by Amazon that she will also produce. As an advocate, Thompson has used her platform to educate and empower citizens engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement, Time’s Up, and Why We Vote, among others. In May 2019, she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine as a trailblazing Leader of the Next Generation.
Steven Yeun – Discovery Award
Actor and producer Steven Yeun has amassed an impressive resume of diverse roles and continues to fearlessly evolve his body of work. He will next be seen in Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, on which he also serves as executive producer. The film, which will be released by A24, premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards. He will also star alongside Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, and Amy Schumer in Scott Rudin and Eli Bush’s A24 drama The Humans, based on the four-time Tony Award-winning play. Previously, Yeun starred in Chang-dong Lee’s Korean-language film Burning, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning.” The film received critical acclaim including Best Supporting Actor recognition for Yeun from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He recently signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios and will work with the studio to develop and produce television series targeted for premiere exclusively on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
In television, Yeun will next be featured as the lead in Amazon Studio’s upcoming animated series Invincible, an adaptation of the comic by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Yeun is perhaps best known for his role as Glenn Rhee on AMC’s The Walking Dead, a role which he originated and developed into a pivotal character, becoming a favorite of both fans and critics alike for seven seasons. His additional television credits include Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone, Drunk History, and The Big Bang Theory. His additional film credits include Boots Riley’s critically acclaimed comedy Sorry to Bother You opposite Lakeith Stanfield; Bong Joon Ho’s Okja alongside Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano; Joe Lynch’s independent film Mayhem; and Mike Cahill’s independent sci-fi drama I Origins, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Yeun is also featured in multiple animated projects, including Dreamworks’ The Star; Netflix’s Tuca & Bertie, Voltron, and Stretch Armstrong; and Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunters and the spinoff 3 Below.
Ciara Bravo – Breaking Big Award
Ciara Bravo has become one of the most versatile actors of this generation across film and television. She will next co-star alongside Tom Holland in the Russo Brothers’ highly anticipated feature Cherry for Apple TV+, which will debut in early 2021; in John Pollono’s feature Small Engine Repair; and in Coast, which she also associate produced. On television, she will next appear in FX’s limited series A Teacher, based on Hannah Fidell’s critically acclaimed Sundance feature. In 2018, Bravo appeared in Fidell’s feature film The Long Dumb Road, an official selection for the Sundance Film Festival. In 2017, she appeared in Marti Noxon’s Netflix feature To the Bone, alongside Lily Collins. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was featured in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Bravo also made a cameo appearance in Universal Pictures’ Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, showcasing her comedic charm. She is perhaps best known for her breakout television roles as a series regular in FOX’s Second Chance and as a co-star in FOX’s Red Band Society. Bravo also co-starred opposite Mark McKenna in the YouTube Premium series Wayne from the writers of Deadpool, Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The series made its world premiere as an official selection for the 2018 Tribeca TV Festival, where it received rave reviews, and will debut on Prime Video in November 2020. Bravo made her debut on the small screen in the Nickelodeon hit series Big Time Rush. Nickelodeon then cast her in several television movie roles including the lead in Jinxed. Other television credits include guest roles in CBS’s NCIS, ABC’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., and Hulu/Blumhouse Television’s Into the Dark.
Clare Dunne – Breaking Big Award
Irish actress and writer Clare Dunne made her feature debut in Herself. Co-written by Dunne and directed by Phyllida Lloyd, the film premiered to rave reviews at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was selected as one of the 12 feature film premiere events at the 2020 BFI London Film Festival. In recognition of her enthralling performance, Dunne received the Michael Dwyer Discovery Award at the 2020 Dublin International Film Festival and was honored with the Mill Valley Film Festival Spotlight Award. Dunne was also named one of Variety’s 2020 “10 Screenwriters to Watch.” Dunne will soon wrap production on Ridley Scott’s upcoming film The Last Duel, which also stars Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck. She is most known for her breakout roles in theater, including her performance in an all-women production of Julius Caesar at Donmar Warehouse. Dunne also performed in the Donmar Warehouse’s acclaimed all-women production of William Shakespeare’s Henry IV. In 2019, Dunne’s one-woman theatrical show Sure Look It, Fuck It, which she wrote and performed, played at THISISPOPBABY’s Where We Live Festival to sold-out houses and praised audience response in Dublin.
Joshua Caleb Johnson – Breaking Big Award
Joshua Caleb Johnson currently stars opposite Ethan Hawke in the Showtime and Blumhouse limited series The Good Lord Bird, based on the National Book Award-winning novel by James McBride. Johnson can also be seen in a recurring role as Dwayne Baxter on the FX series Snowfall. His other television credits include appearances on ABC’s award-winning sitcom Black-ish and the TNT series Animal Kingdom. Johnson’s film work includes the independent feature It’s Just a Gun, which was awarded the Narrative Silver Medal at the 43rd Student Academy Awards. He has also co-starred opposite Keith David, Keith Carradine, and Sandra Locke in Ray Meets Helen. Johnson’s other credits include Madden 2018, opposite JR Lemon and Mahershala Ali, and appearances in the creative campaign for Pharrell’s I Am Other, as well as global campaigns for Nike and Under Armour.
Elle Lorraine – Breaking Big Award
Elle Lorraine stars in Justin Simien’s horror satire Bad Hair, which received rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, and is set to premiere on Hulu and in select drive-in theaters in October 2020. Lorraine can also be seen in Season 4 of Insecure, opposite Issa Rae, and in Season 2 of Lena Waithe’s hit BET series Boomerang.
Jo Ellen Pellman – Breaking Big Award
Jo Ellen Pellman will make her feature film debut starring in Ryan Murphy’s highly anticipated Netflix film The Prom, based on the Tony Award-winning musical. She leads an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Keegan Michael-Key, and Kerry Washington, among others. Pellman’s television credits include Comedy Central’s Alternatino, HBO’s The Deuce, and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Pellman is a graduate of the University of Michigan B.F.A. Musical Theatre program.
Talia Ryder – Breaking Big Award
Talia Ryder is one of Sundance 2020’s breakout stars as the co-lead of Eliza Hittman’s critically adored film Never Rarely Sometimes Always, which was distributed earlier this year by Focus Features and is currently available to stream on demand. Ryder will follow this debut performance with Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, to be released in 2021. She is currently in production as the lead in Michael Lewen’s feature Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between. A native of New York, Ryder began her performing career co-starring in Matilda The Musical on Broadway, before transitioning to film and television.
About the SCAD Savannah Film Festival
Celebrating its 23rd year, the festival and competition provide SCAD students with opportunities as unique as the selected films. This year, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival received more than 1,500 submissions for the competition film series. During the festival, students from every academic discipline connect with leaders from the entertainment industry through master classes, coffee talks, lectures, workshops and panel discussions. Savannah, a premier film hub in the Southeast, promotes quality movies produced by independent and studio filmmakers.
About SCAD: The University for Creative Careers
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited university, offering more than 100 academic degree programs in more than 40 majors across its locations in Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and online via SCAD eLearning and SCADnow.
The university enrolls approximately 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 100 countries. The innovative SCAD curriculum is enhanced by advanced professional-level technology, equipment, and learning resources, as well as opportunities for internships, professional certifications, and collaborative projects with corporate partners. In 2019, the prestigious Red Dot Design Rankings placed SCAD as the No. 1 university in the U.S. and in the top two universities in the Americas and Europe for the third consecutive year. Career preparation is woven into every fiber of the university, resulting in a superior alumni employment rate.
About ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY is your all-access pass to Hollywood’s most creative minds and most fascinating stars. The magazine was launched in 1990 and is America’s leading consumer publication in the entertainment category, with a guaranteed circulation rate base of 1.5 million and a combined audience of almost 28 million loyal, engaged fans. Each day, EW.com
publishes the most compelling featured stories, news articles, TV-recaps, original videos, film reviews and photo galleries related to the most compelling shows, movies, books, music and talent. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY is the first to know about the best in entertainment. With sharp insight, unparalleled access and a trusted voice, EW keeps readers plugged into pop culture. This is where the buzz begins.
# # #