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SAA Film Festival
Savannah Arts Academy holds annual event

AT 6 P.M. they arrive by limousines, dressed like movie stars. They walk the red carpet, pose for pictures, and autograph for their admirers. At precisely 7 p.m., they make their way into the auditorium to take their reserved seats and wait to hear their name announced on stage for a special award.

No, this is not the Academy Awards. This is the third annual Savannah Arts Academy Film Festival, featuring student created commercials, public service announcements, music videos, news stories, and short films from some of Savannah’s most talented rising producers and filmmakers.

“It’s exciting and full of energy,” says Ngan Dang, 18, of the event. Her favorite parts about the festival are the limousines and the red carpet.

Patrick Rippman, whose production group won the award for “Best Music Video” at last year’s festival, agrees. “The limousines are a nice touch, even though they only go from the back of the school to the front. It’s fun to get inside of the auditorium and see everyone outside from the screen and realize that everyone has been watching you with the live feed camera outside on the red carpet.”

His favorite part about the festival, however, is the reception before. “They have a large variety of snacks and foods, even a chocolate fountain.”

Rippman plans to major in film at the Savannah College of Art and Design and says, “It’s just cool that the school goes this far to give the kids the feeling of a real red carpet moment, maybe keeping them hopeful of reaching one.”

Pieter Ribbons, whose group won the award for “Best Commercial” last year, says the best part about the festival is “the opportunity for the public to see our work.” He hopes to win an award for his short film this year, and plans to either direct or produce when he is older.

Nikita Carpenter, who plans to major in film at either New York University or the Savannah College of Art and Design next fall, states, “To win an award, your video should have a compelling message and not have any mistakes that a freshman film would, i.e. no white balancing, bad camera angles, boom pole in the shot, etc.”

Melyssa Hunter, a senior, believes that the Mitch Glicken scholarship is the best award. It will be won, she says, by “someone with a lot of initiative.” The other students agree, but add that the “Best Short Film” award is also coveted.

Carpenter thinks everyone should come because “somewhere amongst the work are the strikings of the next great filmmakers in our generation.”

Ribbons adds, “Hurry and get tickets because we sold out last year.”

The event is hosted by the school’s Communication Arts department, and begins at 5:30 with a silent auction. The proceeds from the auction will benefit the Savannah Arts Academy Future Business Leaders of America chapter, a nonprofit organization which helps students prepare for careers in business and business-related fields. It will assist students in attending state and national leadership conferences as well as providing scholarship opportunities. The money raised from ticket sales will allow the Communication Arts department to purchase new equipment such as digital video cameras, editing and animation software, and computers.

Savannah Arts Academy Film Festival

When: 5:30-7 p.m., Fri. May 2Where: Savannah Arts Academy, 500 Washington Avenue Cost: $10 adults, $6 studentsInfo: 201-4172