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SCAD announces schedule, honorees for 2020 virtual film festival
The festival won’t be in person, but the films will be as good as ever
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Though the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival won’t be an in person, multi-venue extravaganza like it has been for many years, there will still be a film festival. The festival will take place virtually, as it has been for other festivals worldwide since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and will still feature a who’s who of celebrity honorees.

The list of honorees for this year’s festival are Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Rachel Brosnahan, Millie Bobby Brown, Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Hudson, Glen Keane and Delroy Lindo.

Brosnahan, beloved for her role in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, will receive the Spotlight Award, while Mateen—best known for his Emmy-winning performance in Watchmen—will get the Distinguished Performance Award. Brown, the young star of Stranger Things, gets the Maverick Award, while the legendary Hawe will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Award.

Jennifer Hudson, certainly a household name through both her music and acting careers, will get the Virtuoso Award. Lindo, who brilliantly stars in Netflix’s Da 5 Bloods, will get a Spotlight Award as well, and animation veteran Glen Keane will receive the Lifetime Achievement in Animation Award.

Entertainment Weekly will once again be involved in this year’s festival, curating virtual events and moderating Q&A discussions. Some of the highlights among the films playing throughout the festival are I Carry You With Me, Uncle Frank, MLK/FBI, Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man, Alina, and many more.

This year’s festival, including virtual screenings and panels, will take place from October 24-31.

Full Schedule:

Gala Screenings

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is renowned for spotlighting major award contenders, screening a multitude of studio films prior to their wider release. Ten films have been selected for the distinguished Gala Screenings, which are followed by Q&As with the directors and select cast:

The Father (directed by Florian Zeller and featuring Olivia Colman, Anthony Hopkins, Mark Gatiss, Olivia Williams, Imogen Poots and Rufus Sewell)

The North American premiere of Francesco (directed by Evgeny Afineevsky)

I Carry You With Me (directed by Heidi Ewing and featuring Armando Espitia, Christian Vázquez, Michelle Rodríguez and Ángeles Cruz)

I’m Your Woman (directed by Julia Hart and featuring Rachel Brosnahan, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Arinzé Kene, Frankie Faison and Bill Heck)

Minari (directed by Lee Isaac Chung and featuring Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho and Scott Haze with Yuh-Jung Yuon and Will Patton)

Nine Days (directed by Edson Oda and featuring Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Benedict Wong, Tony Hale and Bill Skarsgård)

One Night in Miami (directed by Regina King and featuring Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom Jr., Joaquina Kalukango and Nicolette Robinson with Beau Bridges and Lance Reddick)

Sound of Metal (directed by Darius Marder and featuring Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff, Chelsea Lee, Shaheem Sanchez and Mathieu Amalric)

Sylvie’s Love (directed by Eugene Ashe and featuring Tessa Thompson, Nnamdi Asomugha, Aja Naomi King, Jemima Kirke, Tone Bell, Alano Miller, Eva Longoria and Wendy McLendon-Covey)

Uncle Frank (directed by Alan Ball and featuring Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi, Steve Zahn, Judy Greer, Margo Martindale, Stephen Root and Lois Smith)

Signature Screenings

The Signature series features premiere and special screenings, followed by Q&As with select directors, writers, actors, and producers. This year’s selection of films includes:

Be Water (directed by Bao Nguyen)

Black Bear (directed by Lawrence Michael Levine and featuring Aubrey Plaza, Sarah Gadon, Alex Koch and Christopher Abbott)

Farewell Amor (directed by Ekwa Msangi and featuring Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Zainab Jah, Jayme Lawson, Joie Lee and Nana Mensah)

Herself (directed by Phyllida Lloyd and featuring Harriet Walter, Conleth Hill, Cathay Belton, Clare Dunne and Rebecca O’Mara)

Stardust (directed by Gabriel Range and featuring Jena Malone, Johnny Flynn, Marc Maron, Anthony Flanagan and Aaron Poole)

Docs to Watch

The seventh annual Docs to Watch series will be accompanied by a roundtable with the directors, hosted by Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter. Selected films include:

Boys State (directed by Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss)

Crip Camp (directed by Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht)

Dick Johnson Is Dead (directed by Kirsten Johnson)

The Dissident (directed by Bryan Fogel)

The Human Factor (directed by Dror Moreh)

MLK/FBI (directed by Sam Pollard)

Time (directed by Garrett Bradley)

The Truffle Hunters (directed by Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw)

The Way I See It (directed by Dawn Porter)

Welcome to Chechnya (directed by David France)

TV Sidebar

As Hollywood A-listers migrate to episodic storytelling on the small screen, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival presents TV Sidebar, a special screening that highlights the best in television.

The Good Lord Bird (created by Ethan Hawke and featuring Ethan Hawke, Joshua Caleb Johnson, Beau Knapp, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Nick Eversman, Ellar Coltrane, Daveed Diggs and Steve Zahn. Produced by Blumhouse Television and Showtime.)

Animation Corner

Wolfwalkers (directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart)

After Dark

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s nod to the Halloween season includes this late-night feature film — selected to thrill, scare and shock — followed by a Q&A with Omari Hardwick.

Spell (directed by Mark Tonderai and featuring Omari Hardwick, Loretta Devine, John Beasley and Andre Jacobs)


The Old Guard Creative Spotlight Conversation, a special presentation and discussion with acclaimed director Gina Prince-Bythewood, actor KiKi Layne, editor Terilyn A. Shropshire, and VFX supervisor Sara Bennett.

The Wonder Women series, focusing on the cinematic achievements and contributions of women directors, producers, writers and below-the-line talent in film and television.

The Below the Line series, highlighting the contributions of below-the-line talent to the art of cinema with a focus on costume design, cinematography and production design.

The State of the Industry presentation, sponsored by SAGindie.

The panel New Realities of Representation for Actors, Writers, and Directors with talent managers, agents and producers.

The SCAD Alumni Panel, highlighting graduates of the university’s top-ranked film and television degree program.

The exclusive Entertainment Weekly’s Women Who Kick Ass Panel and Entertainment Weekly’s Breaking Big Panel and Awards.

Roundtables with the directors of films in the Professional Shorts and Documentary Features categories.

Competition Films

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival celebrates the work of established and emerging filmmakers, from feature-length films to two-minute shorts. The juried competition showcases the best of professional, animated and student films selected from more than 1,500 entries annually.

Narrative Features

The narrative feature films selected represent diversity in storytelling, excellence in acting and directing, and exemplary cinematography and editing.

Dramarama (directed by Jonathan Wysocki and featuring Anna Grace Barlow, Nico Greetham, Nick Pugliese and Zak Henri)

Electric Jesus (directed by Chris White and featuring Brian Baumgartner, Judd Nelson, Andrew Eakle and Shannon Hutchinson)

The world premiere of Killing Eleanor (directed by Rich Newey and featuring Annika Marks, Jenny O’Hara, Jane Kaczmarek and Betsy Brandt)

The Outside Story (directed by Casimir Nozkowski and featuring Brian Tyree Henry, Sonequa Martin-Green and Sunita Mani)

Small Town Wisconsin (directed by Niels Mueller and featuring David Sullivan, Kristen Johnston and Bill Heck)

Documentary Features

Compelling stories that illuminate and educate audiences in a thought-provoking and timely manner.

Chuck Connelly Into the Light (directed by Benjamin Schwartz)

Chuck Leavell: The Tree Man (directed by Allen Farst)

Free Color (directed by Alberto Arvelo)

Kusasa (directed by Shane Vermooten)

That’s Wild (directed by Michiel Thomas)

Professional Shorts

These short films are selected based on their individual merits in storytelling and execution:

Alina (directed by Rami Kodeih and featuring Alia Shawkat, Rebeca Robles, Edin Gali and Mark McCullough)

Dawn in the Dark (directed by Runyararo Mapfumo and featuring Livia Nelson and Percelle Ascott)

A Glimpse (directed by Tom Turner and featuring Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton)

The Heart Still Hums (directed by Savanah Leaf and Taylor Russell)

Master Maggie (directed by Matthew Bonifacio and featuring Lorraine Bracco, Neil Jain, Brian Dennehy, Kenan Thompson and Chris Henry Coffey)

My Brother’s Keeper (directed by Laurence Topham)

The Seeker (directed by Lance Edmands)

Skywatch (directed by SCAD graduate Colin Levy and featuring Uriah Shelton and Zach Callison)

Sky West and Crooked (directed by Heather Edwards and featuring Matt Jones, Vivienne Rutherford, Martha MacIsaac and Ethan Jones)

Sitting (directed by Jones and featuring Allyson Morgan and Louis Changchien)

Animated Shorts

These animated films represent the diversity of the craft, showcasing storytelling at its finest.

Student Shorts

With solid storytelling and emerging vision, these films represent a broad range of categories:

Death of Childhood (directed by McKinley Benson)

Eyes of Eidolon (directed by Davi Pena)

Growing Indoors (directed by Maria Primera Darwich)

The Light Breaks (directed Hailey French)

The Mandrake (directed by Quincy Baltes)

Windchimes (directed by Alice Aguiar)

Global Shorts Forum

The Global Shorts Forum is a curated collection of international shorts across multiple genres that focus on world issues. This year’s themes include:

Black Voices, offering a critical dialogue on the Black experience in the U.S. and around the world.

Far from Home, spotlighting filmmakers who reckon with ideas of home and the struggles of immigration.

HER Story, bringing the feminine perspective into focus.

One Planet, taking on planetary issues including climate changee.

Shorts Spotlight

This year’s themes include:

Animated Gems, featuring animated shorts by both student and professional filmmakers.

Overcoming Obstacles, presenting stories of people with disabilities who overcome hardship to pursue their dreams and a better quality of life.

Pride Parade, exploring ideas of identity and the LGBTQIA experience

Trigger Warnings, examining the things that trigger us, the fears that stir in us and the inner struggle for emotional and mental resiliency. The film November is directed by SCAD student Mae Mann.

Southern Voices

Six short films have been selected for this year’s edition.