Imagine lazily strolling through one of Savannah’s 22 charming squares. Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and the soothing sounds of the local street musicians surround you. You look to your left and are suddenly staggered by the sight of Russell Crowe lounging on a bench!
You may have the chance to see just that and more this year at the 2013 Savannah Film Festival, held on October 26 – November 2.
The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) created the festival in 1997 as an enriching educational experience for its cinema, entertainment and media students. This year the 2013 Savannah Film Festival celebrates its 16th anniversary. It holds the title of the world’s longest-running college film festival, according to SCAD President and co-founder Paula Wallace.
The Savannah Film Festival is one of Savannah’s most anticipated events, bringing in thousands of visitors to Savannah every year. The city will be a film buff’s dream, abuzz with glimmering lights and excitement. It’s an eight-day extravaganza that draws in crowds of Hollywood celebrities, producers, writers, film lovers, and even those who are simply curious and looking to be entertained. Many of the world’s best and brightest screenwriters, producers, directors and actors will be here to share their independent work and compete for top prizes.
Cash and prize awards totaling over $100,000 go to the brightest and most talented submissions. Top prizes are the $5,000 HBO awards for producers and best student films. There are even honors given to the industry’s finest, such as last year’s honors for cinematic excellence bestowed on actors Matt Dillon and Diane Lane.
Hard-working amateurs and seasoned pros from all corners of the world, including independent filmmakers and students, are already submitting their best films and video for this year’s festival. Previous winners have included student directors Christoph Kusching and Felix Striegel for their film Hatch and Bryce Dallas Howard for her direction of When You Find Me. Even professors are recognized for their outstanding educational commitment.
Entries range in length from feature-film to a quick couple minutes and span every genre imaginable – from drama and animation to documentaries and comedies. Previous viewings have included popular full-length movies like David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook and Black Swan starring Natalie Portman. Under-the-radar entries that have taken center stage in the past have included the multi-talented Don Hertzfeld’s animation It’s Such a Beautiful Day and cult favorite Men Who Stare at Goats.
SCAD is known for providing the most dynamic and cutting edge programs for its students, so it’s no wonder that you might get the chance to view some movies in 3-D and digitalized versions of classic films like 2012’s showing of the 1931 Dracula on Halloween night.
In addition to all the film screenings you can stand, the 2013 Savannah Film Festival will offer an arrangement of master classes, panel discussions, and receptions presented by SCAD faculty and recognized industry greats. In 2011, participants learned tricks of the trade from 30 Rock’s Alec Baldwin. They also talked shop with likes of Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee and the illustrious director, screenwriter, and producer Oliver Stone.
SCAD regularly welcomes the city of Savannah to participate in college events like the annual graduation concert in Forsyth Park. This year’s screenings and events will be held at two of the city’s historical landmarks—SCAD’s own Trustees Theater and the circa 1920’s Lucas Theater.
You won’t be able to miss the characteristic flashing bulbs on the marquee of the Trustees Theater. This 1,200-seat theater has presented world-class music, movies, and stage shows to locals and tourists since 1946. The Lucas Theater also houses screenings for the event. This theater once set the stage for a roaring vaudeville scene. Now it hosts a wide variety of off-Broadway entertainment, local and big-name musicians and travelling acts. Both venues are located on the east end of the historic Broughton Street, which is home to Savannah’s lively downtown shopping area.
There are various types of tickets and pass levels to choose from, including attending individual screenings or special packages to include workshops and events. You can purchase passes for this year’s festival online now at Savannah Box Office website or from the 2013 Savannah Film Festival website. If you prefer to purchase tickets directly, you can call the Trustee’s Theater Box Office at (912) 525-5050, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m..
Specific details about the 2013 events and honorees will be released near the end of September. You can visit the festival’s official website for updates.
Come sit in on a seminar led by a modern master. Come watch a previously unseen film. Come simply to catch a glimpse of your favorite star enjoying a delicious double scoop at the legendary Leopold’s Ice Cream. It’s happened before!