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Ten of 2021’s top documentary features will be represented by their directors on this year’s edition of the ‘Docs to Watch’ panel at the Savannah Film Festival, the nation’s largest university-run film festival.
This one-of-a-kind gathering will take place on the evening of Sunday, Oct. 24 in-person, just like the rest of the 24th edition of the fest, which will run from Oct. 23 through Oct. 30.
For the eighth year in a row, it will be presented by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by yours truly.
The films represented on the panel will be:
- Becoming Cousteau (Nat Geo), represented by director Liz Garbus, an Oscar nominee for 1998’s The Farm: Angola, USA and 2015’s What Happened, Miss Simone?
- The First Wave (Neon), represented by director Matthew Heineman, an Oscar nominee for 2015’s Cartel Land
- Flee (Neon & Participant), represented by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen
- Found (Netflix), represented by director Amanda Lipitz
- Francesco (Discovery+), represented by director Evgeny Afineevsky, an Oscar nominee for 2015’s Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
- Julia (Sony Classics), represented by co-director Betsy West, an Oscar nominee for 2018’s RBG
- Procession (Netflix), represented by director Robert Greene
- The Rescue (NatGeo), represented by co-director Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, an Oscar winner for 2019’s Free Solo
- Summer of Soul (Searchlight), represented by director Amir “Questlove” Thompson
- The Velvet Underground (Apple), represented by director Todd Haynes, an Oscar nominee for 2002’s Far from Heaven
The panel will also be recorded and air exclusively on The Hollywood Reporter‘s website shortly after it takes place. (The THR website currently showcases the panels from 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020; in five of those seven years, the eventual best documentary feature Oscar winner was represented on the panel.)
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which is usually held in Georgia on the campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design, is the nation’s largest university-run film fest. In recent years, under the oversight of artistic director Christina Routhier, the event, long known for its beautiful setting and Southern hospitality, has become an important stop on the awards circuit.
This year’s fest will open on Oct. 23 with Belfast and close on Oct. 30 with King Richard. The centerpiece screening will be C’mon C’mon on Oct. 27. A total of 157 films will screen at the fest, among them 45 narrative feature films, 15 documentary feature films and 97 shorts, with 14 world premieres, 1 U.S. premieres, and 3 North American premieres. 63 of the films were directed by women.
Among the many notables who will be attending the fest and collecting awards: writer/director Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), actor Adrien Brody (The French Dispatch), actor Clifton Collins, Jr. (Jockey), actress Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard), composer Harry Gregson-Williams (The Last Duel & House of Gucci), writer/director Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter), producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Mitchells vs. the Machines), writer/director Mike Mills (C’mon C’mon), actress Ruth Negga (Passing), Dylan Penn (Flag Day), costume designer Sandy Powell (Mothering Sunday), and actress Odessa Young (Mothering Sunday).
“Settle into your seats and marvel at the magic of stellar cinema at this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival,” SCAD founder and president Paula Wallace said in a statement. “With in-person events that prioritize safety, comfort, and community, SCAD’s signature festival dazzles with a display of more than 150 films and an assortment of stars — from living legends like Kenneth Branagh to luminaries such as Aunjanue Ellis. And more — always more! Premieres. Panels. Masterclasses. That’s SCAD. Home to the world’s largest and most lauded university film studio complex, home to tomorrow’s top talent.”
Added Routhier: “We are so excited to be back in person to celebrate the best in cinema at the 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and to continue our diverse programming, championing wonder women and artisan talent trailblazers in the industry. This year we have a stellar lineup of films, honorees, and panelists that will be at the event to engage with our audience and students. New to the festival will be an added outdoor screening venue, featuring some Halloween favorites that are sure to be very popular.”
The full lineup:
Belfast (Director Kenneth Branagh)
Bergman Island (Director Mia Hansen-Løve)
C’mon C’mon (Director Mike Mills)
Compartment No. 6 (Director Juho Kuosmanen)
Cyrano (Director Joe Wright)
The French Dispatch (Director Wes Anderson)
The Harder They Fall (Director Jeymes Samuel)
A Hero (Director Asghar Farhadi)
The Humans (Director Stephen Karam)
Jockey (Director Clint Bentley)
King Richard (Director Reinaldo Marcus Green)
The Last Duel (Director Ridley Scott)
The Lost Daughter (Director Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Mothering Sunday (Director Eva Husson)
To Olivia (Director John Hay)
Parallel Mothers (Director Pedro Almodóvar)
Passing (Director Rebecca Hall)
Petite Maman (Director Céline Sciamma)
The Power of the Dog (Director Jane Campion)
Red Rocket (Director Sean Baker)
Spencer (Director Pablo Larraín)
The Worst Person in the World (Director Joachim Trier)
The Signature Screenings series features premiere and special screenings, followed by Q&As with select directors, writers, actors, and producers. This year’s selection of films include:
Dune (Director Denis Villeneuve)
Flag Day (Director Sean Penn)
The Novice (Director Lauren Hadaway)
Paris, 13th District (Director Jacques Audiard)
Respect (Director Liesl Tommy)
The Actress (Director Andrew Ondrejcak, SCAD B.F.A., performing arts, 2002)
Surviving Clotilda (Director Olivia Grillo, SCAD B.F.A., film and television, 2021)
Animation Corner: Art in Motion
Ciao Alberto (Director McKenna Harris)
A Look Inside Disney’s Encanto (Directors Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith)
Luca (Director Enrico Casarosa)
The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Director Mic Rianda)
The Summit of the Gods (Director Patrick Imbert)
The Beta Test (Director Jim Cummings)
Halloween (1978) (Director John Carpenter)
Hocus Pocus (Director Kenny Ortega)
A Savannah Haunting (Director William Mark McCullough)
Psycho (Director Alfred Hitchcock)
The Shining (Director Stanley Kubrick)
Breaking Big Panel and Awards, hosted by festival media partner Entertainment Weekly. Participants will be announced at a later date.
The Wonder Women series, focusing on the cinematic achievements and contributions of women directors, producers, 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 and production design.
A panel with the filmmakers of Welcome to the Blumhouse, the thrilling film series that is back again this October with four new gripping tales that are sure to send a chill down your spine. Produced by Blumhouse Television and available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video worldwide.
Black as Night (Director Maritte Lee Go)
Bingo Hell (Writer/Director Gigi Saul Guerrero)
Madres (Director Ryan Zaragoza)
The Manor (Writer/Director Axelle Carolyn)
The SCAD Alumni Panel, highlighting graduates of the university’s top-ranked film and television degree program.
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.
Americanish (Director Iman Zawahry)
Dinner Party (Director Chris Naoki Lee)
The Falconer (Directors Seanne Winslow and Adam Sjöberg)
Porcupine (Director M. Cahill)
The Winter House (Director Keith Boynton)
The Book Keepers (Director Phil Wall)
Medicine Man: The Stan Brock Story (Director Paul Michael Angell)
Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance (Director Khadifa Wong)
WOMB: Women of My Billion (Director Ajitesh Sharma)
Zero Gravity (Director Thomas Verrette, SCAD B.F.A., film and television, 2007)
1-800-D-DIRECT (Director Clare Macdonald)
Bufflehead (Director Steve Brett)
Chords (Director John Barnhardt)
Colossus (Director James Roe)
Feeling Through (Director Doug Roland)
Frank & Emmet (Director Carlos F. Puertolas)
I’m Listening (Director Mickey Sumner)
A Mistake with the Chairs (Director Alistair Petrie)
Night Music (Director Lukas Huffman)
The One (Director Nina Dobrev)
Voices (Director Jake Hart)
Annah la Javanaise (Director Fatimah Tobing Rony)
Blush (Director Joe Mateo)
Her Song (Directors Éabha Bortolozzo and Jack Kirwan)
The Mechanical Dancer (Director Jenna Jaillet)
Mondo Domino (Director Suki)
She Dreams at Sunrise (Director Camrus Johnson)
Stars on the Sea (Director Seung-Wook Jang)
Under the Skin, the Bark (Director Franck Dion)
Bearly (Director Cherry Zhou)
Empty Nesters (Director Devon Solwold)
The Lumberjack and the Woodpecker (Director Connor Bushoven)
Monkey Thief (Director Zachary Ates)
The Ocean Duck (Director Huda Razzak)
Out O’ the Inkwell (Directors Adam Toutoungi and Andy Ortiz)
Pirate Lesson (Director Sofia Azpe)
Ruby Days (Director Noah Wong)
Son & Moon (Director Saiya Lin)
Global Shorts Forum
Black Voices, offering a critical dialogue on the Black experience in the U.S. and around the world.
HERstory, bringing the feminine perspective into focus. The film Listen to Us is directed by SCAD alum Juliana Henao Mesa (M.F.A., sound design, 2020).
Tales from the Pandemic, featuring stories from the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic — and of how it has reshaped our everyday lives.
This American Life, showcasing the people, places, struggles, and joys that define the American experience. The film The Few Between is directed by SCAD student Walker Cody (B.F.A. film and television).
Pride Parade, exploring ideas of identity and the LGBTQIA experience. The film On View is directed by SCAD alum Francesca Poliseno (B.F.A., film and television, 2020).
Trigger Warnings, examining the things that trigger us, the fears that stir in us, and the inner struggle for emotional and mental resilience. The film BRAKE is directed by SCAD students Aja Weary (B.F.A. film and television) and Amanda Richardson (B.F.A., animation, 2021).
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