Savannah Film Fest: Directors of 10 Top Docs to Take Part in Annual Roundtable

The directors of 'The First Monday in May,' 'Gleason,' 'The Ivory Game,' 'Life, Animated,' 'Miss Sharon Jones,' 'Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You,' 'Off the Rails,' 'O.J.: Made in America,' 'Tower' and 'Weiner' will head south for the Oct. 23 conversation.
Clockwise, from top left: 'The First Monday in May'; 'Gleason'; 'The Ivory Game'; 'Life, Animated'; 'Miss Sharon Jones'; 'Weiner'; 'Tower'; 'O.J.: Made in America'; 'Off the Rails'; 'Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You'

The directors of 10 of the top contenders for the best documentary feature Oscar will be heading south for the 20th Savannah Film Festival, which is set to run Oct. 22-29.

For the third year in a row, the fest — which is hosted by and takes place on the campus of the Savannah College of Art and Design — will feature a "Docs to Watch" sidebar as part of its lineup, as well as a "Documentary Roundtable Discussion" that I will moderate on Oct. 23. The roundtable provides filmmakers with an opportunity to speak about their work in front of an audience of student filmmakers and visitors to this website, which will post exclusive video of the conversation shortly after it takes place. (The 2014 and 2015 roundtables are still available for viewing.)

This year's participating documentarians will be The First Monday in May's Andrew RossiGleason's Clay Tweel; The Ivory Game's Kief Davidson (Oscar nominee for 2012's Open Heart) and Richard Ladkani; Life, Animated's Roger Ross Williams (Oscar winner for 2009's Music by Prudence); Miss Sharon Jones' Barbara Kopple (Oscar winner for 1976's Harlan County, USA and 1990's American Dream); Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You's Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Oscar nominees for 2006's Jesus Camp); Off the Rails' Adam IrvingO.J.: Made in America's Ezra Edelman; Tower's Keith Maitland; and Weiner's Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg.

The Savannah Film Festival has become an important stop on the awards circuit under the watch of the fest's artistic director Christina Routhier. Long known for its beautiful setting, Southern hospitality and big-name honorees, the event now attracts dozens of Oscar hopefuls, as well. This year's lineup includes American Pastoral; Arrival; Bleed for This; Christine; I, Daniel Blake; Jackie; La La Land; Loving; Lion; Manchester by the Sea; Moonlight; Paterson; Toni Erdmann; and Trolls. Special guests will include Bleed for This lead actor Miles Teller and La La Land writer-director Damien Chazelle.