The SCAD Savannah Film Festival was founded and is hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to bring film industry talent and expertise to the students of SCAD and the greater Savannah community, in a relaxed environment that promotes education and a spirit of collaboration.

The festival enters its 24th year with expanded shorts programming and international programming in its continued pursuit of showcasing excellence in film making, while offering a diverse and enriching experience for the more than 63,000 attendees.

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival supports the spirit of independent filmmaking by offering emerging talents a reprieve from the huge number of submission fees they face in their quest for exposure. The festival waives submission fees for student films until March 15, yearly. Animated shorts are also afforded a window of waived submission fees until April 1. Waivers for other categories are granted by invitation only.

One of the few film festivals founded by an arts college, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival showcases the very best in independent filmmaking, from feature-length films to two-minute shorts, running the gamut of cinematic creativity. Feature-length films with compelling stories and shorts with innovative approaches to keep audiences engaged and hungry for more.

The beautifully restored Trustees Theater, built in 1946 in the heart of historic downtown Savannah, and part of the SCAD campus since 1998, is the premier venue for the festival, with a seating capacity of more than 1,100. Around the corner is the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, built in 1926, and serving as the companion festival theater, also seating close to 1,200. Both theaters feature Sony 4K digital projection, Spectral 240 silver screens for pristine 2D/3D imagery, as well as 35mm projection, and 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound and RealD 3D capabilities at the Trustees Theater, projected by one of the top teams in film festival projection around the globe.

In addition to the competition films, the festival also screens award-winning studio releases ahead of their theatrical run. The festival honors leaders in the film industry, from directors and producers to actors, screenwriters, entertainment journalists and editors, before the evening gala screenings. Previous festival honorees include Samuel L. Jackson, Millie Bobby Brown, Hugh Jackman, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Kaluuya, Ethan Hawke, Billy Crystal, Alan Silvestri, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Mahershala Ali, Molly Shannon, Meg Ryan, Jeremy Irons, Glen Keane, Gena Rowlands, Olivia Wilde, John Goodman, Matt Dillon, Stan Lee, Diane Lane, Lily Tomlin, Oliver Stone, Ray Liotta, Aaron Eckhart, Geoffrey Fletcher, Ellen Barkin, Liam Neeson, Sir Ian McKellen, Isabella Rossellini, Woody Harrelson, Arthur Penn, Michael Douglas, Roger Ebert, Kathleen Turner, Norm Jewison, Sidney Lumet, and Peter O'Toole just to name a few.

Savannah becomes a film lover's paradise during this week-long event, with plenty of opportunities to take in the sights of one of the world's most beautiful cities. The festival offers a series of panels and workshops, informal coffee talks, with daytime and evening showings of narrative, animated, and feature films. Master class workshops are presented by industry insiders who give pointers on everything from special effects to selling a film. Filmmakers selected for competition receive complimentary passes to attend the festival and are treated to unparalleled hospitality, including panel discussion participation and engaging networking opportunities.

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival awards "best of" category awards in every category.

We are always on the lookout for premieres, so please keep us informed of previous screenings or premiere status. While the festival always considers films that have screened at other film festivals, or are in the process of being picked up for distribution, the festival refrains from programming films for competition that have already been released theatrically or have DVD sales or online streaming prior to the completion of the 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

FILM COMPLETION DATE: Due to the Covid- 19 pandemic, we recognize that film production for many has been delayed. As a result, the SCAD Savannah Film Festival has extended the normal completion date requirements. ALL films submitted for consideration must have been filmed and completed AFTER January 1, 2020. No exceptions will be considered.

WORKS IN PROGRESS ARE CONSIDERED, however, a second, FINAL screener can only be submitted ONCE, after the initial submission, and ONLY at the request of the festival, by July 31st. Please submit films in their most final, complete state, regardless of status. All films selected for competition MUST PROVIDE a direct, password-protected VIMEO LINK upon acceptance for judging purposes.

All entries must be submitted as an online screener. NO DVDS or Blu-Ray pre-screeners please. If password protected, please make sure password is typed correctly. We will NOT notify you if your password does not work. Please insure that it does.

All entries must either be in the English language or be subtitled in the English language.

Third parties submitting films on behalf of their clients must include the filmmaker's contact information within the submission. If selected, the festival will contact the filmmaker directly.

All film submissions must be uploaded by the particular discount deadline, ie. for student films entering their film on FilmFreeway before March 15 to qualify for the waiver, or animation before April 1. Online screeners MUST be uploaded ON or BEFORE the deadline, or the entry will be disqualified and required to submit with the proper submission fees.

Waivers are granted via invitation ONLY. NO UNSOLICITED WAIVER REQUESTS WILL BE HONORED! PLEASE DO NOT ASK. (SCAD students, SCAD alum, and festival alum, see below)

SCAD Students and SCAD and festival Alum must request waiver codes via prior to submitting their film through FilmFreeway. DO NOT pay the entry fee and then request a waiver, as NO REFUNDS will be given.

Failure to pay proper submission fees with your entry may result in disqualification. You will be notified of failure to pay via email and will be disqualified if payment has not been submitted within 5 business days. NO REFUNDS will be granted to any submission.

Film presentations are scheduled at the discretion of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival and are subject to change.

Regardless of original format, all competition films screen on DCP for festival presentation. DCPs with subtitles must have the subtitles embedded in the film file. Filmmakers are responsible for providing their own DCP to the festival via hard drive, thumb drive, or downloadable DCP link. DCP is the only accepted format. No other formats will be considered.

Films chosen for the competition are judged by a select panel of jurors who are active industry professionals from various filmmaking fields. Awards are left to the sole discretion of the judges, and a committee selected by the director of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival will make any necessary rulings. Awards are announced at the awards brunch at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and all competition films are strongly encouraged to have a film representative in attendance. Selected competition films will be offered some travel expenses (refer to the acceptance packet for details).

ALL FILMMAKERS will be notified on or around September 15, 2021. This is subject to change, we ask for your patience. DO NOT EMAIL FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS before Sept. 14 to "check the status of your film." Everyone will be notified in a timely fashion. Thank you!

Overall Rating
  • Isaac King

    What an honour to win "Best Global Short: One Planet" for my film WHATEVERTREE this year. Despite the online format, SCAD did a great job running the festival smoothly, with lots of strong programming to enjoy.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Isaac. The pivot to virtual is a challenge but we are so grateful to have an outlet to continue sharing films with the world!

  • Nora Mariana

    What a fantastic festival! Wonderful lineup, great communications, and very welcoming organizers. They managed to put together an extraordinary festival even in the midst of a pandemic. I can't recommend this festival enough and very much hope we can experience it in person someday soon! -- Team ALINA

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    We appreciate your kind feedback! It's always our pleasure to share wonderful films, such as ALINA, to our audiences.

  • So grateful to have our short EX DISPOSER screen at this year's festival! Truly an honor. Cannot wait to experience the whole festival in person in the future.

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    We look forward to a time when we can all meet in person to share our love of cinema!

  • Michiel Thomas

    The entire festival team was very warm & friendly and the communication was great. Wish I could've attended in person, but the virtual experience was still amazing!

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you for your kind words Michiel. This year has been a strange one for us all but we were thrilled you were able to join us virtually. We so enjoyed your doc and look forward to meeting you (in person!) with future film projects.

  • McKinley Benson

    Very grateful to have been a part of this amazing festival! Excited for next year!

    November 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you McKinley! We look forward to seeing you back in Savannah with future film projects!