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 26th year with expanded shorts programming and international programming in its continued pursuit of showcasing excellence in filmmaking, while offering a diverse and enriching experience for the more than 65,000 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.

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 1921, which serves as the companion festival theater and also seats 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 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 Kerry Condon, Ron Howard, Eddie Redmayne, Mia Goth, Janelle Monáe, Nicholas Hoult, Henry Selick, Sandy Powell, Kenneth Branagh, Adrien Brody, Maggie Gyllenhaal, 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, and 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 online digital sales or are publicly streaming prior to the completion of the 2023 SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

FILM COMPLETION DATE: ALL films submitted for consideration must have been filmed and completed AFTER July 1, 2022. 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. If password protected, please make sure password is typed correctly. We will notify you if your password does not work. We will not consider the film if we do not receive an updated password within the allotted time frame.

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 by uploading the file to our secure server. 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 travel expenses (refer to the acceptance packet for details).

ALL FILMMAKERS will be notified on or around September 15, 2023. This is subject to change, we ask for your patience. DO NOT EMAIL FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS before Sept. 15 to "check the status of your film." If your request is contingent on premiere status, we will do what we can to keep you informed as to our decision. Everyone will be notified in a timely fashion. Thank you!

Overall Rating
  • Janantik Shukla

    Our film’s festival journey started from SCAD Savannah Film festival. Thanks for noticing beauty of our documentary.
    Wish I could attend the film festival in person.
    Next time with next film.

    January 2023
  • Andrew Rurik

    SCAD was a fantastic festival experience. From notification to screening (and beyond) the team behind this event made this one of the best experiences of our 2022 festival run.

    Audiences are engaged and excited, the atmosphere is pretty electric, and we returned home energized and ready to get our next film underway.

    December 2022
  • All around terrific experience. Best film festival I've had the pleasure of attending. Incredible hospitality, amazing audiences, beautiful location... this film festival is a treat and I'm so grateful to have been invited. Can't wait to figure out how to go back!

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    Leah! Thank you for your kind words about the fest! We're blushing. So glad you were able to attend and we can't wait to see what you have to show us next.

  • SCAD Savannah is an incredible experience. This is one of the most professionally produced festivals in the world. And the hospitality is like none other. Our film looked and sounded its absolute best in a sold out theater with an extremely engaged audience. The programming of the festival is like a filmmakers dream come true - every movie I had been wanting to see was at this festival. The staff and volunteers and jury are some of the kindest and most film-passionate people you will ever meet. And the new friends and industry connections made at SCAD are remarkable. This is one of the best festivals out there. And I cannot wait to come back with another film.

    November 2022
    Response from festival:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for the high praise! We strive to make everyone's experience the best it can be and pride ourselves on making every industry guest feel like family. Thank you for submitting your incredibly moving film and congrats on your award! We look forward to featuring future work of yours in the years to come! - the SCAD Savannah Film Festival Team

  • What a great festival! Thank you for having us, and our film 'Cat and Moth' in your 2022 line-up. The communication was superb and our crew member that attended had a wonderful time! We would definitely submit again in the future!

    November 2022