The SCAD Savannah Film Festival was founded and is hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design 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 20th year with expanded shorts programming, additional slots for narrative and documentary features, and expanded international programming, in its continued pursuit of showcasing excellence in film making, while offering a diverse and enriching experience for the more than 40,000 attendees.

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival supports the spirit of independent film making 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 15th, yearly. Animated shorts are also afforded a window of waived submission fees until April 1st. 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 a innovative approaches 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 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 Alexander Payne, Mahershala Ali, Molly Shannon, Meg Ryan, Alfie Allen, Jeremy Irons, Natalie Dormer, Matt Bomer, Gena Rowlands, Olivia Wilde, John Goodman, Matt Dillon, Stan Lee, Diane Lane, Lily Tomlin, Oliver Stone, Ray Liotta, James Marsden, Aaron Eckhart, Geoffrey Fletcher, Ellen Barkin, Liam Neeson, Miles Teller, Sir Ian McKellen, Isabella Rossellini, Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Arthur Penn, Michael Douglas, Milos Foreman, John Sayles, 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 morning workshops, informal coffee talks, with daytime and evening showings of narrative, animated and feature films. Master classes workshops are presented by industry insiders who give pointers on everything from special effects to selling a film. Filmmakers selected for competition are treated to unparalleled hospitality, from flights and accommodations, to panel discussion participation and engaging networking opportunities.

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival awards "best of" category awards in every category. All accepted competition films receive travel and accommodations (some restrictions apply)

We are always on the lookout for premieres, 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 2017 SCAD Savannah Film Festival.

Works in Progress ARE NOT CONSIDERED. Please submit films in their final, complete state.

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.

All film submissions must be uploaded by the particular discount deadline, ie. for student films entering their film on FilmFreeway before March 15th to qualify for the waiver, or animation before April 1st, online screeners and dvds MUST be uploaded or postmarked 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 and 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.

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. Blu-rays are considered on a case by case basis. DCPs with subtitles must have the subtitles embedded in the film file.

Films chosen for competition are judged by a select panel of jurors who are active industry professionals from various filmmaking fields during the first half of the festival. 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 on the last day of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, and all competition films are strongly encouraged to have a film representative in attendance closing weekend. Selected competition films will be offered some travel expenses (refer to acceptance packet for details)

ALL FILMMAKERS will be notified on or around September 13th, 2018. This is subject to change, please be patient. DO NOT EMAIL THE FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS before September 13th to "Check the status of your film". Everyone will be notified in a timely fashion. Thank you!

Overall Rating
  • Richard James Allen

    We were delighted that SCAD screened our period drama, WOMAN WITH AN EDITING BENCH, last year. While we couldn't make it over, we were impressed by the the efficiency of the communication and the supportive energy from the festival staff.

    February 2018
  • Kalilah Robinson

    A truly incredible festival. The events are so well organized. They get the BEST movies from all around the world and that are the hottest in the industry for awards season. They treat you like ROYALTY, even if you're a student filmmaker -- which we were. I have been to many great film festivals. I've never been to one better than SCAD Savannah. Must submit. Completely worth the entry fee.

    December 2017
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much, Kalilah, for your kind words! We strive to offer the best experience to everyone who attends and are glad to have made such a lasting impression. Much appreciated and best of luck with all your future projects!

  • Chris Overton

    My experience at SCAD was really unbelievable. I had THE most incredible time.
    There are festivals that are a business and there are festivals that genuinely care about the films, the filmmakers and nurturing new and up-coming talent, SCAD is certainly the latter.
    It was so professional, so well organised, the staff and festival directors were warm and friendly, I could go on forever.
    Making a film is so hard and it felt like SCAD was the reward waiting at the end.
    The coffee mornings, the networking, the gala events were just mind blowing and on such an incredible scale.
    Everything is close together and Savannah is so beautiful. I wish I had another film to submit right now because I just want to do it again. I can't wait to submit my future work. I highly recommend submitting - it's worth every penny/cent just to be in contention for selection.

    November 2017
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your high praise! We are so fortunate to attract such talented filmmakers as yourself and were beyond thrilled that your short "The Silent Child" won best professional short! Deepest appreciation and kudos to you!

  • Keith Farrell

    This festival is without a doubt one of the best I have been too. In spite of the fact that they had to deal with a hurricane just weeks before the festival began, the team at SCAD Savannah Film Festival constantly kept in touch regarding the festival and travel arrangements. The festival itself is really well organised and the student from SCAD who volunteer at the festival were friendly, helpfull and well informed about what was going on. I can recommend this film festival to any serious film maker.

    November 2017
    Response from festival:

    Thank you so much for your kind words! We loved having your film Rabbit Punch represent the best in filmmaking from around the globe and were glad we had the chance to meet you and share your work1