The 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 19th 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 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 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.
Awards & Prizes
The Savannah Film Festival awards "best of" category awards in every category, as well as the HBO Films $5000 best student film prize. All accepted competition films receive travel and accommodations (some restrictions apply)
Rules & Terms
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 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 (vimeo link accepted) or DVD, NTSC, Region 0 and 1 (PAL is accepted on request). NO Blu-Ray pre-screeners please.
All entries must either be in the English language or be subtitled in the English language.
All film submissions must be uploaded or postmarked 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.
SCAD Students and SCAD Alum must request waiver codes via firstname.lastname@example.org 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 dvd submissions will be returned.
NO REFUNDS will be granted to any submission.
Please package any dvds accordingly. You will be notified if the screener arrives damaged or fails to play. Failure to provide a replacement screener or online screener will NOT result in a submission fee refund. The Savannah Film Festival/SCAD do not assume liability for damage to entries during shipping due to mishandling or poor packaging.
Film presentations are scheduled at the discretion of the 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 Savannah Film Festival will make any necessary rulings. Awards are announced at the final screening on the last day of the Savannah Film Festival, and all competition films are strongly encouraged to have a film representative in attendance.
ALL FILMMAKERS will be notified on or around September 11th, 2017. This is subject to change, please be patient. DO NOT EMAIL THE FESTIVAL ORGANIZERS before September 11th to "Check the status of your film". Everyone will be notified in a timely fashion. Thank you!