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Comic book legend Stan Lee received a Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 30 at the 15th annual Savannah Film Festival, presented by the Savannah College of Art and Design, for his co-creation of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers and the Fantastic Four.
Upon accepting the award, Lee said, "First of all, I want to thank you for your taste, your judgment, your acumen in deciding to award this to me. I've heard so many acceptance speeches in my life, and I've made so many acceptance speeches, that I just made up my mind that I wasn't going to do the usual 'thank you very much, I don't deserve it but I'm very grateful.' I deserve it 100 percent."
Lee attended the festival for the screening of "The Amazing Spider-Man" Oct. 31 and followed by a Q-and-A session. As the CEO of POW! Entertainment, chairman emeritus of Marvel, and member of the editorial board of Marvel Comics, Lee's contributions to the comic book industry are pre-eminent. The Spider-Man syndicated newspaper strip appeared in more than 500 newspapers worldwide and remains the most successful of all syndicated adventure strips.
"I've never been here before and it's the greatest city, it's the most beautiful city. Everyone in Savannah that I've met seems to be interested in art, literature, creative things. It has been such a joy talking to the people here," said Lee. "Obviously, I have to close with one important message. You may have heard it before, but it doesn't matter, it has to be said, and I don't want you to hold it against me, but here we go, excelsior!"
The festival will also honor actors Matt Dillon ("Crash") and Diane Lane ("Unfaithful") with Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Awards; and actress Michelle Monaghan ("Gone Baby Gone") with a Spotlight Award. On opening night, actor John Goodman ("Flight") received an Outstanding Achievement Award; screenwriter John Gatins ("Flight") received a Spotlight Award; and screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher ("Violet & Daisy") received a SCAD Cinevation Award, which is given for imagination, inspiration and innovation in cinema.
The Savannah Film Festival is one of the largest entertainment events in the Southeast. The festival features more than 30 competition films, selected from more than 1,000 entries in the categories of feature, short, animation, documentary and student competition that are submitted from around the world. During the festival, professional workshops and lectures for the community and area high school and college students address topics such as acting, directing, producing, animation and filmmaking, among others. SCAD students are also given the opportunity to network with filmmakers, directors, studio executives, producers and others to gain further understanding of their chosen career.
In previous years, many of the evening screenings at the festival have garnered Academy Award nominations. The festival has U.S. premiered two Pedro Almodovar films as well as films by Robert Redford and Woody Allen. Special gala screenings, which were shown before their national release, include "127 Hours," "Amélie," "Babel," "Black Swan," "Precious: Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire," "Sideways," "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Artist," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "The Wrestler" and "Up in the Air."
Each year, distinguished honorees are presented awards for excellence in the entertainment industry. Past honored and special guests include Peter O'Toole, Michael Douglas, Oliver Stone, Jane Fonda, Sidney Lumet, Sir Ian McKellen, Isabella Rossellini, Lily Tomlin, Ellen Barkin, Liam Neeson, Vanessa Redgrave, Norman Jewison, James Marsden, Tommy Lee Jones, John Waters, James Franco, Alec Baldwin, Ray Liotta, Aaron Eckhart, Roger Ebert, Terrence Malick, Sydney Pollack, Malcolm McDowell and Milos Forman.
For more information, visit scad.edu/filmfest.
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor's and master's degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 majors.