Barbara Kopple brings Miss Sharon Jones! to Savannah Film Festival


Exclamation marks the spot! On Monday, October 24, SCAD hosted the Savannah Film Festival screening of Miss Sharon Jones!, the new documentary about the tribulations and triumphs of the South Carolina-born soul singer, inspiring an ebullient, sustained ovation from the Trustees Theater crowd. The festival felt the funk.

As frontwoman of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Jones imbues rough, retro R&B workouts with a James Brown-inspired work ethic, earning a fervent fan base. In 2014, Jones received a cancer diagnosis. Barbara Kopple’s documentary follows her treatment, leavened by a number of astonishing musical performances.

Like Jones, Kopple doesn’t quit. A two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker for 1976’s Harlan County, USA, and 1991’s American Dream (both documentary accounts of the plights of striking workers), Kopple has amassed credits encompassing a fearless range of subjects and formats.

Following the screening, Kopple conducted a Q&A with journalist Susan Wloszczyna. “I’d never heard of Sharon until I saw this movie,” Wloszczyna said. “Thank you, because now I’m a fan!” Here are selections from their exchange, including a query from esteemed critic Leonard Maltin.

WLOSZCYNA: How did this documentary come about?

KOPPLE: Sharon’s manager decided that even thought people had heard her music, she wasn’t a household name, so he went to VH1 with a proposal. They said, “We’ve got just the person,” called me up and said, “How’d you like to direct a film about Sharon Jones?” I said, “Are you kidding? I would love it!” Sharon was doing chemo when I came into the picture, but I never thought this was a film about cancer. I never thought for a moment she wouldn’t make it. Really what I was looking at was, “Who is this phenomenal woman?” Sharon worked as a guard on Rikers Island, she’s tough as nails even though she’s tiny. There is no quitting in her.

MALTIN: One of the things about the film that struck me is that we were never aware of the presence of a camera crew at all. Was this a conscious decision?

KOPPLE: Yes. I asked questions and did things behind the scenes but the audience isn’t supposed to know that. Sharon didn’t always love us coming to film. She’d roll her eyes like, oh, they’re here again. But once we were there was very gracious and giving. She’ll tell all. She wants you to know exactly how she’s feeling and what she’s going through. The church scene was spontaneous and came from her soul. The DP, Gary Griffin, captured it all in one shot.

WLOSZCYNA: You’ve made many important documentaries. Do younger documentary makers come to you for advice?

KOPPLE: Sure. I tell people to persevere. Don’t keep your project a secret. Tell everybody about your project, and people will help you. Documentarians are a great community. We hang out and give our opinions on each other’s rough cuts. And I’d also say, love your subjects: give anything they’re willing to give, so that people will understand them.

Ready on set: The 2016 Savannah Film Festival is here!


It’s finally here! The 2016 Savannah Film Festival starts tonight at Trustees Theater with a Gala Screening of “Jackie,” an intimate portrait of first lady Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) during the days immediately following her husband’s assassination. From the joyful and whimsical “Trolls” to the deeply compassionate “Moonlight,” this year’s selection of silver screenings promises to be one of the best yet.

Every year, the Festival’s guests and honorees bring industry insight to the Savannah community. This year, Mahershala Ali will receive the Discovery Award; Sam Claflin and Molly Shannon will receive Spotlight Awards; and Miles Teller will receive the Vanguard award. Additional guests include Demián Bichir, Damien Chazelle, Avan Jogia, Rodrigo Santoro, and Shane West.

In addition to the honorees, Vinny Pazienza — famous boxer and subject of “Bleed for This” — will be in attendance as a special guest.

This year’s Gala Screenings:

Also debuting this year is the first virtual reality (VR) musical. The short film, “Say it With Music,” was created entirely by SCAD students and is the first musical treatment produced for a virtual reality experience. “Say it With Music” will be part of a VR Showcase happening at Pei Ling Chan Gallery form Oct. 25-27. A total of eight VR films will be shown on a loop for visitors to get the full VR experience.

For the complete schedule of screenings and events, visit Additional details, tickets and passes are available online, by telephone at 912.525.5050 or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia.

See you on the red carpet!

Round-the-clock art: Generate at SCAD Atlanta


Generate, SCAD’s professor-led 24-hour art competition, opens the third floor of SCAD Atlanta to students this Friday for its 10th annual event!

What began a decade ago with 14 sequential art students challenged to complete a comic book in 24 hours has grown into a multi-disciplinary event encompassing nine challenges and more than 200 SCAD students.

“This event really speaks to the spirit of SCAD and its dedication to collaboration,” says associate dean Denise Smith. “Challenges are not restricted by major and students are encouraged to get outside of their comfort zone. The students dedicate 24 hours to collaborating and resolving design problems. The result is always amazing work.”

Generate will be the first big SCAD Atlanta event for many first-year students, and highly anticipated by returning Bees. This year’s competition categories include animation, drawing, illustration, interactive design and game development, motion media, sequential art, visual effects and writing.

Graphic design events will include the Atlanta premiere of the documentary DESIGN DISRUPTORS. For more information, visit the SCAD Atlanta Graphic Design blog.

Generate begins promptly at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 30, concluding the following morning at 10 a.m. Students are asked to bring their SCAD Card and art supplies. Coffee and snacks will be provided. There will be prizes and giveaways for those who complete their challenge.

The Challenges

ALL:  Hard Rock Café Banner Design Challenge

Hard Rock Café Atlanta is challenging SCAD students to design an event banner to be used at local food festivals and other off-site activities.

  • Location: 375
  • Faculty Contact: Prof. Rick Lovell

ANIM:  Animated Short Challenge

Students will work in teams and alongside professional creative leads to design a pitch for an animated short segment including character designs, storyboards and a treatment. Sponsored by The DVI Group.

  • Location: 339 & 340
  • Faculty: Prof. Matt Maloney

DRAW: The Marksmen – SCAD Atlanta Drawing Club Mural Challenge

The Marksmen will be working together, and with any other interested students, to complete a large scale mural on paper throughout the duration of Generate.

  • Location: 308
  • Faculty: Prof. Carl Linstrum

ILLU: ArtGuitar Challenge

Illustration students are challenged to create artwork for ArtGuitar. One grand prize winner will receive a custom Fender Telecaster! Sponsored by ArtGuitar and Binders.

  • Location: 372 & 373
  • Faculty: Prof. Rick Lovell

ITGM: Tabletop Miniature Terrain Building Challenge

Students will build and paint miniature terrain, buildings and props for a tabletop game.

  • Location: 374
  • Faculty: Prof. Chris Dodson

MOME: Open Studio Night Motion Media Challenge

Students will brand the identity for the motion media portion of Open Studio Night. Liane St. Clair, designer for Turner Studios and SCAD alumna, will assist students during the challenge.

  • Location: 338
  • Faculty: Prof. Christina Maloney

SEQA: Comic Book Challenge

Create a 24-page black-and-white comic in 24 hours – content is up to you! Based on the challenge created by cartoonist Scott McCloud. Sponsored by Oni Press, IDW Publishing, and Epson.

  • Location: 341 & 342
  • Faculty: Prof. Pat Quinn

VSFX: Visual Effects Challenge

Students will create a visual effects shot or set. Work must incorporate an FX animation created in Houdini. Sponsored by SideFX and The Mill.

  • Location: Homework Lab
  • Faculty: Prof. Virginia Wissler and Prof. Clarke Stallworth

WRIT: Writing Challenge

Write a publishable piece in less than 24 hours. Writers have the opportunity to see their work published in the Ivy Hall Review.

  • Location: 316
  • Faculty: Prof. Chris Bundy and Prof. Darby Sanders

Generate is open to all students. For more information, visit the Generate blog.

SCAD invites you to Visionary Voices tribute to Savannah Civil Rights Movement!


Join us Friday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m. for a commemorative ceremony at Trustees Theater, honoring the dauntless endeavors of Savannah students during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.

The ceremony will feature remarks by SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace, former Savannah mayor Edna Jackson, and NAACP Secretary Carolyn Quilloin Coleman, as well as performances by alumni Masud Olufani and Savannah-born singer Brittany Bosco.

Following the ceremony, please join us for the dedication of a historical marker in conjunction with the Georgia Historical Society, The Georgia Department of Economic Development and The Hodge Foundation. 

The marker will be placed at the entrance of SCAD’s Jen Library, the former site of Levy’s Department Store. On March 16, 1960, three African-American students — Carolyn Quilloin Coleman, Joan Tyson Hall and Ernest Robinson — were arrested for siting in the store’s whites-only restaurant. The Savannah Protest Movement historical marker elevates the intrepid efforts of African American students and community leaders to end segregation in Savannah.

Visionary Voices is the third SCAD program in a series of community events that illuminate local trailblazers and their legacies. In February 2016, SCAD honored 10 female pioneers during President Wallace’s “Savannah Women of Vision” tribute. The university also celebrated the arduous journey of William and Ellen Craft with a bronze emblem installed at SCAD Museum of Art in honor of the Crafts’ daring escape from slavery.

Seating inside the Trustees Theater is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. This event is free and open to the public.

SCAD delivers fresh supplies to special education academy


On Tuesday, August 2, President Paula Wallace and members of the SCAD community presented new uniforms and books to the Coastal Georgia Comprehensive Academy (CGCA) in support of Savannah’s Adopt-A-School initiative. CGCA Principal Steve Derr, as well as several of the school’s devoted teachers, social workers and paraprofessional staff, accepted the donations on behalf of their diligent scholars.

Adopt-A-School is a national initiative with local impact. In Chatham County, Rev. G. Lind Taylor of the First Congressional Church saw a need for school uniforms that, while often required for the county’s students, are not always affordable. Rev. Taylor recruited SCAD and other local schools to step in to help.  

In addition to uniforms, SCAD donated more than two hundred children’s books for teachers to use in the classroom. President Wallace also brought in a batch of scrumptious Bee-shaped cookies, courtesy of Savannah’s Two Smart Cookies, for all to enjoy.

Founded in 1971, CGCA specializes in providing a nurturing K-12 educational environment to help students with emotional and behavioral disorders, as well as moderate-to-severe autism, reach their full potential. Their vision — to ensure all of Chatham County’s students are “prepared for productive futures” — is a goal SCAD wholeheartedly supports.

Launching the SCAD back-to-school donations, on Monday, the university contributed 150 backpacks brimming with school supplies to the Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department as part of the “Stuff the Container” program.

These donations represent just one part of the global SCAD effort to support the needs of students. SCAD’s educational outreach includes more than two decades of support for the Union Mission Holiday Toy Drive, the distribution of art supplies to young students by the SCAD Buzz Bus, and student involvement with the WeCan Project in Hong Kong, through which SCAD Hong Kong students mentor local elementary school students in art, language, and the collegiate experience.

The right “stuff”: SCAD donates backpacks and supplies


The new school year is about to begin, and SCAD is helping young students prepare!

Through the annual “Stuff the Container” school supply drive, SCAD is donating 150 backpacks and school supplies to the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace will present the supplies to Police Chief Joseph Lumpkin this afternoon. The donated supplies will be given to families in need across greater Chatham County.

“It is a privilege to give to our community’s most precious resource — our children,” said President Wallace. “Children are natural inventors, artists and explorers. All they need are a few tools! SCAD is honored to help our young students reach the height of their potential.”

“Stuff the Container” is part of the Savannah Impact Program’s National Night Out event. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that enhances law-enforcement partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer, better places.

SCAD invites the public to join students and university mascot Art the Bee in celebration at 1 p.m. today at the SIP office, located at 1700 Drayton St.

SCAD welcomes atelier residents to Lacoste with joyous puppet processional


On a sunny, summery Saturday in Lacoste, France, SCAD celebrated the arrival of its new alumni atelier residents with a puppet processional through the vibrant, medieval village. Regional officials, concierges, residents, and SCAD faculty and students, many of them in costume, waved colorful ribbon wands while enjoying a second-line jazz band and freshly spun cotton candy.

Inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Sam Lasseter (B.F.A. sculpture), created large‑scale, papier-mâché puppets for the parade with the assistance of Mitchell Biggio (B.F.A. sculpture). Puppet characters included cicadas, rabbits, a boar, a mare and the SCAD Bee. Martha Enzmann (M.F.A. painting) and Karen Butch (M.F.A. painting) also designed costumes, props and puppets for the processional.

SCAD Lacoste is one of the university’s four global locations. This summer, alumni atelier residents Joseph Gamble (M.F.A. photography), Melissa Hagerty (B.F.A. illustration) and Lily Kuonen (M.F.A. painting) will live in the storybook village, revitalized by SCAD’s restoration of buildings dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The alumni will host workshops and work in the SCAD Olivier Caves, the studios along the Rue Saint-Trophime that offer a living lesson in the creation of art for students, tourists and villagers.

“This celebration stands not just to welcome our new alumni residents for the summer,” proclaimed SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace, “but to showcase our deep-rooted love for Lacoste’s history and significance to the global art community.”

Five Notable Quotes from SCAD Hong Kong Commencement 2016


On Saturday, June 11, SCAD celebrated 81 graduating students in the Class of 2016 in Hong Kong. Almost 400 friends, family and industry leaders cheered on the graduates who will join a global network of 35,000 SCAD alumni. Here are a few of the most memorable thoughts, as expressed by the Hong Kong commencement speakers:

SCAD alumna Katrina Teh (B.F.A. illustration):

“All the late nights hustling on design software, learning from professors how to draw better, and developing my aesthetic as an artist…these are things that are refined through time, through the tutelage of great mentors, hard work, and risk-taking.

Honorary degree recipient Douglas Woo, chairman and managing director, Wheelock and Company Limited:

“You are tough, trained, and talented. Choosing a creative path in Hong Kong takes a lot of courage. It’s not a well-beaten path, and you should all be very proud. Creativity is one of the most critical skills for the future: it can’t be automated and, above all, it maximizes human potential.”

Honorary degree recipient Mimi Tang, founder and board member, The Kering Foundation:

“Being a part of the luxury fashion industry for many years, I recognize that essential elements for a brand or company’s success include its innovative design and commercial opportunities. It is up to the young talents that have graduated today to use what they have learnt at SCAD to strengthen their potential and commitment in facing the challenging, outside world.”

Valedictorian Dawn Bey (B.F.A. fashion):

“Achieving your dream will be difficult. Take one step at a time and work hard every day for what you want. As Picasso said, ‘When inspiration comes, it better find you working.’ In your creative journey, you may be told to bend to someone else’s vision. But success comes when you stand strong as the person you want to be. You are unique, and you can and will prosper as the original, authentic you.”

Excelsus Laureate Kimberly Nelson (M.A. luxury and fashion management):

“To work full time and be a full-time student requires energy and enthusiasm. It requires pulling yourself in eight different ways, and the ability to magically stop time, though I haven’t quite mastered this one yet. But the sleepless nights and hard work pushed me to my limit and that led me to grow into who I am now — someone my 16-year old self never imagined I would become. I am now — hopefully! — a confident, savvy city-girl in every way. And thanks to my SCAD education, I can express my passions through my career.”

Supply side up! The 2016 Buzz Bus art supply giveaway


Last Thursday, art teachers carrying plastic hampers, wicker baskets, duffle bags, shoulder bags, lidded bins and shopping carts lined up in the rope-draped lobby of Savannah Film Studios as the clock struck 10 a.m. Their containers were empty, but the mood brimmed with anticipation.

“We’re so happy to have you here!” announced SCAD Director of External Relations Erina Tandy. “We’re glad to be able to share with you the overflowing fruit that we have here at SCAD. I’m sure it will find a great home in your classroom. C’mon in, you guys…”

Soon, close to 40 educators and administrators from the Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools and local non-profits were picking from tables laden with more art supplies than Picasso could shake a brush at. Donated by SCAD students, faculty and staff, the new and gently used art supplies will supplement area classrooms in the coming school year.

“I’ve got to decide if I’m going to keep these supplies at my house all summer, or swing by school and store them there,” remarked Kinte Taylor-Steverson (B.F.A. computer art; M.F.A. computer art), a SCAD alumnus who currently teaches at Savannah Arts Academy, as he perused piles of poster board. Vanessa Rivera, an art teacher at Windsor Forest High School, stacked coils of contour mesh in a cardboard box and said: “I’ll definitely find a use in my classroom for this!”

The annual SCAD Buzz Bus Art Supply Giveaway is but one facet of the Buzz Bus program, established by SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace in 2010. For this event alone, the teachers picking up supplies represent more than 8,000 students at their respective schools who will benefit. The SCAD Buzz Bus makes frequent visits to local elementary and middle schools and other youth-centered organizations to promote art education through workshops, book readings, musical performances and art-supply donations.

“It’s great to know these supplies will find a happy home,” beamed Tandy as teachers ambled out, their containers fully stocked. And the wheel of artistic creation goes round.

It takes a Bee: Five highlights from SCAD Commencement 2016


“We want to be part of your lives at every stage of your personal and professional success,” beamed SCAD President Paula Wallace at the bountiful, berobed students. The stage at the Savannah Civic Center was set – with a Lucite podium, and distinguished faculty and guests – for a classic commencement. SCAD families from as far away as Panama City, Hong Kong, and Granville, Ohio were there to celebrate their Bees buzzing forth into the world.


She's a new grad @lindsayjmeece #scadatlanta #scadgrad #grad #scadgrad2016

A photo posted by Pam Meece (@pmeece) on

Customized mortarboards exemplified the artistic wills of individual graduates, sometimes with collective messages: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire,” proclaimed one. As the ceremony advanced through a scintillating sequence of speakers, notes of inspiration and contemplation gave way to a wow moment featuring copious glowsticks, aerial acrobatics and SCAD’s dynamite drumline. In celebration of the great day, here are five memorable remarks from the Savannah edition of SCAD commencement 2016:

1. SCAD alumna Michelle Poler (B.F.A. advertising), creator “100 Days Without Fear”:

“I’m here today to encourage you to say ‘yes’ more often, to visualize goals, and to be willing to get uncomfortable to make them happen. Because YOLO, seriously, you only live once. So go out into the world, never settle, find your own happiness, and paint a canvas that – whenever you envision it – always makes you smile.”

2. Valedictorian Jill DeBiase (B.F.A. advertising):

“I came to SCAD for advertising and discovered it was so much more than I had imagined. Advertising ‘copywriters’ were not, in fact, the guys running around putting little copyright c’s next to brand names. We are the writers. We are the people who come up with the big ideas and craft them with care and a love for language.”

3. Excelsus Laureate Mazyar Sharifian (M.A. visual effects):

“By the time I finished high school, I faced a great dilemma: at university, I would have to choose between art and science. At that time in Iran, living as an artist was really tough, so I decided to study engineering instead. But I began to think…was there a place that could prepare me for both of these roles? I was told there is such a place, and that place is called SCAD.”

4. Jeanne and Tom Townsend, parents of former SCAD Student Alexander Townsend, founders of Alex Townsend Memorial Foundation:

“We embraced Savannah and SCAD with our whole hearts, just as Alex had. I am so thankful that is the path we chose. In the last six years, Savannah has become a second home to us. The people of Savannah and SCAD have welcomed us with open arms. We are forever grateful to Alex for giving us the gift of this special place that has so profoundly changed and enriched our lives.”

5. Art Gensler, founder of Gensler, the world’s leading collaborative design firm, recipient SCAD Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters:

“Graduates – this is an exciting time to earn an art and design degree. The world, and especially the industry, recognizes the importance of art and design in today’s markets. You bring many skills and values they find attractive and necessary. You are graduating from the most comprehensive design school in the world. Gensler is proud to have over sixty graduates from SCAD as members of our team. But we need more, so come on down!”