Year in review: Top 16 SCAD moments of 2016


Before we say goodbye to 2016, let’s take a look at some of the year's most outstanding moments. From incredible exhibitions to prestigious awards to one-of-a-kind events, we tally up the year's most memorable moments.

1. President Wallace published her memoir
SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace released her memoir, “The Bee and The Acorn,” a touching account of the history of the university, from the purchase of SCAD's first building to its global expansion.

2. Legendary fashion designer Carolina Herrera’s inaugural museum exhibition
SCAD honored the 35-year reign of the House of Herrera with the designer's first-ever museum retrospective: “Refined Irreverence.” The exhibition featured 99 garments in an expansive dual museum presentation — another first of its kind. In December, SCAD traveled part of the exhibition to Lincoln Center in New York, where Herrera was honored with the Women's Leadership Award.

3. First virtual reality musical premiered at 19th Savannah Film Festival
At this year’s festival, “Say It With Music,” the first-ever virtual reality musical, made its debut. Created entirely by SCAD students, the short film enjoyed a rapturous reception.

4. Daniel Lismore’s sartorial collection exhibited twice
SCAD FASH opened the year with “Be Yourself; Everyone Else is Already Taken,” the first U.S. museum exhibition featuring the work of artist, stylist and designer Daniel Lismore. Daniel and SCAD joined at year's end for “Theater of Self,” a joint exhibition with Bin Feng (M.F.A. photography candidate) at SCAD at Miami, which opened during Art Basel.

5. Savannah Women of Vision honored on Georgia Day
SCAD celebrated of Georgia Day with the investiture of the Savannah Women of Vision in Arnold Hall, unveiling 10 relief sculptures commissioned in tribute to the remarkable ideas and insightful leadership of Savannah’s most distinguished women were installed at Arnold Hall.

6. Men’s and women’s fishing teams launched
SCAD introduced fishing to its roster of competitive athletic teams, making history as the first university to offer a women’s varsity fishing team.

7. SCAD Museum of Art celebrates 5th anniversary
Rising from the ruins of the nation's oldest antebellum railroad depot, SCAD MOA celebrated its five-year anniversary this fall. Since its opening in 2011, the museum has garnered honors including the American Institute of Architects Institute Honor Award for Architecture; Congress for the New Urbanism, Charter Award; and Historic Savannah Foundation, Preservation Award.

8. Alumnus Jeffrey Taylor won 9th Annual Supima Design Competition
Jeffrey Taylor (B.F.A. fashion, 2016) and his award-winning collection, “Tibet Garden,” appeared on the Paris runway in September at the Supima Design Competition Presentation. The young designer made his official runway debut at the 2016 SCAD Fashion Show in May. This is the second consecutive Supima win for SCAD students, on the heels of Kate McKenna’s win last year.

9. 2016 SCAD catalog is the first to feature augmented reality experience
SCAD pioneered the use of augmented reality (AR) technology to create the first AR-driven university catalog produced and designed entirely by a university. With over 100 AR features on 85 trackable pages, users can view student media reels, tour residence halls, live chat with admission representatives, and more.

10. aTVfest live streamed “The Mindy Project” panel for Savannah
For the first time in the annual television festival’s history, students in Savannah were able to join Atlanta audiences for a live-streamed episode of “The Mindy Project,” as well as a Q&A session with show writers, including Mindy Kaling herself.

11. SCAD FASH debuts first historical retrospectives
Threads of History: 200 Years of Fashion” and “Embellished: Adornment Through the Ages” presented a rare chronology of European and American garments and accessories from the 18th through 20th centuries. Both exhibitions are on display through March 19, 2017.

12. Equestrian team named champions
Once again, SCAD’s elite equestrian team won the American National Riding Commission (ANRC) National Championship, Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championship and Tournament of Champions (TOC) series. No other university can claim this “triple crown” achievement, let alone for two consecutive years.

13. SCAD FASH celebrates first birthday
October 2016 saw the first anniversary of SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film — the only museum of its kind. In its first year, SCAD FASH welcomed 25,000 guests and hosted five unique exhibitions, including the inaugural exhibit “Oscar de la Renta.”

14. SCAD Atlanta sheltered Savannah students during Hurricane Matthew
In an unprecedented move, SCAD evacuated 1,300 students from Savannah to SCAD Atlanta as Hurricane Matthew approached the Atlantic coast. SCAD students channeled this change into creative pursuits and community service. Together with President Wallace, the students presented Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta with a painted mural to be used as a theater backdrop, as well as storytelling props.

15. Visionary Voices of the Civil Rights Movement honored
In September, a historical marker was placed at the entrance of SCAD’s Jen Library in dedication to the courage of Savannah students during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. SCAD held a ceremony featuring performances by SCAD alumni and Masud Olufani and Brittany Bosco.

16. SCAD hosted its first Thanksgiving feast
More than 1,000 students celebrated Thanksgiving on campus in Savannah this year. In addition to the festive feast and grand dessert, the SCAD Museum of Art hosted workshops, games, film screenings and more.

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!

Rewind: The 2015 Savannah Film Festival


The 2015 Savannah Film Festival might be over, but it’s hard to forget its final days — the talented stars, engaging screenings, packed theaters, incredible awards and constant applause.

Meg Ryan received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award and made her directorial debut with the screening of ‘Ithaca.’ After the showing, the entire attending cast took the stage to answer questions from the audience. The panel ended with a standing ovation from the room.

This year, the star-studded Gala Screenings weren’t the only must-see films. More than 20 documentaries screened and included panel discussions with the brainpower behind the films. Some of the top stories shown included producer Kristin Davis’s and composer Jack Douglas’s “Gardeners of Eden”; SCAD’s very own “Ovation for Oscar”; and, on the last day, the awe-inspiring "He Named Me Malala" screened, spreading chills and hope throughout the audience.

Different chills occurred Friday night with this year’s continuation of the After Dark Series. The line of people eager to enjoy the thrilling stories trailed outside and wrapped around the block. The series showcased the heart-racing “Room,” “Bram Stroker’s Dracula” (which SCAD sound design professor David Stone worked on), and the darkly twisted “Goodnight Mommy.”

Elizabeth Olsen walked the red carpet on closing night before the highly anticipated screening of ‘I Saw the Light.’ After the applause died down, Olsen and writer, director, producer Marc Abraham discussed their work with the audience.

The festival continued its legacy of celebrating the spirit of the film industry, sharing beautiful stories worth telling. Although this year’s event has come and gone, we all look forward to what the next holds. 

Alfie Allen's Top 5 Pieces of Advice for Actors


The Savannah Film Festival brings incredible screenings, spanning from documentary to animation to shorts to featured films. Actors, producers, directors, casting agents, fans, movie-lovers and so many more attend the festival for the celebration of the creative spirit within the industry. But for SCAD film and performing arts students, the festival includes master classes: intimate, hour-long discussions with visiting established industry professionals. This year, HBO "Game of Thrones" star Alfie Allen was among those sharing his experiences and advice.

When Allen took his seat in the wing-backed chair situated on the stage of the Mondanaro Theater at Crites Hall, silence fell upon the audience. Then nearly every hand shot up to ask a question for their own career. These are the top five pieces of advice he gave:

  1. “The best acting advice I received was from my dad. It sounds cliché, but acting is really through the eyes. If you can show the emotion in your eyes then the rest of it will show, as well.”
  2. “I like to bond with people. The actor who plays Ramsey — I wanted to be friends so it’s a real relationship on screen. That way we are actually connecting on-screen.”
  3. “People can smell desperation and that’s not an attractive trait. So make sure you are acting for yourself and not for those you are auditioning in front of.”
  4. “Bring yourself into the character. Step into the character as much as you can. Make it naturalistic as possible. It’s tough, but can be done.”
  5. “A lot of people in this industry forget it’s about having fun. Too many people take themselves seriously. Don’t be too hard on yourself. This industry is incredible — enjoy it.”

Click here to request more information or apply to SCAD.

Flashback Friday: Winners of the 2014 Savannah Film Festival


With the 18th annual Savannah Film Festival coming to a close, we wanted to take a look back at the winners of last year's festival. Fifty-five films competed for more than $80,000 in cash and prizes. Below are the winners of the three student awards.

Student Awards

  • HBO Films Student Competition Award 2014 — "Sweet Corn," a 20-minute dramatic comedy about a stubborn old farmer who takes extraordinary measures to save his corn field and ends up with some surprising results.
  • Best SCAD Student Competition Award — "Southsouthwest," a 14-minute drama about a photo enthusiast tormented by local bullies who faces a test of courage his ailing grandfather's camera is stolen and placed at the top of a fire tower.
  • Silver Screen Society Award — "Southsouthwest"

2015 Savannah Film Festival Kicks Off With Stars and Screenings


The 18th annual Savannah Film Festival hosted by SCAD is underway, celebrating creativity in film with exclusive screenings and discussions with industry professionals. The red carpet and opening night reception welcomed actress Olivia Wilde and director Reed Morano ("Meadowland"), Vasant and Champa Patel ("Meet the Patels"), director Hank Bedford ("Dixieland") and many others.

After a screening of the striking and emotional film "Suffragette," director Sarah Gavron and producer Alison Owen participated in a Q&A session with the audience as part of the Savannah Film Festival Conversation Series. Prior to a screening of her film "Meadowland," Wilde received the Spotlight Award at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts.

On the second night of the festival, actress Saoirse Ronan was welcomed to the red carpet prior to a screening of her new film "Brooklyn." After the show, The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg moderated "An Evening with Saoirse Ronan" and a Q&A session with the audience.

The opening weekend events are just a prelude to the exciting experience the rest of Film Fest has to offer. The schedule for upcoming events can be found on the Film Festival website.

18 Things About the Savannah Film Festival


The 18th annual Savannah Film Festival is finally here! From Oct. 24-31, industry professionals from all fields of the film, television and digital media businesses will participate in panel and Q&A discussions alongside film screenings. Here are 18 fun facts about the festival.

  1. The first Savannah Film Festival launched in 1998.
  2. The festival is hosted by SCAD every year.
  3. More than 1,000 films have screened at the festival since it began.
  4. All films screen out of two historic theaters: The Trustees Theater and Lucas Theatre for the Arts. In addition, some features screen at the SCAD Museum of Art.
  5. The Trustees Theater originally opened in 1946. The theater operates year-round as a large venue for the performing arts department, in addition to hosting lectures, live performances, concerts and films.
  6. The Lucas Theatre was built in 1921 by Arthur Lucas and architect C.K. Howell. Lucas owned more than 20 theaters across the South, but the Lucas Theatre in Savannah is the only to bear his name.
  7. The festival has honored more than 70 award-winning film industry professionals, including Ellen Barkin, Aaron Eckhart, Liam Neeson, Michael Douglas, Woody Harrelson and Emmy Rossum.
  8. More than 50 films screened during the festival have gone on to receive Oscar nominations.
  9. Last year, The "Docs to Watch" series launched, focusing on must-see documentaries. The series continues this year with nine titles.
  10. The festival has welcomed over 500,000 patrons and guests to SCAD and Savannah.
  11. More than 50,000 attended last year's festival.
  12. There are 118 films screening this year.
  13. As part of the annual competition screening event, 85 films will compete to win more than $80,000 in cash and prizes.
  14. There are more films produced and directed by women than men being shown at this year's festival.
  15. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Meg Ryan, makes her directing debut with the film "Ithaca."
  16. Olivia Wilde, this year's Spotlight Award recipient, will make her next on-screen appearance in the drama "Meadowland," scheduled for release this month.
  17. Alfie Allen is this year's Rising Star Award recipient. Last year's recipients were Asa Butterfield and Analeigh Tipton.
  18. Volunteer students staff the festival, providing excellent opportunities for networking within the film industry.

Savannah Film Fest lineup and honorees announced


The wait for the announcement of this year's Film Fest honorees is finally over! Meg Ryan will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award; Olivia Wilde will receive the Spotlight Award; and Alfie Allen will receive a rising Star Award. There will also be a special "An Evening with Saoirse Ronan" following a screening of her film "Brooklyn."

As part of the Conversation Series, director Marc Abraham and actress Elizabeth Olsen ("I Saw the Light"), director Catherine Hardwicke ("Miss You Already"), director Sarah Gavron and producer Alison Owen ("Suffragette"), and composer David Lang ("Youth") will participate in moderated discussions.

The following gala screenings have been added to the lineup:

  • Dixieland
  • Ithaca
  • Legend
  • Meadowland
  • Spotlight

The Signature Series films — a curated selection of premiere films that will conclude with an in-depth discussion with representatives of the film — have also been announced to include:

  • Coming Through the Rye
  • Dead of Winter: The Donner Party
  • Ek Harzarchi Note (1000 Rupee Note)
  • He Named Me Malala
  • Jasmine
  • Krisha
  • Mia Madre
  • One Day in Auschwitz
  • Return to Nuke 'Em High: Vol. 2
  • Song of Saul
  • Tab Hunter Confidential
  • The Prophet
  • Touched with Fire

More details, tickets and passes are available for purchase online, by telephone at 912.525.5050 or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia.

The 2015 Savannah Film Festival is almost here


The annual SCAD-hosted Savannah Film Festival is coming to town, opening on Saturday, Oct. 24 with a screening of “Suffragette,” the drama inspired by the early 20th century campaign of the suffragettes’ fight for women’s right to vote. The 18th annual festival — held in downtown Savannah — will take place from Oct. 24-31. The first wave of films confirmed to show at the festival include the following:

  • Brooklyn
  • I Saw the Light
  • Krisha
  • Mia Madre
  • Miss You Already
  • Room
  • Son of Saul
  • Touched With Fire
  • Truth
  • Youth

The additional lineup — including the Docs to Watch, After Dark Series and Competition Screenings — will be announced on Thursday, Oct. 1 where additional tickets and passes will be available for purchase online, by telephone at 912.525.5050 or in person at the Trustees Theater, located at 216 E. Broughton St., Savannah, Georgia.