The Savannah College of Art and Design has announced the full lineup for the 26th annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival, taking place in person October 21–28, 2023. 

This year, the festival will kick off with the opening night screening of Netflix’s “Nyad” on Saturday, October 21. Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the film recounts a riveting chapter in the life of world-class athlete Diana Nyad, hitting on themes of tenacity, friendship and the triumph of the human spirit. Starring four-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening as the former sports journalist who, at age 60, began training to complete the 110-mile trek from Cuba to Florida that’s often referred to as the Mount Everest of swims, and two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster as her best friend and coach Bonnie Stoll, “Nyad” also happens to be the Best Documentary Feature Oscar-winning Vasarhelyi and Chin’s narrative directorial debut.

For its closing night on Saturday, October 28, SCAD will screen Ava DuVernay’s “Origin,” a recent Neon acquisition that is inspired by journalist Isabel Wilkerson’s New York Times bestseller “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” Starring Academy Award nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor as the Pulitzer Prize winner, the film depicts the tragedy and triumph of Wilkerson as she investigates a global phenomenon of epic proportions, and experiences unfathomable personal loss and love as she crosses continents and cultures.

Other highlights of the 2023 schedule include a first look at director Blitz Bazawule’s movie musical adaptation of “The Color Purple,” set to be released by Warner Bros. on Christmas Day. The festival will also have more Gala and Signature Screenings, plus professional and student competition films, the Docs to Watch, Sketch to Screen: Top Animated Contenders, Shorts Spotlight, and Global Shorts Forum series, and the Behind the Lens panel series.

The SCAD Savannah Film Festival is the largest university-run film festival in the U.S., serving as an eight-day celebration of cinematic excellence that honors both professional and student filmmakers, and welcomes major industry luminaries, including award-winning directors, writers, and actors. The festival has become a key stop on the Academy Awards festival circuit, and will screen 165 films this year, including 49 narrative feature films, 17 documentary feature films, and 100 shorts, with 11 world premieres and 4 U.S. premieres.

“The future of film lives at SCAD, where audiences can see next year’s Oscar winners at our SCAD Savannah Film Festival later this month, and where guests are treated to a BTS tour of the latest and greatest SCAD triumph: the new backlot at Savannah Film Studios, the largest at any university in the world,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace via statement. “From Savannah cityscapes to a courthouse square and suburbs, the backlot is a paradise for our Bees and other area filmmakers. Come see everything for yourself!”

“We are excited for this year’s lineup at the 26th annual SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which features Origin, May December, and The Color Purple, all filmed in Savannah and the coastal Georgia area,” added SCAD Savannah Film Festival Executive and Artistic Director Christina Routhier, as part of the lineup announcement. “The programming for this year’s festival is stronger than ever, celebrating outstanding cinema and the filmmakers and artisans behind the art, with over 160 films to screen for SCAD students and our audiences.”

See the entire festival lineup over at the website here.

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