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Savannah Film Festival


Hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Savannah Film Festival features the best in independent and innovative film from around the world. From feature-length films to two-minute shorts, the annual festival presents a full range of cinematic creativity from both award-winning professionals and emerging student filmmakers.


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Elizabeth Olsen Marc Abraham @ Savannah Film Festival for I SAW THE LIGHT (2015)

 
 
Savannah Film Festival, SCAD, 2015
Actress Elizabeth Olsen of "I Saw the Light". (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SCAD)
 

Actress Elizabeth Olsen and director Marc Abraham attended the screening of their film "I Saw the Light" (2015) on the closing night of the 18th Savannah Film Festival, October 31st, 2015.

“I Saw the Light” tells the story of the much beloved country-western singer Hank Williams (1923 – 1953). Although Williams only lived to the young age of 30, having lost a battle with alcoholism and other illnesses, he is considered by many as one of the most influential American singer/songwriters to date and a pillar in the hall of country-western music history. In only six years of his career, he recorded forty-one records and was enlisted in the Country Music Hall of Fame (1961), the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1970), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987). In director Marc Abraham's words, “ If you like the music as I really do, I always say, you will get back to Hank.”

When I spoke with Marc Abraham and Elizabeth Olsen about their film, here is what they had to say:

What was it like directing this film?

MARC: Like all experiences of directing, terrible. It's exhausting. No, really, anyone who complains about directing film, you should just take them out and give them a weapon behind a woodshed. But really, directing a film means you get to work with great actors and really fantastic people. You get to collaborate, have a similar vision and passion. On any scale, what could be better than having an idea that you want to tell a story in a very particular way with people whose talent you respect who want to do the same thing you do, and somehow you figure out a way to have people to pay you to do it. That's the beauty of the thing. We would do it all for free, as long as we could survive doing it. My experience is that it's challenging but I learn a lot every time I do it. You make very close connections and real bonds that will last a lifetime.

What made you decide to make a film about Hank Williams?

MARC: I am a lifelong country music fan, a legitimate country music fan. If you like the music as I really do, I always say, you will get back to Hank. You can start wherever you want to start. You can start with Keith Urban or Don Gibson, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, whoever, but you will always get to Hank. The more I learned about the Hank Williams story when I was young, the more I was fascinated by it. Truthfully, I just thought it was such a great story and if someone was going to tell it, and if it wasn't me, I would be really pissed off. I thought one day I would read somewhere that someone was making a Hank Williams story and I wanted it to be me.

How do you feel to have your premier in Savannah on Halloween night?

ELIZABETH: I forgot it's Halloween but thank you for reminding me. I think we're going to an after party somewhere. It's amazing! I've never been to this festival before and I didn't realize it was so much based around the university. I went to a liberal arts school to study acting so I've been in the shoes of everyone who is skipping class. To me, to have the opportunity for people to come and talk about their experiences- whether its producers, directors, costume designers, actors- it's just so cool. It's a more comfortable environment. You don't feel like you're out for judgment. You feel like you're out for conversation and that feels really nice. That feels protective for an artist or creative person.

Interview conducted by Vanessa McMahon on October 31st, 2015; Edited on November 4th, 2015

 

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About Savannah Film Festival

Bolda Sheila Lynne
(Savannah College of Art and Design)

Hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Savannah Film Festival features the best in independent and innovative film from around the world. From feature-length films to two-minute shorts, the annual festival presents a full range of cinematic creativity from both award-winning professionals and emerging student filmmakers.

Savannah

United States



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