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Savannah Film Festival honors Ellen Barkin and Ray Liotta during opening weekend

The Savannah Film Festival, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, honored actress Ellen Barkin ("The Big Easy," "Ocean's Thirteen") and actor Ray Liotta ("Goodfellas," "Hannibal") with Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Awards during the opening weekend of the 14th annual event, which kicked off Saturday, Oct. 29 and runs through Saturday, Nov. 5, in historic Savannah, Ga.

Barkin received the honor prior to the screening of her independent film, "Another Happy Day," which centers on a woman who returns to her parents' home for a family wedding where she must deal with her wildly dysfunctional family.

"I would like to accept this award on behalf of independent cinema," said an emotional Barkin upon seeing a video retrospective of her work. "Independent cinema, for the most part, consists of movies made with enormous passion, blood, sweat and tears by everyone involved. Without festivals like this, I would not have had the honor to do what I do for the past 30 years."

Liotta was on hand to screen his film "The Son of No One," which follows a young police officer who, upon being assigned to a precinct in the working class neighborhood where he grew up, must confront an old secret that threatens to destroy his life and his family. The film also stars noted actor Al Pacino, with whom Liotta said he always wanted to work. When introducing the film, Liotta laughingly noted, "He's my godfather in this film, not in the mafia sense, but in the movie sense."

Also on hand during the festival's opening weekend were Alec Baldwin, James Cromwell, James Toback and Sam Levinson. Additional filmmaking luminaries on tap for the week include Universal Pictures President Ron Meyer, Anson Mount, Miles Teller, Geoffrey Fletcher, Kenneth Lonergan, and Famke Janssen.

The festival also will honor director Oliver Stone ("Platoon," "Wall Street"); actress Lily Tomlin ("9 to 5," "All of Me"); actor Aaron Eckhart ("The Dark Knight," "Erin Brockovich"); actor James Marsden ("27 Dresses," "X-Men") and directors/writers Mark and Jay Duplass ("Cyrus," "The Puffy Chair") during the weeklong festivities.

Hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, the Savannah Film Festival presents a full range of cinematic creativity from both award-winning professionals and emerging student filmmakers. As the university for creative careers, SCAD offers the only major film program in the United States integrated within an acclaimed art and design university. In the past seven years, the university has been one of the top 10 U.S. film schools in producing Student Academy Award finalists.

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