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Savannah Film Festival honors Lumet and Falk

Lumet and Falk among honorees at 2005 Savannah Film Festival
Festival, hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design, scheduled
for Oct. 29-Nov. 5 in historic downtown Savannah, Ga.

The eighth annual Savannah Film Festival, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design, has named legendary director Sidney Lumet and actor Peter Falk the recipients of the festival’s annual Lifetime Achievement Awards. Actress Natasha Richardson will also be honored during the weeklong festival.

Lumet, known for award-winning films such as “12 Angry Men” (1957), “Serpico” (1973), “Dog Day Afternoon” (1975) and “Network” (1976), is a five-time Academy Award-nominee and received the Honorary Oscar at the 2005 Academy Awards. He will be honored Saturday, Oct. 29, during the festival’s opening night celebration.

Falk, whose performance in Paul Reiser’s “The Thing About My Folks” (2005) is creating Oscar buzz, will be honored Thursday, Nov. 3. Falk is a two-time Academy Award-nominee and a five-time Emmy Award-winner who is best known as the seemingly slow-witted detective Lt. Columbo in the famous series of made-for-television movies of the same name.

The festival will honor Richardson with an award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Sunday, Oct. 30. Known for her starring role in the award-winning film “The Comfort of Strangers” (1990), Richardson stars in the upcoming “The White Countess,” a Merchant Ivory film that also stars Ralph Fiennes, Lynn Redgrave and Vanessa Redgrave.

Other festival highlights include the presentation of lifetime achievement awards in animation to the prolific animation team of Don Bluth and Gary Goldman (“Titan A.E.,” “Anastasia,” “An American Tail”), as well as a screening of “The Ape” by actor James Franco (“Spiderman,” “The Great Raid”).

Franco wrote, directed and stars in the film, which is based on his play by the same name.
Buck Henry, screenwriter of “The Graduate,” “Catch 22” and “To Die For,” will be on hand to speak about the film. Terry George, director of “Hotel Rwanda,” GreeneStreet Films President John Penotti, producer John Hart, NBC Universal Pictures President Ron Meyer and Alan Ladd Jr. are also scheduled to attend. Additional guests and special honorees will be announced as information becomes available.

In addition to awards presentations and special screenings, each year the festival holds a professional film competition as well as a renowned international student film competition. Entries are judged in the categories of animation, documentary feature, documentary short, narrative feature and narrative short. Also during the festival, industry professionals, rising filmmakers and studio executives lead panel discussions and question-and-answer sessions at Red Gallery, 201 E. Broughton St. This year, panels cover almost every aspect of filmmaking, from the business of “the biz” to working behind the camera or in front of it. Notable sessions include workshops presented by Kodak, a production panel featuring David Ladd and Alan Ladd Jr. and a case study featuring the production team from Food Network’s “Paula’s Home Cooking,” with native Savannahian Paula Dean. "Coffee Talk," an informal workshop that provides a forum for students and film professionals to discuss the industry, is also held daily.

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