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Savannah Film Festival opens with Lumet homage

The eighth annual Savannah Film Festival, hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design Oct. 29-Nov. 5, presents films by studio, independent and student filmmakers as well as industry-led workshops and special guests from all aspects of the film industry. Venues for the festival include Trustees Theater, 216 E. Broughton St., and Lucas Theatre, 32 Abercorn St., Red Gallery, 201 E. Broughton St., as well as a variety of other venues throughout the city.

The festival kicks off with an opening night reception and gala Saturday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m., at Trustees Theater. Legendary director Sidney Lumet will be on hand to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at 7:30 p.m. The award presentation will be followed by a special screening of the critically acclaimed film «Good Night, and Good Luck,» directed by and featuring George Clooney.

Additional Savannah Film Festival honorees include actress Ellen Burstyn, actor Jeff Daniels and film and sound editor Walter Murch. Burstyn, the first woman to win both a Tony Award and an Academy Award in the same year for her work in Bernard Slade’s «Same Time, Next Year» on Broadway, and in Martin Scorsese’s «Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,» will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m. at Trustees Theater followed by a special screening of «Capote,» a film chronicling novelist Truman Capote and his long time friend Harper Lee’s work to transform a real family’s murder into the 1966 book «In Cold Blood.»

Daniels will receive an Achievement in Cinema Award and Walter Murch will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award on Monday, Oct. 31, 7 p.m. at Trustees Theater followed by a special screening of Daniels’ film «The Squid and The Whale.»

Daniels made his film debut in Milos Forman’s «Ragtime,» but it was his portrayal as Debra Winger’s husband in «Terms of Endearment» that catapulted him to stardom.

Murch, who has been editing sound in Hollywood since starting on Francis Ford Coppola’s film «The Rain People» (1969), received an unprecedented double Oscar for both film editing and sound mixing on «The English Patient» in 1996. His most recent credit is «Cold Mountain.»

Other special screenings during the film festival include:

«The Matador,» starring Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear, is the endlessly entertaining tale of a hit-man who has unexpectedly reached the end of his game, and the lengths he will go in the attempt to restore his reputation. It screens Thursday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. at Trustees Theater.

«Mrs. Henderson Presents,» starring Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, screens Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m. at Trustees Theater. This musical comedy pays homage to the great Windmill Theatre and the British knack for «soldiering on» in times of trouble. Set in London just before WWII, «Mrs. Henderson Presents» is the true story of one of England’s most prominent and eccentric figures, Laura Henderson, played by Dench.

«Pride and Prejudice,» starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland, Tom Hollander, Rosamund Pike, Jena Malone and Judi Dench, screens Saturday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m. at Trustees Theater. The first movie version of the story in 65 years, the glorious world of Jane Austen is at last brought back to the big screen telling the classic tale of love and misunderstanding as it unfolds in class-conscious England near the close of the 18th century.

«White Countess,» starring Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave and Natasha Richardson, screens Sunday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m., at Trustees Theater, is set in Shanghai in the late 1930’s this is the story of the relationship between a disillusioned former U.S. diplomat Todd Jackson, who has lost his sight and is now languishing in Shanghai’s grand hotels and elite gentlemen’s clubs after the violent deaths of his wife and children and a refugee Russian countess reduced to a sordid life in the city’s bars.

During the festival, industry professionals, rising filmmakers and studio executives lead workshops and panel discussions at Red Gallery, 201 E. Broughton St. This year, workshops include «The Written Word,» featuring legendary writer, actor and director Buck Henry as he explains the process of story development from idea to screen and «The Producer,» led by one of the industry’s most respected executives, Alan Ladd Jr. Known for producing such hits as «The Right Stuff,» «Chariots of Fire,» and «Braveheart,» Ladd will conduct a workshop covering his work as a producer and the ever-changing movie industry.

Another panel featuring actor James Franco («James Dean,» Spider-Man,» and «The Great Raid») is a case study of «The Ape.» Franco will describe his path from concept to stage to screen. This workshop immediately follows the screening of «The Ape,» Sunday, Oct. 30, 3 p.m. at Lucas Theatre.

Other panels include «The Casting Director,» «Putting ŒIndependence’ into High-Def Independent Filmmaking,» «Film Acting,» «Visual Effects Paradiso,» «Animation,» and a case study featuring Mark Schneider and Gordon Elliot, the men behind the popular Food Network show «Paula’s Home Cooking.»

In addition, festival honoree Walter Murch will conduct a workshop, «Touch of Evil Then and Now,» detailing how in 1998, the 40th anniversary of the original release of Orson Welles’ «Touch of Evil,» Murch recut the classic film, guided by Welles’ 58-page memo protesting what the studio had done to his film. During the original editing in 1957, Universal fired Welles after a series of disagreements. Murch will show clips from both versions of the film, reading relevant sections of Welles’ original memo offering a unique chance into Welles’ creative process.

Tickets and passes to the Savannah Film Festival are available from the Trustees Theater box office or by phone at 912.525.5050. A gold pass can be purchased for $300 and entitles patrons to attend all scheduled films, workshops, lectures, opening and closing night receptions, and all other VIP receptions. A silver pass can be purchased for $200 and entitles patrons to attend all scheduled films, workshops, lectures, and opening and closing night receptions. A bronze pass can be purchased for $100 and entitles patrons to attend all scheduled films. Individual tickets are $5 per film, workshop or lecture; $3 for senior citizens; $3 with a non-SCAD student ID or free with a SCAD ID. Group discounts are available.


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