19 October, 2021

Kenneth Branagh, Adrien Brody, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ruth Negga, Mike Mills among star-studded lineup of 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival special guests

Clockwise from top left: Kenneth Branagh, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ruth Negga, Adrien Brody, Dylan Penn, Aunjanue Ellis, Simon Rex, Odessa Young, Mike Mills, Harry Gregson-Williams, Sandy Powell, Clifton Collins Jr.

The 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival marks not only the 10-year anniversary of Reel Georgia, it also marks a return to form for the premiere fall film festival. After a limited 2020 event that was largely virtual, the red carpet is once again set to take over Broughton Street outside the famed Trustees Theatre.

Oscar winners and nominees are in great supply this year, with Kenneth Branagh, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ruth Negga, Adrien Brody, Sandy Powell, Mike Mills, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller all set to make appearances. Other stars set to appear and receive honors include Aunjanue Ellis, Harry Gregson-Williams, Dylan Penn, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Simon Rex, Odessa Young and Clifton Collins Jr.

Kenneth Branagh
Lifetime Achievement in Acting and Directing Award
Saturday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "Belfast."

Kenneth Branagh is one of the world's most consistently acclaimed filmmakers, directors, and actors, whose work is trademarked by quality, truth, and passion. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards in five different categories and five Golden Globes, and won three BAFTAs and two Emmy Awards. In addition to directing Belfast in 2021, Branagh will star in the limited series This Sceptred Isleand direct and star in Death on the Nile, a sequel to his hugely successful Murder on the Orient Express. Branagh has continued to juggle acting and directing for both screen and stage. He has shot a string of box-office and critical hits, including Cinderella and Thor, and played critically acclaimed roles in Tenet, Dunkirk, My Week with Marilyn, a performance as Laurence Olivier that earned him Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA nominations.

His love of Shakespeare has always been front and center, and he is often credited with bringing the Bard to the multiplex with films such as Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, and As You Like It. On stage, The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company held a year-long residency at London's Garrick Theatre, producing a sold-out season that included The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, and The Entertainer, with Branagh in the lead role in the latter. On the small screen, Branagh's successes include the BAFTA-winning series Wallander, 25 Shackleton, and Conspiracy, among many others. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he won the Bancroft Gold Medal, Branagh succeeded Lord Richard Attenborough as President of RADA in the summer of 2015. He continues to mentor young actors and received a Knighthood in 2012 for his services to drama and the community in Northern Ireland.

Adrien Brody
Vanguard Award
Sunday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "The French Dispatch."

The youngest winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, Adrien Brody won the coveted Oscar for his role in Roman Polanski's 2002 film The Pianist at 29 years old — one that also made him just the second American actor to win France's César Award for Best Actor. Brody's past credits include The Thin Red Line, The Village, King Kong, and Midnight in Paris. His upcoming role in Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch is his fourth collaboration with the director, after The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Brody is currently in production on HBO's untitled drama series about the 1980s "Showtime" Los Angeles Lakers, in which he plays legendary basketball coach Pat Riley. Other upcoming projects include season 3 of hit HBO drama series Succession, Netflix's Marilyn Monroe biopic Blonde, See How They Run, and action-thriller Clean, which Brody co-wrote, scored, and produced under his Fable House banner.

Clifton Collins Jr.
Distinguished Performance Award
Friday, Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m. ET
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "Jockey."

Playing everything from policemen to boxers to serial killers and working with illustrious industry vets including Guillermo del Toro, Terrence Malick, Quentin Tarantino, and Steven Soderbergh, Clifton Collins Jr. can easily lose himself in the life of his on-screen characters. The Los Angeles native grew up destined to become a part of the entertainment industry, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez, a character actor most famous for his humorous sidekick roles in Western films starring John Wayne. For his role as Lawrence in the blockbuster HBO series Westworld, Collins added his own personal touch to the character by wearing his grandfather's gun belt throughout the series. Reunited with writing and directing duo Clint Bentley and Greg Kwedar, the three developed and shot the independent film Jockey, earning praise at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and Collins the festival's coveted Best Actor award, identifying him as one to watch for next year's Academy Awards.

In addition to Jockey, Collins will next be seen in the highly anticipated After Yang alongside Colin Farrell and in Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley as part of an all-star cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, and Willem Dafoe. His other film credits include Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; del Toro's Pacific Rim; Malick's Knight of Cups; Soderbergh's drug epic Traffic; Bentley and Kwedar's thriller Transpecos; Wally Pfister's Transcendence; Sundance darling Honey Boy; Waves, from director Trey Shults; Clint Eastwood's The Mule; The Hughes Brothers' Dead Presidents; Bennett Miller's Capote; Alejandro Inarritu's Babel; Joel Schumacher's Tigerland; Edgar Wright's cult hit Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; JJ Abrams' Star Trek; Mike Judge's Extract; Christine Jeffs' Sunshine Cleaning; and Tate Taylor's Breaking News in Yuba County.

Aunjanue Ellis
Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award
Saturday, Oct. 30, 7 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "King Richard."

Aunjanue Ellis is an award-winning actor and producer with more than 25 years of experience on stage and screen. In 2021, Ellis was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for HBO's critically acclaimed Lovecraft Country, her second Emmy nomination in three years. She was nominated for her first Emmy in 2019 for her work in Ava DuVernay's When They See Us, earning recognition in the Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series category.

The role also garnered her an NAACP Image Award nomination, her third of four total nominations in the Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special category. Ellis has also been nominated for her work in Lifetime's The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel; the E-One/BET miniseries The Book of Negroes, which also earned her a Critics Choice Award nomination and a Gracie Award for Outstanding Female in a Leading Role, TV Movie or Limited Series; Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story; as well as the film Men of Honor. Ellis' other recent credits include If Beale Street Could Talk, The Birth of a Nation, Pimp, Miss Virginia, The Help, and her role as Oracene "Brandy" Price, mother of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in King Richard. She will next appear in the AMC limited series 61st Street, starring alongside Lovecraft Country costar Courtney B. Vance.

Harry Gregson-Williams
Lifetime Achievement in Composing Award
Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2 p.m. ET
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
This award will be presented as part of the event In Conversation with Harry Gregson-Williams.

One of Hollywood's most sought-after and prolific composers, Harry Gregson-Williams' long list of film and television credits underscore the diverse range of his talents. Gregson-Williams was the composer on all four installments of the animated blockbuster franchise Shrek, garnering a BAFTA nomination for the score of the original film, the first-ever Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature. He also received Golden Globe and Grammy Award nominations for his score for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Gregson-Williams has collaborated multiple times with a number of directors, including Ben Affleck on Live by Night, The Town, and Gone Baby Gone; Joel Schumacher on Twelve, The Number 23, Veronica Guerin, and Phone Booth; Tony Scott on Unstoppable, The Taking of Pelham 123, Déjà Vu, Domino, Man on Fire, Spy Game, and Enemy of the State; Ridley Scott on The Martian, Prometheus, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and Kingdom of Heaven; Bille August on Return to Sender and Smilla's Sense of Snow; Andrew Adamson on the Shrekand Chronicles of Narnia series; and Antoine Fuqua on The Replacement Killers, The Equalizer, The Equalizer 2, and Infinite.

Most recently, Gregson-Williams wrote the music for Disney's live-action Mulan, including co-writing the original song "Loyal Brave True" performed by Christina Aguilera. Other recent projects include Life in a Day 2020, The Meg, the Annie Award-nominated Early Man, and Disneynature's Penguins. His television credits include Whiskey Cavalier, the miniseries Catch-22 and the main title theme and two episode scores of the anthology series Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, which garnered him an Emmy Award nomination. Gregson-Williams' upcoming projects include Pierre Morel's The Ambush and The Last Duel and House of Gucci with Ridley Scott.

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Rising Star Director Award

Thursday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "The Lost Daughter."

Maggie Gyllenhaal's award-winning career as an actor is full of groundbreaking and thought-provoking performances. Gyllenhaal won acclaim in 2002 for Secretary opposite James Spader, winning a National Board of Review award and earning Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award nominations. She followed with Laurie Collyer's Sherrybaby, a painful look at a young woman getting out of prison and hoping to reclaim her child, which earned her a second Golden Globe nomination. In 2009, she starred opposite Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart, earning her an Academy Award nomination. Other notable film performances include Donnie Darko, Mona Lisa Smile, Stranger Than Fiction, The Dark Knight, Nanny McPhee Returns, Frank, and The Kindergarten Teacher, among others. She moved to the small screen in The Honourable Woman, winning a Golden Globe for Best Actress and earning Emmy Award and Screen Actors Guild award nominations. In 2019, she concluded her three-season run in the HBO drama The Deuce, which she also produced. Her performance as Candy earned rave reviews and Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award nominations.

On stage, Gyllenhaal played Priscilla in Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul and starred in Uncle Vanya and The Three Sisters alongside her husband Peter Sarsgaard. She made her Broadway debut in Sam Gold's revival of The Real Thing opposite Ewan McGregor in 2014. As a narrator, Gyllenhaal's readings of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar can be heard on Audible. She also collaborated with artist Matthew Barney on the experimental film River of Fundament in 2014. Gyllenhaal's upcoming screen adaptation of Elena Ferrante's novel The Lost Daughter is the actor, writer, and producer's directorial debut. A Columbia University graduate, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Outstanding Achievement in Animation Award
Tuesday, Oct. 26, 5:30 p.m. ET
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
This award will be presented as part of the Animation Corner: Art in Motion feature "The Mitchells vs. The Machines."

Academy Award-winning filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller are the multi-hyphenate duo behind some of today's most successful films, including Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Known for their unique sensibilities and maverick mindset as writer-producer-directors, Lord and Miller's films collectively have earned more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office. In 2018, the duo won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature, a BAFTA, and seven Annie Awards. Lord and Miller's collaboration began when the pair met as students at Dartmouth College. The two contend it was a mistake that landed them a job developing Saturday-morning cartoons, which eventually led to their breakthrough animated series Clone High in 2002. The pair will executive produce a modern refresh of the critically acclaimed series for HBO Max.

On the small screen, Lord and Miller have served as co-executive producers on the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother, FOX's animated series Bless the Harts, and the FOX comedy series The Last Man on Earth. The pair also directed the pilot episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Lord and Miller are also behind the upcoming Apple TV+ series The Afterparty and will develop a suite of television series based on Sony's Marvel Comics characters. Lord and Miller most recently produced the Netflix animated feature The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which premiered in April 2021 and went on to become the platform's most popular animated film to date. Upcoming film projects for Lord and Miller include the The Last Human, Artemis, Project Hail Mary, Cocaine Bear, Strays, The Premonition: A Pandemic Story, Everyday Parenting Tips, 48 Hours in Vegas, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.

Mike Mills
Auteur Award
Wednesday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "C'mon C'mon."

Mike Mills works as a filmmaker, graphic designer, and artist. Born in Berkeley, Calif., Mills is best known for his independent films and his exhibitions at the Alleged Gallery, which were documented in the book, exhibition, and film Beautiful Losers. Mills wrote and directed Thumbsucker, which won awards at the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival as well as the Guardian New Directors Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival. His next feature, Beginners, won Best Film and Best Ensemble Cast at the Gotham Awards and earned Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards. His third film, 20th Century Women, earned Mills his first Academy Award nomination, for Best Original Screenplay.

His short films include The Architecture of Reassurance, Paperboys, Deformer, and Eating, Sleeping, Waiting, and Playing, which have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, Oberhausen Short Film Festival, The New York Museum of Modern Art's New Directors New Films, and Rotterdam International Film Fest. In 2007, Mills made the feature-length documentary Does Your Soul Have a Cold?, exploring the issues around the introduction of antidepressants into Japanese culture. The film premiered at SXSW and was part of IFC's documentary film series. Mills is also known for his music video work for artists such as Air, Moby, Blonde Redhead, Yoko Ono, and Pulp. His commercials for Cisco, Nike, Volkswagen, Old Spice, and others have won multiple awards. In 2019, he produced The National's eighth studio album, I Am Easy to Find, directing a short film of the same name set to music from the record.

Ruth Negga
Spotlight Award
Monday, Oct. 25, 8 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "Passing."

An exceptionally talented and versatile actress, Ruth Negga's body of work spans award-winning theatre productions, big-screen historical dramas, independent films, and innovative television series. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and raised in Ethiopia; Limerick, Ireland; and London, Negga is best known for her role as Mildred Loving opposite Joel Edgerton in Jeff Nichols' Loving, earning her Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice Award nominations. She also won an IFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Film. On film, her previous works include Ad Astra, Warcraft, Una Vida, Jimi: All Is By My Side, Noble, World War Z, The Samaritan, and Breakfast on Pluto. On television, Negga had a recurring role in the fourth and final season of the AMC series Preacher, lent her voice to Mother in the animated program Angela's Christmas, and appeared in the HBO TV movie The Money, as well as ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the hit UK series Misfits, Love/Hate, Five Daughters, and the TV movie Shirley.

Outside of her screen roles, Negga's extensive and award-winning theater production credits include Lolita, Duck, Playboy of the Western World, Hamlet, Phèdre, Oedipus Loves You, Lay Me Down Softly, The Crucible, The Bacchae, Burial at Thebes, and Titus Andronicus. Negga next stars opposite Tessa Thompson in Rebecca Hall's Passing, based on Nella Larsen's 1920s Harlem Renaissance novel of the same name. Her upcoming roles include the titular role in the drama series Josephine, which follows the remarkable story of legendary jazz performer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker. Negga will also executive produce the project alongside showrunner Dee Harris-Lawrence and director Millicent Shelton.

Dylan Penn
Rising Star Award
Friday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. ET
SCAD Museum of Art, Alex Townsend Memorial Courtyard
This award will be presented as part of the Signature Screening "Flag Day."

Dylan Penn is a model and actress. The daughter of renowned actors Sean Penn and Robin Wright, Penn is one of the most sought-after models and muses for top designers and photographers around the world. She has secured major campaigns for Ermanno Scervino, The Hip Tee in Madrid, Stuart Weitzman, The Gap, and Michael Kors. Her covers include TREATS!; Italian Glamour; L'Officiel Italia; Tatler Magazine; and most recently, a cover and 46-page spread in Jalouse Magazine, styled exclusively by Chanel. This past show season, she was flown to Paris at the request of Karl Lagerfeld to sit front row at his coveted Paris Chanel couture fashion show. In addition to appearing in Italian Vogue, she has been featured in American Vogue three times, as well as in Elle, Vanity Fair, and V Magazine.

Penn's acting star rose in the 2014 video installation project Rock Roll Ride, where she appeared alongside Poppy Delevingne in a short film directed by Julia Restoin Roitfeld for shoe designer Stuart Weitzman. In the short, which premiered during Paris Fashion Week, the pair modeled a wide variety of the latest designs in the first female-directed ad campaign for the brand. Penn also appeared as the lead in Nick Jonas's debut solo music video for his song Chains. She made her Hollywood debut in as Maya in Eli Morgan Gesner's Condemnedand appeared opposite Michael Shannon in Elvis & Nixon. In her breakthrough performance in Flag Day, Penn stars alongside her father Sean Penn, who also directed.

Sandy Powell
Variety Creative Impact in Costume Design Award
Friday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. ET
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
This award will be presented as part of the event In Conversation with Sandy Powell.

Boldness, creativity, precision, and attention to detail are all hallmarks of three-time Academy Award-winning costume designer Sandy Powell, who has become a recognizable personality in her own right thanks to her distinctive personal style. Powell has 15 Best Costume Design nominations, more than any living designer, and is the only living designer to have achieved a double nomination three times: in 2019 with The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns, in 2015 for Carol and Cinderella, and in 1998 with Velvet Goldmine and Shakespeare in Love, her first win in the category. Powell studied at London's Central School of Art and began her career designing costumes for punk-influenced director Derek Jarman's Caravaggio. Her major breakthrough was the 1992 film adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, earning Powell her first Oscar nomination.

Powell has received additional Oscar nominations for The Wings of the Dove, Gangs of New York, Hugo, The Irishman, Mrs. Henderson Presents, The Tempest, and won for The Aviator and The Young Victoria. Powell has also won three BAFTAs, for The Favourite, The Young Victoria, and Velvet Goldmine, and received an additional 13 nominations. Her work on The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns also earned a Costume Designers Guild Award and nomination, a BIFA, and two Critics' Choice nominations. Powell's recent credits include The Glorias and the upcoming Mothering Sunday. She is currently prepping on her next project, Disney's Snow White. Powell has also received multiple honors for her lasting impact on costume design and international film, including the Costume Designers Guild Career Achievement Award in 2010 and the London Film Critics' Circle Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film in 2020. In 2011, Powell was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to the film industry.

Simon Rex
Spotlight Award
Tuesday, Oct. 26, 9:30 p.m. ET
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening "Red Rocket."

Simon Rex continues to captivate audiences through dynamic and unconventional roles across the multimedia landscape. First introduced to television audiences as an MTV VJ, Rex expanded his repertoire and proceeded to book series regular roles on major network shows such as Felicity, Jack and Jill, and What I Like About You. After making the jump from television into film, Rex has starred in Scary Movie 3, Scary Movie 4, Scary Movie 5, Hotel California, and King of the Avenue.

Rex will next star in Sean Baker's Red Rocket as Mikey Saber, a unique American hustler who returns to a hometown that barely tolerates him. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year to a rapturous response, followed by the Telluride Film Festival and the Deauville American Film Festival, where it was recognized with the Jury Prize and the Critics Prize. The film continues to screen at festivals across the globe, with critics lauding Rex's magnetic performance as a breakthrough, career-defining moment for him. He will also be seen in Katie Aselton's comedy Mack & Rita opposite Diane Keaton and Taylour Paige and Fabio Frey's My Dead Dad.

Kodi Smit-McPhee
Discovery Award
Tuesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. ET
Trustees Theater
This award will be presented as part of the Gala Screening " The Power of the Dog."

Born in 1996 in Adelaide, Australia, Kodi Smit-McPhee started acting at the age of 9. Two years later, Smit-McPhee earned the AFI Award Young Actor's Award and an AFI Best Actor nomination for Romulus, My Father, his feature film debut. He dropped out of high school in his freshman year to pursue acting and currently resides in Los Angeles, as does his father Andy McPhee and sister Sianoa Smit-McPhee, who are also actors.

Smit-McPhee is known for his roles in The Road, Let Me In, ParaNorman, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, X-Men: Apocalypse, Alpha, and Dark Phoenix. His upcoming films include Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog, starring opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, and the Baz Luhrmann biopic Elvis. A master of emotion, Smit-McPhee is deeply entrenched in philosophy, freemasonry, and creative artistic expression.

Odessa Young
Discovery Award
Monday, Oct. 25, 6 p.m. ET
Lucas Theatre for the Arts
This award will be presented as part of the Gala screening "Mothering Sunday."

Since starting her acting career as a preteen, Australian-born actor Odessa Young has starred in critically acclaimed productions on stage, screen, and TV. Last year, Young starred opposite Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg in Josephine Decker's Shirley, earning rave reviews for her portrayal of a young pregnant woman who moves in with famed suspense author Shirley Jackson and becomes entangled in the complicated drama that is Jackson's life. Young has also starred in the limited series adaptation of Stephen King's The Standalongside James Marsden and Alexander Skarsgård, Sundance Film Festival hit Assassination Nation, Sam Taylor-Johnson's A Million Little Pieces opposite Aaron Taylor-Johnson, The Professor opposite Johnny Depp, and Trip Cullman's Atlantic Theater Company production of The Mother opposite Isabelle Huppert.

Young will next star in Eva Husson's Mothering Sunday alongside Josh O'Connor, Olivia Colman, and Colin Firth. The film, which premiered to stunning reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, follows Young as maid Jane Fairchild, who aspires to be a writer in 1924 England. Young's upcoming projects include the HBO Max limited series The Staircase, now in production in Atlanta. The series is adapted from the true-crime docuseries of the same name, exploring the story of Michael Peterson, who was convicted of murdering his wife after her death from a fall down a staircase in their home. Young will appear alongside Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Dane DeHaan, and Sophie Turner. She will also star in award-winning director Thordur Palsson's psychological horror film The Damned.

The schedule and tickets for the 2021 SCAD Savannah Film Festival are available at savannahfilmfestival.com

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