The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has announced the first wave of programming for the 2015 Savannah Film Festival, taking place October 24-31. Hosted by SCAD, this year’s slate is already shaping up to be packed with acclaimed festival favorites and Oscar hopefuls.
The festival will open on Saturday, October 24 with a screening of Focus Features’ “Suffragette,” directed by BAFTA Award winner Sarah Gavron and written by Emmy winner Abi Morgan. The drama, starring Carey Mulligan in the lead role, is inspired by the early 20th century campaign of the Suffragettes, who were activists for Women’s Suffrage and risked their very lives for the right of women to vote.
Additional films that will screen at Savannah are listed below. Synopses provided by the Savannah Film Festival.
The profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within. The film is distributed by Fox Searchlight. Director: John Crowley. Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent.
“I Saw the Light”
“I Saw the Light” tells the story of Hank Williams, the iconic, influential country singer and songwriter of the 1940’s and early 50’s whose meteoric rise and fall, including his death at age 29, has become part of American folklore. Writer-director Marc Abraham has created a compelling, historically accurate narrative of Hank’s career that examines his tormented creative genius and the turbulent domestic life that inspired him to write some of his best-known songs. By literally going back in time, you see Hank as he was, living his life on his terms, battling his demons and ultimately creating music for the ages. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Director: Marc Abraham. Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Elizabeth Olsen, Cherry Jones, Bradley Whitford, Maddie Hasson and Wren Schmidt.
The story of a woman’s return to the family she abandoned years before, set entirely over the course of one turbulent Thanksgiving. When Krisha shows up at her sister’s Texas home on Thanksgiving morning, her close and extended family greet her with a mixture of warmth and wariness. Almost immediately, a palpable unease permeates the air, one which only grows in force as Krisha gets to work cooking the turkey and trying to make up for lost time by catching up with her various relatives, chief among them her nephew, Trey. As Krisha’s attempts at reconciliation become increasingly rebuffed, tension and suspicion reach their peak, with long-buried secrets and deep-seated resentments coming to the fore as everyone becomes immersed in an emotionally charged familial reckoning. The film is distributed by A24. Director: Trey Edward Shults. Cast: Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild, Bill Wise and Trey Edward Shults.
“The Lady in the Van”
A big screen adaptation of writer Alan Bennett’s iconic and celebrated memoir. The film tells the true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the singular Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who ‘temporarily’ parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years. Their unique story is funny, poignant and life-affirming. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Director: Nicholas Hytner. Cast: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent, Frances De La Tour, and Roger Allam.
Margherita is a director shooting a film with the famous American actor, Barry Huggins, who is quite a headache on set. Away from the shoot, Margherita tries to hold her life together, despite her mother’s illness and her daughter’s adolescence. The film is distributed by Alchemy. Director: Nanni Moretti. Cast: Margherita Buy and John Turturro.
“Miss You Already”
The friendship between two life-long girlfriends is put to the test when one starts a family and the other falls ill. The film is distributed by Roadside Attractions. Director: Catherine Hardwicke. Cast: Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette.
Both highly suspenseful and deeply emotional, “Room” is a unique and touching exploration of the boundless love between a mother and her child. After 5-year-old Jack and his Ma escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world. As he experiences all the joy, excitement, and fear that this new adventure brings, he holds tight to the one thing that matters most of all—his special bond with his loving and devoted Ma. Based on the international bestselling book by Emma Donoghue. The film is distributed by A24. Director: Lenny Abrahamson. Cast: Brie Larson, William H. Macy, Joan Allen and Jacob Tremblay.
“Son of Saul”
Saul Ausländer is a Hungarian member of the Sonderkommando, the group of Jewish prisoners isolated from the camp and forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the body of a boy he takes for his son. As the Sonderkommando plans a rebellion, Saul decides to carry out an impossible task: save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Director: László Nemes. Cast: Géza Röhrig, Levente Molnár, Urs Rechn, Todd Charmont, Sándor Zsótér and Marcin Czarnik.
“Touched With Fire”
Two manic depressives meet in treatment and begin a romance that brings out all of the beauty and horror of their condition. The film is distributed by Roadside Attractions. Director: Paul Dalio. Cast: Katie Holmes, Luke Kirby and Christine Lahti.
Based on the book “Truth and Duty” by Mary Mapes that tells the incredible true story of Mary Mapes (played by Cate Blanchett), an award-winning CBS News Journalist and Dan Rather’s producer, who broke the Abu-Ghraib prison abuse story, among others. The film chronicles the story Mapes and Rather uncovered that a sitting US president may have been AWOL from the United States National Guard for over a year during the Vietnam War. When the story blew up in their face, the ensuing scandal ruined Dan Rather’s career, nearly changed a US Presidential election, and almost took down all of CBS News in the process. The film is distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. Director: James Vanderbilt. Cast: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss and Dennis Quaid.
From Paolo Sorrentino, the director of Italy’s Oscar foreign language winner “The Great Beauty” comes “Youth,” about two longtime friends vacationing in the Swiss Alps. Oscar winning actor Michael Caine plays Fred, an acclaimed composer and conductor, who brings along his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and best friend Mick (Harvey Keitel), a renowned filmmaker. While Mick scrambles to finish the screenplay for what he imagines will be his last important film, Fred has no intention of resuming his musical career. The two men reflect on their past, each finding that some of the most important experiences can come later in life. The film is distributed by Fox Searchlight. Director: Paolo Sorrentino. Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Jane Fonda.