The Savannah Film Festival wrapped up its 15th annual installment last weekend. Here’s a list of participants, including Stan Lee, Matt Dillon and Diane Lane, on what makes the festival special.
Stan Lee (creator, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four): I’ve never been here before and it’s the greatest city, it’s the most beautiful city. Everyone in Savannah that I’ve met seems to be interested in art, literature, creative things. It has been such a joy talking to the people here. Photo courtesy of SCAD.
Matt Dillon (Crash, City of Ghosts): I was told that the Savannah Film Festival is the largest film festival that’s sponsored by a university. I think it’s really wonderful. I think being an actor and being able to come down here and talk to aspiring filmmakers as an actor and as a filmmaker is really great, it’s really special. It makes it so much better than your typical film festival. Photo courtesy of SCAD.
Diane Lane (Unfaithful, The Outsiders): Thank you for making me feel special and loved. I’ve been told how amazing this college is and thought it couldn’t possibly live up to what I’d heard, but it did. In an alternate life, I’d like to have been a student here. And I’m so excited to see (fellow honoree) Matt Dillon again. We’re having a reunion! Photo courtesy of SCAD.
Michelle Monaghan (actress, Gone Baby Gone, Tomorrow You’re Gone): Getting the award last night was so nice? I mean, I really love what I do, and so to have an honor like that given to me, I really sincerely appreciate it. And they put together a really charming montage of work I had done. Even I looked at it and thought, “That’s pretty great!”
Kate Connor (winner of Best Narrative Film for Fort McCoy): I think this is a festival that’s really gotten it right. Everything from how wonderful the whole community is, so supportive of the screenings. And I think it’s wonderful, the exchange that the festival and SCAD has. I participated this week in coffee talks with students in the mornings, and did a Women in Film panel, and Q&A’s after the screenings. The exchange of ideas between the students and visiting filmmakers is extraordinary. And then the screenings are at two gorgeously restored theatres, which is fantastic too. It’s magical to screen there, and there are these fantastically responsive crowds. And staying in the historic Marshall House, which is walking distance to all the screenings and parties. On every single level, it’s just amazing. I’ve had the best time here.
Bernadine Santistevan (director, Wolf Dog Tales): I’m just blown away by the fact that they invite all the filmmakers in, pay for the travel, and have this amazing hospitality. That’s unique. And it’s so well-organized and professional, and the people are really kind and welcoming. And there’s such a wealth of creative talent in Savannah; you can smell it in the air here. There’s a support for creativity and the arts.
Martin Snyder (winner of Audience Choice award for Missed Connections): I’d say the best thing about the festival (aside from winning the Audience Award!) was the students and all the people involved with making it happen. I felt so inspired in such a creative environment. I definitely want to come back to share my experiences of a first time feature director and continue to spread the message ‘better to follow the ways of your heart, then the ways of the world.’ I firmly believe that this, combined with persistence and patience (paradoxical as it may seem) is fundamental to anyone looking to further their creative career.
Mickey Sumner (actress, Missed Connections): I think the best thing about the Savannah Film Festival is the students of SCAD – they are so supportive, inquistive, engaged, thoughtful and creative. I think they make the festival really unique. That and Mrs Wilkes’ fried chicken.