Starting Oct. 26, thousands of film fans, student filmmakers and industry professionals will converge on Savannah once again for the 16th annual Film Festival.
This year promises to be as star-studded as years past with special guests Jeremy Irons, Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern, Natalie Dormer, Alec Baldwin, Julian Sands, Miles Teller and James Toback.
The annual festival is hosted by the Savannah College of Art and Design. In addition to film screenings, the event features lectures, workshops and more than 50 films in competition in categories from documentary to animation.
The festival begins this year with "Nebraska," a film shot in black and white about a cantankerous father who thinks he's struck it rich after receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail. Prior to the screening, the film's director, Payne ("Sideways," "The Dependents"), will receive an Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award presented by Dern, who starred in the film.
Abigail Breslin and Irons also are receiving awards. Irons, whose many accolades include an Academy Award for Best Actor, will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Breslin, an Academy Award-nominated actress, will receive a Discovery Award prior to the screening of her latest film "August: Osage County" on Nov. 2, which is the closing night of the festival. She stars alongside Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor in the film.
Other confirmed special guests include Norman Reedus and Emily Kinney of "The Walking Dead," Nina Dobrev and Candice Accola of "The Vampire Diaries," Zach Gilford of "Friday Night Lights" and Keile Sanchez of "Lost."
As always, festival officials said one of the highlights is sure to be the surprise Director's Choice screening on Oct. 30.
Follow reporter Erin Shaw at twitter.com/IPBG_ErinShaw.