The SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which takes place each year at the Savannah College of Art and Design shortly before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes to determine the Oscar shortlists, and which has become a premier showcase for documentary programming, has the names of the ten documentary films that will be put in the spotlight this year during the edition of the popular Docs to Watch panel.
The Docs to Watch meeting, which will discuss the challenges and benefits of documentary filmmaking, will take place at the Lucas Theater on Wednesday evening, October 25, midway through the 26th edition of the fest, which will take place from October 25 to 25 October. October 21 to 28. For the 10th year in a row it is presented by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by the undersigned.
The films represented on this year’s Docs to Watch panel – all of which will also be shown during the fest, followed by a question and answer session with their director(s) – are:
- 20 days in Mariupol (PBS)a film about a team of Ukrainian journalists who continue their work during the Russian invasion of their country, represented by director Mstyslav Chernov
- American Symphony (Netflix)a film about a celebrated musician who experiences his greatest professional success while his wife faces her greatest personal challenge, represented by director Matthew Heineman (an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature for 2015 Cartel country)
- Beyond utopia (side of the road)a film about a South Korean preacher and the people he tries to help escape from North Korea, represented by director Madeleine Gavin
- BS High (HBO)a film about the architect of a high school football scandal that rocked the sports world, represented by a co-director Travon Free (a Best Live-Action Short Oscar winner for 2020 Two distant strangers)
- The deepest breath (Netflix)a film about star-crossed deep-sea divers, repped by director Laura McGann
- The eternal memory (MTV)a film about the experience of a Chilean couple as one member of the relationship descends into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease, represented by director Maite Alberdi (an Oscar-nominated Best Documentary Film for 2020 The mole cop)
- Kokomo City (Magnolia)a film about the lives of four black transgender sex workers, represented by director D. Smith
- The mission (Nat Geo)a film about an evangelical missionary’s efforts to connect with one of the world’s most isolated indigenous peoples, represented by co-director Jesse Moss
- Still: A Michael J. Fox Film (Apple)a film about the life and struggles of the beloved actor, who was struck by Parkinson’s disease at a young age, represented by director Davis Guggenheim (a 2006 Oscar winner for best documentary An uncomfortable truth)
- Stamped from the start (Netflix)a film about the history of anti-black racism in America, represented by director Roger Ross Williams (an Oscar winner for best short documentary in 2009 Music by Prudence and an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature for 2016 Life, animated)
Over the past nine years, 45 films received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Film, 18 of which were first highlighted on the Docs to Watch panel, and seven of which went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Film.
“This year marks the 10th anniversary of Docs to Watch, which was an integral part of the SCAD Savannah Film Festival,” Christina Routhier, the festival’s executive director said in a statement. “We are pleased to continue our partnership with Scott Feinberg The Hollywood Reporter to celebrate the year’s leading documentaries and connect these filmmakers with our audiences and SCAD students. This annual event has elevated our festival to a must-see during awards season.”
More than 63,000 people visit the eight-day festival every year. This year’s full festival line-up will be announced on October 6. For more information and tickets, visit filmfest.scad.edu.