SCAD TVFEST: Annual event to be held in new theater complex

Celebrating the art of television with industry pros

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Photo credit: SCAD

SCADshow, a sparkling new pair of theaters on the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Atlanta campus, will host this year’s annual SCAD TVFest, running from Feb. 7 - Feb. 10.  Described by the festival’s executive director Christina Routhier as “a celebration of the art of TV” with “tons of things happening,” she says “there is a little for everyone, and every TV show you can imagine. Sometimes we’ll show a brand new episode, or a fan favorite. And if you like animation, we’ll have almost 10 showcases this year.”

Episode screenings of at least two dozen shows will be followed by question and answer sessions with cast members, writers and producers, “running the gamut of how TV works,” explains Routhier, who also oversees the prestigious Savannah Film Festival. Panels will be convened on subjects such as queer representation in the medium; how to pitch a story; the writers’ room; the “power” of post-production; artificial intelligence; plus artisans and costume design.

Kelsey Grammer, George Lopez, Ken Watanabe, Matt Bomer and Sonequa Martin-Green are among the actors to be honored at the event; Joel Kim-Booster (Loot) and Josie Totah (The Buccaneers) will each receive the Rising Star Award; The Morning Show showrunner Charlotte Stoudt is another honoree.

Lopez will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Grammer will snag the Legend of Television Award and Bomer the Hollywood Reporter’s Trailblazer Award; the Virtuoso Award will be bestowed upon Watanabe, whose Tokyo Vice is getting an opening night screening of a new episode. Other shows on the schedule include The Gilded Age; Invincible; Manhunt; The Way Home; Turtles All The Way Down; Scott Pilgrim Takes Off and Star Trek: Discovery. All will have post-screening Q&A sessions with cast, crew, and producers.


SCAD has also opened a second casting office, in Atlanta, in addition to its Savannah location, and claims to be the only university in the country to provide this service. “We’ve had great success with our casting office in Savannah, connecting our students with all the productions shooting in Georgia,” says Andra Reeve-Rabb, dean of SCAD’s School of Film & Television. “It just made sense to expand that to our Atlanta campus.”



Deanna Greif, a SCAD alumna who was granted an MFA in 2016, will receive an award at the fest for her work in casting. Since leaving SCAD, Grief has found jobs for actors in projects like Severance; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Peepshow; The Invite; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Ms. Marvel and Mamma Mia 2. “The people who are vying for a role are all extremely talented - it’s like trying to find a missing puzzle piece: the exact right person at that moment for that job,” Greif says. “We are the biggest cheerleaders for actors and learning that while you’re still in school is completely invaluable.”

Reeve-Rabb, who began her career in 1993 as a casting intern on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, spoke fondly of Greif’s emergence as a force in her section of the industry. “The fact that she started working in some extraordinary offices in New York as a casting associate - that’s what it’s all about. I had that experience as a student to be put on a path like that, and now she gets to come back and give back to our students - that’s a whole circle moment.”

Reeve-Rabb says the School of Film and Television is like no other program in the country. “We literally teach all the roles you would find above the line, below the line — it’s all here,” she says. “There’s not a single role that can’t be filled either in front or behind the camera. That breadth of knowledge is not only important for each of those students, but it’s important for our industry that we are training for all those roles.” She added that students obtain “a true working knowledge of the day-to-day function of a role within (the) industry, and are able to hear about every aspect of what it is to create TV content.”

Calling the festival “the perfect marriage of industry and academia,” Reeve-Rabb says the event is crucial for students to advance in the industry. “What’s most exciting is being able to give back to our students by (providing) these master classes (from) people who are at the top of their game. That’s singular to SCAD and to this festival.”

SCAD began as a small art school in Savannah with an enrollment of about 70 and fewer than 10 faculty members. That was in 1978. The Savannah College of Art & Design gradually added campuses in Atlanta and in France, and is now a well-established institution covering courses in architecture, dramatic writing, jewelry, and, surprisingly, equestrian studies, among many others. SCAD bills itself as the “University for Creative Careers” for thousands of students.


In recent years the Atlanta campus has grown to include the SCAD Fash Museum of Fashion & Film and the aforementioned SCADshow, the latter within a new building complex on Spring Street in Midtown Atlanta that comprises residential, academic, and wellness facilities. SCADshow features a 700-seat main stage and an intimate 150-seat “black box” venue, plus a courtyard for outdoor theater production. —CL—
Day pass: $50 for the general public or $25 for SCAD Card holders and SCAD alumni; access to all screenings and panels; available for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.
Festival pass: $125 for the general public or $100 for SCAD Card holders and SCAD alumni; access to all screenings and panels. 1470 Spring Street, Atlanta 30309. 912-525-5050 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.