Alexander Payne to be honored before screening of his new film “Nebraska” on opening night of Savannah Film Festival; star Bruce Dern also appearing

The full Savannah Film Festival lineup won’t be released until October 1, but we now know that the 8-day event will begin on October 26 with Alexander Payne’s highly praised new film Nebraska.

The movie’s star Bruce Dern will honor Payne with an “Outstanding Achievement in Cinema” award before the screening.

Dern himself was honored by the SFF in 2006 and was the winner of the Best Actor Award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Nebraska.

Payne has won Oscars for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay for both Sideways (2004) and The Descendants (2011).

Nebraska tells the story of an aging father (Dern) who is duped into thinking he has struck it rich. He convinces his son (Will Forte) to hit the road to claim the fortune.

Click here for a roundup of reviews at the LA Times.

Payne’s complete filmography includes Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), and About Schmidt (2002).

Dern’s legendary career includes Coming Home, The King of Marvin Gardens, The Great Gatsby, Wild Bill, and After Dark, My Sweet (one of my favorites).

Both Dern and Payne will conduct master classes for Savannah College of Art and Design students while they are in town for the festival, which is of course organized and produced by SCAD.

The stellar list of folks who have attended the SFF over the years includes Peter O’Toole, Michael Douglas, Oliver Stone, Jane Fonda, Sidney Lumet, James Gandolfini, Ian McKellen, Isabella Rossellini, Lily Tomlin, Ellen Barkin, Liam Neeson, Vanessa Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, Matt Dillon, Norman Jewison, James Marsden, Jason Patric, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Donen, John Waters, James Franco, Alec Baldwin, Natasha Richardson, James Ivory, Ray Liotta, Aaron Eckhart, Stan Lee, Roger Ebert, Terrence Malick, Ben Edlund, Matthew Modine, Claire Danes, Hugh Dancy, Diane Lane, Chris Noth, Sydney Pollack, Rex Reed, Malcolm McDowell, and Milos Forman.

I’ve been fortunate to be covering the Savannah Film Festival almost since its inception. It has become one of the most important events on Savannah’s cultural and social calendars. The speed with which the coveted evening screenings sell out indicates even stronger demand than the festival can meet.