Photo by Daniel Cheon

The 17th annual Savannah Film Festival closed with an award ceremony Saturday in the Trustees Theater before the screening of “Escobar: Paradise Lost.”

J. Alexander, also know as Miss J, made a guest appearance at the screening, stepping onstage to introduce the Rising Star Award and give it to Analeigh Tipton, who starred in “Two Night Stand,” which was featured during this year’s festival.

“Thank you, Miss J, for the introduction and whoever put together that awesome clip thing together – I’ve never seen all my films meshed into one,” said Tipton. “This is my first award and the wonderful thing about being here is that today I got to talk to students, aspiring actors, about a career I rarely get to look back and reflect on, and it just reminds me that I absolutely love what I do.”

After Tipton stepped offstage, the awards for the best shorts started, with Best Supernatural Short going to “We Wanted More” and Best World Short Ireland to “Boogaloo and Graham.”

The Trustees Theater was packed Saturday to see the Savannah Film Festival awards ceremony and the screening of "Escobar: Paradise Lost." Photo by Katherine Rountree

The Trustees Theater was packed Saturday to see the Savannah Film Festival awards ceremony and the screening of “Escobar: Paradise Lost.” Photo by Katherine Rountree.

The Best Editing Award, and a prize of the full Avid Editing Suite, was given to Constantin von Seld, the editor of “Bis Gleich (Till Then).” Since von Seld was unable to attend, director Benjamin Wolff and producer Philippe Brenninkmeyer accepted the award for him.

“Well, that’s really amazing. The editor is going to freak out; he’s in Hamburg right now and he has no idea about the whole thing,” said Wolff. “Thank you so much to SCAD and Savannah. It was an absolutely wonderful week. I’m going to call the editor soon.”

13 awards were given out to films and filmmakers, including “SouthSouthWest,” which won the SCAD Student Competition, “The Looking Planet” for Best Animated Film, “The Kármán Line” for Best Short Film, “Ice Warriors: U.S.A. Sled Hockey” for Best Documentary, “Amira & Sam” for Best Narrative Feature and Frank Hall Green, “Wildlike,” for Best Director.

“There were a lot of rejections to get Wildlike made and to get to this point, and now some people are saying, ‘hey, we really like it,’ that means a lot to me,” said Green. “I just have to say for other filmmakers in the audience, ‘We just have to keep working and working because we like to do it and we love the process.’”

A newly created Special Jury Award was given to “The Gunfighter.” “Limited Partnership” then received HBO’s 2014 Film Producer Award and “Sweet Corn” got HBO’s 2014 Film Student Competition Award.

“First of all I want to thank my family, who inspired me most when I was making my film, and the cast and crew of course,” said Mimi Joohyun Lee, director of “Sweet Corn.” “I always think the film is a love letter to the audiences from the director. I hope my love letter was delivered sincerely to the audiences at the Savannah Film Festival.”

Students had their own favorites.

“My favorite was ‘Poverty, Inc.,‘” said second-year film student Isabella Morelli from Colombia.

Big Hero 6” was by large a crowd favorite, according to several student attendees, and the Art of Animation panel certainly had the longest line to get in.

“’The Normal Heart‘ was my favorite,” said second-year jewelry student Sierra Adair from Corona, California. “People need to see it.”

Kylie Cloutier, a second-year performing arts student from Santa Rosa Beach, Forida, and Lorryn Rose, a second-year fibers student from Kingston, Georgia, both volunteered last year and won tickets to opening night this year. They said the master classes and panels were beneficial and it was especially cool to see the SCAD Improv Club interact with Mike Myers.

“I actually went to the Mike Myers panel this morning,” said Cloutier. “It was really cool seeing him in his moment.”

They said the only thing that SCAD could do better next year is seating. They were unable to get into one of the films they had tickets to because there were not enough seats.

“We had to get a refund for our money back,” said Rose.

Third-year Emma Williams, a production design student from Southbend, Indiana, and second-year students from Albany, New York, Elisabeth Pritchett, who’s studying film and television, and Emily Mueller, who’s studying graphic design – all volunteers at the festival this year – hope it gets even bigger and more inclusive next year.

Williams hopes to see a panel with production designers and Pritchett wants to see a wider span of the film department. They both encouraged students across all majors to attend next year.

“Everybody should go see it next year,” said Pritchett.