Citing scheduling conflicts, Academy Award-winning actress Renee Zellweger has informed the Savannah College of Art and Design that she will not attend the 2014 Savannah Film Festival.

"We found out late last night," says film festival director Danny Filson. "This is the reality of the film festival. It's why we always say people are 'scheduled to appear.'"

Zellweger has been signed to appear in a film and will be on set during the film festival, and Filson says SCAD is delighted she has this opportunity.

"If you are a professional and have a job opportunity, you have to take it," he says. "These people commit and bank on it, but it really does happen."

The actress, who was to be honored with a Spotlight Award on Oct. 27, is expected to attend the film festival eventually. She earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in Anthony Minghella's film, "Cold Mountain."

"I think Renee Zellweger will be with us at some point in the future," Filson says.

Film fans have nothing to worry about, he adds. There is plenty to look forward to.

"Stay tuned," Filson says. "We've got some other surprises up our sleeves."

Other honorees have been forced to pull out in previous years.

"It's been like that for 16 years and will always be that way," Filson says. "Any film festival will tell you that."

And film festival fans are loyal, no matter what.

"It stuns me that we do the Savannah Film Festival in late October and early November, and passes for next year's film festival go on sale Dec. 1, and we immediately sell out of gold passes," Filson says. "Then we immediately sell out of silver passes.

"Nobody knows who is going to be on next year's film festival, but everyone knows SCAD is going to produce an excellent film festival," he says. "They know it will be phenomenal and something they want to be a part of. We've got a few surprises up our sleeves, so we're working on it."