As the SCAD Savannah Film Festival moves into its final three days, the caliber of screenings and red carpet appearances have yet to wane.

Just ahead of a screening of “If Beale Street Could Talk” Thursday night, star Kiki Layne and director Barry Jenkins walked the red carpet. The film opens in theaters nationwide on Nov. 30 and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Layne was there to receive a Discovery Award from SCAD for her debut on celluloid. The young Chicago actress was hand-picked by Jenkins out of an auditioning class of 300 to star as Tish Rivers in the movie based on the 1974 novel by James Baldwin. Layne was studying acting in college and had been working only in theater until this role.

“The hardest part was letting things go,” Layne said of her transition to film. “You know in theater, if you have a weird performance or some scene was off, you can be like, oh I’ll fix that the next night. You don’t get to do that in film. It’s like, girl that’s what you did. That’s what you got. That was the biggest transition.”

The new film follows Jenkins' award-winning 2016 film, “Moonlight,” which garnered The Academy Award for Best Picture, along with a Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay for Jenkins and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney. It also won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture in the Drama category, and five other Golden Globe nominations.

It was the first film with an all-black cast and the first LGBTQ film to win Best Picture. Jenkins became the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for best director, film and screenplay in Oscar history.

“Working with Barry was amazing,” Layne said. “He’s just so sensitive and attentive to what each of us as individual artists need. He was so patient. I was learning so much! Trying to learn as much as I can, but sometimes I did silly stuff. He was so patient.”

“If Beale Street Could Talk” is a love story based around a young African-American couple, Rivers and Alonzo ‘Fonny’ Hunt (Stephan James) in Harlem in the 1970s. Hunt is accused of a crime he didn’t commit by a vindictive white police officer. Rivers works to prove his innocence while carrying their first born child.

“Tareel McCraney and James Baldwin just created very different narratives,” Jenkins said. “I had source material to work from. It was about finding the proper aesthetic for this film. The story form is so different, it manifested itself differently than ‘Moonlight.’”

“It was amazing to me, Baldwin’s ability to speak about injustice, especially in the black community,” Layne said. “He really had a gift for that. With this story, I got to see this gift he has in talking about love. At the core of this story, that is what it’s actually about.”

Jenkins was in Savannah at the 2016 Savannah Film Festival for a Gala Screening of “Moonlight.”

“It’s been awesome,” Jenkins said of his return to Savannah. “It’s an amazing town. The weather is amazing. Despite how small it is, you can tell… I think the audience here is hungry for stories from a wide range. It feels lovely to be back.”