The 10th anniversary of the Indie Grits festival brought films and music to the Columbia community this weekend. Presented by the Nickelodeon Theatre, Indie Grits was a four-day event full of music, art and screenings of independent films. As part of celebrating the anniversary, events were free to the public. The theme of the festival, Waterlines, was meant to commemorate the flood that struck Columbia in the fall.
“I think for this event — especially because of the flood that happened — it’s a way for people to come together and mourn over what happened and celebrate water still," said Laura Godenick, Indie Grits volunteer and Nickelodeon Theatre employee. "I think it's important for the community to respond to events like the flood that happened. But in general, if there isn’t a flood, I think that festivals like these are a great way for a community to celebrate."
One event screened short films still in the editorial process to audience members for constructive criticism. "Isle of Palms," a short film set in modern-day Charleston, told the story of a man who went on a quest to find rarely requested drugs for his girlfriend.
“For the writer, it's always just fun to let other people run with your script. The metamorphosis of having the script turn from 10 pages into a well-produced film is sort of magic to me,” said Joe Worthen, writer and co-producer of "Isle of Palms."
The magic of film was contagious throughout the festival, and the passion of each writer or director was easily translated to the audience members and attendees. Creativity was celebrated among those who produce short films.
“It’s the most creative thing I think someone can do with more people involved," said John Barnhardt, director and co-producer of "Isle of Palms." "If you’re a painter or a sculptor it's really individual. You cannot make a movie by yourself; you just can’t do it. And you become like a family, and I think that’s what I enjoy the most.”
Having events at different locations allowed multiple screenings and music venues to occur at once.
“I love how much there is all over the place. It’s not concentrated in one area. I think it's really cool that it's spread out in the Columbia area,” said Stephen Simmons, third-year advertising student.
Many USC students and residents of Columbia were in attendance, as the festival was easily accessible.
“I really like how it's free, which is great for students. See music for free, get some more culture, go see films and get different perspectives,” said EJ Holcombe, third-year biology student.
Godenick believes Indie Grits is an excellent way to showcase the art and talent of Columbia, highlighting the emerging art scene, screenwriters, actors and music of the Southeast.
“It’s a way to experience Columbia with other people who live here," Godenick said. "It’s showcasing all of these wonderful artists and art that we have in this community saying, you know, Columbia’s not that bad. It’s actually pretty cool. Indie Grits is rated as one of the top film festivals in the South — we're proud to be from Columbia."