Monday, April 6, 2015

CofC Italian film fest hosting 'Spaghetti Western Party'

Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival celebrates eighth year

Posted by Viraj Naik on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 3:53 PM

Promotional poster for Spaghetti Western Party. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Promotional poster for Spaghetti Western Party.
Are you a bit of a cinephile? Have you got loads of film posters plastered on your walls? If so, you’re in luck — the College of Charleston’s Italian Film Festival will be hosting a screening of the classic Sergio Leone spaghetti western, Once Upon a Time in the West, Thurs. April 9 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The highly influential film — inspiring acclaimed filmmakers from Quentin Tarantino to Stanley Kubrick — centers on a complex revenge plot, as a treacherous railroad baron seeks vengeance on two hired hit men turned heroes. “It’s very well-loved in cinematic circles and general audiences,” says Nike Kern, one of the fest’s advisory board members. “The film’s aged very well, and is still very pertinent today.”

Attendees are also encouraged to wear their best western-themed clothing as part of the event’s costume contest, with the winner receiving free tickets to the festival. In addition to this, the event will also feature a silent auction as well as adult drinks, Italian and Mexican cuisine and plenty of music.

Advance tickets are $65 and $75 at the door. The event’s proceeds will go towards funding the film festival in the fall.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Columbia Film Festival Gains National Attention

No Instant Grits

Posted by Rebecca Stanley on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 3:50 PM

For those of us not in the Columbia-know, the Nickelodeon Theater may sound like a Universal Theme Park attraction, but this weekend it hosts an attraction of a different kind. The “Nick” is home to the Indie Grits Film Festival, which has been named one of Movie Maker magazine's Top 20 Coolest Film Fests in the world for the second time. Now in its eighth year, Indie Grits focuses on bringing the best films related to the South to South Carolina’s capital. But Grits is more than just film screenings; it also involves music, education, and local collaborations.

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Indie Grits wasn’t always an international festival. When it started eight years ago, it was highly expiriemental and unknown. “Four years ago we just started adding more and more” says festival director Seth Gadsden. Film is the centerpiece of Grits, but “it’s slowly becoming more than just a film festival,” says Gadsden, who maintains that focusing on the filmmakers has been integral to Grits’ success. This year there are 14 feature films on the roster. Most films are documentaries, focusing on everything from drag musicals to ballerinas to Florida’s environment. There are also narrative films and non-competitive films, a series of shorts produced and funded through a grant program provided by the S.C. Film Commission and Trident Technical College. With a bevy of short films lined up also, there’s no doubt that there’s a film for every taste. Prizes range from $250-$1000 for awards from Young Grit for best student film to Top Grit, the best film at the fest.

Indie Grits also has non-cinematic entertainment planned, but rest assured it all relates back to film. “We don’t willy-nilly select bands and stuff, it’s important to have a why, it needs to be rich and meaningful,” says Gadsden of Grits’ growing festivities. Indie Grits has a musical lineup, including of Montreal, a Georgia-based indie rock band headlining this year. Musicians Girls of ROCK! will be performing at the opening party on April 11, and Love, Peace, and Hip Hop will be hosting a family day filled with inspiring R&B. An adults only vaudeville puppet show, Spork in Hand Puppet Slam will be shown April 12-13. Gadsden says, “It became a marquee event, we just expanded it, every show sells out.” And we can't blame them; who wouldn’t want to watch a live band accompany puppeteers who can finally cover adult material? The Slow Food Sustainable Chef’s Showcase will take place on April 13, and all dishes will use locally sustainable ingredients. Indie Bits, a video-game showcase will take place on the latter half of April 15. One day later, there’s a pizza party at the Whig, a popular Columbia bar. On April 18, Toby David will host his Weekend Revue at the Half and Half. David’s show is historically and religiously focused, and Indie Grits will be the first time the Revue has been on the road. “It’s somewhere in between preaching and Bukowski. It’s philosophical,” says Gadsden, who met David in New Orleans before getting him to perform at the fest.  
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There’s plenty for kids to do too. Indie Camp Remixed runs April 14-18 and gives teenagers the chance to create their own short films alongside festival filmmakers. Each day a different filmmaker will come and show their work, followed by a discussion. Then, the kids get to recreate the film. The camp is replacing Indie Grits’ usual school outreach program, as Columbia schools are having Spring Break the same week as the festival this year. The S.C. Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities is sponsoring a Kindie Grits event for kids. In addition to an animation workshop, there’s a make-your-own-video-game session. Gadsden also works with interns year long and loves to teach people about film.

Gadsden says this year’s festival is supposed to be the biggest ever. Last year over 8,000 people attended over the 10-day festivities. Gadsden is also hoping to push awareness of Indie Grits in the region. “If you ask someone regionally, they may not know who we are, but you go to L.A. and ask about Indie Grits and they know right off the bat,” he says. With thousands of attendees, alumni like documentary filmmakers the Ross Brothers, and a full spectrum of film related attractions, Indie Grits seems poised to expand every year.

For more information, click here

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One Couch at a Time is coming to a theater near you

Couch Potatoes

Posted by Rebecca Stanley on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 5:06 PM

With Airbnb becoming so popular recently, it's easy to forget its predecessor Couch Surfing — where you stay on people's couches for a small fee — sometimes even for free. While it sounds sketchy and like the premise of a horror movie, it's not. And four strangers recently documented their experiences couch surfing the world in the new documentary, One Couch at a Time.

One Couch at a Time follows Alexandra Liss and three new friends across six continents and 21 countries. Each night, they stay with someone they met through couchsurfing.org until they reach their ultimate destination: Burning Man Festival. In the trailer, Liss explains that she wants to investigate sharing, and how far people will go for one another. Despite opposition from her family and friends, she sets off on her journey with a budget of $30K.

Jean-Michel Werk, the producer, points out how the documentary highlights the emerging ‘sharing’ economy, or basically that if you share something of yours it will be returned in someway in the future. In Couch Surfing speak, it's allowing someone free room and board with the expectation that you too could spend the night for free. And it's not a new idea, just one we’ve forgotten. Still, it doesn’t seem plausible that people would give up currency completely, so Liss and crew took to social media to find these places. 

One Couch at a Time screens at the Terrace Theatre on Sun. March 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $9 and can be purchased here

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Film Rebate Bill signed into law

More rebates!

Posted by Erica Jackson Curran on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Gear stacked outside the Cistern Yard during the taping of TODAY - SAM SPENCE
  • Sam Spence
  • Gear stacked outside the Cistern Yard during the taping of TODAY

Good news for South Carolina’s growing film industry: The Film Rebate Bill (S.163), passed by the Legislature last week, was subsequently signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley.

This means, for one thing, that when film companies buy supplies from S.C. vendors, they’ll get up to 30 percent off in rebates, as opposed to the previous 15 percent. Film companies will also receive higher rebates for wages spent — from 15 percent to 25 percent for S.C. residents and up to 20 percent for all others.

No tax increases will be required to make these adjustments, but the bill is expect to lure more productions to the Palmetto State, resulting in increased jobs and revenue.

The Carolina Film Alliance’s president expressed his support of the bill, saying, “What it says to the film industry around the world is that South Carolina values the millions of dollars that film companies will now spend here with local small business, such as hardware stores, restaurants, lumber yards, and dry cleaners — attracting millions in capital investment to grow the economy, creating jobs, and showcasing South Carolina’s geographic beauty to the world on the big screen.”

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Indie Grits brings film, music, and parties to Columbia

Grits are good for you

Posted by Erica Jackson Curran on Mon, Apr 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM

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Columbia's Indie Grits Festival kicked off this past weekend, but if you didn't make it, don't worry — it continues through April 21. Presented by the Nickelodeon Theatre, the annual event features the best in indie Southeastern film, and a lot of other cool stuff too, like music, food, parties, and even puppets.

If you're free tonight (April 15), head up 26 for Cinemovements, a partnership between Indie Grits and the S.C. Philharmonic that pairs four newly commissioned silent films with music from a live quartet. Filmmakers for this year are Indie Grits alums Roger Beebe, Steve Daniels, David Montgomery, Gideon C. Kennedy, and Marcus Rosentrater.

In the film department, you can catch screenings April 15 and 16, but the competition films don't start until Wed. April 17. The winning films will be shown on Sun. April 21. You can see the full lineup here — there are plenty of choices.  

For music, there's a Pizza Party (yes, an actual pizza party) with Belk Boys and Yacht Rock DJ on April 17; Dent May, Dog Bite, and People Person at the Columbia Museum of Art on April 18; and Burnt Books and Happiness Bomb at Hunter Gatherer on April 19. We hear these shows always sell out, so buy your tickets ahead of time.  

Kindie Grits is the festival's children's division, and on April 20, kids can find out about how movies are made from media educator Frank W. Baker. Kids 8-14 are invited to attend.

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