If the multifaceted theme of "Sight, Seeing, Hallucinations, and Premonitions" sounds like something that you, as a writer, could sink your chops into, then you, my friend, are a prime candidate for the 2006 Piccolo Fiction Open, a literary component of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. The PFO is sending out an open call for submissions from local writers. In no more than 1,100 words, applicants should compose short stories upon said theme. Not only will the winning stories be read during the festival but they'll also be broadcast on S.C. Public Radio's Your Day, and published here in the City Paper during the festival.

Your deadline: April 15. Include four copies of your original, unpublished work, a separate cover page that contains your contact information and the title of the work, a $5 submission fee (made out to the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs) and a self-addressed stamped envelope. Each copy of your work should include the title of the story and a telephone number. Send to PFO2006/Office of Cultural Affairs, 133 Church St., Charleston, SC 29401. Learn more at Smith

Earlier this month, the S.C. Film Commission let fly the news that it's creating a fat new granting fund — to the tune of $300,000 annually — to encourage collaborative projects in film, video, and multimedia between film industry professionals and three state colleges and universities. Directors and other film project pros need only find a way to play nice with either Trident Technical College, the University of South Carolina, or Clemson University, which together make up the new S.C. Film Consortium. They key, apparently, is to use their students as interns, apprentices, or full department members — and suddenly your project is eligible for some of that cash, of which up to $100,000 can go to a single film project. It doesn't matter how big the project is; any size shoot can nab a grant.

The point, says film commish Jeff Monks, is to encourage industry professionals to partner with institutions of higher learning so area schools can begin cranking out some experienced grads into the field, rather than kids with nothing more than an academic background in filmmaking and production.

"It's one way we're increasing our competitiveness for film production announcements," Monks says. "The Fund will create job-ready graduates and gives our own production professionals an opportunity to improve their skills and resumés."

No word on whether amateur porn projects are eligible. —Patrick Sharbaugh


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