Over the last couple of years Indie Grits Film Festival has been searching for its identity, testing the waters and finding exactly what works and what doesn’t. What started as a film festival has gradually expanded to video games, tech, music, art, and more since their inaugural festival nine years ago. This year they’ve condensed the Film Festival to five action packed days in mid April and given the festival a theme for the first time. That theme is “Future Perfect” and ties in closely with the visual artists involved in this years festival.
Kicking off Wednesday April 15 at Boyd Plaza in downtown Columbia, the free opening party features music from Charlotte band Hectorina along with one of the festivals most interesting features this year, a Mini-Cine made of a recycled shipping container. The pop-up theater will stay in Boyd Plaza throughout the festival and be open to the public from 11 am – 8 pm daily playing two Future Perfect programs of video art on continuous loop curated by artist Ben Tiven and the Moving Image Research Collection at USC.
Indie Grits is hosted by the Nickelodeon Theatre located in downtown Columbia, SC. During the festival the theatre on Main Street will feature five full days of the best DIY feature-length, short, experimental, animated and student films from South Carolina and the Southeast. Next year we’ll be able to enjoy two theatres at the Nickelodeon, but this year they’ll be screening films again just a block away at Tapp’s art center. When you’re downtown during the festival this year you’ll notice something different as you walk around. Thanks to funding by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, visual artists with a connection to the Southeast will enhance the public spaces downtown.
On the tech side of things, Indie Grits is bringing back Indie Bits by popular demand. Indie Bits is a celebration of independent gaming and interactive media design, fostering collaboration between gaming developed and enthusiast, and academics and artists interested in gaming. Be on the lookout at the festivals opening party for Grit Man, a life-sized Pacman inspired game. Indie Grits is also collaborating with Converge SE, a conference for creative web design.
There’s a lot to do this year when it comes to the music portion of Indie Grits. This year Indie Grits is collaborating with Love, Peace, and Hip Hop for Hip Hop Family Day on April 18, and Music Farm Columbia that same night for Jason Isbell. The Jason Isbell concert is free for all festival pass holders. The opening night party features music from Helado Negro, Hectorina, and Michael Parrallax, performing in Boyd Plaza in the heart of downtown Columbia. The closing party on April 18 will feature music from Mechanical River and Nick Jenkin’s project Infinitikiss.
In addition to those events Indie Grit’s seems to have more to announce. The website lists an exciting roster of bands including Valley Maker, Elvis Depressedly, Say Brother, Can’t Kids, Bombadil, and more. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot of these at the Music Farm for the five-year anniversary party of Fork and Spoon records.
Slow Food is one of our favorite events at Indie Grits. The taste testing event brings chefs from around the Midlands together in friendly competition to offer up their most delicious and innovative dish. By the end of the afternoon you’re stuffed from trying so many great foods created mostly from local and sustainable sources.
Indie Grits 2015 is full of cultural opportunities and performances you won’t find elsewhere, including the Weekly Revue variety show, Spork in Hand Puppet Slam, an Urban Land Institute workshop, a taco party at The Whig and the ever-popular Slow Food at Indie Grits.
Indie Grits 2015 schedule of events Full Schedule of Films
· Wednesday, April 15
o 6-11 p.m.: Free Opening Night Party, Boyd Plaza. Live music by Charlotte-based Hectorina, Michael Parrallax, Helado Negro and curated pop-up cinema in the Mini-Cine and more.
· Thursday, April 16
o 6-9 p.m.: Future Perfect: This year’s artists will show their visual artworks installed in venues up and down Main Street. There will also be gallery talks and performances.
o 8 p.m.: Fork & Spoon & Friends. Local record label Fork & Spoon will celebrate their fifth anniversary with an artist showcase at the Music Farm.
· Friday, April 17
o 7 p.m.: Spork in Hand Puppet Slam
o 9 p.m.: Toby Lou returns with his Weekly Revue variety show from New Orleans to Columbia at the Big Apple.
o 11 p.m. – UNTIL: All-night taco party at The Whig
· Saturday, April 18
o A full day of events including Kindie Bits and its animation workshop for children, Hip Hop Family Day, the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam, and the Indie Grits Closing Party.
· Sunday, April 19
o Slow Food at Indie Grits brings the best chefs in Columbia together as they each prepare a dish that features local, sustainable ingredients.
o Indie Grits will screen the juried film competition winning films in single programs throughout the afternoon at The Nick.