This week marks the return of Indie Grits
juried film festival that highlights the best of independent film in the South.
People in Columbia have always flocked to Indie Grits for its eclectic program of documentaries, short film and features, but it seems that the rest of the world is catching on. Attendance at last year’s festival increased by 60 percent, and Movie Maker Magazine recently named the festival one of the World's 20 Coolest Film Festivals.
One of the most highly anticipated films this year is The Florestine Collection, the last film by the late documentary filmmaker Helen Hill. Hill was a Columbia native who, while living in New Orleans, stumbled across 100 handmade dresses in a dumpster. The film is the story of the dressmaker who made those dresses. However, it is Hill’s story that adds extra poignancy to the film’s screening in her hometown. The artist was murdered in a home invasion in New Orleans in 2007. Her husband, Paul Gailiunas lovingly finished her final film.
I am also looking forward to Training Wheels, a short film about a boy who gives up his quest to ride a bike at age 6 after a “devastating encounter with a pile of garbage.” Fifteen years later, as a grown man, he decides to give it another try. Another film definitely wins the prize for most surprising title. Surprisingly, despite it’s playful name, The Redemption of General Butt Naked is the true story of a brutal, Liberian warlord, Joshua Milton Blahyi (a.k.a. General Butt Naked) who has renounced his violent past and has reinvented himself as an evangelist. The Los Angeles Times called it “a film that explores both the power and the limitations of faith and forgiveness,” and it won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at Sundance this year.
There is a really special atmosphere at Indie Grits, and that might be because it is really more than a film event; it’s a five-day celebration of the vibrant, independent spirit that’s taking root in Columbia. This year, Indie Grits will kick off with a Sustainable Chefs' Showcase and Juried Potluck sponsored by the local Slow Food chapter. Saturday’s “Crafty Feast” will be a day-long celebration of indie crafts, music and local food, and local bands will keep the party going at night after the credits roll.
This year’s festival runs April 13-16th. Film passes are on sale for $75 and will get you in to see all of the films in the festival. The festival pass will run you $125 but will get you into all festival events, including the music programs and the Slow Food event on April 13th.
for more information on the Indie Grits Film Festival, the films themselves and a complete event schedule.