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Wide Angle Project to address diversity issues in S.C. film, TV industries

Filmmaking lab seeks to increase diversity

Application deadline: August 31, 2020

The South Carolina Film Commission and Trident Technical College announce a call for applications for the Wide Angle Project: a filmmaking lab designed to boost diversity and inclusion in South Carolina's television and film production industry.

Led by noted film producer Effie T. Brown (Real Women Have Curves, Dear White People and Project Greenlight), this comprehensive program consists of a series of training sessions from October 2020 to May 2021, exploring key elements of the industry: financing, pitching, legal, logistics, agents, DIY distribution, and more. This 8-month virtual lab is free for South Carolina residents. Effie T. Brown is an award winning film, television, and digital Producer, known for her highly acclaimed, multi-platform repertoire as well as championing inclusion and diversity in Hollywood, both behind and in front of the camera. Her company, Duly Noted Inc., continues to be dedicated to groundbreaking narratives that use genre to challenge and advance our culture in a disruptive way. Wide Angle Project is tailored for under-represented South Carolina filmmakers and other production professionals who are ready to take their talent and work to an international level. Applications for the program will be accepted until Aug. 31, 2020. Please see indiegrants.org for further information.

Fellowships for visual arts, craft, media production and screenwriting

Application deadline is November 1. The South Carolina Arts Commission is accepting applications for the next round of Individual Artist Fellowships. South Carolina artists working in visual arts, craft, media: production or media: screenwriting are invited to apply for the 2018 awards. Each Fellow receives $5,000. Fellowships recognize and reward the artistic achievements of South Carolina’s exceptional individual artists. Fellowship awards are made through a highly competitive, anonymous process by out-of-state panelists and are based on artistic excellence only. The awards bring recognition that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. Fellowships are awarded in four disciplines each year. The application is now an online process. Find complete guidelines and application instructions online. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2016. Related: Who won the most recent round of fellowships?

Catawba Indians and ‘Pocahontas’ star announce film production partnership

Article by Tracy Kimball

[caption id="attachment_26346" align="alignright" width="300"]Catawba Indian Nation film agreement Irene Bedard and Bill Harris[/caption] Native American actress Irene Bedard is known for lending her voice to her craft. As an advocate and one of the most recognizable Native American actresses, Bedard lent her voice as ‘Pocahontas’ in the animated Disney films, and now hopes to lend her voice and influence to the York County-based Catawba Indian Nation. On Thursday, Bedard met with Catawba leaders to discuss a business partnership between her company, Sleeping Lady Films Waking Giants Productions, and the tribe’s production company, Red Heritage Media. The two companies hope to collaborate on television and film projects with Native American themes, as well as documentaries and short stories, said Bert Hesse of Studio South, a media production company that is partnering with the Catawbas. “It’s a great opportunity for not only the Catawba Nation, but for all of our storytelling capabilities, collectively – and then on top of that for the surrounding community as well, because it is going to bring a lot of revenue into the area,” Bedard told the Catawba leaders. The Catawbas purchased Red Heritage Media earlier this year and hope to build a $350 million movie studio project on 124 acres of tribal land in eastern York County with Studio South. The plans include multiple sound stages, a “five-star” hotel, a new Catawba Cultural Center, a school for film and music, retail and offices. “We are excited to hear of the future works of the Catawba studios and all the individuals involved,” Bedard said. “We are out here to endorse (the project) and to let people know that something like this in this area has the potential to create hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in revenue for this state and surrounding communities.” The Alaskan actress told Catawba leaders that Native Americans need to “take charge of our voice” and tell the “many amazing stories, inspiring stories and stories of resilience.” Bedard said for the most part Native Americans in films have been invisible. “I have realized just how we’ve had this great stage to be able to tell some incredible stories and go into this little fire, this little television, or this big screen and see something through the eyes of somebody else,” she said. “It’s amazing and it’s powerful.” Catawba Indian Chief Bill Harris and Bedard shared stories of non-Native Americans expressing interest in Indian cultures, but who are uneducated. “I do believe people around the world will want to come and learn more about the Catawbas,” Bedard said. “People around the world, they love us (Native Americans).” At the meeting Thursday, Harris spoke warmly with the actress once included among People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. For Harris, Bedard’s influence is not about her fame or beauty, but as a spokesperson for Native American issues. “I think what’s far more important than the fact that Irene is an actress is Irene’s voice,” Harris said. “It’s what she brings to the world when she speaks about native country.”

Why filmmaking is on the rise in the Upstate

From The Greenville News Article by Donna Isbell Walker; photo by Heidi Heilbrunn

Screenwriter Geoffrey Gunn doesn’t need the bright lights of Hollywood, or even his native Toronto, to make movies. Gunn can write scripts from his house near downtown Greenville, shoot the films around the Upstate with a South Carolina crew, and edit the movies on a laptop at his favorite coffee shop. In mid-October, one of Gunn’s films will be screened at Greenville’s new Reedy Reels Film Festival. His is among 45 films that will be spotlighted, selected from hundreds of submissions from around the world. Filmmaking is no longer an elusive dream that beckons aspiring writers and directors to the movie studios of Los Angeles. These days, filmmakers can create their art right here in places like South Carolina’s Upstate and have it resonate with movie buffs and other filmmakers around the world. “I think Greenville is a hidden gem for people who are really in the know and want more interesting cultural experiences,” said Gunn, whose short film “Last Night at the Ellington” will be shown Oct. 16, opening night of the two-day Reedy Reels festival. The S.C. Film Commission recognized several years ago that South Carolina filmmakers had the potential to make an impression on the film industry far beyond the state line. That was the impetus behind the Indie Grants program, which offers financial help and practical support to aspiring filmmakers from South Carolina. Gunn received one of those grants to make “Last Night at the Ellington,” based on a short story he wrote about a robbery at a movie theater. The Indie Grants program “is a great launch pad for South Carolina filmmakers,” said Gunn, who also co-wrote the horror film “Siren,” currently being shown on HBO. Gunn, who moved to the Upstate seven years ago with his wife, a professor at Furman University, found that continuing a film career in Upstate South Carolina after working in Toronto was easier than he expected. “South Carolina, like Canada, does a lot of traveling production,” Gunn said. “And what I mean by that is, South Carolina has fantastic crews, and there’s a terrific crew base in the Southeast. To actually make your movie, you have many, many qualified people to work with.” Greenville’s Joe Worthen found that to be the case after he received a $23,000 Indie Grant. He’s using that assistance to make a short comedy called “Isle of Palms.” Worthen, who also helped create and produce the Greenville-shot web series “The Girl From Carolina,” said the grant has provided him with a producer, as well as the financial resources to hire an editor and production team, and it even pays for some of the post-production work. Because of the grant, “it’s been pretty great because I haven’t had to struggle or flounder,” Worthen said. “As part of the grant, they really help you out and take some ownership of the script all the way through production.” “Isle of Palms” will begin shooting later this year, but Worthen’s work will be represented at Reedy Reels when the first episode of “The Girl From Carolina” is screened on Oct. 17. Boosting homegrown talent The way Tom Clark, director of the S.C. Film Commission, sees it, the challenge for filmmakers here has been finding financial support and an audience for their work. “We’ve always had talent here. … It’s just that it’s so difficult for independent filmmakers to get a leg up,” Clark said. In 2004, the South Carolina Motion Picture Incentive Act was passed, and the state began looking at starting a training program for existing film crews working in the state, and for people who aspired to work in the entertainment industry here, Clark said. A few years later, the Indie Grants program was created. The film office works with film production students from Clemson, University of South Carolina and Trident Technical College in Charleston to provide crew support for grant-winners, Clark said. Over the years, the number of applicants has increased from 15 to about 45, he said. “We allow a producer or a writer or a director, local people, an opportunity to do a short film, and they need to involve college students, and they need to involve other local people, as well as allowing us to help them by bringing in Hollywood professionals,” Clark said. “In other words, if there’s a director of photography who doesn’t have a lot of experience, perhaps we’d bring in a director of photography.” For one film, the forthcoming “The Final Adventure of John and Eleanor Greene,” the film commission was able to bring in Oscar-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter, who received the Academy Award for his work on “Titanic.” And some of those films have made an impression in Hollywood. One of the first films funded by the Indie Grants program, “The Debutante Hunters,” won the People’s Choice Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012, Clark said. “We felt like we had a pretty good success there, and most of these films are featuring South Carolina people. They’re featuring South Carolina themes, many of them. And so part of it’s about exposure of our filmmakers, but it’s also about exposure of our state as well,” he said. Gunn’s film “Last Night at the Ellington,” made with Indie Grants support, won the Regional Spotlight Award for Best Film From the Southeast from the Charleston Film Festival. He describes it as his “calling card,” a way to introduce himself and his work to audiences and other filmmakers. A long history The Upstate has a long history with filmmaking, starting in 1950 with Bob Jones University’s Unusual Films production company. A few years later, the university added a cinema production bachelor’s degree program. It’s an intensive program, in which the senior project is a short film, written, directed and edited by the student and screened at the university. About 45 to 50 students participate in the program each semester, with about eight bachelor’s degree grads per year, said Sharyn Robertson, head of the cinema department. Graduates have gone on to work for video production companies, on the mission field, and in the media departments of churches. One BJU graduate now works in television in New York, and he credits his BJU education – “the discipline and perfection” – with helping him hone his skills, Robertson said. At Clemson, where animation and special effects are the focus, students can earn a master of fine arts in Digital Production Arts. Clemson graduates and faculty have worked on films such as “Happy Feet,” “Superman Returns” and “Frozen.” A strong community Chris and Emily White have been making films in Greenville for several years. Their latest, “Cinema Purgatorio,” a semi-autobiographical take on the Whites’ pursuit of their filmmaking dreams, was chosen as one of three feature films in competition at Reedy Reels. It will be the final entry, screened just before the awards ceremony on Oct. 17. There’s no shortage of filmmaking talent in the Upstate, and the region also benefits from the strength of Georgia’s film industry, Chris White said. “Our experience has been, living in Greenville, is that there is a lot of indigenous talent coming out of Greenville. We have collaborated on projects that are at least major and big to us, that we were able to support crew talent and acting talent from the Upstate,” he said. Reedy Reels will screen 45 films in the categories of documentary, short film, student film, animation and feature presentation. South Carolina-themed films will be spotlighted on the second day of the festival. More than 780 films from around the world were submitted, said Matt Foster, one of the organizers. Inspiration came from the Beaufort Film Festival, but Reedy Reels organizers wanted to add another component: the chance to meet the filmmakers and ask questions. Many of the filmmakers will be in attendance, including one who is traveling from the United Kingdom, Foster said. The top feature film will receive a $1,000 prize, while other categories will award $500 and $250 prizes. “Our hope is to make this a destination event,” Foster said. “I’d like to see it become a large international film festival.” Gunn is hopeful that the film festival will inspire Greenville cinephiles to seek out films that don’t make it to the multiplex. Chris White also hopes that it will be a way for filmmakers to meet kindred spirits, in hopes of creating more art in the future. It’s not always easy for filmmakers to connect when they’re so focused on work, he said. “I think something like Reedy Reels is … a great opportunity for local filmmakers. If we’re not meeting on the steps somewhere, this is a place where we will meet, and we will be able to see each other’s work, and we will be able to hopefully inspire future collaborations together.”

Summerville High students place in national video contest

From the Summerville Journal-Scene Article and photo by Monica Kreber

A.J. Chambers knew there was something special about his students’ documentary when he watched it. Chambers is the media technology teacher and WAVE-TV adviser at Summerville High. His level two students, divided into three groups, recently participated in C-SPAN’s 2015 StudentCam documentary competition, which asked students to create a short documentary on the theme, “The Three Branches & You.” C-SPAN received 2,280 films from almost 5,000 students – the most student participation ever in the 11 years of the competition, according to C-SPAN’s website. Entries came from 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Taiwan. One hundred and fifty prize-winning documentaries were selected this year – including one group from Chambers’s class at Summerville High. Senior Raven Lewellen and juniors Jack Hazel and Isaiah Schmidt’s seven-minute video on student visas is one of eight high school third-place winners in the East division of the competition. The students’ video focuses on problems with student visas, the lengthy process international students go through to attain visas and how international students provide educational experiences to multiple cultures. Schmidt and his family have hosted seven exchange students in the past five years, and he is about to go to Germany himself. Schmidt said doing the video taught him how strict the regulations are for international students to attend school in the United States. Overall, though, Schmidt said the opportunity is beneficial to international students. “You really combine cultures, and I think it’s something really special to both sides,” he said. The group interviewed three exchange students for their video, and also interviewed state Sen. Sean Bennett, R-Summerville. In terms of international students, Bennett touched on the benefits of giving people the opportunity to work together on a global scale. “I think if we can do that, then we’re not only going to enhance not only those folks coming in to our country, but expose people in our country to other parts of the world,” Bennett said in the video. The students were also required to incorporate footage from C-SPAN’s website into their video. Documentaries could not go beyond a seven-minute duration. Time management proved to be the biggest obstacle for the students as they worked on their video. “We had to not only calculate that time together but then we had to calculate other people’s time into it,” Lewellen said. Editing was a challenge too. On top of time management the students said they learned how to effectively interview – like what kind of questions to ask and the importance of having enough interview footage to make the documentary. “I feel very proud of how we worked,” Hazel said. Schmidt has aspirations to become a director. Hazel said he wants to make movies and Lewellen wants to be a news anchor. Another video from the class, called “Locked In,” placed third at a recent QUEST competition. The third video submitted by Chambers’s class focused on gun control. Chambers said his students were the only group in the state to place in the competition. “The rocked it out,” he said. “The coolest part for me was how passionate they were about the topic. They worked hard on the video. “I’m really proud of my kids,” he added. “I think Summerville in general is really proud of them.” Image: Raven Lewellen, Isaiah Schmidt and Jack Hazel are part of Summerville High’s WAVE-TV production class. The three students just placed in a national video contest.

Milly

Four artists named S.C. Arts Commission Fellows

[caption id="attachment_6752" align="alignright" width="600"] Jim Arendt, Robert Lyon, Jeff Sumerel, Robbie Robertson[/caption] The South Carolina Arts Commission Board has awarded Individual Artist Fellowships to four South Carolina artists in the categories of visual arts, craft, media production and media screenwriting. Each artist receives $5,000. This year’s fellows:

“It is rewarding to honor the work of successful artists, who are central to the creative industries in our state. Their accomplishments inspire other creative individuals and entrepreneurs, and they serve as positive examples of our state’s culture and thriving arts community,” said S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. The S.C. Arts Commission board approves fellowships based on recommendations made by out-of-state review panelists, who select fellows based solely on a review of anonymous work samples. Visual arts and craft panelists were Michael Sweney, program manager for Art in Public Places at Washington State Arts Commission; Diem Chau, a visual artist from Seattle; and Deborah Paine, curator and collections manager, City of Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture. Media production panelist was Josh Gibson, filmmaker and lecturing fellow for Duke University’s Arts of the Moving Image program. Media screenwriting panelist was Marni Zelnick of Los Angeles, an independent film writer, director and producer. Individual artists working in prose, poetry, acting and playwriting may apply for the 2014-2015 fellowship awards. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2013. For more information about S.C. Arts Commission programs and services, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com or call (803) 734-8696.

Don’t forget about these upcoming opportunities…

Here are some deadlines we shared earlier, and now that they're almost here, we want to be sure you don't miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of them!

January 31:

  • The 2013-2014 Southern Circuit Tour provides independent filmmakers with the paid opportunity to participate in a six-venue tour of the Southeastern United States, screen their films for new audiences, and engage audiences in discussions about the content and production of their films. Read more >>

February 1:

  • The 4th annual Charleston Film Festival will review shorts and feature-length films from filmmakers from SC, NC and GA. Cash prizes of $2,500 will be awarded for best regional films; the Grand Prize includes a one-week exhibition at Terrace Theater. Read more >>

February 7:

  • The ArtFields festival juried competition has extended its deadline for new works (2- and 3-dimensional). Three emerging or established artists residing in the Southeastern states will receive career-changing cash prizes that honor their exceptional talents. Top Prize is $50,000 with People’s Choice and Juried Panel Winner prizes of $25,000 each. Read more >>

February 15:

  • South Arts is accepting applications for partner venues to host filmmakers and their work for the 2013-2014 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, providing communities with an interactive way of experiencing independent film. Read more >>

March 15:

  • Carolina’s Got Art! invites amateur and professional artists in South Carolina and North Carolina to enter its 2013 juried shows, with more than $15,000 in cash and prizes. Read more >>
  • The 12th annual South Carolina Palmetto Hands Juried Fine Craft Competition and Exhibition is presented as a component of the annual North Charleston Arts Festival. Objects juried into the show may compete for cash prizes totaling up to $6,500. Read more >>
 

Call for New Indie Films

Are you a filmmaker ready to screen your work in front of new audiences? If so, apply today to be a part of the 2013 - 2014 Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. As the nation's first regional tour of independent filmmakers, Southern Circuit provides filmmakers with the paid opportunity to participate in a six-venue tour of the Southeastern United States, screen their films for new audiences, and engage audiences in discussions about the content and production of their films.The tour uses an intimate context to connect audiences with filmmakers and films they might not otherwise have the opportunity to see. Films, including animation, documentaries, experimental and narrative work, can be submitted for consideration for the Circuit. The application deadline is Thursday, January 31, 2013. For more information and program guidelines, visit the Southern Circuit website or contact Teresa Hollingsworth at thollingsworth@southarts.org. Via: South Arts

Milly

South Carolina artists invited to apply for fellowships

South Carolina artists working in visual arts, craft, media production or media screenwriting are invited to apply for a 2013-2014 Individual Artist Fellowship Award from the South Carolina Arts Commission. Up to four fellowships of $5,000 will be awarded. The deadline to apply is Nov. 1, 2012. Past fellows agree that fellowships offer endorsements that may open doors to other resources and employment opportunities. "The (fellowship) provides artists a significant level of support to pursue their work. I found it tremendously validating, and it inspired me to create music that I hope will be a source of pride to South Carolinians for years to come," said Mark Kilstofte, 2011-2012 music composition fellow. The Arts Commission's Individual Artist Fellowship program encourages the pursuit of artistic excellence and provides financial support to South Carolina artists of merit. Since 1976, the Arts Commission has awarded more than 200 fellowships to actors, craftsmen, poets, screenwriters, visual artists, musicians and others in recognition of exemplary artistic talent. Fellowship awards have no restriction on use of funds. Fellows and alternates are recommended by out-of-state review panelists, who make selections based solely on a review of anonymous work samples. Applications and guidelines are available on the Arts Commission's website. Related: Who are this year's fellows?  Writer, poet and choreograher named as artist fellows.