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Student film competition celebrates Columbia’s civil rights history

Friends of African American Art and Culture (FAAAC), a Columbia Museum of Art membership affiliate group, announces the winners of its student film competition, Our Story Matters, at a red carpet awards ceremony on Thursday, March 20 at 6 p.m. at the Museum. This competition is a showcase celebrating student film production and commemorating a pivotal time in Columbia’s civil rights history. During the event, the top four entries will be screened, with the winner receiving $500, a video camera, and a year of membership to the Museum and FAAAC. The event is free and open to the public. "I am excited that we are able to extend the commemoration activities of the 1963 civil rights efforts in Columbia to local high school students by launching the film competition—Our Story Matters,” says Friends of African American Art and Culture President Brandolyn Thomas Pinkston. “It is gratifying to see the students engaged in learning about African-American and modern civil rights history while being taught how to produce a short documentary on their research." Our Story Matters, made possible by an AT&T grant, introduces the idea that history happens to ordinary people—sons, daughters, brothers, and grandparents. Highlighting the stories of the everyday people who were involved in the struggle for freedom and justice is critical to understanding the civil rights history in Columbia. Faculty from the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications sponsored an all-day workshop that included presenters from the Richland Library and the Nickelodeon to assist young filmmakers in making and shooting video work for storytelling. Pinkston says that she and the FAAAC board are especially appreciative that students used a variety of resources and methods to understand Columbia’s civil rights legacy by speaking with people who participated in these events and through other available papers and books. “AT&T is pleased that students from Richland School Districts 1 and 2 and Lexington District 5 took part in this film competition dedicated to the civil rights movement,” says Ted Creech, external affairs director for AT&T in South Carolina. “Engaging students in this unique way brought to life this region’s civil rights history, taught them about the medium of film, and engaged them more deeply in their own education. We appreciate the opportunity to help young people connect with and appreciate the hard work and bravery of those who came before them, both through this project and for 25 years through the AT&T South Carolina African-American History Calendar.” The film competition is made possible in partnership with Columbia Chapter of The Links, Inc., ColumbiaSC63, Richland School District One, Richland School District Two, Benedict College, University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, USC Media and Civil Rights Symposium, and Richland Library. For more information, visit columbiamuseum.org.