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Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: COVID claims S.C. shag master + awards + more

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Columbia Film Society welcomes Dr. Thaddeus Jones

From a CFS email:

Meet Thaddeus Jones, our new CFS Director of Programming! Dr. Jones will direct film programming for the Nick and lead the Indie Grits Fellowship and media education programs. He has 15 years experience in filmmaking, media instruction and writing and for the last ten years, has managed his own media production company, fanatikproductions. He has been connected to CFS as a film curator and Indie Grits Fellow.

Jeppy McDowell dies at 76

Jeptha Joseph McDowell, better known as “Jeppy,” made North Myrtle Beach home and worked his way into being a legend in the local shag dancing scene. (Confused? You see, the shag is South Carolina's state dance.) The State reports "McDowell died due to complications from COVID-19 on Oct. 17. He was 76. COVID-19 is hitting the Grand Strand shag community hard. More on his passing from The State:

McDowell’s passing comes as others in the North Myrtle Beach shag community have fallen ill and died. In late September, several North Myrtle Beach clubs and restaurants participated in an unofficial Shaggin’ On Main event. In the days and weeks that followed, at least 14 people tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Two others connected to the shag community have also died, though, like McDowell, it remains unclear if their deaths are related to the events. According to data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, 210 people in the North Myrtle Beach zip code tested positive for COVID-19 in the two weeks following the events.

Read the full story from The State here (subscription possibly required).

Two weeks' notice

This is your two-weeks' notice that nomination time is coming to a close for the South Carolina Governor's Awards for the Arts and the Jean Laney Harris Folk Heritage Award. Nominations for both are due by 11:59 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 6.

Arts jobs alert! New openings in Columbia, Spartanburg


Columbia | Nickelodeon Theatre

Communications Manager Application deadline: Nov. 30, 2019 The communications manager shapes the [Columbia Film Society] brand and voice and develops strategies to engage members, reach new audiences for the theatre and media education programs and raise the local and regional profile of the Indie Grits Festival. The Manager is responsible for the development, administration, coordination, and implementation of all elements of the marketing, public relations, publications, and advertising functions of the Columbia Film Society. This position requires a strong visual sensibility, excellent writing skills, and works closely with programming staff of the theatre and IG Labs and supervises the marketing coordinator. The communications manager reports to the executive director of the Columbia Film Society. This is a full-time, non-exempt position.
  • Schedule The work is performed in an office setting during regularly scheduled office hours, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday-Friday. It will require some flexibility and availability for evening activities.
  • Benefits and Wages The Columbia Film Society offers health, vision, dental care and retirement benefits. The salary range is $38,000 to $42,000.
For complete information and application instructions, click here.

Spartanburg| Chapman Cultural Center

Theater Technical Coordinator Application deadline: none provided Chapman Cultural CenterChapman Cultural Center (CCC) is seeking to fill the position of theater technical coordinator (TC). The TC would be responsible for the maintenance, oversight, and technical operations of CCC’s Theater. These responsibilities will include the oversight of the theater’s presentations and projects, all backstage and back of house personnel, equipment, operations, lighting, sound, and coordinating necessary maintenance. During periods when the services of the TC are not required in the theater, their services will be used in the maintenance and usage of technical equipment in other areas of CCC. The TC reports to the theater services manager. Due to the high volume and complexity of the Chapman Cultural Center theater operations and the need to carefully coordinate the activities of both resident partner agencies and outside renters, the TC must demonstrate a significant degree of both technical expertise and diplomatic skills to properly manage the use of the theater on a daily basis and maintain a standard of excellence. TC is responsible for the efficient and safe operation of CCC Theater facilities and equipment.
  • Work Schedule: 25 hours weekly, varies for events
  • Position Status: hourly position
  • Competencies:
    • Associates degree in Theater Production, Sound Engineering, Lighting, or Media Arts
    • Supplementary three to five years of work related experience with training in technical theater and/or an equivalent combination of education, training and experience that provides the required knowledge, skills and abilities
    • Must be able to work flexible hours on nights and weekends
    • Knowledge of technical operations, methods, materials, practices and procedures involved in theater operation
    • Technical Theatre skills: sound, lighting, stagecraft; management of stage crews
    • Knowledge of signal flows, microphone patching, and cable running processes
    • Knowledge/experience devising and implementing technical plans for productions
    • Ability to work collaboratively in a diverse environment
    • Comprehensive knowledge of safety measures and hazards related to theater production
    • Must have a student mentality- open to learning new systems and processes
    • Resourceful and independent but capable of being a good team player
    • Able to work with minimal supervision
    • Must be able to lift 50 lbs.
To apply: Submit a resume and cover letter to pjones@spartanarts.org.

Nickelodeon Theatre hires new director

From The Free Times Article by Jordan Lawrence

[caption id="attachment_30980" align="alignright" width="225"]Alison Kozberg Alison Kozberg[/caption] The Nickelodeon Theatre, Main Street’s nonprofit arthouse cinema, has a new leader. Alison Kozberg — who most recently worked as program manager of the moving image for the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, shaping all aspects of the contemporary art museum’s film programming — will serve as the theater’s director. In December, Andy Smith and Seth Gadsden — then the Nick’s executive director and managing director, respectively — moved into new positions. Smith became CEO of the Columbia Film Society, which oversees both the Nick and its annual Indie Grits festival, a far-reaching media celebration that touches on visual art, video games and more in addition to film. Gadsden became the director of the newly formed Indie Grits Labs, an effort to extend both the Nick’s educational programs and the art projects and residencies offered by the festival. With its two main leaders turning their attention to matters other than the theater’s day-to-day operation, the hunt began for a new director. The search committee — three members of the Nick’s board of directors and three staffers — selected Kozberg. Before her work at the Walker Art Center, she held positions in Los Angeles — at the Getty Research Institute and the University of Southern California — and in Massachusetts — at the Brattle Film Foundation/Brattle Theater. “With Alison’s experience in film programming and in a range of really top, world-class arts organizations, bringing that experience to the Nick is going to make the customer experience better, it’s going to make the programming better,” Smith posits. “It’s a way for us to grow on both sides of the organization simultaneously.” “She was a film programmer at an art museum,” Gadsden offers. “And we do art around a film theater. So it seemed like a very fortuitous marriage that way.” For Kozberg, who was excited by the idea of taking over programming for a cinema as opposed to a museum, the Nick was a good fit. “I really felt that the institution’s values and missions very much lined up with my own,” she says. “[I’m] interested in the way the cinema functions for the public. [The Nick is] deeply committed to civic engagement, to community involvement and to creating opportunities for media makers at all stages of their careers to be creatively engaged, to hold space, to speak for themselves about the creative process. [It’s] also really committed to creating opportunities for community members to engage, both in creating conversations and to really find space for them as presenters. And that was something I was really, really passionate about.” “It was exciting to me that Columbia is the capital,” Kozberg adds. “A lot of my research and my work before has really focused on the relationship between arts institutions and civic engagement in local politics, so being right on Main Street by the capital at this organization is a really good fit for my personality.” It will likely take a bit for visitors to truly feel her impact on the Nick’s programming. The theater hosts between six and eight curated series throughout the year, and the next 12 months are largely planned out. But Kozberg is raring to go. One idea she seems most excited about is pairing experimental filmmakers with purveyors of more traditional narrative features. She’ll do just that at a members-only event meant to introduce her to the Nick’s core audience, presenting Nicholas Ray’s 1956 movie Bigger Than Life and a more avant-garde piece from Mark Toscano that manipulates footage of “China Girls” — the images of women at the start of a reel once used for calibration when processing film.
“[Ray’s] a really interesting filmmaker of kind of classic Hollywood, so to speak,” Kozberg says. “I think it could be so incredibly contemporary and relevant at this moment to screen an emotionally and intellectually sophisticated film about masculinity, both as a culture of the 1950s, but also the perils of machismo.” She reasons that pairing Ray’s film with an experimental short culled from antiquated footage that also pricks notions of gender should tease out these themes even further. As for the Nick’s other aspirations — broadening its educational programs, expanding Indie Grits artist residencies into a year-round initiative — those efforts will also take more time. With Kozberg on board, the hope is to have Gadsden completely transitioned out of his managing director responsibilities by June or July. He’ll then continue working with the cohort of commissioned artists producing work for next year’s Indie Grits and begin planning new educational endeavors. “A big reason why the board approved this restructuring was so that the Nick ... could have space to really deepen and refine the Indie Grits Labs concept,” Smith says, “and start to realize that bigger vision without harming the theater in any way.”

The Nick has become a cultural powerhouse in state capital

The Nickelodeon's 2017 Indie Grits festival will kick off with a keynote address by Favianna Rodriguez, a transnational interdisciplinary artist and cultural organizer, who will share a message about the power of art to inspire social change. Rodriguez will speak April 19 at the Nickelodeon Theatre, 1607 Main St., Columbia. A reception will take place at 6 p.m., followed by Rodriguez’s talk and the premier of an Indie Grits film block, “El Sur.” Find the complete Indie Grits schedule online. From The Post and Courier Article and photos by Adam Parker

Nickelodeon2AdamParkerWhen the theater opened in 1936, it was one of five on Main Street in downtown Columbia between Blanding and Gervais streets. Now the old Fox Theater is all that’s left, a reminder of the days when Hollywood made escapist entertainments for those enduring the Great Depression and, soon after, World War II. It lay dormant beginning in 1987. Then in 2012, the Nickelodeon moved in after a big renovation project was partially completed. It was a momentous occasion. In April 2015, the renovation was finished, resulting in a second theater for screenings and other events, such as music and variety shows. The team had succeeded in raising $5 million to fund the makeover. The Nickelodeon, or The Nick as locals call it, had been located in a bank building just south of the Statehouse, but now it was in the heart of things. It harks to a time in the city mostly forgotten, and it symbolizes the new Columbia. In an unlikely turn of events it has become a cultural cornerstone of the city, one that has contributed to the revitalization of Main Street as a primary commercial and civic corridor and site of cultural activities. "It's the most adventurous venture in Columbia now," said Ken May, director of the South Carolina Arts Commission. The Nick was founded in 1979 by Carl Davis and Linda O’Connor. It started out as an art house for film lovers, a bohemian space for the alternative and academic crowd. Over the course of 30 years a lot changed: The movie business went digital, its commercial aspirations grew, distributors changed their practices. It was no longer sufficient just to screen indie and foreign films, not if The Nick was to become a vital force in the community. So, in 2007 Andy Smith was hired to start a festival. The Indie Grits Festival was an experiment in multidiscipline programming, an event that combined cinema, visual art exhibitions, live music and creative technology. The experiment has been working. It has drawn increasingly large crowds and expanded its offerings. In the past couple of years, organizers have assigned a theme to the festival. In 2015, the festival explored how technology influenced art-making and culture, naming the event “Future Perfect.” Last year, the theme was water, apropos after the historic 2015 Midlands flooding. The title was “Waterlines.” This year, the theme is Latin American culture, and the title is “Visiones.” The idea first was broached in the fall of 2015, with the intention of organizing a weekend event. But some grant money, input from artists, the powerful “Waterlines” experience and, finally, the myriad ways the theme resonates politically and culturally today convinced The Nick team to go big with “Visiones.” The festival runs April 20-23.

Expanding ideas

The thematic approach was adopted when Seth Gadsden joined The Nick team four years ago. Gadsden, who was an art major at the College of Charleston and co-founded Redux Contemporary Art Center in downtown Charleston in 2003, brought a new dimension to the Columbia enterprise. He helped further integrate the visual arts, and he took the lead in educational outreach. Late last year, The Nick announced that it was expanding its media education programming. Already it was providing resources to media artists, running a filmmaker-in-residence program and working with students in Richland School District One on an art project called “Come Around My Way” that delved into social justice issues. Now it would launch Indie Grits Labs, introduce the new initiative “TakeBreakMake” that provides a safe space for up to 15 young LGBT artists, and contribute to the festival. Indie Grits Labs is no small venture. It signifies a moment of exponential growth, one that acknowledges formally that The Nick is about much more than movies. It is part of a larger reorganization. Smith was promoted to chief executive officer of the Columbia Film Society, the umbrella organization under which The Nick and Indie Grits Labs operate. A new Nick director will oversee the cinema side of things. As a result of the change, Smith, Gadsden and their colleagues, all of whom have many interests, are better able to spread their wings. “Everyone is connected to more than film,” Gadsden said. Smith said the emergence of The Nick as an arts generator and incubator coincided with market and technology forces. “At the same time as our move (to Main Street), Netflix is exploding,” he said. “We saw more interest in media education, we saw it as a way to deepen our involvement with the community. It was our chance to get into the creation of work, to help develop critical viewing skills.” Gadsden pointed out that the school-age kids enrolled in “TakeBreakMake” or “Come Around My Way” might not have normally stepped foot inside an independent theater. Now some of them are volunteers. “Kids would just show up,” he said. So the staff found them something to do. “It’s a safe place for people in a fairly conservative part of the country, where people could come together and explore ideas.”

Having 'Visiones'

If the “Future Perfect” Indie Grits theme demonstrated the great promise of the festival, it was “Waterlines” that brought The Nick to a new level. Before the terrible flooding of October 2015, the team was thinking about adopting a “river” theme. It troubled them and others in Columbia that the Congaree River was so underutilized and underappreciated. Other cities such as San Antonio, Pittsburgh and Brooklyn had redeveloped their waterfronts for public use. But not much was happening along the banks of the Congaree. After the flood, water became the inevitable theme, but now with a large dose of urgency. “How do we respond to what just happened?” the Indie Grits team asked itself. A $50,000 grant from the Central Carolina Community Foundation helped them decide. A cohort of local artists was invited to a brainstorming session. “It became a group-think, collaborative project,” Gadsden said. “I learned a lot about what you can do with a group of artists if you support them and put them in a situation where (they can thrive).” “Waterlines” became a model that Amada Torruella, curator of “Visiones,” happily adopted. She identified artists in South Carolina to form the 2017 cohort, seeking not just artists, but artists who are teachers and innovators and community organizers, 11 Latinos of various backgrounds who met monthly to formulate the festival. The process began with optimism in the air: How was the Latino community changing the Southeast? After the presidential election, though, the tone darkened, for now Latinos were perceived by many as a threat, Torruella said. “We had to channel the negative energy,” she said. The cohort of artists includes a few Mexicans, two Colombians, two Ecuadorians, a Chilean and a Puerto Rican. Disciplines include photojournalism, music, filmmaking and more. “Since the project is pretty heavy on identity, one filmmaker is making an 'Identity Map' for people to follow,” Torruella said. The map will lead patrons through the outdoor showcase from one video installation to another. Screen printing workshops will be open to all in the Latino community, because “art should be as accessible as possible,” Torruella said. A puppet troupe from Mexico will perform. Food trucks will be strategically positioned downtown. And the musical headliners Lambchop and Curtis Harding will perform. For the film component of the festival, 80 movies are scheduled (from 400 entries received). About one-third of them are by Latino filmmakers or have Latino themes. The goal is to create a public space where people can share stories that humanize them.

'Very communitarian'

The Nick’s staff constantly is thinking strategically about artistic and community purpose and direction. They team up with nonprofits such as the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center, which serves the Latino population, schools and government. “They’ve just become this real groundbreaking organization, not just in the city, but in the state,” said May, of the Arts Commission. “It’s quirky, interesting.” Ambitious, too, able to secure significant funding from groups like the Ford Foundation, he said. “Andy’s a very thoughtful, smart young guy who makes an impression on people like that,” he said “They’re very communitarian, but also committed to adventurous art. When you see something like that coming out of a place like South Carolina, I think it gets extra points. ... They just keep doing new things. And they’re restless.” This probably accounts for the growing popularity of The Nick and its eclectic programming. Smith said he and his colleagues always are asking questions, challenging themselves: “How can we strategically use the arts to make our community stronger, to make Columbia, to make South Carolina, a better place to live?” It’s an important consideration, especially in light of current trends. “The support structures (for the arts) in our state have really eroded,” Smith noted. Funding is always uncertain. The Richland-Lexington Cultural Council shut down a couple years ago. So the Columbia Film Society is positioning itself as a granting organization. And The Nick provides an opportunity to bring festival artists back into the fold after Indie Grits events are finished. Today, The Nick has an annual budget of $1.3 million, half of which is derived from earned income. Its membership, now at more than 3,000 individuals, keeps setting records. “We’re still scratching the surface of who we serve in the community,” Smith said. Image above: Amada Torrulla (left) is curator of "Visiones," this year's Indie Grits Festival. Seth Gadsden (center), is co-organizer of the festival and in charge of The Nickelodeon's education program. Andy Smith (right) is executive director and CEO of the Columbia Film Society, which oversees the Nick.

Columbia’s Nickelodeon Theatre seeks theatre director

nickelodeon-header-300Application deadline: December 12 The Columbia Film Society is looking for a dynamic, forward-thinking leader to join one of the most creative and hard working teams in the art house cinema sector. Created in response to the organization’s rapid growth, the Nickelodeon theatre director position will oversee the programming, marketing, operations and staff of the Nickelodeon Theatre. The primary artistic leader for the exhibition arm of the Columbia Film Society, the Nickelodeon director serves as the public face for the Nick’s retail organization. The Nickelodeon director reports to the CEO of the Columbia Film Society and serves on the senior leadership team along with the Indie Grits Labs director, the development manager and the CEO. Primary Responsibilities Programming: Shaping the artistic vision for the Nickelodeon Theatre, the Nickelodeon theatre director works with the programming staff, film buyer, and community members to program both screens of the Nick throughout the year, including:

  • Managing programming coordinators
  • With programming team, developing and maintaining five-year programming plan for special series and festivals
  • Overseeing the development of six to eight curated film series each fiscal year
  • Maintaining regular contact with film buyer to ensure high-quality first-run programming
  • With programming and marketing teams, establishing and communicating weekly screening times
  • Seeking out opportunities for special screenings of particular interest to our community
  • Ensuring programming calendar is regularly shared and understood throughout the organization
  • Staying abreast of trends in the independent cinema sector
Marketing: With two screens operating 365 days a year, the Nickelodeon theatre director will oversee efforts to effectively communicate the richness of the Nick’s programming to local, regional and national audiences, by:
  • Developing and implementing innovative and effective strategies for promoting the Nickelodeon’s programming – including first-run independent films, special series and screenings
  • Managing designer/interactive coordinator, marketing manager and other marketing support staff
  • Maintaining a yearly marketing calendar for special series, Nick Mags and special events
  • Working with the senior leadership team to implement innovative institutional marketing spikes that raise general awareness of the organization
  • Ensuring Nickelodeon messaging is effectively communicated through excellent customer service experiences online, over the phone, in-person, and in the lobby
  • Measuring and reporting outcomes of marketing efforts
Finance and Operations: Protecting and managing the physical and fiscal assets of the Nickelodeon is essential to ensuring the organization fulfills its mission. The Nickelodeon Theatre director will oversee the finances and operations of the organization, including:
  • Managing the operations manager and bookkeeper
  • Developing and managing the annual operating budget for the Nickelodeon Theatre, in coordination with the senior leadership team
  • Managing the day-to-day and long term finances of the Nickelodeon Theatre
  • Overseeing and approving quarterly finance reports for board meetings
  • Overseeing annual audit process
  • Overseeing the upkeep and maintenance of theater facilities and equipment, including work done by third party contractors
  • Ensuring the Nickelodeon is in compliance with necessary state and local licenses, taxes, and other government filings
  • Annually reviewing organization’s insurance policies to ensure sufficient coverage
Find a complete list of duties, qualifications and application instructions online. The application deadline is December 12 at 5 p.m. EST. About the organization The Columbia Film Society’s Nickelodeon Theatre serves Columbia, South Carolina, as a center for critical dialogue, anchored by the presentation of films that showcase the diversity, challenges, joy and aspiration of its community. A destination for enjoyment, enrichment, and education, the Nick provides the tools to make, interpret, appreciate, and teach the moving image in all its variety. Founded in 1979, the Nickelodeon is South Carolina’s only non-profit arthouse cinema.

SC high school students invited to enter short film competition

Submission deadline is Oct. 1. The Columbia Jewish Film Festival invites South Carolina high school students (grades 9-12) to compete in a short film competition. The film festival is seeking student filmmakers with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Filmmakers do not have to be Jewish to submit an entry. Films in any genre will be accepted, (e.g., fictional, documentary, news story format), using the theme Identity: It’s All About Me! Students are invited to explore this theme as a way to promote dialogue while addressing issues that are at the forefront of today’s headlines. A panel of judges will chose the winning films based on creativity, overall quality and production, and execution of the film based on the theme. Presentation of awards and screening of the winning films will be held at the Nickelodeon Theater in Columbia on November 6 at 3 p.m. Prizes of $500, $300 and $200 will be awarded. The submission deadline is Oct. 1. Complete guidelines and the application form are available online. For more information, contact Patty Tucker, cjfilmfestival@gmail.com.

Columbia’s Indie Grits Festival celebrates 10 years with free admission

Festival theme interprets historic Oct. 2015 flood Admission to the 10th annual Indie Grits Festival is free, thanks to a Connected Communities grant from the Central Carolina Community Foundation. Indie Grits, presented by the Nickelodeon Theatre, takes place April 14-17 in several locations in Columbia, S.C. Related: Festival co-director reflects on 10 years of Indie Grits Artist collective captures flood aftermath in 'creative and human way' From The State Article by Erin Shaw

A waterline is a horizontal mark on a wall or surface that is made by water during a flood. It’s the lines drawn in a neighborhood when one house is devastated by flooding but the house across the street is not. It’s the theme of this year’s Indie Grits festival. Related: 5 films not to miss at Indie Grits In addition to the film, music and technology aspects of the four-day festival, this year includes work by a contingent of artists documenting and interpreting the impact of the October flooding in Columbia. The work from around 20 artists includes photography, performance art, sculpture and a mural that will be on display throughout Indie Grits. “We’re participating in the post-digestion of what happened,” festival co-founder Seth Gadsden said. “Our goal is to archive what happened in a very human and creative way.” Related: 5 events not to miss at Indie Grits Originally, the festival’s focus was on celebrating the Congaree River, with plans to have the entire festival at and around the river, Gadsden said. “We were working with West Columbia, Cayce, city of Columbia, all kinds of private developers. Everything was shaping up, and then the flood hit in October and kind of wrecked a lot of those plans.” Some events – the opening kickoff concert with Eighth Blackbird and the river concert with Big Freedia – will still take place on the banks of the Congaree. But the rest of Indie Grits required some rethinking, including the theme. “ ‘Waterlines’ visually and metaphorically represents what’s left behind when the water recedes,” Gadsden said. In a curatorial statement about the works, Gadsden said Waterlines “is our offering to you, an imaginative rethinking of the powerful natural symbols that have defined our community.” A few examples of the Waterlines art are: “Underbelly Up”: Nickelodeon Theatre’s filmmaker-in-residence Joshua Yates scrapped his original project for Indie Grits after the flood and is now recording an oral history of the flood. Yates’ autobiographical film, “Underbelly Up,” mixes audio-only interviews with grainy 16mm film to create an “emotional rumination on loss, trauma, and the construction of memory.” “Underbelly Up” will be donated to the South Caroliniana Library Office of Oral History after the festival, Gadsden said. “The Ark”: Photographer Michael Dantzler pairs people in his community with floodplain-beneficial plants in diptych portraits. On one side of each portrait is an individual affected by the flooding, and on the other is a plant illustrative of his or her resilience. “Water Me.” A video game created by Cecil Decker, Chris Johnson, Danny Oakes, James Owens, and Michelle Skipper. The goal of the game is to keep your house plant alive, but if you give it contaminated tap water, it will die.

Nickelodeon begins renovation of second theater

From The Free Times:

The Nickelodeon, which moved to its new home on Main Street in 2012, is forging ahead with construction of an upstairs screening space, scheduled to be completed by spring 2015.With 125 seats, the upstairs theater will be both larger and more upscale than the current screening space downstairs, which has 100 seats.The seats will also be nicer and more comfortable, says Executive Director Andy Smith, and plans call for restoring all the Art Deco flourishes from the refurbished theater’s Depression-era heritage.The theater will be equipped with projection systems that will accommodate both digital and 35 mm formats.After completing the $3 million Phase 1 construction of the Main Street theater in 2012, The Nick started raising $2 million for Phase 2, which covers the upstairs screening space.This final phase is still just shy of raising $180,000, which is needed both to cover construction costs and to establish a facility reserve fund.The facility reserve fund is both a rainy day account to cover emergencies and to prepare for any expensive format changes to film projection standards that may be on the horizon.The Nickelodeon is hoping to raise the $180,000 remainder through the Save Your Seat campaign, wherein donors can buy a seat at the new theater for $1,500. For Smith, having two screens not only doubles viewer choices but reduces programming conflicts. The Nickelodeon would not have to choose between indie films that open on the same weekend, as was the case this past summer with Boyhood and Magic in the Moonlight. Also, having two screens keeps the theater from being tied up with a single movie for an extended period. “If we’re showing Birdman for two weeks, we’ll have the opportunity to bring in some of the smaller films that, when you only have one screen, are tougher to program,” Smith says. Another consideration is The Nick’s core audience, some of whom were there from the beginning in 1979, and never missed a show at the old Pendleton and Main location. “We have audiences, especially from the old space, that are used to coming to us every week to see what we were showing. If we show the same film for four weeks in a row, we don’t see them three other times during the month. That’s what’s so exciting to us, is that it allows us to bring more to our potential customers.” Also, it allows for more risk, which has always been a Nickelodeon trademark. “When you’re only one screen, your revenue for the night is 100 percent dependent on what you’re showing,” Smith says. “If you’re showing something kind of obscure, and you only have six people come, that’s kind of expensive.” Having one screen showing a well-known or popular film shoulders the financial burden of a lesser-known foreign import or documentary. “What multiplexes figured out a long time ago is the more screens you have, the better chance you have that you’re showing something that someone wants to see,” Smith says. “And your overhead doesn’t really go up when you add a screen. You’re still selling tickets and concessions at the same place." On average, Smith says, theaters across the country have seen a 110 percent increase in ticket sales by adding a second screen. “Your audience more than doubles, and that’s going to have a real impact on us and really let us grow.” Smith expects the added revenue will also help support the theater’s Helen Hills Media Education Center, which teaches filmmaking and cinema appreciation to students, as well as the annual Indie Grits Festival. The construction plans will put staff offices upstairs, freeing downstairs space for the Media Education Lab for afterschool and summer camp programs. Smith says keeping a 35 mm projection system is important to show films that are not available digitally. That would include the bulk of material stored at the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections, which uses the Nickelodeon for its annual Home Movie Day and other events. Once construction is complete next year, Smith says the Nick’s immediate focus will be on the film program. “Our big goals are going to be to grow the education programs a lot,” he says. Besides the annual Indie Grits Festival — which has become an annual institution for new and struggling filmmakers around the South — the Nick is expanding its focus both high (New York Film Critics Series) and low (First Friday Lowbrow Cinema Explosion). “We want to foster the artistic community here in Columbia,” Smith says. “We’ve still got work to do, but I think we’re really making strides.” Image: rendering of the upstairs second screen

Indie Grits Film Festival announces theme, dates and call for visual artists

Indie Grits Film Festival, the Southeast’s premier film and culture festival in Columbia, S.C. for DIY media-makers, will take place April 15-19, 2015, and for the first time, the festival will have a theme: “Future Perfect.” Additionally, 2015’s Indie Grits is calling for visual artists whose work will enhance Columbia’s public spaces during the festival for a multi-faceted exhibit, thanks to funding by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The ninth annual Indie Grits, hosted by the Nickelodeon Theatre, South Carolina’s oldest art-house cinema located on Main Street in South Carolina’s capital city, will feature five full days of the best DIY short, experimental, animated and student film, music, food and outside-the-box artistic performances from South Carolina and the Southeast. Indie Grits has twice been named one of MovieMaker magazine’s Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World. “Forty percent of attendees from last year’s Indie Grits lived outside of Columbia, and we want to do more to attract even more out-of-town participants,” said Seth Gadsden, co-director of Indie Grits Film Festival. “Our participant and attendance numbers are growing each year, but folks tell us again and again that they want to be able to attend more Indie Grits events while they’re in town. So a five-day format will concentrate all the events you’ve come to love about Indie Grits, plus some events we’re adding, like our brand-new call for artists. We’re hoping a jam-packed festival will mean that more people will bring a critical mass to downtown Columbia during Indie Grits.” Indie Grits Calls for Visual Artists Indie Grits 2015 will build on the artist-in-residence program sponsored by One Columbia for Arts and History, which began at 2014’s Indie Grits and brought artist Amanda Cassingham-Bardwell and her installation art to the festival. The artist-in-residence program will return to Indie Grits 2015, and thanks to an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the festival seeks proposals from artists inspired by the Future Perfect theme for the festival. Indie Grits seeks installations, sculpture, video, photography, mixed media and any kind of art that speaks to the theme of the festival. Indie Grits will accept 15 – 25 artist applicants for exhibition at the festival. Indie Grits will provide accepted artists and collaborations with modest financial support to facilitate materials, shipping, installation and some other incurred costs, and projects will receive up to $1,000. Projects will be displayed throughout the 2015 festival in various locations downtown Columbia, including Tapp’s Center for the Arts. For more information and the application, visit indiegrits.com/submit/art. Deadline for submissions is Dec. 5, 2014. As always, Indie Grits Film Festival will continue to focus on offering audiences opportunities to see the best new films coming from independent Southern filmmakers with a far-reaching, experimental scope during the festival. Additionally, festivalgoers will enjoy other favorite events like the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam, a concert at the Columbia Museum of Art and the Slow Food at Indie Grits Sustainable Chefs Showcase. For more information on Indie Grits, visit www.indiegrits.com or contact Seth Gadsden, festival co-director at Seth@IndieGrits.com, (803) 254-8324. Follow @IndieGrits on Twitter and Facebook.

A celebration of South Carolina native Stanley Donen

From OneColumbiaSC.com:

Stanley Donen CelebrationThe Nickelodeon Theatre, South Carolina's only nonprofit art house film theater, will host “A Lotta Talent and a Little Luck: A Celebration of Stanley Donen,” with special events July 26 -27 and weekly Donen screenings through August 26. Donen, a native of Columbia, was born in 1924 and is a film director and choreographer whose most celebrated works are Singin’ in the Rain and On the Town, both of which he co-directed with actor and dancer Gene Kelly. As Donen celebrates his 90th birthday, the Nickelodeon has put together a month-long series of films and events to honor Donen, who is arguably the greatest living director from Hollywood’s golden age. “On my first day of work at the Nickelodeon, I was give a copy of Steven Silverman’s Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and his Movies,” said Andy Smith, executive director of the Nickelodeon Theatre. “I was shocked to learn that Stanley grew up here in Columbia. It’s made clear that much of Stanley’s film education – comprised of frequent visits to the movie theaters near his father’s shop on Main Street – took place in the very building that now houses the Nickelodeon. Columbia should take a lot of pride in Stanley and his work.” Schedule of events: Special events: Sat., July 26: - 6 & 6:30 p.m.: Meet at Hollywood Park (300 S. Gregg St.) and join Historic Columbia Foundation for free walking tours of the historic Hollywood-Rose Hill neighborhood, where Stanley Donen grew up, including a stop in front of his childhood home. - 7 p.m.: DJ Scott Padgett, bring-your-own picnic and family fun in Hollywood Park, near Stanley Donen’s childhood home. - 8 p.m. Free outdoor screening of Singin’ in the Rain. Sun., July 27: - 3 p.m.: Free reception and lecture featuring Stephen Silverman, editor at People Magazine and Donen’s biographer, at the Nickelodeon Theatre (1607 Main St.). Sat., August 9: - 10 a.m.: Screening of The Little Prince as part of Family Fun Day at the Nick. Donen screenings (Monday showings at 5:30 p.m, Tuesday showings at 3 p.m.) - July 28 and 29: On the Town - August 4 and 5: Charade - August 11 and 12: Royal Wedding - August 18 and 19: Funny Face - August 25 and 26: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. For more information on the Nickelodeon Theatre, visit www.nickelodeon.org or follow the Nick on Twitter and Facebook.