Columbia Film Society Launches Indie Grits Labs

Nov 17, 2016 by Pauline on The Nickelodeon Blog
Indie Grits - Friday April 17, 2015

Photos by South Carolina photographer Sean Rayford

Columbia Film Society’s board of directors, who also oversees the Nickelodeon Theatre, the Helen Hill Media Education Center and the Indie Grits Festival, announces the integration and expansion of its media education and filmmaker services into Indie Grits Labs.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (November 17, 2016) – Columbia Film Society (CFS), operator of the Nickelodeon Theatre, South Carolina’s only non-profit art house cinema, announces that it will expand its current media education and Indie Grits Festival offerings by creating Indie Grits Labs, a year-round initiative to further the organization’s mission of providing its community the tools to make, interpret, appreciate, and teach the moving image in all its variety. Additionally, CFS announces that it has restructured its staff to accommodate its growth.

Since the Nickelodeon Theatre moved to its current location on Main Street in 2012, the organization’s mission of providing resources for filmmakers, launching a filmmaker-in-residence program, and providing education opportunities to Richland School District One students through programs like TakeBreakMake and Come Around My Way have all been realized. Indie Grits, which celebrated its 10th annual festival in 2016, attracts more than 12,000 attendees yearly and supports filmmakers as well as other visual and performing artists. Its success, coupled with the organization’s education initiatives, encouraged the creation of Indie Grits Labs.

Columbia Film Society also announces Andy Smith has been promoted from executive director of the Nickelodeon Theatre to chief executive officer of the Columbia Film Society, and will have executive responsibility for all CFS initiatives including the Nickelodeon Theatre and Indie Grits Labs. Seth Gadsden, most recently the Nickelodeon Theatre’s managing director, has been promoted to director of Indie Grits Labs. With Smith and Gadsden in their new roles, CFS has created a new “Nickelodeon Theatre Director” position, which will be filled in 2017. The new director will oversee the movie theater portion of the organization, including programming, marketing, finances and facilities.

“Through Indie Grits Labs we will capitalize on the relationships we’ve formed with artists and filmmakers over the history of the festival. By streamlining our education programs with the festival’s innovative manner of supporting filmmakers and artists, this new venture will simultaneously deepen our investment in media education and the regional creative community.

This growth in staff and services maintains our strong theater programming while expanding our educational and filmmaker support outreaches”, said John Boyd, president of the Board of Directors.

Andy Smith named CEO of Columbia Film Society

Smith, who came to the Nickelodeon in 2007 and founded the Indie Grits Film Festival, grew up in Columbia. He graduated from Swarthmore College and received his master’s degree from UCLA in film, television and digital media. He served as the Nick’s associate director and was executive director of the Indie Grits Film Festival until 2011, when he became executive director of the organization. While at the Nickelodeon Theatre, Smith has led Indie Grits, which has grown into a world-renowned festival, overseen the Nick’s expansion and move up Main Street through the Move the Nick capital campaign and led the Nick to increased programming and funding from esteemed arts foundations.

Seth Gadsden named Indie Grits Labs Director

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Gadsden joined the Nick as Indie Grits co-director in 2014 and has organized the festival, added visual arts programming and more. In addition to working with Indie Grits, Gadsden has also served as managing director of the Nickelodeon Theatre. As an artist and filmmaker, Gadsden was a founding member of Redux Contemporary Art Center in Charleston, S.C. in 2003. In 2006, while pursuing his MFA from Boston University, he co-founded the Boston Young Contemporaries before helping to form the traveling artist collective Transit Antenna, which developed community-based art projects across North America. In his new role as inaugural Indie Grits Labs Director, Gadsden will help define how CFS will deepen its investments in media education programs and strengthen its support for Southern filmmakers and artists.

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