Named one of the “25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by Movie Maker Magazine, the Indie Grits Festival was the premier multi-day film festival focusing on documentary, experimental, and hybrid films in the Southeast.  The festival began in 2007 as a small weekend festival that grew into a Main Street event that saw an average of over 12,000 visitors from 2013 to 2019.  The spirit of Indie Grits comes from the heart of its host, the Nickelodeon—South Carolina’s only nonprofit, art house theatre—and the festival was a key part of its effort to serve the community through media education and artist-driven projects.

A History of Indie Grits

Propelled by an inclusive artistic vision, festival organizers sought to break down the walls of accessibility intimidating Southern media makers by creating exhibition opportunities for filmmakers and their work often overlooked elsewhere. The festival hosted a wide range of cultural events featuring the very best of art, music, and experimental media from across the Southeast.

In 2019 the festival launched Filmmaker Focus, a free series of programs open to the public, aimed at supporting filmmakers currently working in the documentary and the doc-narrative hybrid field.  Indie Grits identified the need to be more than an exhibitor of emerging and established Southern voices.  The festival created an open space for dialogue and collaboration in which filmmakers could find support in every level of their projects from pre-production to post.  Work-in-progress screenings, panels, workshops, and more truly made this festival track a unique, resourceful experience for filmmakers and film-lovers alike.

The festival was run by a small, talented, and dedicated staff which was artist-led by Southern filmmakers and media artists, who were committed to inclusive, accountable storytelling. So many amazing stories, projects, and movements are happening in the Southeast that are beginning to tear down decades of stereotypes and misconceptions about the region. With the Indie Grits Film Festival, The Nick aimed to speed this process, amplify movements, motivate change, and create new paths forward for our country as a whole.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of the festival in 2020 and subsequent years, but The Nick still believes in this mission and pledges to resume the festival as soon as possible.