Meet Indie Grits Intern Rachel Pittman!

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Rachel Pittman is a student, journalist and new Indie Grits Visiones intern from Atlanta, Ga. She is in her second year at the University of South Carolina, where she studies print journalism in hopes of breaking into the newspaper business before it dies out completely. Her work has been published in The Free Times, The Daily Gamecock, The Forsyth County News, The Lettered Olive, The Gwinnett Times and on her own very self-important blog. On any given day, Rachel can be found writing, ranting about politics, cooking, re-watching her favorite movies (Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Annie Hall and Fargo) or purchasing yet another black turtleneck to add to her collection.

Rachel on working with Indie Grits:

My first visit to the Nickelodeon was at the end of my first ever week of college classes. I walked my lonely freshman self through a downpour to see a movie. Alone in a new city, a new school and a new phase of life, the Nick instantly felt familiar to me. Right away I felt at home in the theater and I correctly predicted that I would be spending a lot of the next four years there.

Thus, when I learned that I would be a 2017 Indie Grits intern, excitement is an understatement for what I felt. This opportunity to be a part of something so unique and positive is so valuable, and I am so thankful.

As someone born and bred in Atlanta, Ga, I can understand the incredible role of Indie Grits — and the incredible need for it. The South has historically been famous for her hospitality. There are so many things to love about this part of the world, from Coca-Cola to Southern Gothic literature to, of course, grits. However, over the years I think the South has lost her hospitality, and making others feel at home is not of the things to love about living here.

Indie Grits — especially with the 2017 theme, Visiones — is helping this area live up to its hospitable reputation. By embracing artists and audiences of all kinds, the rich culture of the South is celebrated and made welcoming, all while being expanded and pushed into new territory. In order to rid the South of the racism, xenophobia and general intolerance that so often characterize it, this expansion is necessary. We can pay homage to the amazing beauty that we have here but we also have to open it up and be willing to improve it. Through creativity of all types, Indie Grits does just this.

So thanks, Indie Grits, for honoring this place that I love and also for bringing it into the 21st century. I can’t wait to see the walls we tear down and the places we explore in 2017, and I’m so glad I’m on the team.

I, Destini is a NYT Op-Doc!

Indie Grits 2016 Filmmaker Fellow Award winner, I, Destini, was recently featured in The New York Times Opinion Section! Congratulations to directors Destini Riley and Nicholas Pilarski on this awesome recognition.

I, Destini is about a teenager’s memories of her brother’s incarceration, told through melancholy, incisive poetry and hallucinatory animation.

Watch it here:

Meet Indie Grits Intern Dalia Hussein!

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Dalia is currently a freshmen at USC studying Media Arts, but more importantly, she’s the intern for Indie Grits Visiones. You will most likely find her commuting on her bike, for she may have almost hit you once or twice in the past on accident. When she’s not interning at the Nickelodeon or in class, she enjoys painting, playing accordion, and spending way too much money. She hails from Columbia, SC and aspires to someday end up making documentary/verite films and be fluent in at least four languages. If there’s one thing she intends to do in her lifetime, it’s to drunkenly karaoke to Dirty Diana and get every word right. She continues to hope.

Here’s her two cents:

Upon hearing the announcement for this year’s Indie Grits theme, I was instantly intrigued. For most of my life, living in Columbia, SC meant (at least to a confused and awkward teenager) being surrounded by backwards ideas and a very homogenous group of people. It wasn’t until I did what most teenagers want to do — to leave their home — that I was able to see the overwhelming strength of people in Columbia. To me, Visiones means a lot more than just a theme for Indie Grits. It represents the incredible sense of community that has been cultivated through art and conversations over the past decade. People here fight like hell to create change, and in my relatively short time of being alive, I have had the privilege to be taught by and work alongside many of those individuals, whether it was volunteering at Indie Grits or striking up a conversation at a coffee house.

Once I graduated from the Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities and returned to Columbia, I was eager to be a part of the city’s arts community. I was lucky enough to start interning for Indie Grits under Seth Gadsden, who somewhat feels like my Mr. Miyagi. As an Indie Grits intern, a normal day’s work could entail hanging upside down holding a camera to get that one shot or editing an interview of a filmmaker talking about how they had a life-changing experience watching Big Freedia twerk on stage. It was indeed life changing.

What excites me more than anything about this year’s Indie Grits is what will come out of it. During that week, there will be a slew of amazing filmmakers from all over the place congregating and exchanging ideas that might spark new projects. Newcomers to the festival who will experience a new side of Columbia. Artists sharing stories about identity. And inevitably, there will be a dance circle. Who knows what kind of mind-blowing future projects will emerge from those conversations that week of April 2017, but I sure am grateful to be a part of it.

Watch The Hollerin’ Contest at Spivey’s Corner on Vimeo

Brian Gersten and Liv Dubendorf’s documentary short “The Hollerin’ Contest at Spivey’s Corner” is now available to stream on Vimeo. A small-town tradition since 1969, the National Hollerin’ Contest in Spivey’s Corner, NC hosts a horde of hopeful hollerers every year, among them the prize-vying trio profiled here. “Hollerin’ Contest” was a 2016 Indie Grits selected documentary short. Watch below:

The Hollerin’ Contest at Spivey’s Corner from Brian Gersten on Vimeo.