The Reluctant Writer: Something Else to do When I Should Be Writing

April 19, 2009

Indier and grittier

Filed under: Columbia,films,not writing,writing — cynthiaboiter @ 18:27
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Starting in the summer of 2002 and continuing for the next four summers, our family took an apartment in Greenwich Village — once in the West Village near the meat packing district, but for the most part we were right on 5th Avenue, within a block of Washington Park.  (One year we sublet a townhouse on the historic Washington Mews while the owners spent their summer at their Tuscan villa.  Seriously — their Tuscan villa.)  

There’s something about living in New York that is so different from visiting it.  When we visit we hurry to get to our favorite bars and restaurants, see the shows and the galleries — suck in a huge hit of the city as fast and as furiously as possible.  But when you’re there for a while you can just sort of coast on the vibe and slowly soak it in.  Pretend you’re a New Yorker.  I loved pretending. 

One of my favorites of the penchants I adopted during my summers in NYC is a love for art house films.  Sweaty afternoons in the city would often find me chilling in the Angelica or huddled in a dark theatre on 12th Street munching on candy I’d smuggled in from the Chinese grocery. I was able to sustain my addiction to indie flicks during the three school years we spent in Winston-Salem, (the kids were attending NCSA and I taught Sociology and Women’s Studies at Salem College), by frequenting Fourth Street Films and the River Run film festival sponsored by the school of the arts.  Then, by the time we came back to SC full time, Larry Hembree had taken over at the Nick and I was thrilled to learn that I would never have to jones for any cinema of transgression again.  Life is good.

And then there is Indie Grits. 

Instead of writing over the past four days, I’ve spent as much time as my butt could take sitting in a dark theatre with a bunch of other local film junkies and dealers.  It’s been heaven.

There are a lot of things that we do stupidly in Columbia, SC — governors, quarterbacks, full parking lots at fast food chains, to name a few.  But the fact that Columbia is the home of the Indie Grits Film Festival is one of the things that we do so right, it almost makes up for the things that we do so dumb.

Today marks the closing day of the 2009 Indie Grits Film Festival.  This was the third, and by far the best year of the festival and, based on its upward arc in terms of film quality and diversity, attendance, variation in venue and events, I’m already psyched for next year.  This year, festival director Andy Smith took us to four different venues and, in addition to live music, amazing food (including Mac’s peach cobbler), a guerilla filmmaking workshop and pretty decent party booze, he gave us a good three dozen films that proved to be either provocative/heartbreaking/gripping/depressing/weird/farcical/beautiful/creepy or fill-in-the-blank-with-what-you-look-for-in-a-film. 

All this, and Bubba Cromer, too. (I’ll be blogging about Bubba soon.)

There were films I hated and films I loved, but there were no truly bad films — basically, a working example of a successful film festival.

So, congratulations to Andy Smith and Tori Katherman, Larry Hembree, and all the participants and prize winners at the 2009 Indie Grits Film Festival.  And congrats to Columbia — Indie Grits is something to be proud of.

Check out the Indie Grits website at http://www.indiegrits.com/ and winners of this year’s festival at http://www.indiegrits.com/blog/

To visit the sites of two my three favorite films this year go to www.msqueenmovie.com

www.thehillshavethighs.com

To give Andy Smith the pat on the back that he deserves, write to him at andy@indiegrits.com.

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