We are excited to announce that the 14th Annual Indie Grits Festival will be held March 26-29, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. Celebrating 14 years of the best in low-budget and experimental film, media, and creative culture from across the Southeast, 2020 will not be a year to miss!

The Indie Grits Festival is a multi-day event that saw an average of over 12,000 visitors from 2013 to 2019. We pride ourselves in fostering and supporting a tight-knit, accessible filmmaking community. Filmmakers seek us out after premiering their films across the US including festivals like SXSW, Sundance, True/False, BlackStar and more. In 2019 Moviemaker Magazine named us one of the 25 “Coolest Film Festivals” in the world.

Indie Grits is the premier multi-day film festival focusing on documentary, experimental, and hybrid films in the Southeast, US. The Indie Grits Festival is organized by Indie Grits Labs, a non-profit organization that works to serve communities through media education, artist-driven projects, and the Indie Grits Film Festival. The spirit of Indie Grits comes from the heart of its host, the Nickelodeon Theatre — South Carolina’s only non-profit, art house theatre – affectionately known as “The Nick.”

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

Filmmakers come first. We offer dedicated support for filmmaker hospitality including a fully stocked filmmaker lounge, a filmmaker travel/lodging fund, and a range of awards and opportunities. In 2019 we launched Filmmaker Focus, a new, 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 has identified the need to be more than an exhibitor of emerging and established Southern voices. We are working to create an open space for dialogue and collaboration in which filmmakers can find support in every level of their projects from pre-production to post. Work-in-progress screenings, panels, workshops, and more make this festival track a unique, resourceful experience for filmmakers and film-lovers alike.

Our festival is run by a small, talented and dedicated staff – not the chamber of commerce or the tourism board – and we think it shows. Our staff is artist-led by Southern filmmakers and media artists, and we are committed to inclusive, accountable storytelling. There are so many amazing stories, projects, and movements happening in the Southeast that are beginning to tear down decades of stereotypes and misconceptions about our region. We aim to speed this process, amplify movements, begin changing our field's current structures and rules governing accepted excellence norms (maybe outright tear them down), and create new paths forward for our country as a whole.

We hope you’ll consider submitting.

2020 AWARDS:

Top Grit - $1000
Given to the top film as determined by our jury. Films from all categories are eligible to win this award.

Helen Hill Memorial Award - $500
Awarded to the best work by a female filmmaker, in honor of Columbia native and celebrated animator, filmmaker and teacher Helen Hill (1970-2007).


Big Grit - $500

Doc Short Grit - $250

Narrative Short Grits - $250

Animated Grit - $250

Experimental Grit - $250

Youth Grit - $250

Local Grit - $250

The People's Grit - $250
(Voted on by the public)

All submissions must have a tie to the Southeast (SC, NC, VA, GA, FL, AL, MS, TN, LA, KY, AR, TX). This requirement can be satisfied in a number of ways. If you are from or currently reside in the Southeast and play a prominent role in the filmmaking process then you are set. Additionally if your film is set in or concerns an aspect of the Southeast then you're also set.

You MUST include a statement with your application that explains your and/or your film's relationship to the Southeast.

If you wish to be considered for the Helen Hill Memorial Award, please include a statement saying so. This award is open to all female mediamakers.

Overall Rating
  • Scott Tempo

    This was our second year with a submission showing at Indie Grits. We love this festival! It's always a great time with a wide range of events expanding beyond film. We highly recommend this festival.

    July 2019
  • Couldn't attend this year but Indie Grits is awesome, great with communicating. They value artists because a lot of the coordinators are artists themselves. I recommend submitting and attending!! You won't be disappointed, Indie knows wassup, you will meet so many awesome people.

    May 2019
  • Ryan Darbonne

    Having been to many different festivals, Indie Grits is by far one of the best ones I've ever attended. The programming was TOP-NOTCH (all caps, so you know I'm not playin'), the staff/volunteers were amazing, and the Nickelodeon Theatre was gorgeous.

    I saw so many incredible films and met some great people. My short film, "I AM TX" looked great, sounded great, and was paired with an amazing block of films.

    I definitely can't wait to go back.

    May 2019
  • Mel Alexander

    My first film, my first festival, my first award. It doesn't get dreamier than that, folks. I'm so thankful to the staff of Indie Grits for truly making an unforgettable experience. The communication was outstanding, the programming was amazing, and, as a cherry on top, I met some really dope filmmakers. Without the pretense that can maybe be associated with film fests, this really felt like meeting friends for the first time. Would definitely recommend!

    April 2019
  • Chris Gervais

    IG is always so much fun. I love a fest that takes over a whole city and this one does it with so much energy and with such a distinct voice. And they really treat their filmmakers well. Among its many virtues is that it ends up being a huge filmmaker networking thing. You just meet so many great people.

    April 2018