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5 minutes with filmmaker Andrew Gajadhar

Filmmaker Andrew Gajadhar
Filmmaker Andrew Gajadhar Submitted

In the past decade, Hollywood seems to be losing the top spot as movie capitol of the world. Watch the end of films and you’re bound to see that many (more than you might think) are filmed in Atlanta.

Filmmaker Andrew Gajadhar of Columbia wants to show that South Carolina can also be a great backdrop for movies.

On the heels of his new film, “What Matters,” Gajadhar is making full length-movies in the metro. For aspiring actors, brush up your headshots.

Q. Tell us about your film that came out earlier this year.

A. Back in March, we had the South Carolina premiere of our feature film, “What Matters at Spotlight Cinemas on St. Andrews Road.” It is a very powerful drama surrounding a young man, his interracial family, and how they are each individually affected by many of the current social issues going on in the community. Since the sold out premiere, the film has gone on to win several awards and nominations at the Rising Star Academy Awards in Philadelphia and nominations in film festivals such as the Hip Hop Film Festival in New York City and the Carolina Film Festival in Charlotte. The film has also been critically acclaimed by many publications such as Broadway World and Via Nobis Magazine. The film is currently in negotiations for a commercial distribution deal.

Q. Why is it important to film movies in S.C.?

A. It is so important to shoot films in South Carolina because of its economic influence and benefit for residents and the industry as a whole. South Carolina has a great opportunity to be a strong competitor in the film industry by providing jobs, patronage at local businesses, and its accessibility for major films to be produced in a multibillion-dollar industry.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. Currently, I’m working on several major projects. My business partners Faith Creech, Christian Manganelli and I are in post-production of our first SAG-AFTRA feature film, “Shenanigans,” which is a kid’s comedy similar to “The Sandlot” and “The Little Rascals” that the whole family can enjoy.

We just started pre-production on a biopic of Grandmaster Dr. Germon “Mama G” Moriniere-Bey, the only 10th Degree Blackbelt female Grandmaster in the world. I am also currently in the process of building South Carolina’s first major film studio in Cassatt just outside of historical Camden, SC. This film studio will be a game changer for South Carolina in the film industry. It will be open and available for both major films and independent films to be produced locally.

Q. You also have a passion for martial arts. Tell us about that.

A. I am the co-founder of American P.I.T. Fighting Martial Science System. My co-founder, Christian Manganelli, and I have also been inducted as lifetime members, instructors, and Carolina Regional Directors for the World Kickboxing League and the World Sports Combat League. We teach a combination of martial arts, tactical training, survival training, and fight/stunt choreography for the film industry. We hope to continue educating people about self-preservation and grow a legacy of avid martial artists through our discipline.

Q. What advice do you give to people wanting to get into acting?

A. I would advise them to begin researching as many aspects of the industry they can possibly find and invest their time wisely. Get involved with beneficial networking and educational film groups such as our nonprofit organization Carolina Film Network, Carolina Film Alliance in the Lowcountry, and the South Carolina Film Commission. There are many resources that can be found directly from all of them and other great film groups throughout the state.