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Indie Grits free and expanding in 10th year

A crowd gathers for the Indie Grits Film Festival Opening Party on April 11, 2014.
A crowd gathers for the Indie Grits Film Festival Opening Party on April 11, 2014. rthompson@thestate.com

Indie Grits, Columbia’s film and culture festival, will be completely free this spring, organizers announced Thursday. More events will take place outside the walls of host Nickelodeon Theatre as well.

“We hope more people than ever will have access and exposure to Indie Grits,” festival co-coordinator Seth Gadsden said.

Indie Grits is able to offer free admission thanks to a $50,000 “Connected Communities” grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation.

The festival began a decade ago as a small, low-budget film festival but has expanded to include film, music, technology and art. There also are plans for an all-day music event on the banks of the Congaree River this year, according to the festival website.

Bicentennial Park across from EdVenture Children’s Museum is one of the new venues. “This is a spectacular site, and we can’t wait to show it off to everyone,” festival founder and Nickelodeon director Andy Smith said.

Last year’s festival attendance exceeded 12,000 people, nearly doubling from the year before. Many events sold out. This year’s crowd is expected to be even bigger, Smith said.

The theme for 2016 is “Waterlines.” The theme began as a way for artists to celebrate the river as one of the city’s defining features, but evolved after October’s historic flooding into a means of documenting and interpreting the flood’s impact, Gadsden said.

“‘Waterlines’ visually and metaphorically represents what’s left behind when the water recedes,” he added.

Indie Grits is April 14-17. That’s one day less than last year, but there will be just as many events in a more concentrated schedule, Smith said. More specific event offerings will be announced in the coming months.

For more information visit www.indiegrits.com/.

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