News & ARTIST CALL from Indie Grits

indie grits general Indie Grits Film Festival, the Southeast’s premier film and culture festival in Columbia, S.C. for DIY media-makers, will take place April 15-19, 2015, and for the first time, the festival will have a theme: “Future Perfect.” Additionally, 2015’s Indie Grits is calling for visual artists whose work will enhance Columbia’s public spaces during the festival for a multi-faceted exhibit, thanks to funding by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.


The ninth annual Indie Grits, hosted by the Nickelodeon Theatre, South Carolina’s oldest art-house cinema located on Main Street in South Carolina’s capital city, will feature five full days of the best DIY short, experimental, animated and student film, music, food and outside-the-box artistic performances from South Carolina and the Southeast. Indie Grits has twice been named one of MovieMaker magazine’s Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World.


“Forty percent of attendees from last year’s Indie Grits lived outside of Columbia, and we want to do more to attract even more out-of-town participants,” said Seth Gadsden, co-director of Indie Grits Film Festival. “Our participant and attendance numbers are growing each year, but folks tell us again and again that they want to be able to attend more Indie Grits events while they’re in town. So a five-day format will concentrate all the events you’ve come to love about Indie Grits, plus some events we’re adding, like our brand-new call for artists. We’re hoping a jam-packed festival will mean that more people will bring a critical mass to downtown Columbia during Indie Grits.”


Indie Grits Calls for Visual Artists

Indie Grits 2015 will build on the artist-in-residence program sponsored by One Columbia for Arts and History, which began at 2014’s Indie Grits and brought artist Amanda Cassingham-Bardwell and her installation art to the festival. The artist-in-residence program will return to Indie Grits 2015, and thanks to an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the festival seeks proposals from artists inspired by the Future Perfect theme for the festival.


Indie Grits seeks installations, sculpture, video, photography, mixed media and any kind of art that speaks to the theme of the festival. Indie Grits will accept 15 – 25 artist applicants for exhibition at the festival. Indie Grits will provide accepted artists and collaborations with modest financial support to facilitate materials, shipping, installation and some other incurred costs, and projects will receive up to $1,000. Projects will be displayed throughout the 2015 festival in various locations downtown Columbia, including Tapp’s Center for the Arts. For more information and the application, visit


As always, Indie Grits Film Festival will continue to focus on offering audiences opportunities to see the best new films coming from independent Southern filmmakers with a far-reaching, experimental scope during the festival. Additionally, festivalgoers will enjoy other favorite events like the Spork in Hand Puppet Slam, a concert at the Columbia Museum of Art and the Slow Food at Indie Grits Sustainable Chefs Showcase.


For more information on Indie Grits, visit or contact Seth Gadsden, festival co-director at 254-8324.

Review: The Uncomfortable—and Beautiful—Intimacy of Blue Is the Warmest Color by Alexis Stratton

blue is the warmest color  A lot has been said and written about Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013), the award-winning French film by director Abdellatif Kechiche and starring Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux. The film has been hailed as a masterpiece in many circles—an unrivaled love story between two women. Others have criticized the film for its extensive (but, for some, oddly clinical) lesbian sex scenes or on the representational problems of the female characters. But criticism aside, within the context of this three-hour film about growing up, growing passions, and growing losses, these intense images of intimacy and embodiment only make sense. Because if Blue Is the Warmest Color is anything, it’s a portrait of intimacy.

Blue Is the Warmest Color draws us into the protagonist Adele’s life in Lille, France, from the first shot, and plunged into her world, we barely come up for air until the end. At the forefront of the film is this almost-claustrophobic closeness to Adele, the teenage protagonist who comes of age and explores her romantic and sexual identities throughout the course of the film. The film gives us the story of La vie d'Adèle (“The Life of Adele,” the original French title of the film), but to do so, it focuses not only on the rising passions between her and Emma, the college-aged art student she falls in love with, but also on the minutiae of  Adele’s daily living. The film takes us into the private, the close, and the closed—revealing to us what the world doesn’t see yet all that Adele experiences. We see what happens behind the closed doors of Adele’s life—stolen kisses with a classmate in the school bathroom, disappointing sex with a boyfriend, an almost-wordless family dinner, with only the sounds of eating and the occasional “Would you like some more?” breaking the silence.

These intimate acts are revealed to us first by their mere existence—shots of Adele sleeping peacefully, Adele and her girlfriend Emma engaging in passionate sex. However, we are not simply voyeurs; the frequent closeups and no-holds-barred sound editing bring us into the scenes as if we were a part of them. We are brought so close to these daily acts that they are almost ugly—the sloppy chewing, noisy kissing, red-faced crying. In fact, in one of the first dinner scenes, I felt myself cringing at the slurping of spaghetti, and in almost every scene where someone cried, I was taken aback by the actresses’ running noses (the friend I saw the film with mentioned later her intense desire to wipe Adele’s snot away).

However, perhaps it’s in this “ugliness” of life that the beauty and warmth of the film come in. On one hand, the film is lusciously shot and skillfully edited, with carefully chosen color schemes and shooting techniques and angles that bring a simultaneous beauty and intensity to even the rawest of scenes. On the other, by taking the time to portray those “ugly” and seemingly small moments, Kechiche brings our focus to the “real” moments that are often deemed unimportant to a narrative—but in which most of our living occurs. (Rumor has it that Keciche even had the characters read the script and then forget the lines, encouraging them toward the approximation of "realness" that improvisation allows.) 

And perhaps the discomfort I felt are part of what the film so wonderfully accomplishes. From the director’s distinctive choices about what to reveal to the rawness of the actresses’ stunning performances, perhaps the closeness and intimacy become too real and too close—revealing the audience’s own issues with intimacy, the body, and communing with others. Perhaps filmgoers have become so used to the clean and the aestheticized that such rawness is meant to make us uncomfortable—and is meant to make us connect to the characters in a way that is notable in its rarity.

Blue Is the Warmest Color offers a closeup on Adele’s lived experience and the intimacies that many struggle with and work for. We are her shadow, and her, and we are so close to her that the classmates’ laughter around her rings in our ears, that the painful memories of ex-lovers are in our minds, that the women’s growing passions and broken hearts are our own. For those few hours in the theater, La vie d'Adèle became mine, and as she walked away, the camera for once not following after her, I felt her life and story slip away from me, too—an intimacy once shared and now gone. - Alexis Stratton

Blue Is the Warmest Color. Drama. Starring Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux. Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. In French with English subtitles. (NC-17. 179 minutes.)

At the Nickelodeon – Jan. 31-Feb. 6

Jasper/Nick Shakespearean Sonnet Contest

shakespeare Shakespeare wrote 154 of them –

            You ought to have at least one in you.


“All the world's a stage,” William Shakespeare wrote, “and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts.”

The question is: would you like to play the part of a poet?  Jasper Magazine and the Nickelodeon Theatre want to cast you in that role.

Announcing The Jasper Magazine – Nickelodeon Theatre Shakespearean Sonnet Contest, presented in conjunction with and in celebration of the Nick’s upcoming Forever and A Day: Shakespeare Film Adaptation Series, which will feature screening of movies based on Shakespearean plays. (Titles, dates, and details TBA soon.)

In addition to his stage plays, Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, and Jasper think that means you must have at least one in you.  What's a sonnet?  Jasper hears your high school English teacher sighing deeply somewhere in the distance, but here's a quick refresher:

14 lines of iambic pentameter.  That's fancy Greek, shoehorned into English, for 10 syllables per line, each with a short-long beat.  Example:  "The bumblebee was flying through the air," which sounds like "the BUMble BEE was FLYing THROUGH the AIR" when you read it aloud. Or "The Nick and Jasper Magazine are cool!"

The first three verses have to have an ABAB rhyme scheme, so the first and third line lines rhyme with each other, and so do the second and fourth. Example:

I saw a cat

Which saw a dog;

I wore a hat,

Because of fog.

And then the final two lines must rhyme with each other. 14 lines total, no more, no less. Google "Shakespearean Sonnet" if you need details or further examples.

The topic can be anything you wish, and up to three entries per person will be accepted.


  • Deadline is Sunday, December 8th.
  • The winning sonnet will be published in Jasper Vol.  003, No. 003 (which will come out on January 16th, 2014) and will also be read at the opening reception for the Shakespeare Film Adaptation Series.
  • There is no fee to enter.
  • Do NOT put your name on your entry.
  • DO include a cover sheet with your name, e-mail  address, and the name of your sonnet.
  • Send entries to with “Sonnet” in the subject heading.

Intimidated?  Don't be.  Just let your words flow “trippingly on the tongue,” as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. “Let your own discretion be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”


Have fun, and Jasper looks forward to reading your compositions!