media copy.jpg

Columbia Film Society Annual Report


Columbia Film Society Annual Report


The Columbia Film Society (CFS) has experienced tremendous success and growth over the past year. From hosting ambitious and successful film series at the Nickelodeon Theatre to opening a second space, which serves as the headquarters for Indie Grits Labs, CFS continues to redefine how an art house theater functions in the twenty-first century. We constantly strive to expand beyond the walls of our theater and immerse ourselves into our community.

In the last 12 months alone, we have:

  • Worked with over 50 local artists, creating 29 original works of art for Indie Grits;

  • Hosted 118 sold out screenings at the Nick

  • Premiered six new film series

  • Served over 1,000 students - the most in CFS history

Because of our diversity of offerings, the Nickelodeon Theatre and Indie Grits Labs are able to showcase art, create art, provide a unique forum for challenging conversations about critical issues affecting our community and state, and help students find their voice. Our upcoming 12-month plan features an ambitious line-up, with new special series and events at the Nick, plus innovative and eclectic programs with Indie Grits Labs, including:

  • A series in partnership with the University of South Carolina navigating the themes of utopia and dystopia and showcasing the expertise and current research of faculty across disciplines.

  • Black Stories - a curated film program celebrating Black filmmakers as key narrators of American experience and activists in fights for liberation and equity.

  • Year-round projects that explore rural Richland County, and with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, we will be supporting an artist-instructor to develop an after-school program exploring students’ life stories at Lower Richland High School.

  • MegaMedia Lab - an after-school program at W.A. Perry that centers around weekly critically engaging media screenings of contemporary and historical films, music videos, news programs, commercials, and other forms of current media.

John P. Boyd
Board of Directors,
Columbia Film Society

Avni gupta-kagan
Interim CEO,
Columbia film Society

Economic Impact

Artboard 2 copy 2@2x-8.png

Indie Grits Labs

Indie Grits Labs

1013 Duke Avenue

Media literacy@2x-8.png

Originally built in 1940 by the Duke family and most recently occupied for over five years by the North Columbia Business Association, the two-story white house on the corner of Duke Avenue and Arlington Street is the first home of Indie Grits Labs (IGL). Guided by the goals of the 2018 IGL Fellowship and the Two Cities Project, 1013 Duke Avenue was selected for its potential as a community center nestled in the historic Seminary Ridge Neighborhood within the heart of the Eau Claire community.


In November of 2017, the staff at IGL and the Nickelodeon, along with many volunteers, began renovating the house, creating a contemporary, multi-function project space with an eye towards adaptability and community. We wanted a space that artists could utilize for many purposes including education, exhibition, performance, and gathering. Featuring a gallery, PrintLab, AudioLab, workshop, gathering spaces, offices, community kitchen, and a spacious yard, the IGL space is designed to evolve with each new project and education program.

Media literacy copy@2x-8.png

Current and past IGL Fellows are empowered to drive the educational and public programming in the space, cultivating an artist-led, community-centered environment. Partner organizations are invited to host events, including professional development workshops, community talks, and dinners. By working together—staff, volunteers, partners, artists, and the community—1013 Duke Ave has become the foundation from which IGL serves communities through it’s three facets: media education, artist-driven projects, and the Indie Grits Festival.


Indie Grits Festival

The Indie Grits Festival is a 4-day event celebrating gritty, contemporary culture of the Southeast through film, art, music, and bits.



15 Features, 16 Narrative Shorts, 21 Documentary Features, 5 Animated Shorts, 12 Experimental Shorts, 8 Student Shorts, 8 Music Videos | 53% of films by women filmmakers.



30 bands played at 3 locations for 3 nights plus our grand festival finale— Sunday Dinner.



13 Fellows unveiled their year-long Two Cities project, which addressed race, gentrification, arts funding inequities, housing displacement, and unification of the North Main corridor.



Indie Bits celebrated independent interactive media—video games, board card games, and virtual reality.

members copy@2x-8.png

Thank you to our sponsors


Bank of America
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Central Carolina Columbia Foundation City of Columbia
Ford Foundation
Governor's School for the Arts Foundation
KW Beverage
Mast General Store

National Endowment for the Arts Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP One Columbia
Richland County Government
South Carolina Parks Recreation and Tourism
The Whig
WOLO - ABC Columbia


Two Cities Project


The 2017-2018 project “Two Cities” focused its activities in North Columbia along North Main and Monticello Road, seeking to promote an open, inclusive, and welcoming dialogue through vibrant social events and original, place-based works of art with an eye towards social practice artworks, community collaboration and sustainability. By engaging artists and community members in a collaborative incubator, Two Cities explores how racial and socioeconomic factors define our experiences and interactions within our shared city.

adult workshops copy@2x-8.png

The Two Cities Project launched in August 2017 as a site-specific, ongoing exploration of how racial and socioeconomic factors define experiences in Columbia. Primarily focused on North Columbia, the project is being spearheaded by the 2018 IGL Fellowship who began the project with conversations about topics including food deserts, bus shelters, urban beautification, blight, education, media bias, and neighborhood lifecycles.


The Fellows

Efforts to imagine how art can responsibly address inequitable access to food, education, and housing inspired the fellowship to develop a series of questions about Columbia, community, and themselves: Why do well meaning projects often fail? What role do artists play in gentrification? How can one confront fear and distrust with beauty and reconciliation?

after school 2@2x-8.png


Media Literacy defines how we access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. Media Literacy is more important than ever in a society where we are bombarded with media messages on screens big and small, and there is an unprecedented level of accessibility for the average person to create media. At Indie Grits Labs and the Nickelodeon Theatre, Media Literacy is at the core of every education program we offer. We were part of the team that wrote the new SC Media Arts Standards, implemented 2018. This past summer, we hosted a NAEA Institute to teach teachers about Media Literacy. For the past six years, we have partnered with Richland One to deliver several after school programs including Come Around My Way and Mega MediaLab that teach media literacy and film production skills. These experiences remind us of the importance of bringing Media Literacy to as many students as possible, which we do through our flagship program, Media Literacy Labs.


after school@2x-8.png

Come Around My Way

Come Around My Way (CAMW) is youth documentary project in partnership with C.A. Johnson High School. Come Around My Way seeks to use media literacy skills, digital citizenship, and video production techniques to empower students in their high school careers to produce socially engaging documentaries that allow them to question the systems they’re apart of, deepen their understanding of themselves, and broaden their knowledge of their respective environments.


TakeBreakMake (TBM) is an after-school, youth media based project for high school students in the midlands. TakeBreakMake provides video production and media literacy instruction through the lens of queer theory for the purpose of empowering high school students to not only tell their own story but to develop new modes of storytelling.



Our weekly middle school program at W.A. Perry, Mega MediaLab, centers around critically engaging media screenings of contemporary and historical films, music videos, news programs, commercials, and other forms of current media. This program also provides students with a basic understanding of the languages of film and media: Camera, Editing, Sound & Script. After post-screening discussions, students break into groups to collaborate, write and present new content for the current media in discussion.

after school 2@2x-8.png

Media Literacy Labs

Media literacy@2x-8.png

Media Literacy Labs are field trip programs that give a chance for students to visit the Nickelodeon Theatre for a special cinema experience, complete with popcorn and drinks. Programs include hands-on, educational activities, film screenings, and engaging games. Our programs are aligned to the SC Department of Education Media Arts and ELA standards. Media Literacy Labs develop problem-solving and technical skills, as well as analytical thinking through critical viewing and comprehension.


k-12th grade

Exploring the “spectrum of representation”, DocLab asks students to consider what forms of bias and distortion can direct an audience’s understanding of a non-fiction subject in documentary filmmaking. This involves analyzing techniques such as the interview, music, the use of archival footage, reenactment, editing, verité style, and much more. 


k-12th grade

Covering a wide range of stories and storytelling methods from around the world, StoryLab explores the basic archetypes that all stories share, and provides the tools for students to craft their own stories. Exploring fundamentals of plot, setting, characters, as well as more nuanced techniques, StoryLab educates via fun activities, screenings, writing exercises, music, and games.


k-5th grade

MediaLab investigates mass culture including news media, social media, advertising, and music videos. Each lesson is made to be relevant to student interests, and to develop a literacy that enables youth to better understand the complex messages we receive from all forms of media every day. Each version of this lab takes on a different theme with a different form of media.


4th-12th grade

CineLab dives deep into the language of cinema. CineLab presents the tools and techniques of narrative filmmaking while exploring themes in literature, world cultures, languages, social studies, and science. Each CineLab focuses on one central theme or concept to explore using the fundamentals of cinema.

Summer Camps

after school 2 copy@2x-8.png

Stop Motion Animation Camp

June 2018

Covering the fundamentals of animation, storytelling, and production, students planned and executed the production of their very own animation, walking away with a movie they can treasure and share with friends and family! From making characters to foley work, this camp, led by experienced animator Lillian Burke, will serve as a perfect introduction to the world of filmmaking.

Instructors: Lillian Burke, Odile Postic

Sci-Fi Horror Camp

June-july 2018

Science fiction and big time scares are a hallmark of the American cinema landscape. Artificial intelligence out of control? Gadgets with world-altering implications? In space, can no one really hear you scream? This camp was a two-week crash course in filmmaking fun, culminating in the production of a film that was screened at the Nick. Your imagination is the only limit!

Instructors: Josh Rainwater, Torres Perkins


Adult Workshops

From graphic design, to filmmaking and sound design, our programming for our adult classes and workshops has something for everyone. !All classes take place at Indie Grits Labs and vary in length and duration—one workshop may meet once a week for four weeks, whereas another workshop may only meet once. Workshops are for ages 15 and up. Nickelodeon Theatre members receive discounts on registration fees for our workshops. 

adult workshops@2x-8.png
adult workshops copy 2@2x-8.png

FY 2018 Workshops

Intro to Portrait Photography

October 2017

Intro to Stop Motion Animation: Form and Process

November 2017

Narrative Filmmaking:
Make a Scene!

February 2018

Intro to DSLR Filmmaking

October 2017

Intro to DSLR:
Camera Basics

February 2018

Stop-Motion Storytelling

march 2018

Intro to Graphic Design:
The Movie Poster

November 2017

Beginner's Guide
to Squarespace

February 2018

Intro to Screenwriting

June 2018


Nickelodeon Theatre

Nickelodeon Theatre

Artboard 5 copy 3@2x-8.png

New Series


Dance Scene

Special Series | Oct & Nov 2018

Presented in collaboration with dance organizations from throughout the Midlands, Dance Scene celebrates the best in contemporary dance-based cinema.

Speakers and Performances: Columbia City Ballet, The Palmetto Swing Dance Association, FUSE Arts Alliance, South Carolina Black Pride.

Sponsored by Dr. Gail Morrison, Richard A. Harpootlian, P.A.


JURISCINEMA: The Law on Screen

Special Series | Fall 2017

Curated in collaboration with local lawyers, we presented powerful contemporary and classic films that illuminate key aspects of the American justice system.

Guest Speakers:
Robert Guild, Kathleen McDaniel, Nekki Shutt, Joseph K. Dickey, Dave Maxfield, M. Malissa Burnette, Luther J. Battiste, III, Bill Nettles

Sponsored by John and Nancy Freeman, Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, P.A., Richland County Bar Association


Girls to the Front

Special Series | May 2018

We invited punks, princesses, and everyone in between to celebrate friendship and creativity. Join us for a lineup helmed by women directors that declare once and for all that it is camaraderie, not competition, that defines us.

Crystal Lake, Clueless, Dear Diary, Josy and the Pussycats

Co-presented by Unsweetened Magazine : Voices from a Feminist South and Girls Rock Columbia


The Body Electric

special series | June & July 2018

We explored visionary filmmakers' cultish, comedic, and nightmarish visions of the physical and financial costs of becoming stronger, smarter, and more productive.

Seconds, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Ex Machina, Sleep Dealer

Sponsored by Frank Cox

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 1.30.04 PM.png

Everything is Better in Technicolor

Special Series | Summer 2018

We celebrated big screen gems shot or printed by Technicolor, the company that made cinematic colors truly glorious. From musicals to mafia, with some melodrama in between, this series showcased some historic greats!

The Wizard of Oz, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Written on the Wind, The Birds, Thunderball, The Godfather

Sponsored by the Braddock Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC


Silver Screen Studies

a new REcurring series

Silver Screen Studies is a recurring screening and discussion series that pairs films with special presentations by scholars and cinema experts. Whether you are a seasoned cinephile or just film-curious you'll enjoy these classics that everyone deserves to see on the big screen.

Heather Heckman, Susan Felleman, Susan Courtney, J. Daniel Jenkins

Sponsored by Andrea and Aaron West.

Recurring Series


Foreign Focus

monthly | wednesdays at 7pm

Foreign Focus is a monthly series screening the best contemporary films from across the globe.

Guest Speakers:
Josh Gupta-Kagan,Tiffany Grant, Dr. Maxine Barker, Liz Elliot.

Sponsored by Dr. Gail Morrison, Aaron and Andrea West, Paul and Jean Denman, David Whiteman and Lee Jane Kaufman


OUT Here

monthly | Wednesdays at 7pm

A new community-curated and monthly LGBTQ series screening films of all genres.

Guest Speakers:
Unsweetened Magazine, Girls Rock, Richard Irwin, Tanisha “Queen Shall it Be” Hall

Sponsored by SC Equality PAC, Famously Hot South Carolina Pride, South Carolina Gay + Lesbian Business Guild, Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, PA, Darryl Cooper, John Lucas, Robert Keenan and Brian Chen, Lula Drake,Dr. Ed Madden and Bert Easter, Larry Hembree and Joe Hudson, James Hendrick and Richard Irwin, Ruth and Walker Rast.


For the Record

monthly | Tuesdays at 6:30pm

Recognizing the important role that history plays in shaping our communities, this season the Nickelodeon invites you to join us for thought-provoking films and conversations about the forces that mediate our encounters with the past and influence our decisions for the future.

Guest Speakers:
Kent Germany, Columbia SC 63

Sponsored by Susan Thorpe and John Baynes


Sound & Vision

bi-monthly | saturdays at 10:30pm

Sound & Vision brings together siblings of form through a documentary series. In addition to screening both repertory and contemporary music docs, local bands will perform live before each film, bringing a bit more action to Columbia's Saturday night.

Boo Hag, Queen Tanesha, Numbtongue, Grace Joyner, Skeleton, Sandcastles., Ahomari, fk mt., Mel Washington, The Ugly Chords

Sponsored by Drip (Records)


Black Stories

annually in february

Celebrating Black filmmakers as key narrators of American experience and activists in fights for liberation and equity.

Guest Speakers:
Bobby Donaldson, Michaela Pilar Brown, Roni Nicole Henderson

Sponsored by Bakari Sellers, University of South Carolina: College of Arts and Sciences


Holly Jolly Hollywood

Annually in December

Come out of the cold and into our theater for holiday cheer that will warm even the most frost-bitten of hearts. As always, we’re screening your favorite holiday classics alongside new and exciting picks.

Sponsored by Mast General Store


Artboard 5 copy 2@2x-8.png


12 Angry Men
2001 A Space Odyssey
2017 Sundance Shorts
3 Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri


A Fantastic Woman
The Adventures of Priscilla
Aida's Secret
Alive and Kicking
An Inconvenient Sequel
As I Open My Eyes


Battle of the Sexes
Beach Rats
Beatriz at Dinner
The Beguiled
The Big Lebowski
The Big Sick
Black Panthers '68
Bless Their Little Hearts
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
Bring It On
The Burning


Call Me By Your Name
Coming Out Under Fire


Darkest Hour
Death of Stalin
Decline of Western Civilization Pt.1
Desert Hearts
Dirty Dancing
Donnie Darko


Easy Rider
Edward Scissorhands
Erin Brockovich
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Exterminator 2


Faces Places
The Fifth Element
Films for One to Eight Projectors
First Reformed
Flag Wars
Florida Project
For Ahkeem
Funny Face


Get Out
God's Own Country
Good Time
Goodbye Christopher
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Grey Gardens


Happy End
Hearts and Minds
Hearts Beat Loud
Hidden Figures
High School
The Hitcher
Home Alone
Hoop Dreams
The House I Live In
Human Flow


I Am Somebody
I, Tonya
In Between
In the Fade
Ingrid Goes West
The Insult
The Iron Giant
Isle of Dogs
It's a Wonderful Life


Joe’s Violin
Josie and the Pussycats
Journey's End


Kemtiyu - Cheikh Anta Diop


LA 92
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains
Lady Bird
The Land Before Time
The Last Laugh
The Last Waltz
Lean on Pete
Leaning Into the Wind
Let the Sunshine In
The Little Hours
Little Women
Lost in Paris
The Love Witch
Loving Vincent


Madonna: Truth or Dare
Manhattan Shorts 2017
May it Last
The Midwife
Miracle on 34th Street
Mistaken For Strangers
Modern Times
Monsieur Mayonnaise
Monterey Pop
Mosquita y Mari
Mr. Gaga
My Neighbor Totoro
My Own Private Idaho


Night of the Living Dead
North by Northwest


Oh Lucy!
On Chesil Beach
On the Beach at Night Alone
Oscar Shorts
The Other Side of Hope
Our Blood is Wine


Paris Can Wait
The Party
Patti Cake$
Phantom Thread
The Pickle Recipe
Pop Aye
The Princess Bride
Purple Rain


Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rebel in the Rye
Reform School Girls
Restless Creature
The Rider
RSC Antony & Cleopatra


The Sandlot
Saturday Church
Scarred Justice
Seattle Children's Film Festival 2017
Secret Screening
The Shape of Water
Shut Up and Play the Hits
Sleep Dealer
Soul Power
The Square
Stand By Me
Steel Magnolias
Stop Making Sense
Sullivan's Travels
Surf Nazis Must Die


Tehran Taboo
There Are Jews Here
They Call Us Monsters
Titicut Follies
To Kill A Mockingbird
Torch Song Trilogy
Trip to Spain
Turkey Shoot


The Umbrellas of Cherbourg


Velvet Goldmine
Viceroy's House
Victoria & Abdul


Watermelon Woman
Wayne's World
West Side Story
When Harry Met Sally
Who's Gonna Love Me Now?
Whose Streets?
Won't You Be My Neighbor?


The Young Karl Marx





members copy@2x-8.png

Ticket discounts, free popcorn and special access...Nick members get it all. In addition to all these perks, Nick members benefit most from knowing that their contributions support the Nickelodeon in its effort to bring more great films, engaging conversations, media education programs and filmmaker support services to the Columbia area.




Artboard 5 copy 4@2x-8.png
indie grits 2018 015104.jpg
Artboard 19@2x-8.png


Kara Anderson
Carlos Anrrich
Jose Amaya Artiga
Michael Bailey
Chris Balaska
Mark Barrett
Maddie Bennett
Deborah Billings
Nevada Bower
Valeria Boykin-Tate
Barb Burton
Maris Burton
Stephanie Campbell
Zach Cardwell
Sandi Castillo
Larry Chillag
Jim Colwell

Heidi Colwell
Nicolo Cravero
Paul Denman
Jacob Dominy
William Duggan
Nihan Fila
Mel Fin
Stephanie Franklin
Jacory Frazier
Jonathan Furnell Dominique Michelle Gadsden
Kelsey Garcia
Cederick Gibbs
Lauren Graves
Toure Greene
Rachael Harrison

Gayle Hazzard
Elizabeth Lee Heckle
Beth Lowrey
Pat Johnson
Andrew Koehler
Joe Kyle
Antonella Libert
Tim Liszewski
Beth Lowrey
Maddy Lucas
Pranav M.
John Manigo
Audrey Martinich
Veronica Medina
Caroline Mobley
Crawford Nettles

Rocío Núñez
Joselyn Orellana
Rosetta Penny
Jehle Phillips-Franke Justin Price
Marshall Price
Ari Robbins
Alice Rodriguez
Mary Rogers
Jessa Ross
Stephen Ryan
Mika Sakamoto
Ceylin Ucok
Bart Walrath
Maria Walrath
Debbie Yerkes




members copy 2@2x-8.png


Alliance for Full Acceptance
Central Carolina Community Foundation
City of Columbia
Ford Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
The Nord Family Foundation
Richland County Government
Richland School District One
South Carolina Arts Commission
South Carolina Film Commission
South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Women's Rights and Empowerment Network


Abacus Planning Group
Bank of America
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, P.A.
Columbia 63
Columbia Museum of Art
Drip (Records)
First Citizens Bank
Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.
Governor's School for Arts & Humanities
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA
KW Beverage
LTC Health Solutions
Mast General Store
Michael’s Café & Catering
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP
Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Parker Poe
Richard A. Harpootlian Law Firm
Richland County Bar Association
Rogers Lewis
Jackson Mann & Quinn, LLC
SC Bar Young Lawyers Division
Shandon Presbyterian
South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities
The Braddock Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
The Whig
Thirsty Fellow
University of South Carolina - School of Visual Arts and Design




Fiscal Year 2018

Artboard 1 copy@2x-8.png
Artboard 2 copy@2x-8.png

* Depreciation is non-cash depreciation

* Depreciation is non-cash depreciation

* Depreciation is non-cash depreciation

* Depreciation is non-cash depreciation






2017-18 Staff

Avni Gupta-Kagan
Interim CEO,
Columbia Film Society

Alison Kozberg
Director, Nickelodeon Theatre

Seth Gadsden
Director, Indie Grits Labs

Carrie Grebenc
Director of Development

Kaitlin McKnight
Operations Manager

Amanda Windsor
Marketing Coordinator

Amada Torruella
Programming Coordinator

Savannah Taylor

Pedro LopezDeVictoria
Indie Grits Labs Programming Coordinator

Mahkia Greene
Indie Grits Labs
Education Instructor

Micaela Arnett
Development Assistant

Deborah Adedokun
Assistant Theater Manager

Steffi Brink
Assistant Theater Manager
Indie Grits Labs Associate

Bree Burchfield
Assistant Theater Manager

Torres Perkins
Assistant Theater Manager

Adrian Williams
Theater Staff

Theater Staff

Anissa Armaly
Lillian Burke
Allie Dugger
Danny Flores
Alycia Guevara
Alice Lilitu
Cade McConnell
Kaylyn Middleton
Caesar Nieto
Anna Weller


Henry Coonrod
Danny Flores
Jacory Frazier
Shelby Geter
Suzanne Green
Olivia Griffin
Isabel Hayman
Khari McCloud
Max Thompson

2017-18 Board of Directors

John P. Boyd

Melanie Joseph

Chris Controne

Lemuel Watson

Sam Johnson

Judy Battiste
Debbie Cohn
Amos Disasa
Nikky Finney

Toby Goodlett
Hank Jibaja
Damon Jeter
Scott Middleton
Anne Wolfe Postic
James E. Smith Jr.
Scottie Smith

media copy.jpg

About Us

About Us

About the Columbia Film Society (CFS)

Columbia Film Society (CFS) serves Columbia, SC, as a center for critical dialogue, anchored by the presentation of films that showcase the diversity, challenges, joy, and aspirations of its community. A destination for enjoyment, enrichment, and education, CFS provides the tools to make, interpret, appreciate, and teach the moving image in all its variety through its two arms: the Nickelodeon Theatre (“the Nick”) and Indie Grits Labs (“IG Labs”).