Indie Grants provides funding to state’s filmmakers, hands-on training for students

Abigail Darlington

South Carolina filmmakers interested in producing short films this year have a week left to apply for state grants to help fund their projects.

Indie Grants, one of the South Carolina Film Commission’s main support programs for the statewide film industry, is accepting applications from in-state filmmakers and scriptwriters until June 5 for its 2015-16 funding period.

Those interested can submit their resumes, short film scripts and an application form that can be found online at

An independent panel will review the applications and select projects to fund based on quality of the scripts and feasibility.

Typically, the panel selects three to six projects, which are awarded $10,000 to $15,000 each.

The money does come with strings. Films awarded Indie Grants have to be produced entirely in-state, and they must meet broadcast decency standards to be deemed appropriate for public television.

Most importantly, they have to use Trident Technical College film students in the production crews because one of the main goals of the program is to help develop a skilled workforce in South Carolina to support the growth of the film industry.

“You can learn as much as you can in a classroom, but you don’t really know how the film production industry works until you really get out there and work in it,” said Brad Jayne, the Indie Grants administrator. “These projects were created as a training environment that … oftentimes works as a bridge to employment.”

Through the partnership with Trident Tech’s film, media and digital arts program, Indie Grants has helped produce more than 20 short films since 2010. Many students who worked on the sets have gone on to work for major productions, including HBO’s “Vice Principals,” which is being filmed in the Lowcountry.

Chris Greene, a film student at Trident Tech, worked last year on the set of “Gone Away,” a short Indie Grants film, as a locations assistant.

Afterward, he was hired as the art department assistant for another in-state production being filmed in McClellanville. Greene said he wants to work in art departments on other films when he graduates next fall.

“I’m really lucky to be given this opportunity, and to be a set decorator,” he said. “I think Indie Grants, in particular, more than anything else I’ve heard of in South Carolina, really gives people the hands-on experience that you really need in the film industry that you can’t get in the classroom.”

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