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Real Fiction Project

In 2019-2020 the Indie Grits Labs Fellowship program is focusing on current News & Media Literacy issues facing our local Southern communities through the “Real Fiction Project.” Misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy theories are saturating our shared media landscape and manifesting public movements across the Southeast. This year, Indie Grits Labs identified journalists, new media artists, and documentary filmmakers to develop projects around this growing 21st century conundrum.

The project is producing a wide range of works that look at history, public events, family relationships, community radio and more. Each Fellow has responded by developing personal, nuanced projects that ask all of us to question are own responses to the growing wave of real fiction.

Real Fiction Project Premiere

When: Thursday, March 26 at 7:00 PM | 180 min
Where: The Nickelodeon Theatre | 1607 Main Street

Join us for the public premiere of the Real Fiction Project. The 2020 Indie Grits Labs Fellows will be presenting their work-in-progress documentary films, experimental media, and special performances. Screenings will be followed by Q&A discussions with the participating media artists.

Reserve tickets


Tamales y Tuna

Lucía Archila Escobar | Columbia, SC

In the South Carolina Indigenous Guatemalan community, women face healthcare barriers that make it difficult to carry their pregnancies to term. Here, pregnant Erlinda longs for the familiar tastes of the nopal fruit, while Fabiana spends her days making tamales to get over a heartbreaking loss. An intimate look at family life, Tamales y Tuna asks what it means to make one’s way through motherhood far from the comforts of home.

Rules of Practice

Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz | Atlanta, GA

An experimental visual essay inquiring into some of the ideologies undergirding industrialized modes of filmmaking.

Waiting for Q

Pilar Timpane | Durham, NC

An anonymous online voice emerges as a prophet for a new generation of right-wing conspiracy theorists. As the 2020 election approaches, QAnon beliefs are espoused by elected officials and even retweeted by the president. Exploring an offline meetup for these believers at a gathering in Tampa, FL, “Waiting for Q” looks at the fringe group and its followers.


Soul of a City

Gavin Mcintyre | Charleston, SC

Amidst the sandy beaches, hotels and historical monuments, a “radical” radio host wakes the consciousness of listeners in the quiet, calm city of Beaufort, SC.

On Becoming Undone

Grant Conversano | Winston-Salem, NC

The filmmaker writes a letter addressed to his estranged alcoholic father, part memoir, part critical theory, this essayistic film reflects on a history of family images in order to break free from them.

Misc. Negros

Tamika Gadsden | Charleston, SC

The heroes and heroines of historical Black media ripped from obscurity and erasure – – reimagined against an Afro-Futuristic backdrop of Hip Hop.



Luke Hodges | Columbia, SC

In the southern imagination, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman remains a monster of history, an unrepentant “incendiary” responsible for the destruction of Columbia during the Civil War. This experimental short exhumes slanted, 1865-era newspaper coverage of Sherman and the Burning of Columbia to explore the enduring influence of Confederate myth on the character of the city.

The Grain

Sherrie Belton | Columbia, SC

In a part of town inundated by negative headlines, The Grain, a community radio station in Columbia’s Eau Claire neighborhood, turns the tables and puts the storytelling back in the hands of the North Columbia community.