Indie Filmmaker Andrew Garrison explores the power of art in low-income housing

Friday, October 5, 2007

Garrison’s Third Ward TX will be screened at I.P. Stanback Planetarium, Oct. 21

Indie filmmaker Andrew Garrison’s Third Ward TX will be screened at I.P. Stanback Planetarium, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m.ORANGEBURG – The I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium presents indie filmmaker Andrew Garrison as part of the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, Oct. 21.

The screening of Third Ward TX will be held in the planetarium on SC State’s campus on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 5 p.m. The screening is free and moviegoers will have an opportunity to speak with the filmmakers. Space is limited; reservations are encouraged. To make reservations, or to receive additional information, contact the museum at (803) 536-7174.

At a reception following the screening, Garrison will engage the audience in a discussion about the film and his work as a filmmaker. The film is presented as a community service of SC State.

In Third Ward TX, Garrison documents the economic and creative redemption of a traditionally African-American neighborhood in decline, through the efforts of a group of local artists, residents and volunteers.

In the early 1990s, a step ahead of city demolition crews, a group of African American artists took over a block of abandoned, condemned, row houses in Houston’s Third Ward. They wanted to start a dialogue on conditions in the neighborhood by bringing attention to this crime-infested area. What they had in mind was a temporary, “drive-by” exhibition; however, “…this old lady…told us, ‘If you want to do something for real…you’ll clean up this place and get these junkies outta here. That’s what you’ll do if you want to do something for real,’” recollects sculptor Jesse Lott.

The artists set in motion an unprecedented model for community renewal and personal transformation. Their venture, named “Project Row Houses,” has created a neighborhood that is no longer a symbol of poverty and hopelessness, but is now an international beacon of strength and imagination.

Andrew Garrison is an independent filmmaker whose documentaries deal with issues of community, culture, and poverty. Garrison is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the NEA and the American Film Institute. As a producer/director/editor his films have been broadcast on PBS and screened in international festivals such as Sundance, the New York Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Berlin Children’s Film Festival. For over 12 years, Garrison worked with the pioneering documentary film group, Appalshop, in the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Today, he lives in Austin, Texas, where he teaches film production at the University of Texas.

The Southern Circuit, produced by the Southern Arts Federation, provides independent filmmakers with the opportunity to travel to communities across the South, where they screen their films for local audiences and engage in post-screening conversations about their work. Produced without studio backing, many of these films would never be seen on a screen in this area of the country without Southern Circuit. This year, for the first time, there will be an additional short film opening each feature presentation, a selected “Short Circuit.”

The “Short Circuit” that precedes Third Ward TX will be The Language of Limbs: A Documentary of the Agrifolk Art Movement by conceptual artist Eyekiss. In this short film, filmmaker Jonathon Keats discovers the last true folk artists remaining – 50 leyland cypress trees. Watch the drama unfold as these trees, outfitted with easels, paper and pencils, communicate through art...seriously.

Created by the S.C. Arts Commission in 1975, Southern Circuit takes independent filmmakers on a journey into communities across the South. Chosen by a panel of experts for the quality of their work, the filmmakers screen their recent films for local audiences. Produced without studio backing and struggling to secure a distributor, many of these films would never be seen on a screen in this area of the country without the film festival tour. In July 2006, the Southern Arts Federation adopted the Southern Circuit with the intent of fostering the next evolutionary stage of the program.