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'Rising from the ashes' and how one Columbia film fest heals

The Freedom International Film Festival uses what it calls the 'Phoenix Theory' in its films.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — From coast to coast, filmmakers descended on the capital city in hopes of sparking a buzz around their latest films. The Freedom International Film Festival premiered several short and standard-length films.

This summer was one full of blockbusters like Top Gun and Jurassic Park. This weekend was dedicated to those films that may not draw millions but may leave a significant impact. 

According to the Freedom International Film Festival organizer Andrew Gajadhar, this festival will bring healing. He said this festival emphasizes the "Phoenix Theory."

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“Rising from the ashes, being torch bearers for those coming up who need to rise from the ashes as well," Gajadhar said.

He said that healing applies to more than just the viewers of the films but the filmmakers, especially those who deal with mental illness or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Aside from healing, the films at the festival focus on underrepresented groups. Andrew said these films work against stereotypes and help show a new perspective. 

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“Something about mental health, something about social injustice - anything that’s hard-hitting," Tim Jameson said. 

He created "Psychosis," one of the films showcased at the festival.

“And it’s just a peak into the life of what a gay Black man may experience," Tony Moore said of his film.

Both Tony and Tim are from the Midlands. Showcasing their work here at home is bigger than anything they could imagine. 

“It’s definitely a full circle moment," Tony said.

“I live like 45 minutes away; so, that’s really, really great," Tim said.

The film festival runs from Thursday, Aug. 18 until Sunday, Aug. 21. On Sunday, films will be shown until 5 p.m. Following that, there will be an award presentation ending at 10 p.m.

Admission is $10 and can be purchased at the door at the Spotlight Cinemas Capital 8 on Columbia Mall Boulevard.

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