COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Film Commission says the state is a good place for local filmmakers. And while the coastal region is usually more of a draw, Columbia is featured by a local filmmaker in his latest work.
Mo’reese Madu is a local filmmaker. He recently wrote and produced a Black love story called ‘Differences’ featuring Columbia locations and people.
“We just recently won two awards, Best South Carolina Feature Film, and the Audience Award at the Inter- at the Freedom Festival International,” Madu said.
Madu is from the Capital City and says he's inspired by it.
“We shot different places throughout the city where we got quick shots,” Madu said. “You can, if you're from here, you would know this took place in Columbia.”
Madu says the film’s main character learns to embrace the city like he has.
“A lot of times we're looking so far outside of ourselves for the goal instead of right near us, like a lot of the solutions to our problems are in the community,” Madu said.
Actor David Rowell plays the main character in Madu’s film.
“As you speak to him, you see the pride, you know, you get this sense of urgency about getting these places highlighted,” Rowell said.
Rowell says Madu is starting a movement.
“There are not a lot of filmmakers that come out of South Carolina and not a lot of actors that come out of South Carolina, and there's not enough resources that are in South Carolina,” Rowell said. “So to see this movie, from top to bottom, be completed and shown in the light that it was, is absolutely powerful.”
Matt Storm and Dan Rogers with the State Film Commission say filmmaking’s prevalence in the state depends on the area.
“Unfortunately, it's kind of, most of the big budget stuff that comes to town tends to gravitate towards the coasts,” Storm said. “So, it's normally in the Lowcountry, specifically the Charleston area.”
But Rogers says easier access to equipment, technology and streaming platforms has caused growth across the board.
“It is super easy to shoot in South Carolina as a filmmaker,” Rogers said. “The permit process is really easy and people are usually really eager to have you there in the neighborhood. They get a little more bang for their buck in South Carolina than they would in other areas.”
Madu’s film is titled 'Differences' and it is available on a free streaming platform called Tubi.