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Blythewood will officially launch the holiday season on Sunday, Nov. 28 when it flips the switch on its town Christmas tree. The traditional annual tree lighting will begin at 5 p.m. in front of Town Hall and will include live music and refreshments. Organizers also promise a visit from a ce…

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Family and friends are preparing to gather this week to enjoy a festive, loving time with one another. Local non-profit, Palmetto Place, is also preparing, but they are opening their three homes to house homeless youths during the holiday season.

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Health and holidays are two words that cause many to cringe as delicious dishes are being paraded on the family table during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. So, how do those trying to keep the pandemic pounds off and maintain their healthy eating habits survive during this holiday…

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“We absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, the weather is beautiful, the food is good, the people are gorgeous, and we are just happy to be here,” said Cindy McCullen. She and hundreds of seafood lovers from around the city came out in droves Saturday to enjoy the 24th annual South Carolina Oys…

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It’s beginning to look a lot like peak shopping season, everywhere you go. And opinions on whether pre-Thanksgiving is too soon for holiday activity aside, experts say starting early this year in particular could make all the difference in getting everything on your list.

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Officials from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles announced Wednesday that the DMV will be returning to in-car road tests for regular licenses as of Nov. 15. The change will be for all branch offices across the state.

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Families can step into a good book together starting Friday when visiting Richland Library's new StoryWalk at Riverfront Park's South Entrance (312 Laurel St., Columbia). The installation provides an opportunity for children to celebrate a love of reading, keep moving and enjoy a local park …

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Blythewood area residents who’ve come to depend on the town’s Farmers Market for fresh produce, eggs and other items will still be able to “shop local” all winter. The market’s regular season ends Nov. 17, but a winter market will pick back up the week after Thanksgiving, according to market…

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"COVID was the Grinch who stole Christmas in 2020. But thankfully things will be returning to normal," South Carolina's First Lady Peggy McMaster said Monday during the arrival of the official 2021 South Carolina Christmas Tree at the State House North Lawn, in preparation for the 55th annua…

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The South Carolina Underground Film Festival returned to the Midlands to celebrate the art of independent films with a weekend-long event.

The Nickelodeon Theatre hosted the seventh-annual film festival, where filmmakers from all over the globe competed for the honors of taking home a SCUFFY trophy.

South Carolina Underground Film Festival Awards

Jury Award:

Nuts! The Musical

Director Benjamin Dean Wilson took home the honors of best overall project (the Jury Award). The twisted musical is laced with satire and garnered Wilson with his first award, at his first-ever festival. Wilson stated that the musical took a lot of inspiration from cult-classic Monty Python and Emmy-winning show South Park.

Nuts! The Musical is a dark-musical comedy that follows two brothers, who have to manage their dying father’s pest control company. The two stumble into a crazy conspiracy, which causes the demand for their newly invented pest control chemical to skyrocket.

Best Feature:

Bad Girls

Christopher Bickel’s film Bad Girls was accredited with the ‘Best Feature’ award at SCUFF. Bickel highlighted the film festival’s communication as the reason it’s one of his favorites.

“[SCUFF]’s communication is some of the best communication I’ve experienced. As far as him just reaching, making sure that everybody knows when and where they're supposed to be, everybody gets a chance to do a Q&A after the movies,” said Bickel.

Bad Girls follows the story of three desperate teenage girls who robbed a strip club. The girls are then locked into a cross-country pursuit, featuring a misogynistic federal agent and a crew of kidnappers.

Best Documentary:

Giant: The World of Filmmaker Jeff Leroy

This documentary short follows the story of one-of-a-kind filmmaker Jeff Leroy, witnesses a giant woman and a monster get into a huge kaiju fight. The fight takes place in a miniature city made from discarded trash.

Best South Carolina Filmmaker:

Brittany Brock

Brock is a local filmmaker who directed a horror short titled Womb. Womb follows a soon-to-be mother in her third trimester, who is forced to face her anxiety and fears in her own personal hot pink hellscape. Brock has been participating in SCUFF for the last three years and appreciates the festival for being so risky with the films they show.

“I don’t have a lot of opportunities as a horror filmmaker to screen at traditional film festivals, outside of a horror block, so [SCUFF] really caters to me,” Brock said. “You get the most genuine reactions and as a filmmaker that’s exactly what you want.”

Best Short:

The Fuzzies

The Fuzzies is a horror short where a man wakes up in a strange bathroom and is terrified to find out that there is something lurking behind the walls.

Best South Carolina Film:

Unblocked

Unblocked is a comedy short that depicts two aliens bargaining with a human after a malfunction in their cloaking devices.

Best Foreign Film:

Can’t Go Home Again

Temporal Enforcement Agent Elliot Young breaks protocol and returns to her own past.

Best Animation Short:

The Dark Odyssey

Best Un-produced Screenplay – Feature:

​Geneva

Best Un-produced Screenplay – Short:

The Big Break

Zach Van Fleet, the screenwriter of The Big Break, opened up about why he decided to not only submit his project but to drive down from Chattanooga to experience the film festival.

“The first thing I noticed was how great the Nickelodeon Theatre is and how dedicated they seem to be to the enjoyment of movies. I think that that spirit extends into the festival,” Van Fleet stated.

Aside from marketing and showcasing some of the best independent films across the world, SCUFF makes sure to promote local filmmaking within the state.

The film festival was created with the idea that the event is about the creators; Founder Tom Faircloth said he strives to put the spotlight on the filmmakers and directors.

The SC Underground Film Festival looks to continue to grow as a respected independent film festival, Faircloth alluded to a more extensive festival in years to come.

“As we grow, it would be nice to be able to have more workshops and even extend the fest to include more films,” he said.

Additional information about The South Carolina Underground Film Festival can be found on the organization's website and Facebook page.

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Some ran. Some walked. Some rucked (the military term for walking/running with a loaded backpack). Some stood alongside and cheered. All were there to honor U.S. veterans, and all were helping raise money to provide accommodations for the loved ones of veterans receiving hospital care.

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The City of West Columbia knows that when you throw a party, you have to be ready for any extra challenges the weather might bring. With temperatures dipping into the 40s for Friday night’s Fall Back Fest, the hosts were prepared to keep the guests warm and make the night a success.