The Gullah Project nominated for Best Documentary at Cape Fear Independent Film Festival

The Gullah Project was nominated for Best Documentary at Cape Fear Independent Film Festival in March. The winner for Best Documentary went to Lee’s 88 Keys, directed by Susan Robbins. She also won the award for Best Female Director.

Despite not taking home the award, Cape Fear Independent Film Festival was a huge success for our team. The small venue provided an intimate setting to meet like-minded individuals with a wide variety of experience. Through them, we learned a lot about the art of filmmaking.

It was useful to get feedback from festival-goers about our project. Viewers confirmed that the strongest element of our film is the people of St. Helena Island. We are truly gratified that viewers responded this way. People were very generous with helpful comments. It was a great affirmation for our work.

The Gullah Project will screen at Charlotte Black Film Festival this Saturday, April 9th at 10:00am. Make sure to visit our Screenings page for other listings.



The Gullah Project screens at Cape Fear Indep. Film Festival

We are excited to screen The Gullah Project at Cape Fear Independent Film Festival tonight at 7pm in Hannah S. Block Community Arts Center. It shows alongside Unverified: The Untold Story Behind the UNC Scandal.

We also screen The Gullah Project tomorrow Saturday, March 11th at 5:30pm. This screening will also be held at the Hannah S. Block Community Arts Center and will be accompanied by Lee’s 88 Keyes, The Disappearing Church, and Witch!.

For more information about screenings and showtimes please click here.

The McKissick Museum presents Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 11.28.09 AM


The McKissick Museum will present Shared Traditions: Sacred Music in the South on February 26-27 in Columbia, SC.

The conference will begin on Friday, February 26, 2016 at 3:30 at McKissick Museum located on the campus of the University of South Carolina. There is will be an artist meet and greet with Anita Singleton-Prather, a curator-led tour of Heard at Every Turn: Traditional Music in South Carolina and The African-American Spiritual Tradition in the Sea Islands.

Starting at 9am on Saturday, February 27th, Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia will hold a panel session for Vocal Godliness: Gospel in Black and White. It will be followed with a keynote address by ethnomusicologist Dr. Cynthia Schmidt, The Legacy of Song: Gullah Tradition and the TransAtlantic Dialogue and will include a film screening of The Language You Cry In.

To find out more information about this exciting presentation please visit

The Gullah Project selected to screen at the 17th Annual Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival

The Gullah Project has been selected to screen at the 17th Annual Bare Bones International Film & Music Festival April 19-24, 2016 in Muskogee, OK.

To find a complete list of screenings for this documentary film please visit the Screenings section of our webpage.


The Gullah Project selected for two prestigious film festivals

The Gullah Project has been officially selected for two prestigious film festivals.

Cape Fear Independent Film Festival will be held in Wilmington, N.C., a destination located in the Gullah/Geechee Corridor, March 10th – 12th 2016.

Festival dates for the 6th Annual Charlotte Black Film Festival are April 6th – 10th, 2016 at the Charlotte Convention Center.

We look forward to attending both festivals and seeing the official 2016 selections.

School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Research Roundtable Series Presentation

On Tuesday, January 26th Director Denise McGill presented an update and discussed the process of making The Gullah Project at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Research Roundtable Series.

In attendance were fifty students and faculty members, all who have been following the progress of this documentary film. Also in attendance were two of The Gullah Project’s production assistances Ali O’Hara and Michael Tolbert. Both of which commented on their involvement with the film. O’Hara discussed the process of selecting the appropriate music that would resonate with Gullah/Geechee culture. Tolbert discussed obtaining a Magellan Grant, which allowed him to travel to the island to film as well as his involvement with building the multimedia site for the film.

McGill has been working on this documentary film since 2013 and has been employing students in order to give them real world and on location experience outside of the classroom.

School of Journalism and Mass Communications Research Roundtable Series

School of Journalism and Mass Communications
Research Roundtable Series presents

“The Gullah Project: Behind the Scenes and on Location” by Associate Professor Denise McGill

Date: Tues, Jan. 26
Time: 1:15 – 2:30 PM
Location: SJMC 318

McGill will screen the current draft of her documentary film The Gullah Project. She will discuss the process and contribution of students along the way. This project was awarded a 2014 Creative and Performing Arts grant from the Provost’s Office.

Refreshments will be provided. We hope you can join us.

The Penn Center 33rd Annual Heritage Days Celebration

Tomorrow starts the the Penn Center 33rd Annual Heritage Days Celebration held on St. Helena Island, SC. Authentic Gullah music, food, and customs await families and friends who return to the island to celebrate their Gullah/Geechee culture. PAGE_1_HERITAGE_DAYS_POST_CARD_FRONT

This year Saundra “Renee” Smith is Heritage Days Artist of the Year. She will be honored at a reception tomorrow with music by Mahoganee. On Friday the public is invited to the discussion Researching Gullah/Geechee Roots: A Genealogy Symposium with the keynote address by Michael W. Twitty.

Other festivities back this year are the Road to Remembrance play directed by Sara’ Reynolds Green, Friday Night Fish Fry, Oyster Roast & Crab Crack, Juke Joint Jam, and last but not least the Heritage Day Parade, which will close off Highway 21 from 8 am – 10:30 am on Saturday, November 14th.

If you’re in the area or have been interested in checking this event out we here at The Gullah Project highly recommend it.

To see complete program, guest speakers, and scheduling please click here.

Flood devastates South Carolina agriculture

The rain and floods that began on October 1 continue to have a devastating impact on South Carolina’s famers and landowners. Much of the water has receded, but it will take time to clean up the damage.

On October 28, U.S. Department of Agriculture listed 29 counties in South Carolina, as well as parts of Georgia and North Carolina, as natural disaster areas. Farm operators in those counties may be eligible for USDA’s low interest emergency loans or other programs. Farmers have until June 2016 to apply for assistance for their losses.

Nine of the effected counties are in the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor: Beaufort, Berkley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Georgetown, Horry, Marion and Williamsburg.

For more information, see

South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers estimates crop losses in the state at $300 million. Heavy losses are in peanuts and cotton because these crops were just beginning harvest in October. Thousands of acres were under water for a time.

Other resources include the Flood Mitigation Program of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.

An exclusive look at the Heritage Day Festivities 2014

Caught in action The Gullah Project team made sure to stop by the Johnson's booth at the Heritage Days Festival.
Caught in action The Gullah Project team made sure to stop by the Johnsons’ booth at the Heritage Days Festival.

Last week The Gullah Project team traveled to St. Helena Island to attend the 32nd Annual Heritage Days Celebration. From covering the Road of Remembrance play directed by Sara’ Reynolds Green, to climbing trees with a GoPro camera to photograph Ben Johnson’s produce booth, the team had an outrageously good time. Take a moment to visit this exclusive behind the scenes gallery from the Heritage Day Festivities by clicking on the photograph above.