The Debutante Hunters Producer Kristy Cuthbert of Mt. Pleasant, SC, in Park City, UT.


The INDIE GRANTS short film The Debutante Hunters was accepted to the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Yahoo! Audience Award.  Directed by Maria White Mebane and Produced by Mebane and Kristy Cuthbert, it was one of 64 short films selected out of the more than 7,000 submitted.

The Debutante Hunters was filmed entirely on location in the Lowcountry of South Carolina with Trident Technical College students as part of the crew.  South Carolina is one of the only states in the U.S. to offer this type of filmmaker-direct funding as a training program for S.C. students.

The Debutante Hunters profiles a group of Southern belles who reveal their rugged side, showcasing their skills as they hunt off the land and dismantle stereotypes in the process.  Representing a long-standing but seldom-seen tradition in America, the women are part of families where hunting is handed down from generation to generation, and respect for the animal and the natural world are an integral part of their culture.

"I could not have made this film without Indie Grants,"  said White. "And we were all so excited to get to take this film and share South Carolina stories, locations and culture on such a huge stage!"

"This program has been effective training for South Carolina's future film production technicians," said Tom Clark with the South Carolina Film Commission.  "And with Sundance, and a lot of the other international film festivals some of the other films have gotten in, we're giving South Carolina some really great positive exposure, which is a whole other benefit."

The South Carolina Film Commission INDIE GRANT program was created to develop collaborative projects in film, video and multimedia between professionals in the motion picture and related industries and institutions of higher learning in South Carolina.  Independent producers and other professionals in motion picture-related fields partner with Trident Technical College, working with students to help South Carolina build its knowledge pool and improve the skills of those already involved in the industry. 

TDH Producer/Director Maria White Mebane shows her S.C. pride on Main St. in Park City.

INDIE GRANTS fund films based on story, merit, and their potential contributions to the cultural and historical fabric of South Carolina. The program is designed to help South Carolina filmmakers tell their stories, create industry exposure, and provide Trident Technical College film students with training opportunities. Students receive invaluable hands-on training and the program acts as a bridge to full-time professional employment.

INDIE GRANTS provide essential opportunities to a diverse field of South Carolina filmmakers, strengthen indigenous filmmaking in the state and showcase the state's production industry on a national level.

Learn more about INDIE GRANTS funding cycles here.