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Mission & History

Tallgrass Film Association fosters an appreciation of the cinematic arts by creating shared experiences around the international medium of film.

TFA, a 501(c)(3) arts organization, was founded in 2003 by Timothy Gruver, a Wichita native who studied filmmaking at Brigham Young University (often sneaking into Sundance Film Festival parties in Park City to mingle with the stars) before moving to Los Angeles for his first job with Dreamworks Animation, followed by Outfest and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Tim returned to Wichita in 2002 to found Tallgrass Film Association (known originally as the Wichita Association for Motion Picture Arts.) Tim believed Wichita could be the next Telluride — obvious geographical issues aside — and created the city's first annual Tallgrass Film Festival, held in October of 2003. Tim amassed a dedicated board of directors and staff, many of whom remain with the organization today, and North America's most Stubbornly Independent film association was born.

Tragically, Tim passed away suddenly at the age of 33, just prior to the third festival. The board, staff and community united, determined that the show must go on.

Since then, the festival has expanded to a 5-day format and TFA's year round programming has increased to inlcude screenings, special events, a traveling road show and educational programming. TFA emphasizes community partnerships and regularly collaborates with the Music Theatre Wichita, Wichita Art Museum, Botanica, Ulrich Museum of Art, Exploration Place, Sedgwick County Historical Museum, Orpheum Theatre, CityArts and Wichita Symphony Orchestra to name just a few, as well as tens of other non-profit organizations throughout the region.

In January 2003, Gruver told the Wichita Eagle, on founding TFA,  “I want it to be done for the love of film, for the audience.” We think he'd be proud.

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