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The 16th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival announces its 2018 Stubbornly Independent & DOXX Award Contenders

The 16th Annual Tallgrass International Film Festival presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 18-22) today announced the films that will compete this year in Tallgrass’s Stubbornly Independent and DOXX Spotlight competitions.

The five finalists in the Stubbornly Independent competition include; H.P. Mendoza’s BITTER MELON, Will McFadden’s DOUBTING THOMAS, Sara Radle’s ELEVEN HUNDRED TO LUBBOCK, Adam Cushman’s THE MAESTRO, and Nitzan Mager & Shanchar Langlevm’s A SCIENTIST’S GUIDE TO LIVING AND DYING.

This year’s DOXX Spotlight finalists include; Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt’s BEI BEI, Lis Bartlett’s LIGHT IN THE WATER, and Sahra Mani’s A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME. The DOXX Spotlight Competition is sponsored by Greteman Group.

Regarding the Stubbornly Independent hopefuls, Tallgrass Film Festival’s Programing Director Nick Pope said, “It’s hard to imagine five stories that could be more different and unique in comparison to the others within the same group. And that is one of the great things about this competition, as year-after-year it demonstrates to our Wichita audiences that oftentimes a limited filmmaking budget only increases the odds that the creativity and accomplishment in making these films will be that much greater.”

Gretchen Mitchell, Tallgrass’s co-Director of Programming, was equally enthusiastic about this year’s DOXX Competition finalists, saying, “Our second year presenting the DOXX Competition has once again succeeded in giving us the opportunity to highlight the great work being done by female documentarians and  their unique perspective on finding fascinating stories needing to be told, and then having the   the skill and vision to explore those issues and real life from a woman’s perspective,"

This year marks the 7th year of the SI competition, where eligible films must be domestic narrative feature films made for $500,000 or less without traditional, theatrical, domestic distribution at the time of the festival screening. Finalists will be juried by a panel of industry professionals including director Cory Bowles (BLACK COP), Graham Fine (The Film Sales Company) and Carroll Gelderman (Cinetic Media)

The Stubbornly Independent competition winner will be announced with the Tallgrass Film Festival’s lineup next month and will be featured as the Stubbornly Independent Gala Spotlight selection sponsored by Rick & Monica Nutt on Saturday, October 20. The winner will also receive the Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Award and a $5,000 cash prize. The three runners up will be included as official selections in the festival and will be eligible for the Audience Award for Narrative Feature and $2,500 cash prize.

The 2018 Tallgrass FF Stubbornly Independent Finalists

 

BITTER MELON

Director: H.P. Mendoza

Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min

When a Filipino-American family reunites for a Christmas party, the holiday takes a dark turn when they conspire to murder the abusive bully of the family.

 

DOUBTING THOMAS

Director: Will McFadden

Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min

After a white couple inexplicably gives birth to a black child, the purest bonds of trust, friendship, and love are put to the ultimate test.

 

ELEVEN HUNDRED TO LUBBOCK

Director: Sara Radle

Country: USA, Running Time: 99 min

A group of unlikely friends pay tribute to their recently deceased loved one by relay-running his ashes across the country.

 

THE MAESTRO

Director: Adam Cushman

Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min

After the Second World War, budding film composer Jerry Herst moves to Hollywood to study with infamous master teacher Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

 

A SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO LIVING AND DYING

Directors: Nitzan Mager & Shachar Langlevm

Country: USA, Running Time: 77 min

Obsessed with finding answers in her groundbreaking genetic research, a young scientist is thrown into free-fall when she becomes pregnant with her dead husband’s child and is suddenly confronted by the unknowable — absorbed into a realm of mystical female consciousness both terrifying and transcendent.

 

The 2018 Stubbornly Independent Competition Jurors

 

Cory Bowles

Cory Bowles is a multidisciplinary artist from Nova Scotia, Canada. Most known for “Cory” in the TV series TRAILER PARK BOYS, he currently serves as a director, receiving a nomination for the 2016 DGC award for Outstanding Direction in a Comedy Series. As principal choreographer and director of the companies Verve Mwendo Dance, and Black Rabbit Entertainment, he has created over 70 works/choreographies for stage and film - his work reflecting his fascination to racial identity, social and cultural structures. After making a number of award winning short films, his first feature film BLACK COP (2017) premiered at the Toronto International Film festival, was a special presentation by The Historic Black Police Precinct in Miami Florida. and went on to earn Best Canadian Feature at the 2017 Vancouver International Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at the St. Louis International Film Festival and a Canadian Screen Award (John Dunning Discovery Prize), The Screen Nova Scotia Sward for Best Feature.

 

Graham Fine

Graham Fine is Manager of Acquisitions at The Film Sales Company, where he focuses on discovering new talent and projects, strategizing festival play, and aiding the Sales team in strategizing and closing deals. The Company is unrelenting in securing distribution for independently produced narrative and documentary features, with over 200 titles sold since 2002 to a diverse group of domestic and foreign buyers.

 

Carroll Gelderman

Carroll Gelderman works in the sales division at Cinetic Media, a film and media advisory firm with expertise in raising and structuring independent film finance, North American and international sales, talent management and corporate advisory services.  Since joining the company in 2015, Carroll has been involved in the sales of notable festival titles CITY OF GHOSTS, STRONG ISLAND, KEEP THE CHANGE, WASTED, JIM AND ANDY, and recent Sundance 2018 hits SCIENCE FAIR, RBG, THE SENTENCE, and WE THE ANIMALS.  She also facilitated the domestic festival roll outs of such titles as OBIT, EN EL SEPTIMO DIA, and Brett Morgen's JANE.

 

 

The 2018 Tallgrass FF DOXX Finalists

 

BEI BEI

Directors: Marion Lipschutz & Rose Rosenblatt

Country: USA, Running Time: 76 min

A legal and political drama with two extraordinary women at its center: one, a Chinese immigrant charged with first degree murder and the other, a successful white collar lawyer who unwittingly finds herself defending a woman against legally unprecedented charges.

 

LIGHT IN THE WATER

Director: Lis Bartlett

Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min

The story of West Hollywood Aquatics, the first openly gay swim team and water polo club.

 

A THOUSAND GIRLS LIKE ME

Director: Sahra Mani

Countries: France/Afghanistan, Running Time: 81 min

When a 23-year-old Afghan woman, Khatera, confronts the will of her family and the traditions of her country to seek justice for years of sexual abuse from her father, she sheds light on the faulty Afghan judicial system and the women it rarely protects.

 

The 2018 DOXX Competition Jurors

Robin Berghaus

Robin Berghaus has directed, produced, filmed and edited more than 100 short documentaries, commercials, and educational videos. Her debut feature documentary STUMPED has garnered multiple awards and honors, including the 2017 DOXX Spotlight Competition. She is a recipient of grants from LEF Foundation, Austin Film Society, Frameline and Women in Film Dallas. Her work has been exhibited at the British Film Institute, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Frameline, and as part of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Science on Screen series. Robin is a speaker and panelist for festivals, universities, high schools and organizations. She serves as a film envoy for American Film Showcase, a cultural diplomacy program of the U.S. State Department.

Rebecca Celli

Rebecca Celli is the Director of Sales, Marketing + Acquisitions at cutting-edge documentary distributor Cargo Film and Releasing. In the past year, she's worked on films including Joe Berlinger's INTENT TO DESTROY (Tribeca, IDFA), Netizens (Tribeca), CHASING TRANE (TIFF), BECOMING WHO I WAS (MoMA DocFortnight, Berlinale). Rebecca also programs film series, advises festivals and writes criticism about the intersection between documentary, digital art and the body for journals like the Colorado Independent, Precog, and Duplex Magazine.

Lisa Tawil

Lisa Tawil is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at ITVS, where she is responsible for marketing, communications, creative services, engagement, and distribution of ITVS documentaries. In this role, Lisa has overseen four years of audience growth for the award-winning series Independent Lens and launched Independent Lens's first digital-content channel, Indie Lens Storycast.  She was also instrumental in developing and leading ITVS’ strategy which gained institutional recognition with the Peabody Institutional Award in 2017 and the Governor’s Award awarded at the Creative Arts Emmys by the Television Academy Board of Governors in 2017.  Under her leadership the marketing and creative teams were recognized by Promax, Golden Trailers, Telly's, and the NAMIC Emma's for excellence and multicultural marketing. Lisa has sat on the judging panels for top industry marketing awards such as Emmys, the Mark Awards, and the Webby’s. She is a member of Women in Cable Television (WICT), Women in Film, Promax, and National Association of Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC).

 

Film Legend & Cinema Icon Pam Grier to receive Tallgrass Film Festival's 2018 Ad Astra Award.

The Tallgrass Film Association today announced that film legend and 70’s cinema icon, Pam Grier, will be this year’s recipient of the Ad Astra Award during the 16th edition of the Tallgrass Film Festival Presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 17-21) in Wichita, Kansas.

Tallgrass Film Festival’s Program Director Nick Pope said, “Pam Grier is someone that Tallgrass has sought to bring to Wichita and honor for the longest time. She is the iconic feminine face of urban cinema in the 70s. A prime inspiration both for an entire genre’s mainstream success, a muse for multiple filmmakers, and an inspiration and trend-setter for many actors and filmmakers that followed, it will e the biggest thrill to welcome her and celebrate her career.”

Tallgrass will present the Ad Astra Award to Grier at the Orpheum Theater (200 N Broadway Street) followed by a “Conversation on Film” prior to a screening of her classic film directed by Quentin Tarantino, JACKIE BROWN, on Thursday, October 18 at 6:30PM. The special evening will conclude with a late-night screening of one of Grier’s 70s staples, COFFY, at Roxy’s Downtown (412 E. Douglas Avenue) at 11:15PM.

TALLPass holders have access to the ceremony & both screenings-- tickets to individual events will be general admission (GA) for the public. ($15 for Ad Astra/Jackie Brown, $10 for Coffy) 

Born on May 26, 1949 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Pam Grier was spotted by an agent at a beauty contest in Colorado Springs, who invited her to come to Hollywood and try her hand at acting. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes while she worked as a switchboard operator for American International Pictures. Soon after, she had made it onto the big screen in BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970) and BIG DOLL HOUSE (1971.)

Following appearances in HIT MAN (1972) and BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA (1973), Grier gained notice in Jack Hill’s COFFY (1973) as the title character, “the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town.” The next year, she cemented her status as the undisputed queen of urban cinema as the high-class prostitute out for revenge in Hill’s FOXY BROWN (1974.)

Grier solidified her status as a film star throughout the 70s with a string of films including SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM (1973), SHEBA, BABY (1975), BUCKTOWN (1975) with Fred Williamson, FRIDAY FOSTER (1975), and GREASED LIGHTNING (1977) opposite Richard Pryor. The 80s were highlighted by FORT APACHE, THE BRONX (1981) with Paul Newman, the Ray Bradbury classic, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983), and the Steven Seagal actioner ABOVE THE LAW (1988), as well as regular turns on the television via Michael Mann’s “Crime Story” and “Miami Vice.”

Grier continued to work in both film and television throughout the 90s with memorable appearances in John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM LA (1996) and Tim Burton’s MARS ATTACKS (1996). However, it was Quentin Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN (1997) that offered the actress an opportunity to play a character tailor-made for her unique brand of strength and charisma, resulting in the best critical notices of her career as well as her first Best Actress nominations for both a SAG Award and the Golden Globes. Roles in the thriller IN TOO DEEP (1999) and Jane Campion’s HOLY SMOKE (1999) immediately followed, as well as a reunion with Carpenter on his film GHOSTS OF MARS (2001). Grier became a very familiar sight on television as well, with appearances on several series culminating in a regular stints on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2002-2003) and Showtime’s “The L Word” (2004-2009). On the big screen, Grier has most recently been seen in Tom Hanks’s LARRY CROWNE (2011), Rza’s THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012), and last year’s BAD GRANDMAS, and ROSE.

Purchase your TALLPass for complete access to 5 days of film, parties, VIP treatment and more. 

Passes for the 16th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival are on sale now. Grab yours for an earlybird price of $210 while supplies last. 

The VIP TALLPass is the best way to experience the Tallgrass Film Festival in its entirety - with full access to our VIP lounge, where we roll out the red carpet and offer full bar service, meals, hors d'oeuvres and a relaxing place to kick back and mingle with fellow VIPs. 

The pass also grants you access to all film screenings, including Galas and our unmissable parties. 

Grab yours now before the price rises to $250! 

Tallgrass Film Festival Reveals New Logo & Festival Artwork

The Tallgrass Film Association unveils a new logo and identity for the Tallgrass International Film Festival Presented by Consolidated EquitiesTrust, which will debut this year, during the 16th edition of the popular film festival (October17-21). The new logo was developed by TFA’s partners at creative agency Howerton &White.

While rolling out the new logo, the Tallgrass Film Association will retain the previous logo as well. “We intend to expand the Association's activities outside of the Festival and felt that it was important for the Festival itself to have a logo that was current, unique, and readily identifiable,” said Executive Director Paul Melroy. “Howerton-White did a terrificjob in creating this logo. It presents just the right image for our brand.”

The logo was unveiled at Central Standard Brewing as the Tallgrass International FilmFestival kicked off its all-access TALLPass sale for this year’s “Sweet 16” edition of the fest.

Passes to the festival can be purchased through the Tallgrass website at tallgrassfilm.org for a limited time at the discounted price of $175, which grants passholders entry to the entire festival, which includes five days of films, parties, panels, and VIP lounge access.

Filmmakers still have time to submit their films for consideration for Tallgrass through FilmFreeway or Withoutabox. The late deadline for film submissions is June 15, with the extended (and final) deadline one month away, on July 6.

SUBMIT YOUR FILM!

“Tallgrass is constantly striving to outdo itself. From the programming, to the parties, to the top notch hospitality, whatever it takes to get back to Tallgrass--I’m there.” - Skye Borgman, Director, Forever "B". 

Tallgrass Is Now Accepting Submissions for the 2018 Festival

Tallgrass Film Association (TFA) announces the call for submissions for the 16th annual Tallgrass Film Festival, October 17-21, 2018 in and around downtown Wichita, Kansas. Tallgrass has been included in MovieMaker Magazine’s annual “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for the last three years.

Films should be submitted through FilmFreeway or Withoutabox.

Deadlines & Important Dates: 

  • January 2, 2018: Submissions Open
  • April 1, 2018: Earlybird Deadline
  • May 1, 2018: Regular Deadline
  • June 15, 2018: Late Deadline
  • July 6, 2018: Extended Deadline
  • October 5, 2018 - Notification date
  • October 17 – 21, 2018: Festival date

Fees: 

Features:

  • Early Bird Deadline: $40/$30 student
  • Regular Deadline: $50/$40 student
  • Late Deadline:  $100/$75 student
  • Extended Deadline: $125/$100 student

Shorts:

  • Early Bird Deadline: $15
  • Regular Deadline: $25
  • Late Deadline: $50
  • Extended Deadline: $75

Awards & Prizes:

Tallgrass Film Festival will grant cash awards in the following categories:

  • Audience Award Winning Documentary Feature: $2,500
  • Audience Award Winning Narrative Feature: $2,500
  • Stubbornly Independent Gala Winner: $5,000, as well as a gala screening and one-of-a-kind Tallgrass tap handle
  • Audience Award Winning Short Documentary Film: $1,000
  • Audience Award Winning Short Narrative Film: $1,000
  • DOX Spotlight: $1,500, as well as a Spotlight screening and an award
  • Best Kansas Filmmaker Documentary Short Film: $500
  • Best Kansas Filmmaker Narrative Short Film: $500

Non-cash special recognition awards include: 

  • Golden Strands Awards (awarded by Tallgrass Programming Directors) for Outstanding Documentary, Narrative Feature, Short Films and more
  • Best Emerging Filmmaker Short Film

Rules & Terms:

  • Films must have been completed after January 2017. Some exceptions will be considered for non-domestic releases.
  • Online screeners from secure sources are preferred. Include screener link and password in your submission.
  • 2 submission preview copies of the film are required if you are submitting on disc media (DVD).
  • Press kit is optional - electronic only, please
  • A Wichita premiere is required. World and US Premieres are not required, however premieres (especially Kansas premieres) are preferred and premiere status may be one of the factors considered when determining a film's inclusion in the Festival.
  • The festival does not screen films available on VOD or any online streaming portal at the time of the festival. However, the festival reserves the right to make exceptions to this rule.
  • All films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for festival presentation.
  • The festival will consider work-in-progress, films with temporary soundtracks, digital outputs, and work that did not originate on film. Filmmakers must deliver final format (as indicated) for Festival screening. No exceptions will be permitted.
  • Fees are waived for any Kansas and Emerging Filmmakers under their respective categories with proper identification and qualifications.
  • Emerging Filmmaker films MUST be works written, directed, and shot by high school age students – 18-YEARS OLD AND YOUNGER. This category is not for university or college filmmakers. Adult supervision is limited to advisory capacity. Emerging filmmakers must submit a valid high school identification (student id, school record, passport, drivers license or official identification that includes date of birth) to receive the fee waiver and to be eligible for this category. Please provide this in your submission or in a separate email to submit@tallgrassfilmfest.com.
  • For each major cast/crew Kansas connection, please include name, job title, and Kansas connection city. Please provide this in your submission or in a separate email to submit@tallgrassfilmfest.com. Kansas Filmmaker films are eligible for festival prizes, if the film is accepted as an “in competition” screening in the festival.

Screening/Presentation Terms of Agreement: 

  • Tallgrass Film Festival is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.
  • The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations.
  • The individual or corporation submitting the film shall indemnify and hold harmless Tallgrass Film Festival from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney's fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.
  • Should your film be accepted, we ask permission to keep a copy of the film for our festival library. This request is voluntary and is not conditional. The copy of the film in the TFF library will not be used for profit. Should we consider re-screening the film for a public paid event, we will notify individuals or corporations representing the film for permission and conditions.
  • Packaging - ship your media in a bubble-pack envelope whenever possible. If you must use a fiber pack, please wrap the media with protective material. The festival is not responsible for damage to tapes incurred in shipping.
  • Costs and labeling - all shipping costs to and from Wichita must be borne by the sender. All discs must indicate title, shipper's name, and FilmFreeway tracking number.
  • International entries - all entries from outside the US should be sent Airmail Registered or by a parcel express service. We cannot accept entries shipped via air-freight if customs and delivery fees have not been paid.

2017 Festival Award Winners

Best Kansas & Emerging Filmmaker Awards

  • Best Emerging Student Award Documentary: Yellow, Director Rowyn Mottershead
  • Best Emerging Student Award - Narrative: Reverse, Director Andrew Kivett
  • Best Kansas Short Film Award - Documentary:  Dragtivists, Director, Savannah Rodgers
  • Best Kansas Short Film Award -Narrative: Rabbits, Director Patrick Clement

Golden Strands Programming Awards

  • Outstanding Cinematography:  Seat 25, CInematographer Joe Kaufman
  • Outstanding Screenplay: Lucky, Screenwriters Logan Sparks & Drago Sumonja
  • Best Editing: 20 Weeks, Editor David Hopper
  • Outstanding Film Animation: Two Trains Runnin’
  • Outstanding Rising Star: Simone Baker, Gook
  • Outstanding Male Actor: Christopher Marquette, I Hate the Man in the Basement
  • Outstanding Female Actor: Simone Nortman, For the Birds
  • Outstanding Ensemble Cast:  Badsville, Ian McLaren, Benjamin Barrett, Tamara Duarte, Emilio Rivera, Robert Knepper
  • Outstanding Courage in Filmmaking: City of Joy, Director, Madeleine Gavin
  • Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking: Black Cop, Director, Cory Bowles
  • Venus Award for the Teddie Barlow Outstanding Female Filmmaker: Skye Borgman, Forever ‘B’
  • Outstanding First Feature: Whose Streets?, Directors,  Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis
  • Outstanding Documentary Short Film: Edith + Eddie, Director, Laura Checkoway
  • Outstanding Narrative Short Film: Real Artist, Director,  Cameo Wood
  • Outstanding Documentary Feature:  For Ahkeem, Directors,  Jeremy S. Levin, Landon Van Soest
  • Outstanding Narrative Feature: Gook, Director Justin Chon

Audience Awards

  • Audience Award Winning Short ($1,000 Cash Prize): GAME, Director, Jeannie Donohoe
  • Audience Award for Award Winning Feature Documentary ($2,500 Cash Prize):  BIG SONIA, Directors, Leah Warshawski, Todd Soliday
  • Audience Award for Award Winning Feature Narrative ($2,500 Cash Prize): BOMB CITY, Director Jameson Brooks

Tallgrass Film Fest Adds DOX Spotlight

TFA is proud to announce the creation of the DOX Spotlight Section which will debut during the 15th edition of the Tallgrass Film Festival Presented by Consolidated Equities Trust. TFA also announced the first jury members of the newly created section, which will be comprised of feature-length documentaries directed by women. The program is sponsored by The Greteman Group.

"Our agency’s all about storytelling. Amazing stories will rise out of this new, women-director documentary competition," said Sonia Greteman, President and Creative Director of Greteman Group. "Our sponsorship signals our belief in amplifying women’s voices. And ensuring more people hear them."

The three women that will comprise the jury for the Tallgrass Film Festival’s inaugural DOX Spotlight competition will be the Seattle International Film Festival’s Interim Artistic Director Beth Barrett, Women Make Movies Executive Director Deborah Zimmerman, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Maisie Crow. (Read more below.)

The Women's Media Center recently reported that over the last 10 years, only 20% of behind-the-camera Oscar nominations (directing, writing, editing, etc.) have been bestowed to women. When examining the highest-grossing films since 2007, only 4% of the top 1,000 titles were directed by women.

However, Tallgrass Film AssociationCreative Director, Lela Meadow-Conner noted that every year, many of the Tallgrass Film Festival's timely and challenging films have been made by women, particularly in the realm of documentary filmmaking. Meadow-Conner said, “These filmmakers often take tough subject matter and utilize their strong voices to make films that tell essential stories from thoughtful perspectives.” TFA Executive Director Marci Hawks is equally enthusiastic about the program, "We look forward to the DoXX Spotlight bringing much warranted attention to women filmmakers from around the globe.”

To be eligible for the DOX Spotlight, films must be women-directed, feature- length documentaries (male/female co-directing teams are not eligible) and not have any traditional distribution deal (theatrical or VOD) at the time of the film festival in October. These selections are not bound by budget or country of origin. Finalists will be selected by the Tallgrass Film Festival Programming Committee and will then be reviewed by the 3-woman jury of industry professionals and filmmakers.

Similar to Tallgrass’s celebrated Stubbornly Independent competition, the top film, as selected by the jury, will screen as part of an evening spotlight during the festival with a post-screening Q&A and special honors to the filmmaker(s). All other finalists will be screened in regular competition at the festival, as well.

Filmmakers may submit their films via Withoutabox or Film Freeway. All members of Film Fatales may submit their feature or short documentaries free of charge.

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This organization received funding for general operational support from the City of Wichita