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“Local art-driven events like the Tallgrass Film Festival not only have a positive impact on Wichita’s economy but also add to the quality of life in this city.” - Robert Redford

15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival

Founded in 2003 by Wichita-native Tim Gruver, the Tallgrass Film Festival has presented thousands of films from around the world to Wichita-area audiences over the last 14 years. In 2015 and 2016, Tallgrass Film Festial was named one of MovieMaker Magazine's "Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee."

A hallmark of Wichita's cutural calendar, the 15th annual festival, presented by Consolidated Equities Trust, takes place October 18-22 in and around Downtown Wichita. In addition to short and feature films from around the world, the festival includes Filmmaker Labs, Roundtables, VIP receptions, Gala Parties and more.

Tallgrass Film Fest Adds Doxx Spotlight

TFA is proud to announce the creation of the DoXX 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 three women that will comprise the jury for the Tallgrass Film Festival’s inaugural DoXX 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 DOXX 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.

DoXX Jury

Beth Barrett, Seattle International Film Festival
Beth Barrett is the Interim Artistic Director of SIFF (organizers of the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education) and has been working with SIFF programming since 2003. She is responsible for all aspects of SIFF programming, including securing films for both Cinema and Festival, talent, developing special events and forum programs, and leading an international team of programmers. She attends many major film festivals, and has developed a network of programmers, filmmakers, and distributors in the search for the best films of the year. An aficionado of short films, she secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival in 2008. Beth has been in Seattle for 23 years and holds an MA in Northern Renaissance Art History.
Maisie Crow, Documentary Filmmaker

After an award-winning career as a photojournalist, Maisie Crow turned her attention to filmmaking. Her documentary, JACKSON has won awards at the Tallgrass International Film Festival, Indie Memphis, and the Oxford Film Festival. In 2014, her short film, The Last Clinic was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy, and she was listed as one of PDN InMotion’s 20 Emerging Artists to Watch in Film and Video. In 2012, her multimedia project, Half - Lives: Chernobyl Workers Now won an Overseas Press Club award. In 2010, her short film A Life Alone was nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She recently worked as a director of photography on MTV's documentary series, True Life.

Debra Zimmerman, Women Make Movies

Debra Zimmerman has been the Executive Director of Women Make Movies, a non-profit NY based film organization that supports women filmmakers, since 1983. During her tenure it has grown into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. WMM’s internationally recognized Production Assistance Program has helped hundreds of women get their films made. Films from WMM programs have been nominated or won Academy Awards for the last eight years.

Call for Submissions: 15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival

Tallgrass Film Association announces the call for submissions for the 15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival, October 18-22 in and around downtown Wichita, Kansas.

The largest independent film festival in the state of Kansas, the 2016 Tallgrass Film Festival has been included in MovieMaker Magazine’s annual “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in 2015 and 2016.
In addition to showcasing the best of independent cinema from around the globe, including documentary, narrative, world cinema, animation, LGBT, retrospective and premiering films, the 15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival is specifically seeking films to feature in the following special program categories:

•    Grasscendo: music-themed films
•    Greengrass: environmentally-themed films
•    Spotlight on Women Filmmakers: films directed by women
•    Stubbornly Independent Films: domestic, narrative features made for under $500,000 USD with no traditional distribution
•    Timothy Gruver Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers: Kansas filmmakers submit for free – see below for official rules
•    Joel Fein Emerging Filmmakers Program: short films from filmmakers 18 and younger may submit for free – see below for official rules. This category does not include university or college filmmakers.


  • March 15: Earlybird Deadline
  • April 19: Regular Deadline
  • May 24: Late Deadline
  • June 14: Extended Deadline


The festival grants $11,000 worth of cash awards and several non-cash special recognition awards.

Tallgrass Film Association 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
•    Audience Award Winning Short Film: $1,000

Non-cash special recognition awards include:
•    Golden Strands Awards (awarded by Tallgrass Programming Directors) for Outstanding Documentary and Fiction Feature, Acting, Cinematography and more
•    Best Kansas Filmmaker Short Film
•    Best Emerging Filmmaker Short Film

Emerging Student Filmmakers (high school & younger) and Kansas filmmakers sumbit for Free!

  • Kansas and Emerging Filmmakers submit for free under their respective categories.
  • 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 copy of his/her 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.
  • In order to receive fee waivers for Kansas filmmakers, Kansas filmmakers must submit a valid Kansas address, connection and identification respectively to receive the fee waiver. Kansas Filmmaker films are eligible for festival prizes, if the film is accepted as an “in competition” screening in the festival.

Submission Guidelines

  • Films must have been completed after December 2016. 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.

2016 Festival By The Numbers

  • 16,428 Total Festival Attendance
  • 1962 Total Films Submitted to the Tallgrass Film Festival
  • 335 Total Community Volunteers
  • 194 Total Films Screened at the Tallgrass Film Festival
  • 123 Participating Film Professionals
  • 68 number of local vendors & businesses invested in for goods & services
  • 33 Countries Represented in the festival lineup
  • 26 Volunteer Film Programmers
  • 24 Non-Profit Community Partners
  • 23 Downtown Festival Venues

Click here to visit the 2016 Film Festival website incuding lineup, special events, award winners, sponsors and visiting filmmakers.