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The 19th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival Award Winners

“It is always challenging to choose awards but this was an especially difficult year,” said Programming Director Andre Seward. “All of the films in our program are amazing. That being said, we want to highlight the handful of films that made the biggest impression on us.” 

This year, Tallgrass Film Festival introduced the Gordon Parks Award for Black Excellence in Filmmaking, a partnership with David Parks, Cargill, The Kansas African American Museum, the Wichita Chapter NAACP, Wichita State University Office of Diversity & Inclsion and Shocker Studios.

The inaugural award of $5,000, as well as a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision. The award was given to FINDING SALLY, directed by Tamara Dawitt, and produced by Isabelle Couture. The award was presented by jurors David Parks, Brandon Wilson, and Kate Gondwe. An Honorable Mention was awarded to Many Fires This Time: We the 100 Million, directed by Jason RA Foster and produced by Michael “Quess?” Moore and Jeremy Liu.

The 2021 DOXX Award for Outstanding Documentary, given to a documentary directed by a female-identifying filmmaker, was awarded to SUBJECTS OF DESIRE, directed and produced by Jennifer Holness. This award comes with a $5,000 cash prize.

From the jury:

Part competition film, part recollection of Black women’s history in North America, the documentary takes on a stunning array of topics around Black women and Black female beauty, from the origins of the Miss Black America pageant, to the dominant stereotypes of Black women as Mammys, Jezebels, and Sapphires, to white appropriation of traditional Black features in the age of Instagram and plastic surgery. During the course of the film, we both fall in love with the pageant contestants and their stories as well as gain knowledge from experts who provide enlightening historical and cultural context for their experiences.

Subjects of Desire is a compelling antidote to the omnipresence of white beauty in Western cultural spaces. We congratulate Jennifer Holness on her powerful work and authentic authorship in the telling of this story and hope that it will be seen by many, especially our young people – especially women-identifying – the ones who need it most.

The 2021 Stubbornly Independent award, given to a narrative feature with a budget of $500,000 or less, was awarded to 18 1/2 directed and produced by Dan Mirvish. This award included a $5,000 cash prize.


Our 2021 Programming Awards

Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking:
Honorable Mention: The Return: Life After Isis directed by Alba Sotorra Clua, Produced by Alba Sotorra Clua, Vesna Cudic, Carles Torres

Winner: Cat Daddies directed by Mye Hoang, produced by Dave Boyle, Nobu Nagatsuma, Robert Bennett

Outstanding Courage in Filmmaking:
Honorable Mention: Forbidden to See us Scream in Tehran directed by Farbod Ardebili, produced by Victoria Razevska Hill, Soroush Arayesh, Patrick Reasonover, Sarah Jane Murray

Winner: Silent River directed by Chris Chan Lee, produced by Chris Chan Lee, Robert Cho, West Liang

Outstanding Woman Filmmaker:
Eureka directed by Miida Chu, produced by Xianqi Crystal Du

Outstanding Cinematography:
Poser – Logan Floyd

Outstanding Screenplay:
Rehab Cabin written by Kate Beacom and Domenic D’Andrea

Outstanding Editing:
A Machine to Live In directed by Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke

Outstanding Animation:
In-somnia directed by Benjamin Cleveland

Outstanding Rising Star:
Mickalia Forrester Ewen from Missing First Period

Outstanding Performance:
James ‘Jimmy’ Carrozo from Moon Manor

Outstanding Supporting Performance:
Lea DeLaria from Potato Dreams of America

Outstanding Ensemble Cast:
Cast of Burros directed by Jefferson Stein, produced by Liz Cardenas, Russell Sheaffer

Outstanding First Feature:
A Sexplanation directed by Alex Liu, produced by Steven Flynn, Leonardo Neri

EDA Award (Alliance of Women Film Journalists) Special Mention:
MYRTLE directed by Patricia McCormack, produced by Shaheen Schliefer

EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short:
1-800-D-DIRECT directed by Clare Macdonald, produced by Haley Bishop, Gemma Yates-Round

EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature:
THIS IS NOT A WAR STORY directed by Talia Lugacy, produced by Rosario Dawson, Talia Lugacy, Noah Lang, Julian West

Outstanding Documentary Feature Honorable Mention:

Ferguson Rises directed by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, produced by Executive Produced by – Sandra Evers-Manly, Gigi Pritzker, Kai Bowe, TJ Martin/ Co-Executive Producers – Robert F. Diggs “RZA”, Aloe Blacc, Carmen Anders, Mark Densen, Robert Densen, Rhonda Mims/ Produced by Tanayi Seabrook, TJ Odebunmi, Lisa Smithline, David Oyelowo, Jessica Oyelowo, Nick Moon, Daisy Mo, Tamika Lamison, Kai Bowe /Co-Producers – Kareem Rahma, Sara Schoellkopf, William Neil

Outstanding Documentary Feature Winner

Eternal Harvest directed and produced by Jerry Redfern and Karen Coates

Best Emerging Student Documentary Short: Material Girl directed and produced by Lillian Dight

Best Emerging Student Narrative Short:

Cereal directed and produced Dusan Brown

Outstanding Documentary Short

Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color directed by Cheri Gaulke, produced by Jon Gann, Kia Baskerville, Jackie Sage Bennett

Outstanding Narrative Short:
Frankie directed by James Kautz, produced by James Cole Jr., Morgan Ruaidhrí O’Sullivan, Jesse R. Tendler

Best Kansas Documentary Short:
Who Scammed Rajah Rabbit? Directed and produced by Sara & Charity Harmon

Best Kansas Narrative Short
Ride Directed by Sam Findlay and produced by Tom Hipp, Maggie McLandsborough