Tallgrass 2017: Awesome Wichita Fest Unveils Indie-Filled Lineup

Festivals Editor; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
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Tallgrass 2017: Awesome Wichita Fest Unveils Indie-Filled Lineup

Wichita, Kansas might not be the first place you think of as a hotbed for the indie film world -- but the good folks at the Tallgrass Film Fest are doing more than their share to change that. This awesome little festival that lives and dies by its tagline Stubbornly Independent (although it's no longer their web address) has released their full lineup for their October 18-22 festival and it's clear that these guys are doing something a bit different. Instead of big Sundance and Cannes hits, Tallgrass programs very indie films that bring a wide-ranging taste of what's happening across the indie film landscape. They also have some of the most appreciative fans and incredible engagement with their community. The full lineup is below, but first a few highlights from the press release:

The 15th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 18-22) today announced the full schedule for this year's edition with an impressive roster of Gala selections including; Quentin Krog's FOR THE BIRDS (Opening Night Gala), Byron Davis's HUNTING EMMA (Centerpiece Gala), and Lysa Heslov's SERVED LIKE A GIRL (Closing Night Gala). Those films are joined by Robin Berghaus's STUMPED, which is Talgrass's first DOX Spotlight winner, and Dustin Cook's I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT, which is this year's Stubbornly Independent Gala Selection.

Tallgrass's burgeoning slate for it's 15th Anniversary edition boasts 182 films (47 features, 135 short films) representing 34 countries.

Screenwriter Larry Gross will be the first recipient of the L.M. "Kit" Carson Storyteller Award following a 35th Anniversary screening of Walter Hill's action/comedy classic, 48HRS. (which Gross co-wrote), and Rose McGowan will receive the Ad Astra Award following a screening of her critically-acclaimed short film, DAWN, and prior to a retro screening of Robert Rodriguez's Grindhouse thriller, PLANET TERROR.

Tallgrass Film Festival Creative Director Lela Meadow-Conner said, "Each year, the Tallgrass Film Festival wins new converts and solidifies its place within the film festival community. The ability to do that starts with the films we program, and the filmmakers that either make the trip to visit Wichita with their films - many for the very first time, or come here to rub elbows with those filmmakers from all over the world. We have pride in the fact that we have become known as a film festival that truly celebrates the work of women behind the camera - including 60 female directors represented in this year's program alone. Innovation is also a key. The creation of the DOX Spotlight - to highlight the work of female documentarians, and the Storyteller Award - to honor the achievements of the men and women who have written the scripts that led to some of our favorite films - that is what makes Tallgrass special."

THE 2017 TALLGRASS FILM FESTIVAL OFFICIAL SELECTIONS

 
OPENING NIGHT GALA SELECTION 
(Presented by Steve Anderson)
 
FOR THE BIRDS (VIR DE VOËLS)                      North American Premiere
Director: Quentin Krog
Country: South Africa, Running Time: 124min
It’s the 70’s and Irma Humpel, an independent-thinking young woman, finds herself in front of the minister with Sampie de Klerk. How did she get here?
Is she ready for this kind of commitment?
Preceded by
FIDGET SINNER
Country: USA, Running Time: 7min
 
 
CENTERPIECE GALA SELECTION 
(Presented by Grumpy Old Men)
 
HUNTING EMMA (JAGVELD)                              Midwest Premiere
(Pictured above)
Director: Byron Davis
Country: South Africa, Running Time: 103min
Emma le Roux just wants to go home for the holidays. Gentle, beautiful, pacifist Emma. She’s made the trip to her father’s farm a thousand times. Piece of cake. But not today...
 
 
DOX SPOTLIGHT SELECTION
(Presented by Greteman Group)
 
STUMPED
Director: Robin Berghaus
Country: USA, Running Time: 72min
When filmmaker Will Lautzenheiser’s limbs are amputated, his life is derailed and he turns to stand-up comedy as a therapeutic and creative outlet. Meanwhile, a world-famous medical team is performing transplants that restore bodies to unprecedented levels. Despite grave risks, Will agrees to undergo an experimental double-arm transplant in the hope of reclaiming his independence.
 
 
JAKE EUKER STUBBORNLY INDEPENDENT GALA SELECTION
(Presented by Rick & Monica Nutt)
 
I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT
Director: Dustin Cook
Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
Lonely and isolated, and still grieving for his murdered wife, Claude develops an unexpected crush for salsa instructor Kyra. Unfortunately, he’s not sure how to move forward since he still has this... situation...in the basement.
 
 
CLOSING NIGHT GALA SELECTION
(Presented by Emprise Bank)
 
SERVED LIKE A GIRL
Director: Lysa Heslov
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
SERVED LIKE A GIRL chronicles the lives of female veterans as they compete for the crown of Ms. Veteran America, raising funds and awareness for their homeless sisters.
 
 
 
Narrative Features
 
20 WEEKS                                                    Stubbornly Independent Nominee
Director: Leena Pendharkar
Country: USA, Running Time: 89min
20 WEEKS is a romantic drama about love, science and how prenatal and genetic testing impacts everyday people. Against the backdrop of modern-day Los Angeles, the story follows Maya and Ronan’s journey – interweaving their past and present – after learning that their baby has a serious health issue at their 20-week scan. Inspired, in part, by writer/director Leena’s Pendharkar’s real life experiences with her second daughter, the film seeks to explore an intimate issue that isn’t often talked about.
 
48 HRS. (1982)
Director: Walter Hill
Country: USA, Running Time: 96min
A hard-nosed cop reluctantly teams up with a wise-cracking criminal temporarily
paroled to him, in order to track down a killer.
 
ALASKA IS A DRAG
Director: Shaz Bennett
Country: USA, Running Time: 83min
Leo, an aspiring drag superstar, and his twin sister are trapped in the monotony of fish guts and fist fights. He fights back out of necessity which catches the local boxing coach’s attention. Leo has to face the real reason he’s stuck in Alaska.
Preceded by
DRAGTAVISTS
Director: Savannah Rodgers
Country: USA, Running Time: 7min
 
BADSVILLE
Director: April Mullen
Country: USA, Running Time: 97min
A violent greaser gang is ripped apart when their leader finds love and is determined to leave Badsville - a town where love doesn’t exist.
 
BLACK COP
Director: Cory Bowles
Country: Canada, Running Time: 91min
A black cop is pushed to the edge, after his colleagues profile him while off-duty. In this hyper-active satire, he figures out a way to take out his frustration... at work.
Preceded by
GOODBYE, OLD GLORY
Director: Jordan Haro
Country: USA, Running Time: 17min
 
BLUR CIRCLE                                             Stubbornly Independent Nominee
Director: Chris Hansen
Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
Jill Temple is a single mother still grieving the loss of her young son after he disappeared two years ago. Unable to face the possibility that she has lost him forever, she pursues every lead and meets Burton Rose, a man with a mysterious past. The details of that past - and how Burton has responded to it - force Jill to look at her life in a completely new way.
 
BOMB CITY                                                  Stubbornly Independent Nominee
Director, Jameson Brooks
Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
Based on the true story of Brian Deneke. BOMB CITY is a crime-drama about the cultural aversion of teenage punks in a conservative Texas town. Their ongoing battle with a rival, more-affluent group of jocks, leads to a controversial hate crime that questions the morality of American justice.
 
DAVE MADE A MAZE
Director: Bill Watterson
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
Dave, an unrealized artist, builds a fort in his living room, only to wind up trapped by his own creation.
Preceded by
THE DAY BEFORE
Director: Geoff Marslett
Country: USA, Running Time: 16min
 
THE DIVINE ORDER
Director: Petra Volpe
Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 96min
A young and dutiful housewife challenges the status quo by fighting for women's right to vote in 1971 Switzerland. Her new found celebrity brings humiliation
and threats, but also a few startling discoveries about her own liberation. Switzerland's Submission for the Academy Awards - Best Foreign Language Film.
 
THE FEELS
Director: Jenée LaMarque
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Andi and Lu are excited to celebrate their upcoming wedding with a joint bachelorette weekend in wine country. On the first night, Lu reveals a secret that derails the weekend in unexpected and poignant ways.
 
GOOK
Director: Justin Chon
Country: USA, Running Time: 94min
In 1992, two Korean-American brothers strike up an unlikely friendship with an 11-year-old African-American girl, while racial tensions build to a breaking point as the L.A. riots break out.
Preceded by
IT’S JUST A GUN
Director: Brian Robau
Country: USA, Running Time: 15min
 
IN LOVE WITH LOU
Director: Cordula Kablitz-Post
Country: Germany, Running Time: 113min
Legendary 18th century writer, Lou Andreas-Salomé, vows never to fall in love and to pursue philosophical and intellectual perfection with her contemporaries Paul Rée, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Rainer Maria Rilke.
 
THE KING’S CHOICE (KONGENS NEI)
Director: Erik Poppe
Country: Norway, Running Time: 130min
Based on the true the story about three dramatic days in April 1940, when the King of Norway is presented with an unimaginable ultimatum from the German armed forces: surrender or die.
 
LAND OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE
Director: Yaniv Berman
Country: Israel, Running Time: 83min
Four teenagers who live in an Israeli military town, fight with two deserters over control of their territory.
 
LAURA GETS A CAT
Director: Michael Ferrell
Country: USA, Running Time: 83min
Laura, an unemployed writer in New York City, tries to juggle an unexciting boyfriend, an affair with a performance artist, and a vivid imaginary life.
 
LUCKY
Director: John Carroll Lynch
Country: USA, Running Time: 88min
Having outlived and out-smoked his contemporaries, Lucky finds himself at the precipice of life, thrust into a journey of self exploration, leading towards the often unattainable — enlightenment.
 
PLANET TERROR (2007)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Country: USA, Running Time: 105min
After an experimental bio-weapon is released, turning thousands into zombie-like creatures, it’s up to a rag-tag group of survivors to stop the infected and those behind its release.
Preceded by
DAWN (2014)
Director: Rose McGowan
Country: USA, Running Time: 17min
Dawn is a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life.
 
SEAT 25
Director: Nicholas Agnew
Country: UK, Running Time: 83min
When Faye Banks secretly enters a competition to win a seat on the first manned mission to Mars, she never expects to win. But when the dangerous one-way trip becomes a reality, her life on Earth is turned upside down.
Preceded by
EVE
Director: Brittany "B.Monét" Fennell
Country: Spain, Running Time: 5min
 
THE TEACHER (UCITELKA)
Director: Jan Hřebejk
Countries: Slovakia/Czech Republic, Running Time: 103min
A middle school teacher in Communist Slovakia manipulates her student's parents into doing favors for her.
 
 
 
Documentary Features
 
ANGELS OF THE SKY
Directors: Trent McGee, Josh Berman
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
The true life story of WWII pilots from the 8th Air Force, who were shot down over German territory and became POWs — told through the survivors themselves.
Preceded by
ALL AMERICAN
Directors: Michael Ayjian, Stephen Skeel
Country: USA, Running Time: 9min
 
ARCTIC SUPERSTAR
Director: Simen Braathen
Country: Norway, Running Time: 70min
The indigenous, Samí rapper, SlinCraze, is trying to earn a living and make a name for himself — the only problem is that less than 20,000 people speak his endangered language.
Preceded by
RULE OF NATURE
Director: Dieter Primig
Country: Namibia, Running Time: 26min
 
BIG SONIA
Directors: Leah Warshawski, Todd Soliday
Country: USA, Running Time: 93min
Holocaust survivor and diva, Sonia Warshawski, has just been served an eviction notice for her popular tailor shop in suburban Kansas City. Sonia's trauma comes to the surface as she struggles with the concept of retirement.
Preceded by
KITTY AND ELLEN
Director: Leah Galant
Country: USA, Running Time: 17min
 
CITY OF JOY                                                DOX Spotlight Nominee
Director: Madeleine Gavin
Country: USA, Running Time: 74min
In Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, an area waging one of the longest conflicts in history and ravaged by sexual violence - we discover The City of Joy. This ultimately uplifting film centers around Jane, a student in the first class at a center where women who have suffered unimaginable abuse come together to create a revolutionary community of leaders.
Preceded by
CONTENDERS
Director: Divya Pathak
Countries: UK/India, Running Time: 13min
 
THE CREST
Director: Mark Covino
Country: USA, Running Time: 83min
Two descendants of an Irish king journey to an island where he once presided-not to reclaim the land, but to surf the waves. An immigrant story that reminds us how we all came from somewhere else.
Preceded by
INBOX
Director: B. Welby-Delimere
Countries: UK/Ireland, Running Time: 8min
 
DINA
Director: Antonio Santini, Dan Sickles
Country: USA, Running Time: 103min
Having grown up neurologically diverse, a buoyant suburban woman and a Walmart door-greeter face the challenges of being head-over-heels for each other in this unconventional love story. Winner of the Sundance Film Festival Documentary Grand Jury Prize.
Preceded by
BLACK CAT
Director: Pascal Mercay
Country: Australia, Running Time: 14min
 
DOLORES
Director: Peter Bratt
Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
Portrait of one of the most important, yet least known, activists. Dolores Huerta tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Cesar Chavez, only to become embroiled in a battle for gender equality.
Preceded by
Preceded by
SILO: EDGE OF THE REAL WORLD
Director: Marshall Burnette
Country: USA, Running Time 10min
 
FAST BREAK: THE LEGENDARY JOHN MCLENDON
Director: Kevin Wilmott
Country: USA, Running Time: 63min
Pioneer African-American coach, McLendon not only changed the way basketball was played but who could play it as well.
Preceded by
THE GRAND ILLUSION
Director: Preston Mack
Country: USA, Running Time: 19min
 
FOR AHKEEM
Directors: Jeremy S. Levine, Landon Van Soest
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
After a school fight lands 17-year old Daje Shelton in a court-supervised alternative high school, she's determined to turn things around and make a better future for herself, despite challenges both personally and in society.
Preceded by
FAMILY REWRITTEN
Director: Yasmin Mistry
Country: USA, Running Time 14min
 
FOREVER ‘B’                                               DOX Spotlight Nominee
Director: Skye Borgman
Country: USA, Running Time: 91min
On October 17th, 1974, in the quiet town of Pocatello Idaho, 12-year-old Jan Broberg was kidnapped by her family's best friend and neighbor. 18 months later, out on bail and awaiting trial for kidnapping, Robert Berchtold (Brother 'B' to Jan and her family) abducted Jan a second time, triggering a nationwide FBI manhunt. Through threats and brainwashing, Brother ‘B’ successfully turns Jan against her own family, while simultaneously manipulating her parents who paved the way for Jan’s abduction, in plain sight.
 
JANE
Director: Brett Morgan
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Unseen footage of Jane Goodall’s early explorations, groundbreaking field work, her relationship with cameraman and husband Hugo van Lawick, and the chimpanzees she studied.
Preceded by
GARDENERS OF THE FOREST
Directors: Ceylan Carhoglu, Nicole Jordan-Webber
Country: USA/Laos, Running Time: 15min
 
THE LIFE, BLOOD AND RHYTM OF RANDY CASTILLO
Director: Wynn Ponder
Country: USA, Running Time: 84min
A musical journey exploring the late, legendary drummer, Randy Castillo, who played with Ozzy Osborne, Motley Crue, Lita Ford, and other rock and roll icons of the 1980s and 1990s.
 
OLYMPIC PRIDE, AMERICAN PREJUDICE
Director: Deborah Riley Draper
Country: USA, Running Time: 84min
17 men and women, with Jesse Owens, defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler and won hearts and medals at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin. These trailblazers kicked open the door to a new society and are a seminal moment in the fight for equality.
ON THE SLY: IN SEARCH OF THE FAMILY STONE
Director: Michael Rubenstone
Country: USA, Running Time: 82min
Michael Rubenstone sets out to find the reclusive funk legend, Sly Stone. He manages to bring Sly out of hiding and record the history of Sly and the Family Stone band.
 
OSKARA                                                      U.S. Premiere
Directors: Pablo Iraburu, Iñaki Alforja
Country: Spain, Running Time: 72min
Oskara emerges from the meeting between Marcos Morau, an innovative Catalan choreographer, and Kukai, a group of traditional Basque dancers. Together they create a beautiful spectacle.
Preceded by
WHEEL OF LIFE
Directors: Marcia Jamel, Ken Schneider
Countries: USA/Cuba, Running Time: 16min
 
RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
Director: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana
Country: Canada, Running Time: 103min
The story of a profound, essential, and until now little known part of American music history: the Native musician’s influence. Featuring music from Charley Patton, Jimi Hendrix, Redbone and many more.
 
SPETTACOLO
Directors: Jeff Malmberg, Chris Shellen
Country: USA, Running Time: 91min
Once upon a time there was a tiny hill town in Tuscany that found a remarkable way to confront their issues — they turned their lives into a play.

 
TRUE CONVICTION
Director: Jamie Meltzer
Country: USA, Running Time: 84min
There's a new detective agency in Dallas, Texas, started by three exonerated men, with decades in prison served between them.
Preceded by
SHOT
Director: Aemilia Scott
Country: USA, Running Time: 9min
 
TWO TRAINS RUNNING
Director: Samuel Pollard
Country: USA, Running Time: 80min
A story about the search for two forgotten blues singers, set in Mississippi during the height of the civil rights movement.
Preceded by
ABBY THE SPOON LADY
Director: Justin Johnson
Country: USA, Running Time: 12min
 
WHAT LIES UPSTREAM
Director: Cullen Hoback
Country: USA, Running Time: 89min
An investigation of the largest chemical drinking water contamination in a generation and the truth about what’s really happening with drinking water in America.
Preceded by
SOARING BACK: MESSAGE TO THE FUTURE
Director: Bev Chapman
Country: USA, Running Time: 14min
 
WHOSE STREETS?
Directors: Sabaah Folayen, Damon Davis
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Told by the activists and leaders who live and breathe this movement for justice, Whose Streets? is an unflinching look at the Ferguson uprising.
Preceded by
ONE WEEK IN APRIL
Director: Matthew Palmer
Country: USA, Running Time: 10min
  
WOMAN ON FIRE
Director: Julie Sokolow
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Follow Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York City as she sets out to challenge perceptions of what it means to be transgender in America today.
 
THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN
Director: Jennifer M. Kroot
Country: USA, Running Time: 90min
Follow the evolution of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers from a conservative son of the Old South into a gay rights pioneer whose novels inspired millions to reclaim their lives.
  

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