14th Tallgrass Film Festival to feature something for everyone

Written by Kristen Baker

Endless independent film screenings, followed by director Q&As. Evening parties follow each night's feature film, complete with food, open bar and live music. Guests in town from all over the world.

Tallgrass Film Festival's 14-year history has put Wichita on the map for independent filmmakers everywhere. But Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner said she wants Wichitans to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy watching films.

"I want to demystify Tallgrass for people," Meadow- Conner said. "There is something here for everyone. You can do a little, or you can do it all."

A celebration of independent film, the festival will feature 191 films from 33 countries. Meadow-Conner said well done, storytelling films this year will grip audiences.

"The filmmakers are what it's all about," Meadow-Conner said. "We are all about celebrating these artists and making them the stars of the show." It's not often moviegoers have the opportunity to ask questions of a film's director after the film plays, but that is exactly what occurs at Tallgrass.

"What they find about Wichita audiences is people here are real; they have no agenda," Meadow-Conner said. "Here, people just want to know about their films. It's amazing how much that kind of vibe in a city can put people at ease."

Tallgrass was named one of "50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee" by MovieMaker magazine in 2016, and it was one of 36 film organizations to earn a grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Drawing about 15,000 attendees each year, Tallgrass continues to thrive. Meadow-Conner attributes the festival's success to the city's welcoming attitude toward a variety of films.

"It is about community," Meadow-Conner said. "It's about bringing people together to watch films. There's an energy that is created watching and experiencing something with other people that really is magical."

Tallgrass Film Festival, Oct. 12-16

General admission ticket $10
Student, educator or senior ticket 8
Binge Pass for unlimited viewing on Saturday $50
TALLpass for unlimited everything $220
Get your tickets at stubbornlyindependent.com

A Taste of Tallgrass

"GIRL FLU" 6:30 P.M. OCT. 16

A coming of age story about 12-year-old Bird. Heather Matarazzo, who will receive this year's Ad Astra award, stars in the film and is scheduled to attend the screening.


Comedy following Paul and Jason, friends who have drifted apart as they have entered their 30s. Singer-songwriter Jason invites struggling comedian Paul to open for him on an upcoming tour. Co-star Heather Morris ("Glee") is scheduled to attend.

"BENDER" 11 P.M. OCT. 14

"Bender" unveils the bizarrely true story of America's first serial killing family. The year is 1873, and travelers are mysteriously vanishing on the Kansas frontier. This story of the Bender family was filmed in Kansas.

"MAD TIGER" 8:45 P.M. OCT. 13

"Mad Tiger" is a documentary following two Japanese best friends who spent the last 15 years touring the United States in their performance art punk band, Peelander-Z. The band will play following the movie at the after party.


Based on Fredrik Backman's international best selling novel, Ove is the quintessential angry old man next door. A boisterous young family next door changes Ove's attitude as unexpected friendships form, and Ove's life story is revealed.

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