Named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Festivals in the World” by the MovieMaker Magazine, the Tallgrass Film Festival is trying to break down the stereotypes and turn a new leaf on the Kansas state’s traditional conservatism. Held every October over the course of five days in Wichita, Kansas, the festival is a celebration of free-thinking and daring independent ideas carried out through the medium of film by filmmakers from all over the world.
The Largest “Small” Festival
Tallgrass is often noted for its accessibility and exceptional care towards selecting films that would otherwise have little to no chance of a large-audience screening in the region or even in the USA. At the same time, the festival is attended by renowned filmmakers and stars, as well as representatives of a number of large-scale companies looking for new filmmakers whose fresh ideas to support.
As a result, the Tallgrass Film Festival boasts an incredibly diverse audience, and it’s not uncommon to see a fresh high school graduate conversing with a seasoned filmmaker about artistic ideas and concepts. This is made possible by the incredibly diverse list of screenings and events throughout the festival. With plenty of awards and spotlights such as the Spotlight on Women Filmmakers, the festival attracts both filmmakers and indie-hungry film enthusiasts from all over the world, while at the same time making everyone feel like at home, or at least as if attending a small regional festival.
Ever since its inception in 2003, the Tallgrass Film Festival has been growing steadily, changing the perception of Kansas as a flyover state, embracing its cultural attractions and artistic communities. For five days every October, Wichita becomes sprawling with life, as thousands of local and foreign film enthusiasts enjoy the plentiful art, cultural and musical events, and, of course, film screenings and discussions offered by the festival.
In 2012, over 111,000 people attended the festival, watching more than 180 film screenings in the following categories:
- Short films
- Emerging young filmmaker short films
- Kansas filmmaker films
- Feature documentaries
- Feature fiction films
- “Stubbornly Independent” – USA features shot for less than $750,000
- “Smallgrass” – features for families with children
Providing enough screenings to satisfy the taste of any indie film enthusiast, in addition to plentiful entertainment and special events, the Tallgrass Film Festival has something for everyone. For filmmakers, it’s a huge audience of indie-hungry viewers and valuable contacts for film distribution and future projects, and for the viewers, it’s a chance to see some of the finest and most fresh ideas in the independent film scene.