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Tallgrass announces line up and details

The 2008 Tallgrass Film Festival lineup and event details were announced at the festival’s press conference at the Warren Old Town theater this afternoon. The Tallgrass Film Festival will feature more than 100 films from all over Kansas, the country and the world.
The Opening Night Gala sponsored by Naked City will feature a Work-In-Progress screening of the documentary WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS? inspired by the best-selling book by native Kansan Thomas Frank. The film, by Chicago filmmakers Laura Cohen and Joe Winston exposes how conservatives won the heart of America and examines populism in the past, present, and future through the eyes of several families and their experiences. Included in the film are several recognizable Wichita destinations including Watermark Books, Wild West World and Immanuel Baptist Church and faces like Dan Glickman, Terry Fox, Phil Kline and Julie Burkhart of ProKanDo. The film also covers historical events including the Summer of Mercy. Categorized as a “work-in-progress” as the film is still being finished, the screening affords festival-goers a unique opportunity to view a controversial film about Kansans and share their views and opinions with the filmmakers. The film will be followed by a party at Rock Island Studios. Tickets are $20. This marks the third year in a row that the Opening Night Film has not only had a major Kansas connection but has had Kansas in the title of the film.
The Closing Night Gala presented by The Ulrich Museum of Art, will feature a Midwest premiere of the feature film THE DEAL , starring William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, LL Cool J, Jason Ritter and Elliot Gould. Based on the novel by Peter Lefcourt the film with an A-list Hollywood cast also has a Wichita connection. One the films producers Arthur Allen is a Valley Center native and will attend the screening with other Special Guests. The film follows a a down-and-out film producer (MACY) who agrees to make his nephew's (RITTER) film about 19th century English statesman Benjamin Disraeli, but can only get financing if he casts a well-known action star. Production is halted however, when the lead actor is kidnapped from the European film set so the producer hatches a scheme with a struggling creative executive (RYAN) to save the star and the movie. The screening which takes place at WSU on Sunday, October 26 will be followed by the Closing Night Party at the Ulrich Museum of Art. Tickets are $15 (Free for WSU Students/Faculty/Staff & Ulrich Museum Members). Producers Art Allen and Jacqueline Corbelli and actor Jason Ritter will be in attendance.
As previously announced, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Wichita native DAN GLICKMAN will be honored with the Ad Astra Award at the Saturday Night Ad Astra Gala sponsored by Stella Artois, on Saturday, October 25 at 7:30 PM at the Warren Old Town Theater. The evening will include screenings of KS-subject short films, a tribute to and hosted Q&A with Mr. Glickman and an after-party at the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. Tickets are $30.
New to this year’s festival lineup is the FAMILY FILMS PROGRAM which will take place at Exploration Place on Friday evening and Saturday morning. The special ticket rate of $10 includes a reduced general admission entrance to the museum plus the screening. Films to be screened at this venue include the family-friendly ALICE, UPSIDE DOWN, and JUMP! Nationally renowned movie critic Nell Minow, known to her listeners as “MOVIE MOM” will be a Special Guest at both screenings. Movie Mom can be heard locally on B98 FM.
Also new to this year’s festival is the BEST OF THE FEST SUNDAY PASS. For $45, this pass allows the bearer to attend all of Sunday’s festival events, beginning with the VIP Filmmaker’s Brunch at the Old Mill Tasty Shop, all of Sunday’s screenings including the Audience Award Winner and contenders, the Timothy Gruver Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers, the Joel Fein High School Filmmakers Program and the Closing Night Gala. (CLICK HERE full list of ticket and pass prices.)
The Official Selection of feature films tops out at 25, the highest number of feature films to date to play at the Tallgrass Film Festival. This year’s submissions were also higher than ever at 511 films, compared to 338 films in 2007. More than 15 filmmakers from all over the country will be attending the festival to present their films to Wichita audiences. Special Programs of this year’s festival include GREENGRASS sponsored by Scholfield Honda featuring environmentally-forward films including a Shorts Program and feature films including THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE.
The winner of the WAMPA Filmmaking Class’ short film contest is EXPOSED (Dir. Tom Mittlestadt, Wichita). The film, will screen this Saturday before TWISTED: A BALLOONAMENTARY at WSU (7:30 at the C.A.C. Theater), before the Opening Night Film and in the Timothy Gruver Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers at the Tallgrass Film Festival.
Other Kansas films to be included in the Timothy Gruver Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers presented by the Kansas Film Commmission include the WAMPA Filmmaking Class shorts ONLY FOOLING YOU (Dir. Erich Rumback, Wichita), WHAT GOES AROUND (Dir. Del Torkelson, Wichita), as well as AND WHAT REMAINS (Dir. Marc Havener, Lawrence, KS), ELECTRIC REVOLUTION (Dir. Marc Moorman, Wichita/FL), DOG LOVERS (Dir. Danny Roew, Wichita), PAPER OR PLASTIC (Dir. Martin Rosete, Wichita), FROM MY HANDS (Dir. Jess Tibbets, Wichita), THREE-FIFTY ( Prod. Melinda Augustina, KC, KS), PAINT SHAKER (Dir. Patrick Rea, Lawrence), and NEXT IN LINE (Dir. Dakota Miller, Rose Hill). 36 films were submitted this year for the Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers.
This year’s Joel Fein High School Filmmakers Program showcases the talent of high school filmmakers from around the country and around the world including: UNRENEWABLE (Stillwell, KS), FRESH FRUIT (San Antonio, TX), THE JUMP (Russian Federation), CANOE PULLING: A LUMMI WAY OF LIFE (Seattle, WA), SOUND KILLS (San Diego, CA), CANINES (Westminster, MD), WHEN SQUIRRELS ATTACK (Olathe, KS), TWO WOLVES (Highland Park, IL), SOMETHING MISSING ( Newport Beach, CA), BETWEEN BLOOD (NY, NY), KICK ME (Salt Lake City, UT) and EVENDALE FOLLIES (TBA).
Also announced was the winner of the Stubbornly Independent Contest for an Extended Weekend of Relentless Revelry at the 2008 Tallgrass Film Festival. The prize package, valued at $1,500 includes 2 VIP All Access Passes to the festival, a 3-night stay at the Hyatt, and gift certificates from downtown restaurants and merchant. And the winner is Amy Patrick of Wichita.
For a detailed festival schedule and a full list of 2008 festival sponsors visit or find more information in the Electronic Press Kit.
Founded in 2003 by the late Timothy Gruver, the Tallgrass Film Festival is a program of the Wichita Association for the Motion Picture Arts (WAMPA), a non-profit 501©3 arts organization dedicated to entertaining and enlightening audiences from America’s Heartland. Through the annual film festival, the Cinema Al Fresco Series, WAMPA Filmmaker Academy and Special Screenings, WAMPA spotlights the city’s venues, cultural attractions and artistic communities. WAMPA strives to foster the ever-growing local filmmaking community, sparking a dialogue among filmmakers and enhancing artistic expression.


(Official Short Film Selections to be announced on the Tallgrass Film Festival website on Monday, October 6. Schedule subject to change. More Special Guests TBA.)
What’s The Matter With Kansas? – Work in Progress Screening (USA, 2008) Dir. Joe Winston. Special Guests: Joe Winston, Laura Cohen (Producer)
The Deal (USA, 2008) Dir. Stephen Schachter, Special Guests: Art Allen, Jacqueline Corbelli (Producers), Jason Ritter (Actor)
Alice, Upside Down (USA, 2007) Dir. Sandy Tung. Special Guest: Sandy Tung
Good Dick (USA, 2008) Dir. Mariana Palka. Special Guests: Mariana Palka (Actor/Writer/Director), Jason Ritter (Actor/Producer)
Half-Life (USA, 2008) Dir. Jennifer Phang Special Guest: Leonardo Nam (Actor)
Rainbow Around the Sun (USA, 2008) Dirs. Kevin Ely & Beau Leland. Special Guest: Kim Haywood (Producer)
Sita Sings The Blues (USA, 2008) Dir. Nina Paley
Captain Abu Raed (USA/Jordan, 2007) Dir. Amin Matalqa. Special Guest: David Pritchard (Producer)
Tropa De Elite (Elite Squad) (Brazil, 2007) Dir. Jose Padilla
Auf Der Anderen Seite (The Edge of Heaven) (Germany, 2007) Dir. Fatih Akin
Vratne Iahve (Empties) (Czech Republic, 2007) Dir. Jan Svěrák
El Bano del Pape (The Pope’s Toilet) (Uruguay, 2007) Dirs. Enrique Fernandez & Cesar Charlone
Who is KK Downey? (Canada, 2008) Dirs. Pat Kiely & Darren Curtis. Special Guest: Paul Renaud (Producer)
XXY (Argentina, 2007) Dir. Lucia Puenzo
Call Me Troy (USA, 2007) Dir. Scott Bloom
Frontrunner (USA, 2008) Dir. Virginia Williams
Hollywood Chinese (USA, 2007) Dir. Arthur Dong
JUMP! (USA, 2007) Dir. Helen Hood Scheer
Kassim the Dream (USA, 2008) Dir. Kief Davidson
Split: A Divided America (USA, 2008) Dir. Kelly Nyks
The Order of Myths (USA, 2008) Dir. Margaret Brown
The Wrecking Crew (USA, 2008) Dir. Denny Tedesco. Special Guest: Denny Tedesco
The Greening of Southie (USA, 2008) Dir. Ian Cheney
Obscene (USA, 2008), Dir. Daniel O’Connor & Neil Ortenberg
The Universe of Keith Haring (Italy/France, 2008) Dir. Christina Clausen

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