Reflecting on the Tallgrass Film Festival

What can you say about a film festival where the mayor of the city shows up, puts on an apron, and dishes up some first-class barbecue?

Yes, that’s right – the mayor of Wichita threw a barbecue for the Tallgrass Film Festival participants.

From the moment we were picked up from the airport, the Tallgrass crew were friendly, efficient and hospitable. Our screening was held in a clean, new, state-of-the art theater (The Warren Old Town) right in the heart of downtown Wichita, right near a number of good restaurants. OK, the theater marquee read “SAW V” and not “WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?” but you can’t have everything….

Of course, we know Wichita pretty well, having visited on more than a dozen shoots. We sure ate much better on this trip, no McDonald’s drive-throughs on the way to catch an 8 am interview!

We could also tell that the festival is very warmly embraced by a local community, which is hungry for independent film. Our screening sold out, a second screen that night also sold out, and a later encore screening also sold out!

Actually, this was a work-in-progress screening, NOT the premiere of our film. Almost everyone who appears in the movie lives within a couple hours of Wichita, and we invited as many as we could to attend the screening. For their part, they were very excited to come. We were very interested to hear reactions from the participants in the movie and their community.

After the movie unspooled, the Kansans in the house gave us an earful. We’d provoked them, stirred their emotions, and made them think about their beloved home state – and America.

Photo Gallery…

joelauraqa500 Reflecting on the Tallgrass Film Festival

Joe and Laura at the Q&A session, after the film was shown.

joelauradon500 Reflecting on the Tallgrass Film Festival

Laura and Joe with Populist Farmer Donn Teske, who is featured in the film.

joelauradillard500 Reflecting on the Tallgrass Film Festival

Laura and Joe with the Dillard Family, who are featured in the film.

qa500 Reflecting on the Tallgrass Film Festival

An audience member posing a question, after the film was shown.

mayormilo500 Reflecting on the Tallgrass Film Festival

The Mayor of Wichita, Kansas with Joe and Laura's son, Milo.


5 Comments

  1. [...] when we were addressing a packed theater in Wichita back in October, not a few people asked, in essence, “Why pick on [...]

  2. Doug
    November 7, 2008

    The audience member posing the question in the audience is also in the film.

  3. What's the Matter with Kansas?
    November 7, 2008

    Yes, that is Julie Burkhart of ProKanDo.

  4. [...] when we were addressing a packed theater in Wichita back in October, not a few people asked, in essence, “Why pick on [...]

  5. [...] The movie had played in Wichita before — in fact, the first public screening of the finished film was at the 2008 Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita. It was a huge hit, selling out three screenings.  Many of the documentary subjects were in the audience (they’d all seen the movie and liked it very much.)  Our reflections and some photos are here. [...]

 
 

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