Before modern cinema, the term motion picture referred to tossing children's artwork out the car window. Catch a flick with this Groupon.
Choose Between Two Options
- $10 for two general-admission tickets to any film at the Tallgrass Film Festival (up to a $20 value)
- $18 for four general-admission tickets to any film at the Tallgrass Film Festival (up to a $40 value)
The film festival takes place at 10 Wichita theaters from Thursday, October 18, to Sunday, October 21. Along with the regular awards, this year sees the introduction of the Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Award, which recognizes wonders worked within the confines of a low budget. Take a closer look at three of the more than 180 films that embody the festival’s “stubborn independence” ethos:
In April last year, multimedia artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport and later detained for his exposure of governmental corruption and human-rights abuses. Director Alison Klayman was introduced to, and began filming, Ai in 2008, and this documentary affords a rare glimpse into one of the world’s most secretive justice systems. Throughout his ordeal, Ai’s bravery is apparent in his sense of humor in the face of tragedy and his unflagging sense of personal responsibility, no matter the risk. In his own words, “I act brave, because I know the danger is really there. If you don’t act, the danger becomes stronger.”
“It’s so beautiful out here, it hurts my feelings,” says set designer, puppet-maker, and subversive painter Wayne White in this biographical film directed by Neil Berkeley. A creator with a truly unique sense of humor, White has earned three Emmys for his work on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, one of which he broke in hopes of finding a marshmallow center. The artist also created the surreal world of Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time” music video, and the steampunk lunar mission of the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight Tonight.” With interviews from the likes of Mark Mothersbaugh, Matt Groening, and Paul Reubens, this documentary spotlights one of today’s most influential, if little-known, artists.
Based on a young-adult novel by K.L. Going and directed by Matthew Lillard, this punk-rock bildungsroman tackles such issues as teenage homelessness, drug abuse, and depression, leavened with a healthy dose of wry humor. Fed up with his lonely life, overweight teenager Troy attempts suicide but is saved at the last minute by Marcus, a former classmate and a high-school dropout. Marcus declares that Troy will play drums in his new punk band, giving the boy something crucial that he’d formerly lacked—a sense of purpose and belonging. Unfortunately, that gift comes quite literally at a price, as Marcus is constantly in need of money for food or drugs. The two outsiders find common ground and discover that the help they want may not be the help they need.
Tallgrass Film Festival
Founded in 2003, the Tallgrass Film Festival celebrates dramas, comedies, documentaries, and short films from all over the world. Especially focused on the underdogs of moviemaking, the festival invites auteurs to enjoy four days of eager audiences, after-parties, panel discussions, and popcorn fights. The festival has played an integral role in Wichita’s growing appeal to burgeoning directors and screenwriters, as noted by MovieMaker magazine earlier this year.