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2009 Tallgrass Film Festival to Light Up Broadway

Wichita Association for the Motion Picture Arts (WAMPA) announced highlights of the 7th annual Tallgrass Film Festival , which will take place at locations in and around downtown Wichita, Oct. 23-25, 2009. This year’s festival will showcase two of the city’s downtown districts. The “Historic District” will feature screenings and events at venues including The Orpheum, Wichita Scottish Rite Temple, and Bank of America. The “River District” will feature screenings at Century II and the Garvey Center.
Starting Friday, Oct. 23, Tallgrass will feature a variety of film screenings from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Selected films during those hours will be free of charge to high school students and teachers, and all film tickets during that time will be available for the special price of $5 each. Mayor Carl Brewer will welcome the festival’s filmmakers to town by whipping up his award winning chili with a VIP fete from 4:30-7 p.m. at Cowtown. The Opening Night Gala, sponsored by Naked City, will take place that evening at The Orpheum with the Kansas premiere of THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN starring Wes Studi.The film is directed by Kansas filmmaker and University of Kansas film professor Kevin Willmott. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Willmott and the Opening Night Party. A Midnight Screening will follow at The Orpheum beginning at 12 a.m.
Screenings continue throughout the day on Saturday at various locations. The evening’s centerpiece features a screening of Kansas filmmaker Steve Balderson’s UNDERBELLY. The film documents the world of belly dancing and chronicles the story of internationally acclaimed belly dance icon Pleasant Gehman (aka Princess Farhana). The film will be followed by a live belly dancing exhibition featuring Farhana. The evening will conclude with a second Midnight Screening at The Orpheum.
Sunday’s highlights include the popular Timothy Gruver Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers and Joel Fein High School Filmmakers Program along with repeat screenings of the Audience Choice Award winners and runners-up. The Closing Night Gala will feature a screening at Wichita State University’s C.A.C. Theater, followed by a party at the Ulrich Museum of Art.
“Our mission is to bring the best of independent film to Wichita and our strength has always been our ability to connect audiences and filmmakers, and this year we continue to do just that!,” said WAMPA President Ann Keefer. “We are excited about this year’s incarnation of Tallgrass and look forward to showcasing some of downtown’s off-the-beaten-path locations. There are many more details in the works to be revealed soon,” she said.
Over the last six years, more than 27,500 local and regional attendees and 300 filmmakers from Kansas and around the world have enjoyed the region’s premier independent film festival. The Tallgrass Film Festival has screened more than 1,000 films, showcasing the very best of independent cinema—including domestic and foreign, documentary and narrative, short and feature length, animation, GLBT and immigrant voices, environmental, and high school cinema.
2009 festival sponsors include Integrated Media Group, Emily Bonavia Trust, Clear Channel Radio/Wichita, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, City of Wichita , Stella Artois, House of Schwan, Glazer's, Go Wichita!, KMUW, KPTS ,, Kansas Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Ulrich Museum of Art, Spirit AeroSystems, The Gruver Family, The Orpheum, The Garvey Center , Naked City and the Greteman Group.
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 educating, entertaining and enlightening audiences from America’s Heartland. Through the annual film festival, the summertime 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.

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