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Tallgrass Film Association announces new Executive Director

The Tallgrass Film Association announced that five-time Festival Director Lela Meadow-Conner will helm the non-profit arts organization as Executive Director in 2011, overseeing the organization's various programs including the Tallgrass Film Festival, Tallgrass Third Thursday screening series and the Tallgrass Filmmakers Lab. Meadow-Conner, who has been involved with the Tallgrass Film Festival since it's inception has served as festival producer, consultant and director.

"I couldn't be more excited about moving into this position. Wichita's arts community and its supporters are stronger than ever and we have big plans to drive TFA forward over the next few years," said Meadow-Conner, who during her time with the Tallgrass Film Festival has lived in Los Angeles, Chicago and Denver. "When my best friend Tim (Gruver, late Festival Founder) asked me to come to Wichita in 2003 to produce the festival, I had no idea what to expect, and over the last eight years Wichita has become a place to call home. There is so much going on here, I'm continually impressed by the community's dedication to fostering the arts of every medium and am looking forward to living and working in the heart of it." Meadow-Conner will relocate to Wichita with her family in early 2011. Interim Executive Director Mike Marlett will remain with the organization as Director of Technologies.

In addition to its flagship event, the ninth annual Tallgrass Film Festival ("Get Twisted!" at Tallgrass 9, Oct. 20-23), the TFA will present numerous Tallgrass Filmmakers Lab courses and workshops throughout the year, the annual summertime Cinema Alfresco series, the Tallgrass Third Thursday screening series commencing in January, two or three Special Screenings and several TFA Member events and incentives.

"After working the past eight years with Lela, I'm thrilled to have her join TFA on a local and year-round basis," said outgoing TFA president Ann Keefer. "She brings a wealth of experience, understanding and passion to the position, and I look forward to the growth and further respect within the film industry her guidance will bring the festival and Wichita."

A native of Boston, Meadow-Conner comes to the Executive Directorship with an entertainment and event planning background. Her experience includes film and television development at Wild Indians Entertainment, a production company she formed with Gruver in 1998, producing movie trailers and television spots for films including the award-winning "The Pianist" and "Lost in Translation" at Seismic Productions, and as an entertainment publicist with both Rohr Talent Public Relations and later with her own boutique PR company Enzyme Entertainment where she represented talent, lifestyle and independent film clients and produced events for the Academy Awards, the Sundance Film Festival and Golden Globes among others. Meadow-Conner studied radio/television/film at California State University Northridge, Entertainment PR at UCLA extension and received an associate degree in the Culinary Arts at Kendall College in Chicago. 

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