What to expect from the Tallgrass Film Festival this year


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Film buffs from across the country will be in Wichita this week for the 19th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival.

The festival starts Wednesday, Oct. 20, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 24. It features film screenings, workshops, panel events, and a street fair.

“We have “God Save the Wings,” the recut version,” said Melanie Addington, Tallgrass Film Association executive director: “That’s our big gala Friday night, and we’re shutting down First Street for the party, so Wichita Wings will be there doing soccer practices, and it’ll be a very fun 80s party, looking back at an older time in Wichita.”

Addington says they have extended the festival a week for the virtual viewing. So if a ticket holder misses a film in person, they can watch it online. In addition, some of the movies will be online exclusives.

People will be required to wear masks at indoor events, even if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We don’t want to have breakthrough cases,” Addington said. “We want everyone to be safe.”

She said all the parties, panels and educational events are outdoors. So if people don’t feel comfortable being inside, they can still attend and have fun at the outdoor events.

“We’re also doing a street fair because there’s a lot of great art in this town, but it’s spread out, so we’re bringing everyone to one street so all the out of towners can meet and greet filmmakers and artists,” she said.

Addington hopes the weather will remain nice through the weekend.

“But it’s Kansas, so we told all the filmmakers traveling from all over to layer up,” she said.

The event is only using four venues this year, and they are all within walking distance of each other.

“We have really a huge celebration of Gordon Parks, Kansas’ filmmaker, made an impact on so many people’s lives, both the photography and film,” Addington said. “His son will be here, David Parks, and we’re going to be doing our inaugural Gordon Parks Competition, which is really some wonderful films.”

To see the complete list of movies, times, locations, and ticket prices, visit TallgrassFilm.org.

Addington wants to clear up a couple of points. First, the Tallpass works for both in-person viewing and virtual viewing.

“If you want to watch some films in person and then watch some at home, the same pass gets you everything,” she said. “And then, of course, individual tickets work both in person, and then you can buy a virtual ticket instead.”

Secondly, Addington said some films have geo-blocking. As a result, ticket holders who are out of state and want to watch virtually may not be able to watch movies that are only approved to be shown in Kansas.

Addington is excited about what this year will bring.

“Wichita community has been so supportive,” she said. “A lot of festivals really struggled last year with virtual, but Tallgrass audiences just really showed up on the couch and participated and kept us alive and kept us supported.”

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