Tallgrass Film Festival brings independent cinema to Wichita

Wichita residents who want to step outside the bounds of Hollywood filmmaking are in luck.

The Tallgrass Film Festival, now entering its 13th year, began Wednesday and runs through Sunday night. When it is all said and done, more than 200 independent films from a wide variety of people and places will have been screened for the viewing pleasure of people in Wichita.

Lela Meadow-Conner has been involved with the festival since its first year and became its director in 2011. She said the goal is to give Wichitans access to films they normally might not be able to see otherwise.

“There’s no real other place where you can get indie films in theaters here,” Meadow-Conner said. “There’s no art-house theater.”

The Warren Theatres occasionally screen smaller, independent films, but Meadow-Conner said the Tallgrass Film Festival is the best way to expose movie enthusiasts to alternative cinema.

“Tallgrass fulfills that niche for our community,” Meadow-Conner said.

Part of what makes film festivals unique compared to a regular movie-going experience is access to the filmmakers themselves. Many of the films screened at Tallgrass will feature Q&A sessions with the cast and crew afterwards.

“The coolest thing about a film festival is that the filmmakers are there,” Meadow-Conner said. “You go to the movies and you’re like ‘I wonder how they did that’, well this is your opportunity to actually talk to them and find out.”

The festival staff had to cull through around 1,500 movies to find the best of the best to screen this year. Meadow-Conner said it was important for them to find a variety of genres, from narrative films, to nature films, to documentaries.

“We hope that there’s something for everybody,” Meadow-Conner said.

Film selections

‘Double Digits: The Story of a Neighborhood Movie Star’

When: 6:45 p.m. Thursday


Wichita Scottish Rite Center.

‘In The Dark’

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Orpheum Theater 

‘Man vs. Snake: The Long and Twisted Tale of Nibbler’

When: 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Garvey Center Theater 1


When: 11:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Orpheum Theater

Tickets are $8 with Shocker ID.

For a full list of films being shown at the festival, visit www.stubbornlyindependent.com.