The first four official films are revealed for the 2015 Tallgrass Film Festival whose subjects truly embody the Stubbornly Independent spirit. These acclaimed documentaries recount engaging stories from around the world, and in Wichita. The first three feature humanitarians, adventurists and innovators in the compelling stories of their trials, tribulations and the up-hill battles they face. The fourth is a sweet and surprising gem that speaks volumes to the talent and perseverance of a local filmmaker with an unconventional and unbending will for the craft of moviemaking.
The 13th annual Tallgrass Film Festival takes place in and around downtown Wichita this October 14-18th.
DOUBLE DIGITS: THE STORY OF A NEIGHBORHOOD MOVIE STAR, USA, 2015, Dir. Justin Johnson (pictured above)
In his tiny “studio” apartment in Wichita, Kansas, inspiring 50-year-old filmmaker Richard ‘R.G.’ Miller directs his cast of dolls and action figures in the weirdest “blockbuster”-style feature films you’ve never seen. His dream audience? More than 9 people. Double Digits explores what it means to be a DIY artist in the 21st century, while delving into the life and creative process of a gifted and truly unique talent. (Johnson and Miller scheduled to attend.) This film will screen as part of the Wichita State University Thursday Night Spotlight and will include the World Premiere of Mr. Miller’s newest short film commissioned for the Tallgrass Film Festival.
ANGEL OF NANJING, USA/China, 2015, Dir. Jordan Horowitz and Frank L. Ferendo
The Yangtze River Bridge in Nanjing is one of the most famous bridges in China. It is also the most popular place in the world to commit suicide. For the past 11 years Chen Si has been patrolling this bridge, looking to provide aid for those who have gone there to end their lives. Incredibly, he has saved over 300 people since he began – nearly one every two weeks. Winner, Best Documentary at Phoenix Film Festival (Filmmaker(s) scheduled to attend.)
UNBRANDED, USA, 2015, Dir. Phillip Baribeau
Four young men take an unprecedented journey on adopted wild mustangs from the Mexican to the Canadian borders through the backccountry of deserts and mountains. Their goal: To prove the worth of the iconic horses that are the subject of often bitter controversy, as well as their own ability to complete the challenge. As they cover the 3000 miles of often unforgiving landscapes, the riders succumb to the contradictory tensions of camaraderie and rivalry. Winner, Audience Award at 2015 HotDocs Film Festival and 2015 Telluride MountainFilm Festival. Director scheduled to attend.
THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, USA, 2015, Dir. Abigail E. Disney and Kathleen Hughes
Abigail Disney’s directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. The film tracks Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. A courageous look at our fractured political culture, and an assertion that it is, indeed, possible for people to come together across deep party lines to find common ground.