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DIVERGE, Director James Morrison
DIVERGE, Director James Morrison

The 14th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival announced the seven official selections for this year’s 2016 Stubbornly Independent competition.

Chosen by a film industry jury, the winner of the competition will play at the festival’s Saturday Night Vimeo Stubbornly Independnent Gala, receive a $5,000 cash prize from Vimeo, a theater rental from AMC Theatres in any major market, a AMC Annual Pass and take home the Stubbornly Independent Beer Tap Trophy from VanChase Studios. All films selected for the competition will also receive digital billboard advertising from Wichita-based Fliphound, and a custom animated title for use on social media platforms from Wichita- based Title Farm. They will also be featured in Tallgrass Film Festival’s 2016 Filmmaker Trading Card series. The winning film will be announced in September.

The seven selections for 2016 are Alicia Slimmer’s CREEDMORIA, Blayne Weaver’s CUT TO THE CHASE, Kieran Valla’s DELINQUENT, James Morrison’s DIVERGE, Paul Taylor’s DRIFTWOOD, Beth Dewey’s ERASING EDEN, and Aaron Greer & Seth Panitch’s SERVICE TO MAN.

This year marks the fifth year of the Stubbornly Independent competition, which stipulates that in order to qualify, the film must be a domestic narrative feature produced for less than $750,000, and the film cannot have a theatrical, VOD or other distribution deal prior to October 16. Previous winners (all of which have gone on to secure distribution following their appearance at the Tallgrass Film Festival) were Ishai Setton’s THE KITCHEN (2012), Paul Osborne’s FAVOR (2013), Jack Bryan’s THE LIVING (2014), and last year’s winner – Valerie Weiss’s A LIGHT BENEATH THEIR FEET.

2016 Stubbornly Independent Competition Lineup


CREEDMORIA, Director Alicia Slimmer
Candy injects the “fun” in her dysfunctional life. When your brother is found by a neighbor naked and drunk, you’re stuck with a caveman of a boyfriend, you have a dickhead boss, and the madness of everyday life competes with your mother’s need to appear “normal,” you have to peek between the cracks to find the warm rays of hope. But, maybe normalcy is just a construct for other people. And, maybe breaking out of the institution is more important than fitting in. After years of trying to save those she loves, it’s time for Candy to save herself.

CUT TO THE CHASE, Director Blayne Weaver
Max Chase (Blayne Weaver) has always been on the wrong side of the law but his younger sister Isobel (Erin Cahill) always bails him out… Until the day she disappears. Now he must set out to find his sister while being pursued by the city’s crime boss known as “The Man” (Lance Henriksen). Max’s only ally in his search is a manipulative yet captivating criminal (Lyndie Greenwood), who is also on the run from “The Man”.

DELINQUENT, Director Kieran Valla
DELINQUENT focuses on Joey, a troubled student who is counting the days until he can get out of school and work for his father – a tree cutter by day and the leader of a gang of small-town thieves by night in rural Connecticut. When Joey’s father asks him to fill in as a lookout one night, he is thrilled, until a routine robbery goes very wrong, with Joey forced to deal with the fallout. Now, caught between loyalties to family and a friend in mourning, Joey has to deal with paranoid accomplices, an investigation, and his own guilt. What kind of man does Joey want to be and what does he owe to the people he loves?

DIVERGE, Director James Morrison
In the aftermath of a global pandemic, one survivor is given the chance to travel across time to stop the cataclysmic event and regain everything he has lost. To do that he must kill the man responsible for sowing the seeds of mankind’s destruction –his past self. Equal parts science fiction and character study, DIVERGE is the story of a man as he discovers how far he’s willing to go to return to the one he loves, and what he stands to lose in doing so. The cast includes Ivan Sandomire (RESTIVE), Andrew Sensenig (UPSTREAM COLOR), Jamie Jackson (“The Blacklist”).

DRIFTWOOD, Director Paul Taylor
A young woman washes ashore and is claimed and conditioned by an older man in this intricately layered, dialogue-free exploration of familial roles, isolation and captivity.

ERASING EDEN, Director Beth Dewey
A young woman plunges her life into chaos by drinking herself into a blackout the night before her wedding, facing the ultimate soul-searching. She decides her own fate, recognizing that she has the power to make or break herself.

SERVICE TO MAN, Directed by Aaron Greer & Seth Panitch
It’s 1967, and Nashville’s all-black medical school has just accepted its first white student. Now, Eli Rosenberg, and Michael Dubois, a legacy student from a very different background, must struggle to find common purpose within the pressure cooker of medical school in the turbulent 1960s.

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