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20 WEEKS ( Leena Pendharkar)

Four independent films have been selected to compete in this year’s 2017 Tallgrass International Film Festival Stubbornly Independent competition.

Selections include Leena Pendharkar’s 20 WEEKS, Chris Hansen’s BLUR CIRCLE, Jameson Brooks’s BOMB CITY, and Dustin Cook’s I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT.

The award is given to honor an independent film or filmmaker who takes risks and isn’t afraid to tell important stories, and does all of this within the ultra-low budget of $500,000 or less. The winner will be featured as the Stubbornly Independent Gala Spotlight selection on Saturday, October 21st, will receive the Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Award, and a $5,000 cash prize. The three runners up will be included as official selections in the festival and will be eligible for the Audience Award for Narrative Feature and $2,500 cash prize.

“This year’s selections feature stories and characters that are both timely and easily relatable, while delivering a unique and bold take, leading to films that feel anything but familiar,” said Tallgrass Film Festival’s Programing Director Nick Pope. “Ultimately these are films about redemption and self-discovery in a world that can be messy and unpredictable, but also rewarding and surprising. We’re honored to be showcasing these stories to Wichita audiences.”

This year marks the 6th year of the SI competition, where eligible films must be domestic narrative feature films made for $500,000 or less without traditional, theatrical, domestic distribution at the time of the festival screening. Finalists will be juried by a panel of industry professionals including Rebecca Celli (Cargo Films), Nancy Gerstman (Zeitgeist Films) and Jeffrey Winter (Film Collaborative.) The Stubbornly Independent competition winner will be announced with the Tallgrass Film Festival’s lineup next month.

20 WEEKS Director: Leena Pendharkar Country: USA, Running Time: 89min
20 WEEKS is a romantic drama about love, science and how prenatal and genetic testing impacts everyday people. Against the backdrop of modern-day Los Angeles, the story follows Maya and Ronan’s journey – interweaving their past and present – after learning that their baby has a serious health issue at their 20-week scan. Inspired, in part, by writer/director Leena’s Pendharkar’s real life experiences with her second daughter, the film seeks to explore an intimate issue that isn’t often talked about.

BLUR CIRCLE Director: Chris Hansen Country: USA, Running Time: 92min
BLUR CIRLCE is the story of Jill Temple, a single mother still grieving the loss of her young son after he disappeared two years ago. Unable to face the possibility that she has lost him forever, she pursues every lead and meets Burton Rose, a man with a mysterious past. The details of that past – and how Burton has responded to it – force Jill to look at her life in a completely new way.

BOMB CITY Director, Jameson Brooks Country: USA, Running Time: 95min
Based on the true story of Brian Deneke, BOMB CITY is a crime-drama about the cultural aversion of teenage punks in a conservative Texas town. Their ongoing battle with a rival, more-affluent group of jocks, leads to a controversial hate crime that questions the morality of American justice

I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT Director, Dustin Cook Country: USA, Running Time: 103min
Lonely and isolated, Claude is still grieving the murder of his wife. When he’s reluctantly coerced by his obnoxious co-worker to join him for some salsa lessons, Claude develops an unexpected crush on his instructor Kyra. Unfortunately, he’s not sure how to move forward with this budding romance since he still has an unconventional situation in his basement…

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