Bomb City, Big Sonia and Game wowed the audience at the 2017 Tallgrass Film Festival and were voted winners of the Audience Awards. Bomb City directed by Jameson Brooks won the Audience Award for Award Winning Feature Narrative, and Big Sonia directed by Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday won the Audience Award for Award Winning Feature Documentary. Game directed by Jeannie Donohoe won the prize for Audience Award Winning Short .
Bomb City is a crime-drama about the cultural aversion of teenage punks in a conservative Texas town and their ongoing battle with a rival, more-affluent group of jocks. The film is based on the true story of Brian Deneke.
In Big Sonia, Holocaust survivor and diva, Sonia Warshawski, has just been served an eviction notice for her popular tailor shop in suburban Kansas City. Sonia’s trauma comes to the surface as she struggles with the concept of retirement.
Gook, directed Justin Chon was awarded the prize for Outstanding Narrative Feature, along with Outstanding Rising Star for Simone Baker. In the film, set in 1992, two Korean-American brothers strike up an unlikely friendship with an 11-year-old African-American girl, while racial tensions build to a breaking point as the L.A. riots break out.
For Ahkeem directed by Jeremy S. Levin and Landon Van Soest took the award for Outstanding Documentary Feature. After a school fight lands 17-year old Daje Shelton in a court-supervised alternative high school, she’s determined to turn things around and make a better future for herself, despite challenges both personally and in society.
2017 Tallgrass Film Festival Award Winners
Best Kansas & Emerging Filmmaker Awards
Best Emerging Student Award Documentary: Yellow, Director Rowyn Mottershead
Best Emerging Student Award – Narrative: Reverse, Director Andrew Kivett
Best Kansas Short Film Award – Documentary: Dragtivists, Director, Savannah Rodgers
Best Kansas Short Film Award -Narrative: Rabbits, Director Patrick Clement
Golden Strands Programming Awards
Outstanding Cinematography: Seat 25, CInematographer Joe Kaufman
Outstanding Screenplay: Lucky, Screenwriters Logan Sparks & Drago Sumonja
Best Editing: 20 Weeks, Editor David Hopper
Outstanding Film Animation: Two Trains Runnin’
Outstanding Rising Star: Simone Baker, Gook
Outstanding Male Actor: Christopher Marquette, I Hate the Man in the Basement
Outstanding Female Actor: Simone Nortman, For the Birds
Outstanding Ensemble Cast: Badsville, Ian McLaren, Benjamin Barrett, Tamara Duarte, Emilio Rivera, Robert Knepper
Outstanding Courage in Filmmaking: City of Joy, Director, Madeleine Gavin
Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking: Black Cop, Director, Cory Bowles
Venus Award for the Teddie Barlow Outstanding Female Filmmaker: Skye Borgman, Forever ‘B’
Outstanding First Feature: Whose Streets?, Directors, Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis
Outstanding Documentary Short Film: Edith + Eddie, Director, Laura Checkoway
Outstanding Narrative Short Film: Real Artist, Director, Cameo Wood
Outstanding Documentary Feature: For Ahkeem, Directors, Jeremy S. Levin, Landon Van Soest
Outstanding Narrative Feature: Gook, Director Justin Chon
Audience Award Winning Short ($1,000 Cash Prize): GAME, Director, Jeannie Donohoe
Audience Award for Award Winning Feature Documentary ($2,500 Cash Prize): BIG SONIA, Directors, Leah Warshawski, Todd Soliday
Audience Award for Award Winning Feature Narrative ($2,500 Cash Prize): BOMB CITY, Director Jameson Brooks