Itchy Fingers directed by Anna Nilles and Marco Jake
Itchy Fingers directed by Anna Nilles and Marco Jake

After screening 47 features and 196 shorts, from more than 35 countries around the world, the virtual 18th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival announce this year’s award winners. The award for Outstanding Narrative Feature – went to Itchy Fingers directed by Anna Nilles and Marco Jake; and Whirlybird directed by Matt Yoka won for Outstanding Documentary Feature.

In Itchy Fingers, an aspiring teenage comedian joins a community theater and is cast to play a school shooter. Whirlybird follows a young couple in 80s and ‘90s Los Angeles, who revolutionized breaking news with their brazen helicopter reporting. Culled from this news duo’s sprawling video archive, the documentary is a poignant L.A. story of a family in turbulence hovering over a city unhinged.

On this year’s winners, Programming Coordinator Hannah Bothner said: “We’re incredibly proud of this year’s winners! This group of films really highlights the wide breadth of our programming and represents all of the wonderful stories you can find at Tallgrass. These are going to be the films to look out for in the next year and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for these filmmakers.”

This year’s festival has been extended through Wednesday, October 28th.

2020 Tallgrass Film Festival Awards Winners

Best Kansas Documentary Short – WuShock Doc: The History and Making of WuShock in Bronze directed by Tyler Pennick

Best Kansas Narrative Short – Fear Not directed by Emily Railsback

Best Emerging Student Documentary Short, a documentary film made by a student 18 or younger – Chasing Normality directed by Madison Empalmado

Best Emerging Student Narrative Short, a narrative film made by a student 18 or younger – Faulty Roots directed by Ella Greenwood

Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking, Outstanding Female Filmmaker – A Song Without a Name directed by Melina León

Outstanding Courage in Filmmaking – The Roads Most Traveled: Photojournalist Don Bartletti directed by Bill Wisneski

Outstanding Cinematography – No Fear No Favor directed by Mirra Bank

Outstanding Screenplay – Dramarama directed by Jonathan Wysocki

Outstanding Editing – Out of Stock directed by Bryan Taira

Outstanding Film Animation – Yuan Yuan and the Hollow Monster directed by Catherine Chen

Outstanding Rising Star – Katie Beth West in GraceLand directed by Bonnie Discepolo

Outstanding Male Actor – Zachary Schultz in Itchy Fingers directed by Anna Nilles & Marco Jake

Outstanding Female Actor – Jennifer Lafleur in Baby Kate directed by Jennifer Lafleur

Outstanding Ensemble Cast – Materna directed by David Gutnik

Outstanding First Feature – Puppy Love directed by Michael Maxxis

Outstanding Documentary Short – Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad directed by Camrus Johnson and Pedro Piccinini

Outstanding Narrative Short – Sitting directed by Jones

Outstanding Documentary Feature – Whirlybird directed by Matt Yoka

Outstanding Narrative Feature – Itchy Fingers directed by Anna Nilles & Marco Jake

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