New Tallgrass Fest Aims to Bring Film Art to Kansas
by Brian Brooks
If all goes according to plan, Wichita will have a formidable regional film festival beginning this October. The Wichita Association for the Motion Picture Arts (WAMPA), organizers of the Tallgrass Film Festival, announced during the recent IFP Los Angeles Film Festival the formation of an advisory board for the event and a $10,000 donation from the Kansas Film Commission for the fledgling group.
In a conversation with indieWIRE, WAMPA executive director Timothy Gruver said he's following the example of Telluride. "I'm modeling the [Tallgrass] after Telluride, one of my favorite festivals." He went on to say that the main purpose of the event is to "introduce film as an art form for the Midwest region."
Gruver is no stranger to the film festival world having served as a marketing coordinator for the Los Angeles Film Festival and as an office manager for Outfest. He initially had the idea for a Kansas-based event after a conversation with Peter Jasso of the Kansas Film Commission. "I asked [Jasso] what was happening in Kansas, and he said not much, so I came out to see if [having a festival] was feasible." Gruver, a native of Kansas, incorporated WAMPA in June 2003 and the festival will kick off on October 2nd of this year.
Announced members of the festival advisory board include Matt Brodile, senior vice-president of acquisitions at Miramax Films, Quinn Coleman, head of worldwide co-productions and acquisitions at Warner Bros., festival consultant Shannon Kelley, filmmaker Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou"), and producer Marc Platt ("Legally Blonde").
The festival, which will run through October 5th, will take place in Wichita's Old Town district.
[For more information, please visit: http://tallgrassfilmfest.com/.]