2016 Festival Information
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Bombardier Learjet Presents the 2nd DOWN TO THE WIRE: 24 HOUR FILM RACE, with $1,000 Prize from Vimeo


For the second year in a row, Tallgrass Filmmakers Lab and CreativeRush unite for DOWN TO THE WIRE: A 24 HOUR FILM RACE, presented by Bombardier Learjet, which is celebrating its 50 year anniversary of the first flight of the Learjet, the original business jet. Down to the Wire celebrates cinema in a fast-paced, voyage of filmmaking, which is perfectly complemented by the 2013 Tallgrass Film Festival's theme of "flight", the partnership with Bombardier Learjet whose founder’s creative vision brought a dream to life, and the surge of energy of initiative from CreativeRush.

The race takes place from August 9-11 and participants can enter on their own as a team of one or with up to fifteen people. Teams have 24 hours to write, produce, shoot and edit a short film that is six minutes or less. All films are required to include four pre-selected elements including a theme, a prop, a location and a line of dialogue, which are randomly selected at the beginning of the race.  In 2012, the Down to the Wire race attracted 34 teams (well over 100 filmmakers) and an audience of more than 500, who showed up to support Wichita’s local filmmaking community.

The weekend kicks off with a Producer’s meeting on Friday, August 9 at Mindfire Academy (4031 E. Harry) at 6:00 pm. Each team may then begin the process of creating their film, which must be turned no later than 7:00 pm to the Tallgrass Film Association office (212 N. Market) on Saturday, August 10. A curated team of Tallgrass Film Association programmers and CreativeRush advisors will screen each film and select the top ten, which will then be showcased at the Orpheum Theatre at 7:00 pm on Sunday, August 11th. The showcase is open to the public (GA tickets: $8). A VIP Panel of judges (TBA) will live critique each film and the winners will receive prizes as listed below.

All films completed may be submitted for consideration into 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival no later than September 1 with no entry fee.

DTTW is presented by Bombarider Learjet, with additional support from Vimeo, the Orpheum Theatre,  Mindfire Academy and Monster Energy Drink.

Official hashtag: #DTTW Official website: http://dttwfilmrace.com


1st Place: $1,000 Filmmaking Grant from Vimeo, Gala screening at the 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival, Personalized Filmmaker Passes for up to 8 registered team members ($195 value/pass), Up to 4 members of team may participate in a complimentary filmmaking class offered at Mindfire Academy.

Audience Award: Weekend at the 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival includes up to 6 personalized Filmmaker Passes for registered team members ($195 value/pass), and 2 nights at the Hotel at Waterwalk, the official hotel of the Tallgrass Film Festival

Silver: Complimentary Gala tickets for up to 10 team members to the Opening Night Gala Film & Party at the 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival on October 16th, Private screening for up to 20 people in the LivingSound Screening Room at the Tallgrass Film Festival office (after October)

Bronze: 2 Complimentary General Admission tickets to the 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival for all registered team members (good for any GA screening)

Student Film: Student TALLPass ($80 value) for up to 4 registered team members for the 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival

Prizes offered by Tallgrass Film Association and MIndfire Academy will be handled directly by each organization.

Registration Info:

$100 per team and $70 for teams containing a student or TFA member (with valid ID.) For a full description of rules and regulations visit creativerush.org.

popchips & Tallgrass Team Up for #crunchtime at Down to the Wire

popchips and Tallgrass Film Festival are stacking our chips high and anteing up the competition at this weekend's Down to the Wire: 24 Hour Film Race.

Participating filmmaking teams will be given another opportunity to win, by showcasing how popchips come to their rescue when it comes down to crunch time over the weekend as they write, produce and edit an original 6-minute short film. Teams will receive a limited supply of popchips and then must tweet photos of popchips fueling their filmmaking fire to @popchips with the hashtags #crunchtime and #DTTW between 7 pm on Friday, August 9 and 7 pm on Sunday, August 11. The most creative photograph (keep it PG-13 folks!) will win 2 VIP TALLPasses to the 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival in October and a month's supply of popchips.

Down to the Wire is presented in association with CreativeRush, and sponsored by Bombardier Learjet, Vimeo, Mindfire Academy, The Wichita Orpheum, Monster Energy Drink and KMUW.

35 Teams Race, More than 700 Attend Top Ten Showcase

The second year of Down to the Wire: 24 Hour Film Race proved to be an even bigger success than the first. 35 teams participated in the race on Friday, with 28 turning in final films on Saturday and 746 attendees at the Top Ten Showcase on Sunday - proving that Wichita's independent filmmaking/appreciating community is strong and growing.

The films, 6 minutes or less, had to include four required elements which were chosen at random on Friday evening:

Prop: Car radio (no logos)
Dialogue: "You can't stand up in a Cadillac, either." - Bill Lear
Action: Slap in the face
Theme: Identity Theft
Optional Bonus Location: B-52 cockpit simulator

Check out the weekend in real time via the #DTTW twitter feed , Instagram photos and facbook.

Winning teams:

1st Place/Gold: UNMASKED
2nd Place/Silver: PHISH
3rd Place/Bronze: VLAD & COCO, FRAMES
Audience Award: UNMASKED
Student Award: IDENTITY OF A SHATTERED MIND (Maize High School)

Cigarettes & Coffee: The Films of Paul Thomas Anderson

TFA presents a free Tallgrass Filmmakers Lab examing the work of acclaimed Director Paul Thomas Anderson, lead by Co-Director of Programming Nick Pope.

The class takes place on Saturday, March 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. (House of Schwan, 3636 N. Comotara). The workshop is open to the public however space is limited. Advanced RSVP is required by emailing amber@tallgrassfilmfest.com or by calling (316) 303-9292.

After only six feature films and over a dozen Oscar nominations, Paul Thomas Anderson has become one of the most celebrated filmmakers of the last 20 years. Inspired by Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, and David Mamet, Anderson revels in character-driven epics.  His stories are as varied as his choice in actors.  From the California oil boom of the early 20th Century to the pornography business circa 1980, his films have garnered Oscar nominations for Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds, and Tom Cruise. With running themes of isolation and strained family relationships to filmmaking techniques such as the long-take, this workshop will examine how, in an age of remakes and sequels, Paul Thomas Anderson remains a fresh and challenging auteur. 


About Nick Pope: A child of the '80s, Nick thrived on American independent cinema of the 1990s. Fond of filmmakers such as David O. Russell, Darren Aronofsky, Neil LaBute and others, Nick took his enthusiasm to the University of Kansas where he studied film criticism, history, and production. He has been with the Tallgrass Film Festival since its inception in 2003 when he started as Print Traffic Assistant. A programmer for the last ten seasons, Nick currently serves as Co-Director of Programming for TFA.

Project Nano: With Filmmaker in Residence James Choi

Tallgrass alumni filmmaker James Choi (MADE IN CHINA, JOINT BODY, FAITH IN DESTINY) returns to Wichita for the 4th year in a row to lead TFA’s first Project Nano, an intensive, hands-on, short filmmaking workshop.

The class takes place from April 12 – April 15 at the Digital Arts Studio at CityArts  and on location throughout the city. Students will learn the art of independent filmmaking from pre-production through post-production, through the lens of  accomplished filmmaker and instructor, Choi.

Starting with an original short screenplay, (selected by Choi and Wichita area film professionals from submissions from across the country) the class will learn the process of filmmaking from script to screen – including producing, directing, casting, production design, lighting, sound, editing music – and how to do it all with little to no cash budget.

Project Nano is open to filmmakers of all ages, with all levels of experience, who want to learn and practice the craft of filmmaking. The end result of Project Nano will include a completed short film, and more importantly, a group of students who will be possess the knowledge to go out and continue making films.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have James Choi as our Filmmaker in Residence for the first Project Nano. He’s an incredibly talented and generous filmmaker. We’re excited for local filmmakers to have the incredible opportunity to work with him and learn about filmmaking, Choi-style,” said TFA Executive Director Lela Meadow-Conner. “Independent film is so inherently DIY, and each filmmaker has a unique approach. We hope to continue this program each year with different filmmakers sharing their perspectives and processes with the Wichita community.”

Class space is limited to 20 people and advanced registration is required. Registration is $175 GA or $150 for students/seniors/TFA members and past City Arts Digital Filmmaking Lab students. Participants will be contacted via email prior to the first class with further details.

Project Nano is sponsored by Tallgrass Film Association and CityArts.

Project Nano Schedule

Friday, April 12: 5:30 – 9:30 pm
Saturday, April 13: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday, April 14: 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
Monday, April 15: 5:30 – 9:30 pm

About James Choi

James Choi is a prolific, award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of film industry experience in Los Angeles. 

Mr. Choi’s first film as a producer, MADE IN CHINA, written and directed by Judi Krant, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Film at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival and is currently being distributed by IFC Films. 

Since 2009, James has gone onto produce JOINT BODY, a feature film written and directed by Brian Jun which stars Mark Pellegrino and Alicia Witt. JOINT BODY was released by Level 33 Entertainment. James has also written and directed two short films entitled ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK and HEARTLESS which is currently being distributed by Shorts International.

FAITH IN DESTINY marks Mr. Choi's first feature film as a writer/director. A stylized noir produced on a $4000 budget with a crew of one. Currently out at festivals, the film had its world premiere at the 2012 Tallgrass Film Festival.

James is actively writing, directing and producing films in Chicago and also teaches at DePaul University and Tribeca Flashpoint Academy.


American Indian Festival Film Contest

The Mid-America All-Indian Center is launching the first-ever American Indian Festival Film Contest. The Tallgrass Filmmakers Lab is a media partner for the event. Filmmakers of all ages are invited to create a documentary-style film that best captures the spirit and excitement of the 3rd annual American Indian Festival, July 13-14 at Century II Expo Hall. The first-place award is a $500 cash prize. Entry forms and contest rules are posted online at TheIndianCenter.org. A special $10 “early bird” entry fee is available until July 1. Pre-registration is encouraged.
“We are excited to see the American Indian Festival through the eyes of a diverse range of filmmakers,” said Indian Center Director April Scott. “With each person and story they capture on film, they will be preserving our shared heritage and helping us communicate the value and uniqueness of this cultural celebration to countless audiences.”
Each contest participant will receive free admission into the American Indian Festival to shoot his or her documentary. Entries should be between eight and 10 minutes long and be burned onto a DVD. The completed films must be received by at the Indian Center by 4 p.m. Monday, July 22.
Local American Indian filmmaker Rod Pocowatchit will head a judging panel that includes Nick Pope, co-director of programming for the Tallgrass Film Association, and representatives from the Indian Center. In addition to the $500 first-place prize, other awards include:

  • Second place, $200 cash prize and a family membership to the Indian Center (valued at $100).
  • Third place, a 2013 Tallgrass Film Festival TALLpass (valued at $195).
  • A special invitation for all three winners to introduce their films at the 2014 American Indian Festival Preview Party.

 The winners will be announced at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 28 at the Indian Center during a free screening of the top 10 entries. The public will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite to receive the first-ever “Audience Choice Award.”
For more information about the American Indian Festival Film Contest, contact April Scott at (316) 350-3341 or by e-mail at ascott@wichita.gov.