The ninth annual Tallgrass Film Festival wrapped Oct. 23 with a sold-out screening of Anne Buford’s “Elevate” and the Closing Night Gala party at the Ulrich Museum of Art.
Festival officials reported that this year’s event attracted 9,500 attendees – Tallgrass’ biggest numbers to date.
Some of my favorite films included the hilarious “Tucker and Dale vs. Evil,” which found two bumbling hillbilly-types finding themselves accused of killing a bunch of teens in the woods, and the documentaries “Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Misadventure” and “Project Nim.”
Here are the results of the festival’s awards:
• Golden Strands Programming Awards
Outstanding narrative feature: “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” directed by Lynne Ramsay
Outstanding documentary feature: “Wish Me Away,” directed by Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf
• txtwrks Audience Awards
Best narrative feature: “The Selling,” directed by Emily Lou
(Runner-up: “The Encore of Tony Duran,” directed by Fred Sayeg)
Best documentary feature: “Just Like Us,” directed by Ahmed Ahmed
(Runner-up: “The Clean Bin Project,” directed Grant Baldwin)
Best short film: “Incident In New Baghdad,” directed by Jim Spione (He informed me that the film also is now on the short list to be eligible for an Academy Award.)
Best high school short film: “Highway 9,” directed by Parke Metzer
Best Kansas short: “Get Off My Porch,” directed by Patrick Rea
Steps of faith – The gentle independent drama “The Way” started Friday at the Warren Theatre (east) and has Emilio Estevez directing his father, Martin Sheen, in a story about regret and absolution.
Sheen plays Tom, who has just learned that his estranged son (played by Estevez) has died while traveling the “El camino de Santiago” (also known as “The Way of Saint James”) – a Christian pilgrimage in northwestern Spain that has existed for centuries.
Tom is overcome with grief, but he’s also inspired by his son’s task and takes it upon himself to walk the long route of the pilgrimage, spreading his son’s ashes along the way.
He meets several fellow travelers on his journey, including a kooky Irish writer and sullen, angry Canadian woman. Eventually, they take on the elements and the miles together.
It’s a tender, intimate story told against a backdrop of beautiful scenery. The film at times inches toward touchy-feely and overly sentimental, but it’s ultimately a feel-good experience.