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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Film scores with a chorus of the world’s dissatisfied voices

By Rod Pocowatchit
The Wichita Eagle

Gripe group — Tallgrass Film Association and the Ulrich Museum present this month’s Third Thursday screening on, well, Thursday, featuring the musical documentary “Complaints Choir.”

The film is an art project, of sorts, by Finnish/German couple Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kalleinen. The artists travel the world collecting complaints from people and transforming them into songs.

That is, until the Singapore government refused to grant a performance permit, which set off debate in the country and attention from the U.S. State Department.

Director Ada Bligaard Soby’s film paints the artist team as not wanting to pour salt on the wounds of the world’s grumps, but to let everyone vent dissatisfaction in a liberating chorus.

The screening takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday at Murdock Theatre, 536 N. Broadway. Tickets are $10; $8 for students, seniors, military, TFA members and WSU faculty/staff; free for Ulrich Museum members.

The event concludes with a debut performance of the Wichita Complaints Choir, formed by Wichita State students and led by WSU Professor Tom Wine.

A Q&A follows the screening. To purchase tickets and for more information, go to www.tallgrassfilmfest.com.

Independent haven — The latest issue of MovieMaker magazine has released its list of 10 best cities for independent moviemakers — and Wichita came in at No. 10!

Criteria included “those places that go the extra mile in welcoming lower-budget productions,” says the mag, offering “production support and assistance, tax incentives and waivers, local and experienced crew bases or all of the above.”

Other cities included on the list were New Orleans (No. 1), Austin (No. 2) and Albuquerque (No. 3).

While I’m glad Wichita made the list, I’m a little surprised (I would have thought Lawrence would have been a contender).

But no matter. It’s terrific exposure for Wichita and our ever-growing film community.

As Tallgrass Film Association director Lela Meadow-Conner says in the mag: “Shooting is easy here. There’s very little red tape, permits aren’t required for filming on public property and there are plenty of local people who are experienced in all aspects of production and readily available for shoots.”

She’s right. I’ve managed to make three features here — and I’m working on some new horror short films. So come on, filmmakers — we have no excuse now. Let’s get those movies made!

For more information on Wichita resources, go to www.gowichita.com/film-commission.

For the Kansas Film Commission, go to www.filmkansas.com.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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