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Monday, April 21, 2014

Tallgrass gives preview of 10th anniversary six months early

By Rod Pocowatchit
The Wichita Eagle

The Tallgrass Film Association will host two events in the coming week.

First, it will present a screening of “Chico & Rita” as this month’s Third Thursday film at 7 p.m. Thursday at Murdock Theatre, 536 N. Broadway.

The film, an Oscar nominee earlier this year for best animated feature film, takes place in 1948 Cuba and follows Chico, a young piano player with big dreams, and Rita, a beautiful singer. Music and romantic desire unite them, but their journey — in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero — brings heartache and torment.

“Chico & Rita” features an original soundtrack by renowned Cuban pianist and five-time Grammy-winning composer Bebo Valdes, as well as music by Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman, who also make cameo animated appearances.

Tickets are $10; $8 for students, teachers, seniors, military, film association members and Wichita Jazz Festival patrons.

On Saturday, Tallgrass celebrates the 10th anniversary of its upcoming film festival with “VI to X: Six Months to Tallgrass Ten,” a one-day film festival at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway.

The event is designed to showcase independent films and introduce the “Tallgrass experience” to new audiences, with six film programs (two films will be Wichita premieres).

First Street between Broadway and Topeka will also be closed for the day to showcase vendors and attractions organized by Wichita State University’s Communication Campaigns class to add to the festival atmosphere. Arcade machines, a photo booth, casino parties, spray tattoos, a hookah lounge and a graffiti artist will be featured, as well as food by popular roaming food vendor The Flying Stove.

Some screenings will be free and require a sticker for admittance, which can be found at various locations around Wichita; check www.tallgrassfilmfest.com for locations.

Here is the lineup for Saturday (all films will be shown at the Orpheum):

•  10 a.m. — “L.A. Comedy Shorts Best of the Fest World Tour” — A compilation of short films from the L.A. Comedy Shorts Festival (some content may be intended for mature audiences). (Free with sticker)

•  Noon — “The Sandman” (directed by Peter Luisi) — The opening-night film from last year’s film festival follows a man who discovers sand in his bed when he wakes up one day. Soon, he discovers the sand is leaking from him, and he’s running out of time to figure out why. (Free with sticker)

•  2 p.m. — “Bomb The System” (directed by Adam Bhala Lough) — The opening-night film from the first Tallgrass Film Festival stars Mark Webber as a 19-year-old graffiti artist who spends his time covering New York City with graffiti art until he and his crew become the most-wanted “bombers” by the corrupt NYPD Vandal Squad. (Free with sticker)

•  5 p.m. — “The Big Fix” (directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell) — This documentary follows the filmmakers as they explore the cause and effect of the devastating oil spill that occurred in 2010 at the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. A panel discussion will follow the film. (Admission is included with TALL Access VIX button or $10 general admission ticket.)

•  8 p.m. — “God Bless America” (written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait) — A 45-year-old man and a teenage girl go on a killing spree in this bloody black comedy. The film’s stars, Joel Murray (“Mad Men,” “Shameless”) and Tara Lynne Barr, will attend and participate in a Q&A after the film, which is rated R and intended for mature audiences. (Admission is included with TALL Access VIX button or $10 ticket.)

•  10 p.m. — ’80s throwback after-party (location to be announced) with music, open bar and food from the Red Barn. (For TALL Access VIX button holders only)

•  Midnight — Red-Eye Screening: “Troll 2” — The campy horror film is presented by Hurts So Good Films. (Admission is free with sticker.)

The TALL Access VIX button (which costs $25) and individual screening tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance at www.tallgrassfilmfest.com.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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