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Attendance broke records at Tallgrass Film Festival

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at 7:04 a.m.

Wichita’s 10th annual Tallgrass Film Festival last weekend was a great success, with a record number of films (180) and more than 30 visiting filmmakers in attendance.

“Dead Dad” won the Txtwrks Audience Award for best narrative feature while “Beauty Is Embarrassing” won the best documentary audience award.

Golden Strands programming awards went to “The Day I Saw Your Heart” for narrative feature, “Year of the Living Dead” for documentary feature, “House of Monsters” for best Kansas film, “Friends” for emerging filmmaker narrative short and “Opening Levittown: Moving the First Black Family into America’s Second Suburb” for emerging filmmaker documentary short.

My short film “The Girlfriend” played in the Spotlight on Kansas Filmmakers program last Sunday to a standing-room-only crowd. Other screenings were sold out, as well. Overall attendance broke records: 11,223, according to festival staff.

Plans are already underway for next year’s event, which will be a day longer.

Special event — The Wichita State University Symphony Orchestra will honor the 50th anniversary of the film “To Kill a Mockingbird” with a special performance of excerpts from Elmer Bernstein’s score at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Miller Concert Hall on the WSU campus, 1845 Fairmount.

The multimedia presentation will be narrated by Mary Badham, who played Scout. She will discuss her experience making the film and her friendship with actor Gregory Peck, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Atticus Finch in the film.

Mark Laycock will conduct the program.

Badham, who had no previous acting experience before “Mockingbird,” received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress for her performance. At the time, she was the youngest person ever to do so.

Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and military and $3 for students with an ID. Tickets will be for sale from noon to 5 p.m. at WSU’s fine arts box office, by calling 316-978-3233 or online at Wichita.edu/fineartsboxoffice.

Zombie love — As the director of my own zombie film, I have a special fondness for the zombie classics, especially George A. Romero’s 1978 original Dawn of the Dead.” The film, which concludes the October at the OldTown Horror Festival, follows a group of people who escape zombies by seeking refuge in a shopping mall.

What’s great about the film is that it’s more than just a bloody gorefest. It’s also a commentary on consumerism, the Vietnam War, abortion and immigration. And it’s just more fun than you can shake a dismembered finger at.

It will be shown at Warren OldTown Theatre, 353 N. Mead, at 7 and 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Tickets are $5, and audiences are encouraged to come dressed as zombies.

Just please don’t get any blood on my popcorn.

Reach Rod Pocowatchit at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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