There are lots of great movie things happening in October around the state. Here’s a look at what’s going on:
▪ HorrorFest 2017 – Leif Jonker’s local October at the Oldtown Horror Festival goes nationwide in Regal Cinemas around the country and gets a new name: HorrorFest.
It started on Oct. 2 and continues on Mondays and Tuesdays through Halloween.
Up next is the “giant monster double feature” with 1933’s “King Kong” and 1954’s “Them!” – the original oversized ape and ant flicks. The program starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, at the Warren Old Town, 353 N. Mead. Tickets are $10.
Then on Tuesday, Oct. 17, is “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” the original 1984 classic that unleashed cruel serial killer Freddy Krueger upon the world – and way too many sequels and reboots. It will be shown at 7 and 10 p.m. and tickets are $5.
HorrorFest concludes on Oct. 30 and 31 with George A. Romero’s 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead,” shown in a pristine 4K restoration. For a full schedule, go to www.facebook.com/groups/wichitabigscreen.
▪ Smokey Hill Independent Film and Television Festival – This inaugural event, known as SHIFT, is a “celebration of Kansas independent motion picture producers, directors, actors and enthusiasts.” It will take place on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina on Friday, Oct. 13, and Saturday, Oct. 14.
SHIFT will feature guest filmmakers, panel discussions, seminars and more.
The festival kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday with guest Leif Jonker, who will talk about the art of creating horror films. At 3 p.m., cartoonist Matt Orsman will discuss his work, followed by a screening of Isaiah Marcotte’s “Sphere Cycle” at 6 p.m. in Fitzpatrick Auditorium on the KWU campus. Jonker’s “Darkness” will follow at 6:30 p.m, followed by a panel discussion on indie filmmaking at 8 p.m. Admission to the screenings and panels is free.
The final event of Friday is a midnight screening of “Night of the Living Dead.” Tickets are $1 for students and $2.50 for general admission. Proceeds benefit the communications department of the university.
Saturday’s schedule begins with a “60-Second Film Challenge” that starts at 9 a.m. Participants will be given a topic and tasked with making a 60-second film in six hours that will be judged by panelists later that evening. First prize is $100 and gift certificates from local Salina businesses. Second place is $50 and third is $25.
Film screenings continue all day Saturday. For a complete schedule and updates, go to www.facebook.com/smokyhillfilmfest.
▪ 15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival – The landmark 15th year of Wichita’s esteemed film festival kicks off on Wednesday, Oct. 18, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 22, with gala parties, panel discussions, workshops and, of course, movies. This year’s festival boasts 182 films (47 features and 135 short films) representing 34 countries.
Highlights include screenwriter Larry Gross receiving the inaugural L.M. “Kit” Carson Storyteller Award following a 35th anniversary screening of Walter Hill’s action/comedy classic “48 Hours” (which Gross co-wrote). Rose McGowan will receive the Ad Astra Award following a screening of her critically-acclaimed short film “Dawn.”
The fest’s opening night and centerpiece gala selections are both South African films. Quentin Krog’s “For the Birds” is a ’70s tale that follows a young nurse who ruffles feathers as she shows a small town what it means to be an independent woman. The film will make its North American premiere at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Scottish Rite, 332 E. First St. A gala party follows.
Byron Davis’ “Hunting Emma” – about a young woman who witnesses six men kill a cop in the wild and then is hunted down by them – makes its midwest premiere as the fest’s centerpiece gala selection on Oct. 20 at the Scottish Rite.
Various ticket packages and all-inclusive passes are available. For more information and a complete schedule, go to www.tallgrassfilmfest.com.
Look for my Tallgrass Film Festival preview in Sunday’s Arts & Culture section.