Keeper of the Plans

New film about this longtime Wichitan is winning international awards

“This Is Love,” a film about Wichita’s Rudy Love and his family, will make its U.S. premiere at the Tallgrass Film Festival on Friday, Oct. 19
“This Is Love,” a film about Wichita’s Rudy Love and his family, will make its U.S. premiere at the Tallgrass Film Festival on Friday, Oct. 19

Some would say Rudy Love is Wichita’s best musician that no one ever heard of.

Sure, in Wichita he has a following, but the multi-talented songwriter had trouble breaking into the music scene elsewhere for decades — despite his writing songs for major artists like Little Richard and Ray Charles. One of his songs was sampled by Jay-Z on his album, “American Gangster.”

A new film about Love is set to make its United States premiere at the Tallgrass Film Festival on Oct. 19 as part of its Centerpiece Gala.

The film, “This Is Love,” was the brainchild of local filmmaker Shawn Rhodes, who had been kicking the idea around for 18 years.

A few years ago, Rhodes linked up with filmmakers John Alexander and JC Guest — who filmed the movie, “Bender,” in Kansas — and pitched the idea.

Rhodes had filmed interviews for the movie for the previous 15 years — some on VHS tape, some on Super 8 film.

The feature film, which runs for approximately one hour and 20 minutes, includes interviews with Sinbad, Mick Fleetwood, George Clinton and Norman Jay MBE, among others.

It made its international debut at the Raindance Film Festival in London earlier this month, where it won the Raindance Spirit Award.

Rhodes, who traveled with the film, said it was “extremely well-received.”

“They went nuts,” he said. “People were crying, they were teary-eyed, they were laughing, they were shouting at the film, they were clapping — it was wild.”

Love and his family traveled to London for the premiere and played a show at London’s legendary 100 Club after the screening.

In London, his music was especially popular in the 1970s, Rhodes said.

“We had gone out to Piccadilly Square and people were yelling for Rudy Love,” he said. “I was like, ‘How does this happen?’ These crazy maniacs from Kansas show up in London and take over the film festival.”

Rhodes, who served as executive producer for the film, said he’s “so happy that the Love family, after all this time of having their stuff ripped or receiving very little recognition ... will have their moment to sort of regain their place in history.”

“This Is Love” is screening at the Wichita Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, as part of the Tallgrass Film Festival.

Tickets are $15 to see the film only, or $40 to see the film and attend an afterparty.

They are available online at www.goelevent.com/Tallgrass/e/Search.

Rudy Love Jr. plays songs off of his new album, "The Framework," at Rock Island Live. Playing with him are Micah Rivas, Justin Crump, Alex Nordine, Cassie Craig, Josue Estrada. (Matt Riedl/The Wichita Eagle)

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