Movie Maniac

Doc Sunback Film Festival returns to Mulvane for 5th year

The Mulvane Historical Museum is one of the venues for this weekend’s Doc Sunback Film Festival in downtown Mulvane.
The Mulvane Historical Museum is one of the venues for this weekend’s Doc Sunback Film Festival in downtown Mulvane. Doc Sunback Film Festival

Festival fever — The Doc Sunback Film Festival returns for its fifth year in Mulvane, about 16 miles southwest of Wichita, Thursday, June 13, through Sunday, June 16.

More than 420 films from more than 50 different countries were submitted to the festival this year for consideration. Out of that, more than 80 films — including 38 from Kansas — were selected to be screened at the festival’s three venues, which include the Pix Community Center, 101 E. Main St. in Mulvane, the Mulvane Historical Museum, 300 W. Main St, and the Art Towne Theater, 122 N. 1st Ave.

The festival gets its name from Doc Sunback, who was a local veterinarian born in the Mulvane community in 1879. He lived to be 81 and is still remembered fondly by some of the folks in Mulvane.

Screenings start at noon Friday and continue until 9:30 p.m. at the venues. Screenings start at 11 a.m. on Saturday and continue until 6:30 p.m. An awards show begins at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Pix Community Center. Weather permitting, more films will be shown after the awards outside in Cobb Park, near the museum. Audience favorite and “best of the fest” screenings start at 1 p.m. Sunday and continue until 3:30.

Most of the program is comprised of short films organized into thematic “blocks.” Six features are among the program.

Kansas-made feature films include Bret Jones’ “Dramedy,” which was made by and stars WSU students and just had its world premiere at WSU (it screens at 11 a.m. Friday at the historical museum), and the Rudy Love documentary “This is Love,” which has been making a splash at festivals around the world (it screens at 4 p.m. Friday at the historical museum). Wichitan Shawn Rhodes worked for years on the film and has been traveling to festivals to promote it.

My sci-fi feature film “Red Hand” (which I wrote and directed), about a man with the power to heal who time-travels from the future to save the Native American race, will be shown at 1:30 p.m. Friday at the historical museum.

Tickets to individual screenings are $3; a VIP festival pass is $59, which includes admittance to all films and events. The festival’s box office is located near the Pix Community Center, and will open 30 minutes before the first showtime and close 15 minutes after the last block of films begins.

For a full schedule and more information, go to

More Mamafilm — The documentary “For Sama” made quite an impact on the festival circuit — it won the grand jury prize at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, it won the grand jury prize at the esteemed HotDocs festival and was an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival. Now it will play in Wichita as the next screening in the Mamafilm series.

The film follows a Syrian woman who falls in love and becomes a mother as violence erupts across her nation.

It will be shown at 3 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the microcinema at Revolutsia, 2721 E. Central, 2nd floor. Tickets are $10. Due to limited seating, advance purchase is required (as it is for all Mamafilms) at

Rod Pocowatchit is an award-winning independent filmmaker and SAG/AFTRA-eligible actor who has written and directed four feature-length films, all made in Kansas. He has been a journalist for 29 years and is also an internationally award-winning page designer.