Movie Maniac

Tallgrass Film Festival offers sneak peek of lineup (+videos)

Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg star in “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong,” a finalist for the Tallgrass Film Festival’s Stubbornly Independent Award.
Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg star in “It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong,” a finalist for the Tallgrass Film Festival’s Stubbornly Independent Award. Courtesy photo

It’s getting close to Tallgrass Film Festival time, and programmers have revealed a sneak peek of this year’s program by unveiling the films that made the cut in Tallgrass’ Stubbornly Independent competition, now in its fourth year at the festival.

To be eligible, films must be a domestic fiction feature made for less than $750,000, with no traditional theatrical distribution. This year, 84 films were submitted to the competition, the centerpiece of the festival.

The five films selected are:

“The Boatman” — A tale that takes place along the U.S. and Mexico border, about a man so adept at sneaking immigrants across the border that none of them have ever been captured. Directed by Greg Norman.

“It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong” — An attraction forms between a Chinese American girl visiting Hong Kong for the first time and an American expat, but timing may not be on their side. Directed by Emily Ting.

“A Light Beneath Their Feet” — Taryn Manning (“Orange Is the New Black”) stars as a high school senior who is faced with the choice of going off to college or taking care of her bipolar mother. Directed by Valerie Weiss.

“Somewhere in the Middle” — Four lovers collide into each other’s lives as one marriage morphs into several intertwining affairs. Directed by Lanre Olabisi.

“They Look Like People” — Suspecting that people around him are turning into evil creatures, a troubled man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself. Directed by Perry Blackshear.

Chosen by a film industry jury, the winner of the competition will be featured at the Vimeo Stubbornly Independent Gala during the festival on Oct. 17, as well as receive a $2,500 cash prize from Vimeo, one-night theater rental from AMC Theaters, an award created by VanChase Studios and more. The winning film will be announced on Sept. 24.

Each film will be shown at the festival, with representatives from the film in attendance. The festival is now in its 13th year and runs from Oct. 14-18. For more information, go to

Indie update — I didn’t get this information in time for my fall preview last week, but these independent films are slated to open at the east Warren Theatre in the next couple of months (dates are tentative and likely to change):

“Grandma” — Lily Tomlin is earning raves as a woman who has just broken up with her girlfriend when her granddaughter unexpectedly shows up needing $600 before sundown. (Sept. 18)

“Pawn Sacrifice” — Tobey Maguire stars as American chess champion Bobby Fischer, who prepares for a legendary match against Russian Boris Spassky. (Sept. 25)

“Diary of a Teenage Girl” — A teen artist living in 1970s San Francisco enters into an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Alexander Skarsgard and Kristen Wiig star. (Late September)

“He Named Me Malala” — A documentary about the events leading up to the Taliban’s attack on young Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai for speaking out on girls’ education. (Early October)

“About Ray” — Elle Fanning stars as a teenager who transitions from female to male. (October)

“Truth” — Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford star in this behind-the-scenes look detailing the 2004 CBS “60 Minutes” report investigating then-President George W. Bush’s military service in the Texas Air National Guard. (Late October)