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Best bets for this weekend’s Tallgrass Film Festival

The documentary “This is Love,” about iconic Wichita musician Rudy Love, will have its U.S. premiere at the Tallgrass Film Festival.
The documentary “This is Love,” about iconic Wichita musician Rudy Love, will have its U.S. premiere at the Tallgrass Film Festival.

The 16th annual Tallgrass Film Festival started Wednesday, Oct. 17, and is in full swing through Sunday, Oct. 21. Here’s a list of don’t-miss events and films this weekend.

BEST BET

Centerpiece gala: “This is Love” — Straight from its world premiere in London comes the U.S. premiere of this documentary directed by John Alexander about iconic Wichita musician Rudy Love. Despite finding success alongside legends such as Little Richard and Ray Charles, his experience in the music industry over the decades encapsulates an all-too-familiar struggle for African American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Many local filmmakers worked on the film, including Wichitans Shawn Rhodes and Mark Good. The film will be followed by a Q&A with Alexander, Rhodes, producer JC Guest and subject Rudy Love. The film will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway. An after-party follows at 115 N. Mead with performances by Rudy Love and the Love Family.

OTHER SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Stubbornly Independent Gala: “Eleven Hundred to Lubbock” — This year’s winner of the Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Competition is about a group of unlikely friends who pay tribute to their recently deceased loved one by relay-running his ashes across the country. Writer/director Sara Radle will attend and accept the award. Preceding the film will be a screening of “The Smile and the Light Blue Eyes” by Wichitans Peter Espinosa and Brayden Frazier, which was the grand prize winner of this year’s Down the Wire 24-Hour Film Race. 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Scottish Rite, 332 E 1st St.

DOXX Spotlight and award ceremony: “A Thousand Girls Like Me” — A 23-year-old Afghan woman confronts the will of her family and the traditions of her country to seek justice for years of sexual abuse from her father. 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Scottish Rite.

NARRATIVE FEATURES

“Bitter Melon” A Filipino-American family reunites for a Christmas party, but the holiday takes a dark turn when they conspire to murder the abusive bully of the family. Writer/director H.P. Mendoza will attend. 2:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, and 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Scottish Rite.

“Doubting Thomas” — After a white couple inexplicably gives birth to a black child, the purest bonds of trust, friendship, and love are put to the ultimate test. Co-writer/director Will McFadden will attend. 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Roxy’s Downtown, 412 E Douglas.

“The Maestro” — After World War II, a budding film composer moves to Hollywood to study with an infamous master teacher. Director Adam Cushman and producer/actor David J. Phillips will attend. 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Roxy’s Downtown.

“When Jeff Tried to Save the World” — When Jeff, the manager of an old-school bowling alley, discovers the owner’s plans to sell, saving Winky’s World means pulling himself out of the gutter, too. Director/co-Writer Kendall Goldberg and actor Jim O’Heir will attend. 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, Orpheum Theatre.

“A Scientist’s Guide to Living and Dying” — A young scientist is thrown into free-fall when she becomes pregnant with her dead husband’s child. Director/actress Nitzan Mager and co-director Shachar Langlev will attend. 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Roxy’s Downtown.

DOCUMENTARIES

“Behind the Curve” — A look at the internet-fueled “flat Earther” movement — those who actually believe the earth is flat. Director Daniel Clark and producer Caroline Clark will attend. 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Wilke Family Life Center in the First United Methodist Church, 330 N. Broadway.

“Daughters of the Sexual Revolution: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” — The never-before-told story of Suzanne Mitchell, the fiercely loyal den mother of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Director Dana Adam Shapiro will attend. 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Orpheum and 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 21 at the Scottish Rite.

“Far From the Tree” — An examination of families that face extraordinary challenges through love, empathy and understanding. Co-Director/producer Jamila Ephron will attend. 10:45 a.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Orpheum and 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Wilke auditorium.

“Letter From Masanjia” — A desperate SOS letter penned by a political prisoner turns up in Halloween decorations sold in Oregon, which sparks a chain of events that exposes appalling human rights violations. Director Leon Lee will attend. 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Wichita Downtown Public Library, 711 W. 2nd St. and 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Wilke auditorium.

“Rodents of Unusual Size” — An offbeat environmental documentary about monstrous swamp rats at the edge of the world. Co-Directors Chris Metzler and Quinn Costello will attend. 3:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, at the Wilke auditorium and 12:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Orpheum.

TICKETS AND PASSES

There are multiple daily and weekend passes and gala packages available. Go to www.tallgrassfilmfest.com for more information.

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