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Emerging Programmer Apprenticeship

2016 Expanded Emerging Programmer Apprentinceship

For the 4th year, TFA presents the Emerging Programmer Apprenticeship Program, offering Wichita area students a unique opportunity to learn about the cinematic arts.

Expanded for 2016, the EPA Program now extends beyond the curation of the Tallgrass Film Festival, and will provide selected students a comprehensive look at filmmaking, affording these young people the opportunity to connect with industry professionals across all facets of the industry, and preparing them for a career in the international medium of visual storytelling. Fifteen students will be selected to participate.

"After watching hundreds of student made shorts over the years, I learned to look for what looked good, what stories worked in a short period of time, and all that you can accomplish as a student," said longtime EPA member Mariah Hall, a senior at Andover Central High School. "It gave me encouragement to keep making my own films and go to film school. EPA taught me about festivals, reviewing, and I wouldn't be going to Chapman University in the fall to study film without the help of the Tallgrass Film Festival."

Eligibility: To qualify for the Emerging Filmmaker Apprenticeship, you must be a Wichita-area (within driving distance) middle or high school student, aged 12-18. Being an EPA requires a substantial commitment (approximately 75 hours which ecompasses all aspects of the program,) and students will be responsible for completing a certain percentage of hours.

Applications (including a reference) are due no later than April 25th. Dowload the application, information sheet and calendar here. Please contact info@tallgrassfilmfest.com with any questions. There is no cost to apply or participate.

New components to this year's program include an extensive look at the filmmaking industry as a whole. Students will spend several hours between May and December gaining broad knowledge from industry professionals, visiting filmmakers and TFA mentors.

  • Programming: Play an integral role in programming the 14th annual Tallgrass Film Festival, notably the Joel Fein Emerging Filmmaker Program (films made by those 18 and younger, Smallgrass: A Family Friendly Film Festival, and in-school screenings.
  • Jury Member: Be part of the film festival jury that awards the Best Emerging Filmmaker Short Film Award.
  • Essential Screening Series: A series of classic films with theoretical discussion to follow.
  • Filmmaking Workshops Series:  Local and Visiting filmmakers provide perspective on various aspects of the film industry.
  • Film Criticism Series: Local and national film critics discuss the art of film criticism.
  • Field Trips: Visit local filmmaking institutions and important cinema landmarks.
  • Mentorship: Talllgrass' Senior Programmers will mentor students through public speaking tutorials,  including film introductions and filmmaker Q&A’s at the festival and Smallgrass.
  • Exclusive Networking: Exclusive interactions with the members of the Tallgrass Filmmaker Advisory Board, all alumni filmmakers and visiting festival filmmakers.
  • Scholarships: EPA’s will be offered scholarships for Tallgrass Filmmaker Labs including the annual 24­Hour Film Race and Project Nano.
  • Festival Access: You will receive an Emerging Programmer Apprentice Pass for the festival, plus one TALLPass for a parent or guardian.

The Emerging Programmer Apprentecship is supported in part by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

2015 Emerging Programmer Appretinces

Jackson Cousin
School: Wichita West High School
Age: 16
Top 3 Films:Red Tails, Forrest Gump, Tron: Legacy

Programmer's Statement: I’ve grown up with a lingering curiosity for how movies are made. This curiosity grew into a love for pre-production, production, post-production, and the final product of films. I am very music-oriented. You can almost always catch me with headphones on. I play the drums, and I am in band at school. I am a go-getter, and always ready to try something new.

Peter Daood
School: The Independent School
Age: 13
Top 3 Films: The Rookie, A Christmas Story, & Men in Black

Programmer's Statement: I was born and raised in Connecticut.  In 4th grade, I created a tech club for kids who want to learn about new technology, monitor/test equipment, and film school events.  In 5th grade, our school created a TV production club. I tried out the roles of director, anchor, and cameraman. Since moving to Wichita, I have been involved in the tech crew for our school’s plays and musicals. I have also met classmates who are also interested in filmmaking. A group of friends got together during spring break and shot “The Power We Wield.”  The experience of shooting our first scripted film was awesome.  I learned that I was more of the production/behind the scenes guy.  I was the one who always brought the duct tape and pop up tent to the shoots, and the one who bought a shotgun mic with his birthday money.  Even though I had to act (like everyone else), I most enjoyed the tech side during shoots. 

Kate Gondwe
School: Wichita Collegiate School
Age: 15
Top 3 Films: Her, Fight Club, Casablanca

Programmer's Statement: My passion for film started in the 8th grade! I can honestly say there is nothing else I would rather pursue than film. I currently have an internship with Downtown Alive, I film and work graphics. I've made several student films and several of my own films. I'm working on my website and making more films. I'm currently editing a documentary I filmed in Malawi, Africa with a non-profit organization. I am so excited to be able to meet people with the same passion for film as me.

Mariah Hall
School: Andover Central High School
Age: 17
Top 3 Films: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Big Lebowski, The Shining

Programmer's Statement: My love for film started in the fifth grade and has blossomed ever since. It's hard to believe that this will be my 6th year involved in Tallgrass - what a wonderful six years it's been! I've made several short films over the years and continue to pursue my passion, and I hopefully will make a successful career in this crazy world of film. In a year I will be moving to California to continue my education and attend film school - but in the meantime I will continue producing my own short films and attending all Tallgrass events and watching lots of movies!

Megan Jacobs
Age: 17
School: Wichita East High School
Top 3 Films: Mr. Nobody, Wristcutters: A Love Story, Reservoir Dogs

Programmer's Statement: My earliest memory is of my parents setting me loose in a Blockbuster, allowing me to rent one movie. I remember the trip to the Blockbuster being the highlight of my week because it meant I would get to watch a new movie. Though its been almost thirteen years since I've been to a Blockbuster, my love for film has not changed. I'm an aspiring director and screenwriter with interest in Independent films. I enjoy music, art, and writing and the beauty of film is that it's an art where those three passions come together. I've made several shorts for school as well as two documentaries. I plan to do many more in the future!

Maximum James
School: Wichita West High School
Age: 15
Top 3 Films: Fight Club, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, EraserHead

Programmer's Statement:I've been fascinated by the idea of filmmaking and began making films when I was only 9 years old. The reason I love making films is because I always thought, why watch someone else's success/movie when you can make your own? That way you can create something YOU will enjoy beginning to end and YOU can be proud of. My dream is that one day I will make a living in the motion pictures industry, whether it be directing movies, short films, music videos etc…

Jackson Laurie
School: Wichita East High School
Age: 16
Top 3 Films:Fight Club, Napoleon Dynamite, Pulp Fiction

Programmer's Statement:I’m a filmmaker, musician, photographer, designer, and all around creator. I’ve been making movies since the age of 10, and participated in the Down To The Wire film race two times and placing as an honorable mention in 2012. My team was also awarded "Best Picture" in the 2014 Kansas High School 12 hour film race. Two short films I directed, shot and edited were official selections for the 10th and 11th Tallgrass
 Film Festivals. I hope to make movies, music videos, music and all the other things I’m passionate about for the rest of his life.

Allie Little
School: Andover Central High School
Age: 16
Top 3 Films: Forrest Gump, Singin’ In the Rain, Some Like it Hot

Programmers' Statement: The past few years of my life have involved me assisting in making films for Down To the Wire where I assist our director as an assistant director and sound operator. I am currently vice president of Film Club at the high school and I have watched many more films than I would've ever imagined in the past few years. It has been a big part of my life recently.

Miles Martin
School: The Independent School
Age: 13
Top 3 Films: The Hobbit Trilogy, Interstellar, Life of Pi

Programmer's Statement: I began my passion for filmmaking at the early age of 6 years old.  I would direct all of the neighborhood kids with random sets in my backyard and thus the beginning of my passion for film, direction, and acting. Over the past years I have also been in several theater productions acting as well as on the set crew.  One of my biggest accomplishments came a few years back when I directed Best Friends from a student’s original screenplay.  Since then I have been writing my own scripts and screenplays and then my friends and I get together and create film shorts.  We all enjoy this process and have gravitated to certain roles.  The list goes on but I know my passion is with directing and I look forward to continue to grow this list.  I am grateful for Tallgrass Film Association to be in my city so that I can meet other people in this field and constantly grow as a filmmaker.

Satchel Owens
School: Wichita East High School
Age: 16
Top 3 Films: The King's Speech, Metropolis, Spirited Away

Programmer's Statement: I have always been fascinated with film. I especially like to discuss and critique films. I was able to see the writer of the movie The King’s Speech, David Seidler, speak at a convention in Dallas, TX. I got to meet and shake hands with him after words. This experience was an inspiration for me to get more involved in films. I have volunteered at the Tallgrass Film Festival for the past three years and I am interested in working on a film so that I can learn more about what is like to make one.

Blaise Webster
School: The Independent Shool
Age: 15
Top 3 Films: American Movie, Rocky, King Kong (1933)

Programmer's Statement: Movies have always fascinated me, mostly because I love  the   idea of story telling, and the art of placing a thought or an idea onto the screen. Since I got my first camera, I have been making short films, and recently have posted some of them on my Youtube page. I hope to improve my craft, make many more, and eventually a feature film.