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Opening Night Gala: The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne

“This is an absolutely riveting story, far more interesting than some of the blockbuster films being released this year..." - EVT Media

The Opening Night Gala at 11th annual Tallgrass Film Festival features the regional premiere of THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF DORIS PAYNE, the riventing portrait of an unforgettable woman who transformed herself from a poor, single woman living in 1950's segregated America into one of the world's most notorious jewel theives. Co-Director Matthew Pond will attend the screening at the Scottish Rite Theater. The film is followed by the Opening Night Gala party with open bar, food and music from Virgin Mary Sattelite at Botanica (701 Amidon.) Tickets are $25 and will go on sale October 4. The evening is sponsored by Rick & Monica Nutt.

A glamorous 81-year-old, Doris Payne is as unapologetic today about the $2 million in jewels she’s stolen over a 60-year career as she was the day she stole her first carat. With Doris now on trial for the theft of a department store diamond ring, we probe beneath her consummate smile to uncover the secrets of her trade and what drove her to a life of crime. Stylized recreations, an extensive archive and candid interviews reveal how Payne managed to jet-set her way into any Cartier or Tiffany’s from Monte Carlo to Japan and walk out with small fortunes. This sensational portrait exposes a rebel who defies society’s prejudices and pinches her own version of the American Dream while she steals your heart. The story is set to be made into a narrative feature film starring Halle Berry.


Special Guest: Matthew Pond (Co-Director)

Matthew has studied non-fiction filmmaking at NYU, USC and graduated from the Australian Film Television Radio School (AFTRS) with a Masters in Documentary Producing.

He directed the Inside Film award-winning documentary, Undressing Vanessa, which aired nationally on Australian TV in 2008, 2009 and 2013 and has worked as an associate producer and consulting producer, respectively, on the feature length and award winning documentaries Tying the Knot and Four Seasons Lodge.