The 13th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival announces selections for its 4th Stubbornly Independent competition
Winner will receive a cash prize from Vimeo, and theater rental and annual movie pass from AMC
The 13th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival, presented by Consolidated Equities Trust, announced the five official selections for this year’s Stubbornly Independent competition representing the ongoing theme of the film festival. The winner of the competition is featured at the Vimeo Stubbornly Independent Gala on Saturday, October 17, as well as receiving a $2,500 cash prize from Vimeo, one night theater rental from AMC Theaters ($5400), one Annual AMC Movie Pass ($1250), and the presentation of the one-of-a-kind Stubbornly Independent Tap Handle Award from VanChase Studios. The winning film is selected by a jury comprised of industry professionals, who are all scheduled to attend the festival, and will be announced on September 24th.
This year marks the fourth year of the Stubbornly Independent competition. Previous winners (all of which have gone on to secure distribution following their appearance at the Tallgrass Film Festival) were Ishai Setton’s THE KITCHEN (2012), Paul Osborne’s FAVOR (2013), and Jack Bryan’s THE LIVING (2014).
The five official Stubbornly Independent selections:
THE BOATMAN (2014)
Director: Greg Morgan
Country: USA, Running Time: 103m
On the border of the US and Mexico, there are whispers of a 'Coyote.' A man so adept at sneaking immigrants across, none of his 'mojados,' his people, have ever been caught. Despite this perfect record, Miguel is no stranger to death. His nickname, 'El Maldito' hints of what we will soon see for ourselves, for Miguel seems haunted by the dead and dying.
IT’S ALREADY TOMORROW IN HONG KONG (2015)
Director: Emily Ting
Country: USA, Running Time: 78m
An attraction forms when a Chinese American girl visiting Hong Kong for the first time meets an American expat who shows her the way, but timing may not quite be on their side. A walk and talk romance set in the beautiful city of Hong Kong, the film asks the question - what happens when you meet the right person at the wrong time? Starring Jamie Chung and Brian Greenburg.
A LIGHT BENEATH THEIR FEET (2015) Director: Valerie Weiss
Country: USA, Running Time: 90m
In this character-driven coming-of-age story, high school senior Beth struggles to decide whether to stay local for college where she can continue to be the stabilizing force in her bipolar mother's life, or go to her dream college across the country. Starring Taryn Manning.
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE (2015)
Director: Lanre Olabisi
Country: USA, Running Time: 90m
Four lovers collide into each others' lives as one marriage morphs into several intertwining affairs. SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE was born out of a year long improvisational process in which the actors and director mutually crafted an ensemble drama. Structured like a jigsaw puzzle, no character fully grasps their current dilemma as interwoven stories are retold from varying viewpoints.
THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE (2015)
Director: Perry Blackshear
Country: USA, Running Time: 80m
Suspecting that those around him are actually malevolent shape-shifters, a troubled young man questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself. A story of love, loyalty, and living nightmares.
The 2015 Stubbornly Independent Jury:
Andrea Allen - Director of Production, Vimeo.com
Since 2008 Andrea has overseen and has produced content such as Vimeo HQ videos, Vimeo Video School Lessons, and on-site reporting from events such as the X Games, SXSW Interactive, and the NAB Show.
James Choi - Educator/Filmmaker
James Choi is a prolific, award-winning filmmaker with over a decade of film industry experience in Los Angeles having worked in representation, production and digital media. Mr. Choi’s first film as a producer, MADE IN CHINA, written and directed by Judi Krant, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Film at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival and is currently being distributed by IFC Films. In 2011, James produced his second feature film, JOINT BODY, written and directed by Brian Jun which stars Mark Pellegrino and Alicia Witt.
Kristen Fitzpatrick - Director of Acquisitions & Exhibition, Women Make Movies
Kristen programs the global exhibition of WMM's collection of over 500 films, and is responsible for the acquisition of the organization's new releases as well as managing their festival, marketing and outreach plans. Her involvement in film has spanned participating in film festival juries around the world. Kristen serves annually as a judge for the Student Academy Awards (The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) and was recognized as an Emerging Leader by the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC).
Scott Mansfield - Managing Partner, monterey media inc.
Scott Mansfield founded monterey media and has been distributing acclaimed Independent films for over 30 years and, among other honors, was the first distributor chosen by the American Film Institute to distribute its films into home entertainment. Recent monterey media films, many starring award-winning actors such as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Susan Sarandon, William H. Macy, and David Strathairn have garnered a Golden Globe nomination, Indie Spirit nominations, and multiple NAACP Spirit Award nominations.
Kate McEdwards - Head of Non-Theatrical, Oscilloscope Laboratories
Kate McEdwards is the VP of getting freaky on the dance floor at Oscilloscope. She also helps release indie feature films. Oscilloscope's prior releases have included Lynne Ramsay's WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, Kelly Reichardt's WENDY AND LUCY and MEEK’S CUTOFF, Lana Wilson and Martha Shane's AFTER TILLER, and Andrea Arnold’s WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Current and upcoming releases include prize-winners Anna Muylaert’s THE SECOND MOTHER, Alice Rohrwacher’s THE WONDERS.
THE LIVING Selected for Stubbornly Independent Gala
A jury of industry professionals including Andrea Allen (Vimeo), Brian Flanagan (Roadside Attractions), Jenny Jacobi (Drafthouse Media) and Scott Mansfield (Monterey Media) has selected THE LIVING as the recipient of the Stubbornly Independent Gala prize at the 12th annual Tallgrass Film Festival. Playing with the short flm COPY CAT (d. Shane Konicki, USA/Kansas, 2014, 6m,) Purchase tickets here.
The Jury issued the following statement: "We, the members of the Stubbornly Independent Film Jury, have chosen THE LIVING as the winner of the 2014 Stubbornly Independent Award as presented by the Tallgrass International Film Festival. While each of the contenders met the award criteria in different ways, we found that this film most successfully represents independent filmmaking at its core: smart, thought provoking, and well made despite (or perhaps because of) budgetary constraints.
THE LIVING weaves a thoroughly engrossing story with beautiful cinematography, solid direction, and strong performances that never pander, yet never fail to engage. The film conveys a thematic universality applicable to anyone who has ever felt trapped within the confines of a fate seemingly set in motion by one irreversible action, and yet the plot still unfolds in surprising and unpredictable ways.
We found THE LIVING a joy to watch, and it is our pleasure to select it as our winner."
THE LIVING will screen at the Vimeo Stubbornly Independent Gala on Saturday, October 18 at 7:30 pm at the Scottish Rite Theatre. Writer/Director/Producer Jack Bryan and Producers Laura DuBois and John Snyder will attend. The film and Q&A will be followed by an after party at the Emprise Bank Parking Lot with drinks, eats from Rain Cafe & Lounge and music from DJ Carbon.
All Stubbornly Independent nominees will screen during the festival and will be represented by filmmakers. They are all eligible for the Vimeo Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
About Filmmaker Jack Bryan (Director):
Born in New York City, Jack began writing screenplays while in high school and in college worked as a production assistant and received multiple options on scripts. After shooting several short films, Jack produced and directing the documentary Life After Dark: The Story of Siberia Bar, about a legendary New York dive. In addition to his hands on film experience, Jack also worked as a journalist. He became a regular columnist at Quest Magazine, where he was also hired as Editor at Large, and The New York Observer. After college Jack took a full time position with Vicart Entertainment, an independent production studio, as head staff writer and director. Here he wrote several scripts and wrote and directed a low-budget feature, Struck. After leaving Vicart, Jack started Shooting Films with John Snyder and Laura Dubois. Since then they produced the short film And After All (Winner: Best Crowd Sourced Film - Hollyshorts Film Festival, Best Actress - Genart Film Festival) and he wrote, directed and produced The Living (Winner: Stubbornly Independent Award - Tallgrass Film Festival, Best Dramatic Feature - Manhattan Film Festival / Official Selection: Austin Film Festival, Las Vegas Film Festival.) Jack is in development on his next film, Private Kingdom and doing commercial work.
About Filmmaker Laura DuBois (Producer):
Laura gained experience in media production on set from the age of three. Her above and below the line production experience includes numerous award winning short films, commercials, how-to-films, PSAs, music videos, and web based projects, which she has produced, line produced, production managed, assistant directed, edited, directed and wrote. Laura is a Co-Executive Producer for the documentary feature film IN GOD WE TRUST, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and showed at Hot Docs. She also produced AND AFTER ALL (short) and THE LIVING (feature) with Shooting Films. Her earliest credit was gained while attending the University of Connecticut in 2006, when she produced and co-hosted “LIVE!” a talk show on the campus television station. Her experience in development and marketing for startups includes working with TVChic, an interactive merchandising firm, and Orson Welles’ unfinished film “The Other Side of the Wind”. By 2009, her career included positions at GDS Publishing and Goldman Sachs before studying filmmaking at The Strasberg Institute in New York City, where she is originally from. She later became the Director of Development and Production for Vicart Entertainment, an independent motion picture and commercial production company. Afterward, she formed Shooting Films with Jack Bryan and John Snyder.
About Filmmaker John Snyder (Producer):
John is from Boston, Massachusetts and obtained his Bachelor’s of Arts degree with concentrations in Political Science and Pre-Law from Capital University. John previously worked for Senatorial and Congressional campaigns in Connecticut where he managed field strategy and operations primarily in Eastern and Southwestern districts over the last two election cycles. In addition, John has been an asset to non-profit planning and development for organizations such as The Fessenden School, The Max Warburg Courage Curriculum, and Choate Rosemary Hall. John continues to use his skills of negotiation, diplomacy, and tenacity to make things happen for Shooting Films. As a natural connector he excels at communicating and building networks. As a producer, he understands how to build and run an organization. He utilizes the variety of revenue streams involved in movie production while maximizing returns on investment. John is a Co-Executive Producer for the documentary feature film IN GOD WE TRUST, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and showed at Hot Docs.
Six Films Nominated for 2014 Stubbornly Independent Gala
For the third year in a row, the Tallgrass Film Festival presents the Vimeo Stubbornly Independent Gala. The SI Gala takes place on Saturday, October 18th at the Scottish Rite Theater, and includes a film screening, Q&A with filmmakers and after-party with open bar, food and live music. The feature film will be preceded by the winning short film from this year's Down to the Wire: 24 Hour Film Race.
Six titles have been selected by the Tallgrass programming committee to compete for the Gala spotlight and the winning film will be chosen by an industry jury whose members include Andrea Allen (Vimeo), Brian Flanagan (Roadside Attractions), Jenny Jacobi (Drafthouse Media), Scott Mansfield (Monterey Media). Jurors are scheduled to attend the festival and participate in a Distribution panel.
More than 100 Eligible SI Gala films were submitted for consideration. Requirements include the films must be a domestic narrative feature, made for less than $750,000 USD, and have no traditional theatrical distribution at the time of their Tallgrass screening. In addition to the Gala screening, the winning film receives a $2,500 cash prize from Vimeo, a one night theater rental from AMC Theatres, and the coveted Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Tallgrass Tap Handle Award created by VanChase Studios.
One or more filmmakers from each nominated film will attend the festival. All runners-up will receive general admission screenings during the festival and will be eligible for the Vimeo Audience Award for Narrative Feature Film ($1,000 cash prize.)
FAVOR Selected for 2013 Stubbornly Independent Gala
The Tallgrass Programming Committee has spoken and FAVOR (Dir. Paul Osbourne) will screen as the Vimeo Stubbornly Independent Gala film on Saturday, October 19th at 7:30 pm at the Scottish Rite Theatre. The film's star, Blayne Weaver, will attend. FAVOR will be preceded by UNMASKED, the winning Down to the Wire:24 Hour Film Race.
The screening will be followed by an after-party with open bar, food & live music from The Boomers at 125 N. Market. Tickets are $25.
All Stubbornly Independent nominees will screen throughout the weekend and will be followed by Q&A's with filmmakers. They also all qualify for the Vimeo Audience Award for Narrative Feature and a $1,000 cash prize.
Kip Desmond has gotten everything he's ever wanted: a thriving career, beautiful wife and an affluent lifestyle, all of which is put in jeopardy when Abby, the waitress with whom he's having a casual fling, is accidentally killed.
Desperate, he ends up on the doorstep of childhood friend Marvin Croat and asks him for a huge favor: help get rid of the body. This gruesome circumstance begins a series of events which unravels Kip and Marvin’s lifelong friendship, leading both men to murderous acts neither had ever suspected themselves capable of.
Special Guest: Blayne Weaver (Star)
Blayne recently starred in the acclaimed romantic comedy 6 MONTH RULE (alongside Martin Starr, Natalie Morales and John Michael Higgins) which he also wrote and directed. Previous films he’s written and directed include WEATHER GIRL (with Tricia O’Kelley, Mark Harmon, Jon Cryer and Jane Lynch) and OUTSIDE SALES. He also co-wrote and acted in MANIC (Don Cheadle, Joseph Gordon- Levitt and Zooey Deschanel), directed by Jordan Melamed, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Blayne will next be seen starring in writer/director Paul Osborne’s psychological thriller FAVOR and has previously appeared in such films as Austin Film Festival Audience Award Winner JUNK, DEEP DARK CANYON, OFFICIAL REJECTION and THE GOOD OLD BOYS opposite Tommy Lee Jones. His numerous episodic television credits include ER, NCIS, and THE MIDDLEMAN. He also provided the voice of Peter Pan in the Disney animated feature RETURN TO NEVERLAND.
A native of Bossier City, Louisiana, Blayne has studied acting in New York, Los Angeles and Oxford University. He also graduated from UCLA with a degree in English Literature. Blayne has recently moved to New York City where he works as an actor, writer and director.
Seven Titles Selected for 2013 Vimeo Stubbornly Independent Gala
For the second year in a row, Tallgrass features the Stubbornly Independent Gala sponsored by Vimeo. The SI Gala takes place on Saturday, October 19th at the Scottish Rite Theater, and includes a film screening, Q&A with filmmakers and after-party with open bar/food/entertainment. The feature film will be preceded by the First Place winning short UNMASKED from this year's Down to the Wire: 24 Hour Film Race.
The twist? Eligible SI Gala films are required to be a domestic narrative feature, made for less than $750,000 USD, and have no traditional theatrical distribution at the time of their Tallgrass screening. Of the 35 qualifying films submitted, 7 were selected and will compete for the Gala spot and cash prize from Vimeo: FAVOR, FOREV, HOW TO MAKE MOVIES AT HOME, LOST ON PURPOSE, SAKE-BOMB, THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE and WORM.
The winning film will be chosen by the Tallgrass Film Festival Programming Committee and will be announced on October 5th when the full program lineup is announced.
In addition to the Gala screening, the filmmakers will receive a $2,500 cash prize from Vimeo, and the coveted Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Tallgrass Tap Handle Award (created by VanChase), named for longtime friend and supporter of the festival, and given to someone who inspires future generations of filmmakers and encourages them to follow their dreams.
One or more filmmakers from each nominated film will attend the festival and the nominess include one alumni filmmaker, Morgan Nichols (THE LITTLE DEATH, JESUS FREAK.) All runners-up will receive general admission screenings on Saturday or Sunday during the festival and will be eligible for the Vimeo Audience Award for Narrative Feature Film ($1,000 cash prize.)