This weekend was the annual Tallgrass Film Festival held in Wichita, Kansas. Yes! a film festival in the nucleus of America's Bible belt. Your eyes are not deceiving you. Founded in 2003 by Timothy Gruver, it screens over 100 movies every year. For what its worth, Tallgrass is decent. The diversity of movies is impressive and the turn out encouraging. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a huge fan of cinema so what do you do on a weekend with no homework or student papers to grade? crash a film festival.
9 in the morning, ready for the first feature
The first movie I watched was Circumstance (Sharayet), an Iran-based movie written and directed by Iranian-American filmmaker Maryam Keshavarz. The movie was released to critical acclaim and won the audience award at the 2011 Sundance film festival. The performances are astounding and the soundtrack beautifully heartbreaking. It is definitely a side of Iran the Western media has tried laboriously to hide from the public. Check it out and be wowed. Here's the trailer.
Off to the iconic Orpheum Theatre for the next movie.
Ticket purchase booth.
The ceiling of the Theatre.
An original 1951 poster used to market A Street Car Named Desire. The theatre opened in 1922 so it has tons of historic pieces lying around. You can't even begin to fathom how excited I was to see this poster. To say I'm a huge Brando fan would be understatement.
The theatre bathroom was heaps cool
Had my tallgrass ale beer ready for the next feature. The movie is called Tyrannosaur by British actor-screenwriter-turned-director Paddy Considine. To be completely honest, this movie is the only reason why I came to this festival. I'm a huge fan of Paddy's work so it was impossible for me miss his feature film debut. The movie did not disappoint, Paddy did not disappoint. He, together with his phenomenal actors, delivered. I was a little bumped he was not present with his crew for a Q&A session but then again, I'm sure they have better things to do than coming to Wichita. When the closing credits rolled, I was speechless. There was so much emotion in me, I could not speak or breathe. It is that good of a movie. Tyrannosaur has been picking up some major Oscar buzz especially for Olivia Colman in the best actress category. My British readers probably recognise Olivia from the comedy series Peep Show. Trust me, there is no sign of a comedy in her performance. Olivia will leave you heartbroken, shattered, devastated and ultimately destroyed. I know I'm just an amateur blogger and what not but if I had a vote, Olivia Colman will be my choice for best actress Oscar 2012 (that is until I see Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady which, coincidentally, also stars Colman in a supporting role). Here's the trailer.
Ingenious! Here's a bonus video of Paddy, the amazing Peter Mullan and Colman at the Sundance Film Festival.
After such an intense cinematic experience, I needed alcohol. You know me ;-)
My beverage of choice? Caipirinha, a true Brazilian delight.
Next up? Tostones. After my summer in Puerto Rico, I can't get enough of this plantain dish. I have to confess though, I do make better Tostones than this restaurant.
Salad to top it all off and that was it for the day. On Sunday, I checked out a documentary called Elevate and later enjoyed limitless free wine and snacks at the closing Tallgrass Film Festival gala. I was too intoxicated to take any pictures so let your imagination roam wild.
That's all folks