Pam Grier a Highlight 0f 16th Annual Wichita Tallgrass Film Festival

The 16th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival is already popping up around downtown Wichita, Oct 17-21, with five great days of independent films shown across six locations in downtown Wichita.  If you’ve never attended Tallgrass before, this might be your year. 

With Pam Grier and Wichita icon Rudy Love (see story this page) as special festival attractions, your minor cash investment should add up to a value-packed weekend of fun. 

1970s cinema icon Pam Grier is by far this year’s festival star.  She will be on hand to receive the festival’s Ad Astra Award. 

 “Pam Grier is someone that Tallgrass has sought to bring to Wichita and honor for the longest time. She is the iconic feminine face of urban cinema in the 70s. A prime inspiration both for an entire genre’s mainstream success, a muse for multiple filmmakers, and an inspiration and trend-setter for many actors and filmmakers that followed, it will be the biggest thrill to welcome her and celebrate her career,” said Tallgrass Film Festival’s Program Director Nick Pope. 

She broke into Hollywood in 1970 with a role in “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” and 1971’s “Big Doll House.” However, she really made her name as the undisputed queen of urban cinema, with an appearance in a series of 1970s Blaxploitation films including:  “Hit Man” (1972), “Black Mama, White Mama” (1973) and as the lead character in “Coffy” (1973), “the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town.”   

She backed that role up with the lead in 1974’s “Foxy Brown,” and her reputation was sealed. 

She backed her early 70s success up with a series of movies, including “Bucktown” (1975) with Fred Williamson, and “Greased Lightning (1977) with Richard Pryor, just to name a few. 

She wasn’t as busy in the 80s but in 1997, she was back and introduced to a new audience with Quentin Tarantino’s “Jackie Brown.”   

Grier has continued to work up until this day, with regular appearances on television and on the big screen as recently as 2017, in “Bad Grandmas.”

Tallgrass will present the Ad Astra Award to Grier on Thurs., Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater, 200 N. Broadway.  The award presentation will be followed by a “Conversation on Film” prior to a screening of her classic film directed by Quentin Tarantino, “Jackie Brown.”  The special evening will conclude with a late-night screening of “Coffy,” at 11:15 p.m. at Roxy’s Downtown, 412 E. Douglas.    Tickets to the Ad Astra Awards presentation, discussion, and “Jackie Brown” showing are $15.  Tickets to see “Coffy” with an introduction by Grier, are $10. 

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