Love Family Documentary to Premiere at Tallgrass Film Festival

Wichita’s First Family of Soul, the Love Family, are the focus of a new documentary, and local fans will be able to view the American premiere of “This is Love” as the Friday night feature at the 16th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival.   

The five-day festival runs Oct. 17-21 in locations across downtown Wichita. 

Rudy Love, and the Love Family, have been Wichita favorites since the 1960s.  Rudy, with his good looks and large personality, knew how to wow the ladies.  Add in that voice, and no wonder a Rudy Love performance packed an audience then and now. 

He and his siblings, a dozen of them, came by their musical talent naturally.  Their father Bob Love was a talented singer.  As one part of a talented duo, Don and Bob (Levels), he had a moderate level of success in the music industry. 

Rudy hoped to not only follow in his father’s footsteps, but to make it even further.  Wichitans who admired him hoped his star would rise also.  Despite gaining huge respect in the music industry, writing songs for major artists like Little Richard and Ray Charles, and having one of his songs sampled by Jay – Z, Rudy’s experience in the music industry encapsulates an all-too-familiar struggle for African-American artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Both tragic and inspiring, the movie continues to reveal a side of American music history that needs to be exposed.  Lauded by musicians worldwide, this biography lovingly celebrates the Wichitan’s life and music.

“This is a Love,” an 80-minute documentary, is an emotional story of the group’s trials, but also of the family’s joyous song.  The film tells a story a lot of people don’t know. 

“A lot of people think they know about Rudy Love, but they have no idea until they see the film,” says Bob Love, one of the Love family members that’s a constant in the family band.  “We call it a funkumentary.”

Rudy Love fans will be pleased with the funkumentary’s soundtrack. It features a lot of the group’s music and historic footage from their live performances.

Despite the years it took to make their vision a reality, Bob says he’s elated because they’re finally able to tell their story.    

He credits Shawn Rhodes, who wouldn’t give up on the idea.  “He was relentless,” says Bob. 

He also credits director John Alexander.  “How he edited the film was masterful,” says Bob.  In addition, “he listened to us and he told the story.  It’s exactly the truth.”

Earlier this month, the film premiered internationally at the Raindance Film Festival in London.  They chose London for the premiere because Rudy, and Bob and Don, have huge followings in London.  How they became so popular in London is one of those tragic stories of deceit in the music industry.  Recordings made a 17-year-old Rudy were ripped off and promoted in London under the name Brother Tyrone Davis. 

Thanks to the research of a music historian John Smith, the fraud was eventually uncovered nearly 40 years later. 

“It was truly amazing,” says Bob about the response the group received in London.  People kept coming up to them telling them they grew up on their music.

After the film premiere, Rudy and the band gave a performance at the 100 Club, a famous London night club.  It’s a place where some of the world’s biggest names have performed. 

Of course, they packed the place, just like they’ll likely pack the place at the post-premiere event in Wichita. 

If you want to see the funkumentary and join the Love family for a party, get your tickets quickly.

The U.S. movie premiere is Fri., Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. at the Wichita Orpheum Theater, 200 N. Broadway.  Tickets to the film, followed by a Q&A, are $15.  Tickets to the film, Q&A and after party with a concert by Rudy and the Love Family are $40.  Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Tallgrass Film Festival Ticket Office, at the Scottish Rite Temple, 322 E. First St, Wichita.  The box office is open 9 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. 

For those who don’t make the premiere: Next for “This is Love” is a film festival in Rome. The movie will likely stay on the festival circuit for a year. The producers hope to negotiate a sale to network TV or streaming service.  

FOLLOWUP: The Rudy Love documentary sold out the Orpheum Theatre, the first time in festival history that has happened.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *