The 20th anniversary Tallgrass Film Festival kicks off next Wednesday, Sept. 28, and runs through Oct. 2 in downtown Wichita..

This year’s festival spotlights a total of 53 feature films, 14 short films and 195 films. A special treat will be a work-in-progress screening from Academy Award winner Kevin Willmott.

Back for the second year is the Gordon Parks Award for “Black Excellence in Filmmaking”, with a $5,000 cash prize and $15,000 in camera rental allowance going to the winner. Cargill is this year’s sponsor.

This year, six films will compete. If you can’t watch them during the festival, tickets can also be purchased to stream the movies online.  

After Sherman: Jon Sesrrie Goff is the director of this 91-minute film, in which exploration of South Carolina’s Gullah cultural retention and land preservation is interrupted by the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. Watch: Thurs., Sept. 29, 5 p.m. Temple Live, Scottish Rite.

Amansa Tiafi (Public Toilet Africa): Kofi Ofosu-Yeboah directs this 95-minute film set in Ghana. A reticent Ama returns years later to the city where she was gifted to a White art collector as a little girl. She and an ex-lover face a series of bizarre encounters as they travel a lonely country road in a quest to repay an old debt.  Watch: Sat., Oct. 1, 3 p.m., Exploration Place Dome. 

Anastacias: This 81-minute film is set in Brazil and directed by Thati Almeida. It tells the story of women who have had troubled emotional relationships but still love life and other people.  Watch, Sat. Oct. 1, 11 a.m. Regal Old Town Theater  

Black Daddy: The Movie: This 83-minute film is directed by Damon Jamal Taylor and set in the U.S. The film is a display of storytelling by Black men as they experience fatherhood in America and recall their experiences with their own fathers. Sun., Oct. 2, 12:30 p.m., Exploration Place Dome.  Community partners for this film are Heroes Academy, Rise UP for Youth and Juneteenth ICT. 

Me Little Me: This 84-minute film, set in the U.S., is directed by Elizabeth Ayiju and is also a contender in the Female Filmmaker Competition. It is the story of Mya, an ambitious young woman who learns that life doesn’t pause when one person decides it’s time to heal. Watch: Sun., Oct. 2, 3 p.m., Tallgrass Film Center  at the Lux, 120 East 1st St North, Unit 113. 

Our Father, the Devil: This 108-minute film is directed by Ellie Foumbi and set in France. It is also in the  Female Filmmaker Competition. It tells the story of the upending of an African immigrant’s quiet life when a charismatic Catholic priest arrives to remind her of her troubled past. Watch: Thur., Sept. 29, 2:30 p.m., Temple Live, Scottish Rite.

Of special interest will be a “work-in-progress” screening of No Place Like Home by Oscar winner Kevin Willmott. The film takes you on a tour of the deep red state of Kansas to meet people who have found themselves in a battle for LGBTQ rights in unlikely places. In rural Trego County, Salina and Topeka, you’ll meet some of the people C.J. Janovy profiles in her book “No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism in LGBT Kansas.” Janovy and Wilmott will be on hand before the screening for a book signing. It will be shown at 2 p..m. Sunday at the Orpheum.

Other films of note include Deconstructing Karen: The premise is simple: What if White women could wake up and participate in ending racism? Watch out, Karen and Becky are coming to dinner. Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power, by director Patty Ivans Specht, tells the story of the local movement and young Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers who fought not just for voting rights but Black Power in Lowndes County, Alabama.

For more details, it’s best to download the Tallgrass app at There are a lot more great movies about and by Black directors worth viewing.  

Tickets to movies are $12, but 55+ and students of all ages can use the code: Sr/Student when purchasing for a 25% discount. Military get 50% discount using code: Military for tickets. Movie tickets and multi-film passes can also be purchased.

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