2016 Tallgrass Film Festival Announces Filmmaker Awards for the Just Completed 14th Edition

Heather Matarazzo with her Ad Astra Award


The 14th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 12-16) announced their filmmaker awards during an entertaining ceremony preceding their Closing Night Gala screening of Dorie Barton’s GIRL FLU on Sunday, October 16 at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, Kansas.

Executive Director, Lela Meadow-Conner said, “The programming staff traditionally gives themselves the nearly impossible task to choose a handful of films and filmmakers to honor among all of the wonderful films we have each year. While I know it was difficult to narrow it down, these selections represented some very special work that deserved to be highlighted and underline even amongst another one of our very strong programs.”

Feature films taking the Golden Strands Programming Awards (selected by the senior members of the Tallgrass Programming Staff) included Jaco Van Dormael’s BRAND NEW TESTAMENT, which was named “Outstanding Narrative Feature,” and Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer’s SANTOALLA, chosen as “Outstanding Documentary Feature.”

Anne Fontaine received the Teddie Barlow Outstanding Female Filmmaker Award (designed by Glass Artist Claire Anderson) for her work directing films like COCO BEFORE CHANEL, MY WORST NIGHTMARE, and ADORE, as well as this year’s THE INNOCENTS, which screened at Tallgrass FF. Paul Taylor was cited for “Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking” for his film, DRIFTWOOD, Maisie Crow’s

Jackson took home the Golden Strands Award for “Courage in Filmmaking,” Alicia Slimmer won “Outstanding First Feature” for her debut film, CREEDMORIA, Keith Maitland’s award-winning documentary TOWER picked up another nod – this one for “Outstanding Animated Feature,” and Darin Quan was cited for “Outstanding Cinematography” for his work on DIVERGE.

Acting nods went to Alex Shaffer (DELINQUENT) for “Outstanding Rising Star,” Chen Gang (OLD STONE) for “Outstanding Male Actor,” Lucy Walters (HERE ALONE) for “Outstanding Female Actor,” and John Alexander’s BENDER, which received the Golden Strands nod for “Outstanding Ensemble Cast” for a cast which included James Karen, Jon Monastero, Chance Caeden, Nicole Jellen, Leslie Woodies, Linda Purl, Buck Taylor, and Bruce Davison.

Short films receiving Golden Strands Awards included; Golnaz Jamsheed’s AVO, named “Outstanding Narrative Short Film”; Noam Osband’s THE RADICAL JEW chosen as “Outstanding Documentary Short Film”; Andrew Kevitt winning the “Best Emerging Student – Narrative Short Film” Award for TWO FAR GONE; Kate Gondwe winning the “Best Emerging Student – Documentary Short Film” Award for THE PUPPET LADY; Clayton Dean Smith’s OFF TRACK BETTY” getting the nod for the “Best Kansas Short Narrative Film” Award; and Evan Senn and Ken Pugh’s ACE – THE GAS STATION COWBOY cited as “Best Kansas Short Documentary Film” Award.

The Vimeo Audience Awards were led by Seth Panitch and Aaron Greer’s SERVICE TO MAN, received a $2500 Narrative prize, and Jesse Nesser’s WALK WITH ME took the $2500 Documentary prize. Ty Flowers’s TIME SIMPLY PASSES took home the Audience Award and $1000 prize for the short film category.

Previously announced was the Stubbornly Independent Gala Award, which went to Kieran Valla’s DELINQUENT. Valla received a $5,000 check from Vimeo, a theater rental from AMC Theaters in any major market, an AMC Annual Movie Pass, and the Stubbornly Independent Beer Tap Trophy from VanChase Studios prior to the screening of his film. Prior to the awards ceremony and the screening of Barton’s GIRL FLU, Heather Matarazzo was presented with the Ad Astra Award. Tallgrass  FF  screened  Todd  Solondz’s  classic  film WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE, celebrating the film’s 20th Anniversary, and Matarazzo participated in an entertaining and frank conversation about her career, and the state of independent film and the treatment of female filmmakers with MTV’s Amy Nicholson.



Anne Fontaine



Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Narrative Feature:  THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT (Director: Jaco Van Dormael)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Documentary Feature:  SANTOALLA (Directors: Andrew Becker and Daniel Mehrer)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding First Feature:  CREEDMORIA (Director: Alicia Slimmer)

Golden Strands Award – Courage in Filmmaking:  Maisie Crow (JACKSON)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Animated Film:  TOWER (Director: Keith Maitland)

Golden Strands Award – Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking: Paul Taylor (DRIFTWOOD)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Cinematography: Darin Quan (DIVERGE)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Rising Star:  Alex Shaffer (DELINQUENT)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Male Actor: Chen Gang (OLD STONE)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Female Actor: Lucy Walters (HERE ALONE)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Ensemble Cast:  BENDER (James Karen, Jon Monastero, Chance Caeden, Nicole Jellen, Leslie Woodies, Linda Purl, Buck Taylor, Bruce Davison)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Narrative Short Film:  AVO (Director: Golnaz Jamsheed)

Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Documentary Short Film:  THE RADICAL JEW (Director: Noam Osband)

Best Emerging Student Award (Narrative):  Andrew Kevitt (TWO FAR GONE)

Best Emerging Student Award (Documentary):  Kate Gondwe (THE PUPPET LADY)

Best Kansas Short Film Award (Narrative): Clayton Dean Smith (OFF TRACK BETTY)

Best Kansas Short Film Award (Documentary):  Evan Senn and Ken Pugh (ACE – THE GAS STATION COWBOY)



Audience Award – Narrative Film:  SERVICE TO MAN (Directors: Seth Panitch and Aaron Greer)

Vimeo Audience Award – Documentary Film:  WALK WITH ME (Director: Jesse Nesser)

Vimeo Audience Award – Short Film:  TIME SIMPLY PASSES (Director: Ty Flowers)

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