The 15th Annual Tallgrass Film Festival presented by Consolidated Equities Trust (October 12-16) announced their filmmaker awards, led by Golden Strands Outstanding Feature Awards for Justin Chon’s GOOK (Narrative), and Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest’s FOR AHKEEM (Documentary), prior to their Closing Night Gala screening of Lysa Heslov’s SERVED LIKE A GIRL on Sunday, October 22 at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, Kansas.
Creative Director, Lela Meadow-Conner said, “This year’s edition of the Tallgrass Film Festival was bound to be special due to the fact that we were celebrating a big anniversary. However, the measuring of one year to the next always ultimately falls on the quality of the films that have been chosen to screen and we had a wonderful collection of accomplished, entertaining, and thought provoking films in year 15. It’s never easy to narrow it down to a handful of award winners, but these selections represented some very special work that deserved to be highlighted and underline even amongst another one of our very strong programs.”

The Audience Awards went to Jameson Brooks’s BOMB CITY (Narrative Feature), and Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday’s BIG SONIA (Documentary), with both films taking cash prizes of $2500.00. Jeannie Donohoe’s GAME won the Audience Award in the Short Film category and the cash prize of $1000 prize that came with that nod.
Skye Borgman received the Teddie Barlow Outstanding Female Filmmaker Award (designed by Glass Artist Claire Anderson) for her work directing the documentary, FOREVER ‘B’. BLACK COP director Cory Bowles was cited for “Excellence in the Art of Filmmaking,” Madeleine Gavin received the Golden Strands Award for “Courage in Filmmaking” for her film CITY OF JOY, Sabaah Folayen and Damon Davis won “Outstanding First Feature” for their powerful debut documentary, WHOOSE STREETS?, Samuel Pollard’s TWO TRAINS RUNNING got the nod for “Outstanding Animated Feature,” “Outstanding Screenplay,” went to the LUCKY screenwriting team of Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja, “Best Editing” went to 20 WEEKS’s David Hopper, and Joe Kaufman was cited for “Outstanding Cinematography” for his work on SEAT 25.
Acting nods went to Simone Baker (GOOK) for “Outstanding Rising Star,” Christopher Marquette (I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT) for “Outstanding Male Actor,” Simoné Nortmann (FOR THE BIRDS) for “Outstanding Female Actor,” and April Mullen’s BADSVILLE, which received the Golden Strands nod for “Outstanding Ensemble Cast” for a cast which included Benjamin Barrett, Tamara Duarte, Robert Knepper, Ian McLaren, and Emilio Rivera.
Additional winners in the Short Film categories included; Cameo Wood’s REAL ARTIST (“Outstanding Narrative Short Film”); Laura Checkoway’s EDITH + EDDIE (“Outstanding Documentary Short Film”); Andrew Kevitt’s REVERSE (“Best Emerging Student – Narrative Short Film”); Rowyn Mottershead’s YELLOW (“Best Emerging Student – Documentary Short Film”); Patrick Clement’s RABBITS (“Best Kansas Short Narrative Film”); and Savannah Rodgers’s DRAGTIVISTS (“Best Kansas Short Documentary Film”).

Previously announced was the Jake Euker Stubbornly Independent Gala Award, which went to Dustin Cook’s I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT. Cook received a $5,000 check and the Stubbornly Independent Beer Tap Trophy from VanChase Studios prior to the gala screening of his film on Friday, October 20. Prior to the screening of Heslov’s SERVED LIKE A GIRL, screenwriter Larry Gross was presented with the inaugural L.M. “Kit” Carson Storyteller Award, by the award namesake’s son, Hunter Carson. Tallgrass FF also launched a brand new gala category this year with the Greteman Group’s DOX Spotlight, highlighting the work of female documentary filmmakers. Robin Berghaus’s festival favorite, STUMPED was the winner of that competition.

On Thursday evening, Tallgrass had intended on honoring actress, filmmaker, and activist Rose McGowan with the festival’s Ad Astra Award. However, due to circumstance following the revelations of multiple allegations against The Weinstein Company’s Harvey Weinstein for sexual assault and sexual harassment, McGowan declined to accept her award in person. Out of respect for the issues facing the film industry amid these and other revelations regarding the treatment of women in the industry, and following the lead of the dialogue about these issues that McGowan has been a forceful advocate of, Tallgrass FF presented #WokeWomen: A Candid Conversation with Tallgrass' Female Filmmakers, with Dorie Barton (Director, GIRL FLU.), Skye Borgman (Director, FOREVER ‘B’), Madeleine Cooke (Writer/Actor SEAT 25), Simoné Nortmann (Actor, FOR THE BIRDS), Deborah Pearl (GETTING ED LAID), Devin Sanchez (Producer/Actor, LAURA GETS A CAT) and Deborah Riley Draper (Director, OLYMPIC PRIDE, AMERICAN PREJUDICE), moderated by The Canon’s Amy Nicholson and’s John Wildman.


Rose McGowan
Larry Gross
Skye Borgman (FOREVER ‘B’)
Golden Strands Award - Outstanding Narrative Feature: 
GOOK (Director: Justin Chon)
Golden Strands Award - Outstanding Documentary Feature: 
FOR AHKEEM (Directors: Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding First Feature:
WHOSE STREETS? (Directors: Sabaah Folayen and Damon Davis)
Golden Strands Award - Courage in Filmmaking:
Madeleine Gavin (CITY OF JOY)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Animated Film:
TWO TRAINS RUNNING (Director: Samuel Pollard)
Golden Strands Award – Excellence in The Art of Filmmaking:
Cory Bowles (BLACK COP)
Golden Strands Award - Outstanding Cinematography:
Joe Kaufman (SEAT 25)
Golden Strands Award – Best Editing:
David Hopper (20 WEEKS)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Screenplay
Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja (LUCKY)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Rising Star:
Simone Baker (GOOK)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Male Actor:
Christopher Marquette (I HATE THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Female Actor:
Simoné Nortmann (FOR THE BIRDS)
Golden Strands Award – Outstanding Ensemble Cast:
BADSVILLE (Benjamin Barrett, Tamara Duarte, Robert Knepper, Ian McLaren, and Emilio Rivera)
Golden Strands Award - Outstanding Narrative Short Film: 
REAL ARTIST (Director: Cameo Woods)
Golden Strands Award - Outstanding Documentary Short Film: 
EDITH + EDDIE (Director: Laura Checkoway)
Best Emerging Student Award (Narrative):
Andrew Kevitt (REVERSE)
Best Emerging Student Award (Documentary):
Rowyn Mottershead (YELLOW)
Best Kansas Short Film Award (Narrative):
Patrick Clement (RABBITS)
Best Kansas Short Film Award (Documentary):
Savannah Rodgers (DRAGTAVISTS)
Audience Award - Narrative Film:
BOMB CITY (Director: Jameson Brooks)
Audience Award - Documentary Film: 
BIG SONIA (Directors: Leah Warshawski and Todd Soliday)
Audience Award - Short Film: 
GAME (Director: Jeannie Donohoe)

About the Tallgrass Film Association 
Stubbornly Independent since 2003, the Tallgrass Film Festival is the largest film festival in Kansas. A program of the 501(c)3 Tallgrass Film Association, the festival showcases more than 180 films from around the world, hosts dozens of visiting filmmakers and includes galas, parties and educational workshops and panels. In addition to bringing the best of independent cinema to heartland audiences, the festival is designed to highlight the city's cultural attractions including world class museums, landmarks and unique local businesses, to visitors and residents alike. Throughout the year, TFA presents year-round special screenings in partnership with organizations like Music Theatre Wichita, the Wichita Art Museum, the Orpheum Theatre, Exploration Place and the Ulrich Museum of Art, a traveling Road Show in association with the Kansas Historic Theatre Association, a 24 Hour Film Race and Filmmaker Workshops.