Tallgrass Film Festival – Pregame

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Seriously, this is like…my favorite thing that happens each year. The Tallgrass Film Festival is entering its 17th year and each one improves on the last. I’m obviously psyched for a lot of different things, from the chance to see Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite a second time to things like Takashi Miike’s First Love and Peter Strickland’s In Fabric. This is a cacophony of wonderfully weird and wild films that are huge gets for the festival and the city, things that will draw in other crowds to see things I think we should also be excited about. Opening film tonight is titled Straight Up, the story of two people who are intellectual soulmates without being sexually compatible (he’s gay and she’s straight), and the best part is that actor/writer/director James Sweeney and composer Logan Nelson will be there for a Q&A (y’all know I love them film scores!). 

This is such a seminal time for me every year. I laugh, I cry, and I see so many things that might otherwise slip under my radar. In fact each year I’ve laughed my ass off and been moved to a highly emotional state (For the Birds and The Last Suit) where I just can’t anymore. This year I’m going for the most ambitious series of viewings yet 15 films and 3 rounds of shorts that will wear me out and leave me dead in the water for work on Monday. And you know what? I don’t give a shit, I’m loving this! 

This also marks another wonderful moment for me because I’ll have a guest writer onboard. That’s right, WDED will have a wonderful new addition with an entirely new voice! My good buddy Jake Treat has agreed to provide his own takes on the films he sees at Tallgrass. Maybe he’ll love something I hate, maybe he’ll despise something while I sing its praises, it’ll be utter chaos! He also has a different schedule than I do and will be able to provide spotlights on things I just can’t make it to so be overjoyed that he can put some marvelous films on your radar. 

I also absolutely have to shout out the people that sponsor me for the festival. Without their absolute kindness and wonder, I wouldn’t be able to pull this off so regularly and with such wanton abandon. I won’t name them specifically here as I just don’t know if they’d want that, but they’re truly the sweetest people and I am so happy to have kindness like that in my life.

Folks…it starts in less than three hours. I’m jittery, I’m excited, I’m nervous, and I’m overjoyed at this opportunity. I’ll hang out with friends, see so many movies that my brain turns to scrambled eggs, and see people I admire again (director Kendall Goldberg is returning as a juror and you should check out her film from last year on iTunes). I’ll eat too much, I’ll drink too much, I’ll sleep too little, and I weirdly have a hotel room with a freaking hot tub in it. This is going to be a wild week and I’m ready to eat my fill of this thing. Cheers to many years and many beers, because I’m gonna attack this thing with both barrels.

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