Tallgrass winners
A still from My Name Is Annabel courtesy of Tallgrass Film Association

The Tallgrass Film Festival has announced this year’s audience award winning films, and they include Tokyo Cowboy and Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection.

The 21st annual Tallgrass Film Festival was held this year in Wichita, Kansas from Oct. 5-8. It was featured on MovieMaker‘s list of 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee 2023, Presented by Film Freeway.

The Audience Favorite Narrative Feature prize went to Tokyo Cowboy directed by Marc Marriott. Hailing from Japan and the U.S., it stars Arata Iura, Goya Robles, Ayako Fujitani, Robin Weigert, and Jun Kunimura.

“Brash businessman Hideki arrives in Montana having convinced his Tokyo bosses he can turn a profitless U.S. cattle ranch into a premiere-performing asset. Yet when his Hardee’s-burger-loving Japanese Wagyu-beef expert fails him, Hideki is poised to misfire magnificently unless he identifies a missing element that’s key to the transformation… himself,” reads the film’s description.

The Audience Favorite Documentary Feature Award went to Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection directed by Randy Martin. It tells the story of The Carpenters’ singer and drummer Karen Carpenter 40 years after she died of anorexia in 1983.

“She was the first in a long line of celebrities to suffer from an eating disorder during an era when the vastly misunderstood phenomenon brought shame and public humiliation. For the first time, we hear Karen Carpenter’s personal struggle in her own voice through never-before released recordings and through the legendary voices of those who knew her and were inspired by her music,” reads the film’s description.

See the full list of all the Tallgrass Film Festival award winners below.

Tallgrass Film Festival Audience Award Winners

Audience Favorite Narrative Feature

Tokyo Cowboy

Audience Favorite Documentary Feature

Karen Carpenter: Starving for Perfection

Audience Favorite Narrative Short

Death & Ramen

Audience Favorite Documentary Short

My Name is Annabel 

Audience Favorite Vortex Film

Welcome to 8th Street 

Audience Favorite Kansas Film


Also Read: The Burghart Brothers Made Their First Feature, Head Count, Using What They Already Had

Previously Announced Tallgrass Film Festival Winners

Courtesy of Tallgrass Film Association:

Winner of the Best Murmurations Feature Film winning $250 sponsored by Spirit Aerosystems is LA VOLUNTARIA/THE VOLUNTEER, directed by Nely Reguera. 

The Best Murmurations Short Film winner is “Arnasa” directed by Raúl Barreras.

Documentary Short Film, Honorable Mention:

The jury would like to recognize “American Sikh” directed by Ryan Westra and Vishavjit Singh with an Honorable Mention. 

Documentary Short Film Winner

“The Script” directed by Brit Fryer, Noah Schamus 

The Woman Filmmaker Spotlight Award

Winning $5,000 sponsored by Fidelity Bank: and the winner is El ROSTRO DE LA MEDUSA (The Face Of The Jellyfish) directed by Melisa Liebenthal.

Honorable mention Your Fat Friend directed by Jeanie Finlay.

Winner of Best Documentary Feature: Israelism directed by Eric Axelman, Sam Eilertsen 

Documentary Feature Award Honorable Mention: Great Photo, Lovely Life directed by Amanda Mustard. 

Our Thane Chastain award for Best Emerging Documentary Short honorable mention: “My Friend David” directed by Alexandra Bree Carson.

The Best Emerging Narrative Short: “See You Yesterday” directed by Ethan Dela Cruz.

The Thane Chastain Award Best Emerging Narrative Short Winning $100 sponsored by the WSU School of Digital Arts, and a scholarship for a New York Film Academy online workshop:

“A Prayer for My Mother: The Eva Brettler Story” directed by Ruben Barrett, Raisa Effress, Sophia Evans, Lauren Fuchs, Katie Hadsock-Longarzo, Ian Kim, Eve Levy, Timothy Lim, Asher Meron, Marion Ochoa, Isabella Rahi, Hank Schoen, and Olivia Uziell.

Honorable mention: “Room” directed by Ian Dani Kim. 

Best Narrative Short is “Voice Activated” by Steve Anthopoulos.

Two honorable mentions for Narrative Short: “Death and Ramen” by Tiger Ji and “Confessions” by Stephanie Kaznocha.

Best Kansas Filmmaker Documentary Short Winning $100 sponsored by Moeder and Associates is “Emerging Artists” by Lindsey Doolittle.

For Best Kansas Filmmaker Narrative Short Honorable Mention: “Run Amok” by Nitzan Mager.

Best Kansas Filmmaker Narrative Short Winning $100 sponsored by Moeder and Associates: “Slow Dance” by Micah Streeter.

Best Kansas Filmmaker Feature Winning $100 sponsored by Moeder and Associates: Head Count by the Burghart Brothers.

Best Narrative Feature Honorable Mentions: Hanging Gardens directed by Ahmed Al Daradji, Hello Dankness, directed by Soda Jerk

Narrative Feature winner: Tokyo Cowboy, directed by Marc Marriott.

The Gordon Parks Award for Black Excellence in Filmmaking, Honorable Mention: Chocolate Milk directed by Elizabeth Gray Bayne.

And winning $5,000 sponsored by Cargill and $15,000 in Panavision Camera Rental: Black Barbie.

Best Vortex Short Film Winning $250 sponsored by Lynda Carrier Metz and Mark Metz: “M.I.A. and Cats”

Honorable Mention: “Llamas at the Laundromat.”

Stubbornly Independent Winner sponsored by The Cotillion and Lucky’s: Lost Soulz directed by Katherine Propper.

EDA Awards

In partnership with the Alliance of Women Film Journalists the EDAs goal is to highlight female talent behind the camera. Named in honor of AWFJ founder Jennifer Merin’s mother, Eda Reiss Merin, a stage, film, and television actress whose career spanned more than 60 years and one of the founders of AFTRA and led the movement to pair SAG and AFTRA. 

  • EDA Award Special Mention for Best Female-Directed Short
  • THIS IS CONCRETE directed by Alice Gosti and June Zandona  
  • EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Short
  • JELLY directed by Anndi Jinelle Liggett 
  • EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Feature
  • BLACK BARBIE: A DOCUMENTARY directed by Lagueria Davis

Programmer Awards

  • Outstanding Cinematography: Adolfo – Director of Photography: Leo Calzoni
  • Outstanding Screenplay: Stay at Conder Beach directed by Aaron Khandros 
  • Outstanding Editing: Gold and Mud edited by Ryan Steele 
  • Outstanding Sound Design: This is Concrete Sound Design by Monika Knot – Nordra, directed by Alice Gosti and June Zandona 
  • Outstanding Rising Star: Ashraf Tumuheirwe from You’re Not Home directed by Derek Ugochukwu
  • Outstanding Performance: Taietsarón:sere ‘Tai’ Leclaire from Headdress 
  • Outstanding Supporting Performance: Trae Harris from The Vacation directed by Jarreau Carrillo
  • Outstanding Ensemble Cast: Mahogany Drive directed by Jerah Milligan
  • Outstanding Art Direction: Playland Art Direction by Brent Garbowski and directed by Georden West 
  • Outstanding Courage in Filmmaking: The Judgement directed by Marwan Mokbel 
  • Outstanding First Feature: Summer of Violence directed by Nicki Micheaux

Main Image: A still from My Name Is Annabel courtesy of Tallgrass Film Association