Four Film Festivals Present Variety for Movie Lovers

During September and October, film lovers will have plenty to rejoice as four regional festivals offer up films.


The Latin American Cinema Festival is sponsored by Sociedad Hidalgo and the Morelia Sister City Committee of Kansas City. The movies run Saturdays through the month of September and the first Saturday in October. The doors of the Rio Theatre, 7204 W. 80th St., Overland Park, Kan., open at 10:30 a.m. for an 11 a.m. showing. Films are recommended for 18 years and older. The films are in Spanish with English subtitles and after each film, there will be a group discussion.

Project Director Gloria A. Bessenbacher with the Latin American Cinema Festival says the group discussions with the public led by humanities professors of area universities after each film, continue to be the signature of this program. This program is possible thanks in part to a grant of the Kansas Humanities Council.

The films are Illiterate, Sept, 6, about a woman in her 50s who is taught to read by an unemployed school teacher and the journey of discovery both make. The narrator of Words Behind Walls, Sept. 13, is the soul of the house itself as the story moves through three centuries and the lives within this particular home. Fermín Las Glorias del Tango, Sept. 20, deals with a patient who expresses himself using the lyrics and titles of tango songs as a result of a post-traumatic stress disorder discovered by a psychiatrist. The Longest Distance, Sept. 27, shows the dichotomy that exists in an urban setting versus a more natural Paradise. On Oct. 4, Red Princesses depict revolution through the eyes of two young girls whose parents are are Sandinista activists during the 1980s.


Shawn Edwards, the new Kansas City Jewish Film Festival, adheres to the mission “to provide the diverse community an opportunity to encounter Jewish ideas and values by creating an open, inviting, and entertaining forum for films that explore issues of culture, identity and history.” The films can be seen at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City except for the film, This is Where I Leave You, which will be at the Cinetopia Overland Park 18.

This year, eight films will be presented. Cupcakes opens the festival Oct. 11 with a VIP reception following. This musical comedy where a heartbroken Tel Aviv baker gets together with friends to watch a song contest and the catchy tune they wrote for her ends up as the Israeli entry for the contest. The family screening Oct. 12 is Igor and the Cranes’ Journey. The film centers on an 11-year-old boy who cherishes the Russian countryside and cranes that his father studies, but his parents are divorced so he is expected to travel to Israel with his choral conductor mother.

The community screening Oct. 12 is the Zig Zag Kid. This friendly film looks at the imagination of a child who wants to be like his famous police inspector father. Dancing in Jaffa Oct. 13 marks the Celebration of Diversity screening. The film takes Jewish and Palestinian Israeli children and the featured ballroom teacher gets them to dance together. There will be a panel discussion following the film. The 100 More Screening is The Jewish Cardinal Oct. 14. The movie tells the true story of Jean-Marie Lustiger, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who maintained his cultural identity as a Jew even after converting to Catholicism at a young age, and later joining the priesthood. Quickly rising within the ranks of the Church, Lustiger was appointed Archbishop of Paris by Pope Jean Paul II.

The Day I Saw Your Heart Oct. 18 deals with family drama. The Filmmaker’s Showcase screening, Oct. 19, looks at Brave Miss World, the true story of Israeli beauty queen Linor Abargil who was abducted and raped in Milan, Italy two months before being crowned Miss World in 1998. Ten years later, she’s ready to talk about it – and to encourage others to speak out. The closing screening Oct. 19 is Jayhawkers by Kevin Willmott. This sports drama/biographical film follows the life of Wilt Chamberlain, Coach Phog Allen and the 1956 Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team.


The 14th Annual Kansas International Film Festival runs Oct. 10-16 at the Glenwood Arts Theatre in Overland Park, Kan. KIFF stands alone as a movie purist’s delight, focusing on documentary, narrative, and animated independent films. Founded in 2001 as a non-profit organization, KIFF attracts local, regional, and national work, recognizing visiting filmmakers and screen personalities, and increasing public awareness of independent and classic cinema as a cultural, economic, and educational asset.

The chance to share the love of movies, thought-provoking documentaries and other films drives the founders. They understand the love of movies and what film festivals mean to independent filmmakers. Often times, smaller-scale films find their place in film festivals.


Lela Meadow-Conner, the executive director of Tallgrass Film Association, says Tallgrass is the largest independent film festival in the state of Kansas showcasing more than 180 films from around the world. Tallgrass’ programming blends true independent cinema with foreign films and documentaries. Tallgrass’ motto is ‘Stubbornly Independent’ and the festival is committed to giving a voice and a venue to indie filmmakers who would otherwise not be able to have a theatrical screening of their film.

This year’s festival is Oct. 15-19 in Wichita, about three hours from Kansas City. “We expect more than 30 visiting guests and filmmakers will attend the festival,” she says. “The festival is committed to quality programing and the festival has earned the reputation in Kansas and throughout the independent filmmaking community. Tallgrass has been named one of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals, one of the 50 Festivals worth the Submission Fee (MovieMaker Magazine), one of the Best Under-the-Wire Film Festivals by Flavorwire. Attendees know that they will see the best of independent film programming and filmmakers know they will meet like-minded artists and cinema-hungry audiences.”

Kellie Houx

Kellie Houx is a writer and photographer. A graduate of Park University, she has 20 years of experience as a journalist. As a writer, wife and mom, she values education, arts, family and togetherness.

Leave a Reply