WICHITA, Kan. – When the Tallgrass Film Association sought out a sponsor for its new juried competition for women-directed, feature-length documentaries; it turned to woman-owned marketing agency, Greteman Group. President and creative director Sonia Greteman said yes. Immediately.

“Women belong behind the camera as well as in front of it,” says Sonia Greteman. “Our agency’s sponsorship signals our belief in amplifying women’s voices and ensuring more people hear them. Giving emerging directors an elevated platform can launch their careers. Even better, their stories could change the world.”

The DOX Spotlight winner will debut the evening of October 19 at the 15th annual Tallgrass Film Festival, while the rest of the selections will screen throughout the weekend. (Schedule, tickets and information will be available at tallgrassfilmfest.com on September 22.)  All finalists will screen as official selections and all three films are eligible for the Audience Award for Best Documentary and a $2,500 cash prize.

“Our hope is that this recognition helps to celebrate the women in the documentary trenches and inspire future female documentarians to record the accomplishments, the issues and real life from a women’s perspective,” says Gretchen Mitchell, Tallgrass co-director of programming.

Tallgrass runs October 18-22 in venues throughout downtown Wichita. Tallgrass is the largest independent film festival in Kansas, evaluating close to 2,000 submissions a year. For the past three years, it has been included in MovieMaker Magazine’s annual, “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” Entries were due June 14. Cash awards totaling $11,000 and other special recognition awards will be given. The greatest award, however, could be the experience itself.

“Time and again I’ve had directors tell me they leave Tallgrass totally energized,” Mitchell says. “Something powerful happens when you gather around film and filmmakers, sharing stories, unique perspectives and passions. It’s why we do this.”

DOX Spotlight eligibility rules state that films can be made by co-directors, but every co-director must be a woman. The project must not have secured any traditional distribution deal at the time of the fest. Films from all countries and all budgets are welcome. The Tallgrass programming committee selects the finalists, all of which will also be screened in regular competition at the festival. A special DOX Spotlight three-woman jury will decide the winning film. It will screen as part of a Tallgrass evening spotlight with a post-screening Q&A with the filmmaker(s) and an awarding of special honors.

The DOX Spotlight three-women jury includes Seattle International Film Festival Artistic Director Beth Barrett, Women Make Movies Executive Director Deborah Zimmerman, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Maisie Crow. The three DOX finalists include Madeleine Gavin’s City of Joy, Skye Borgman’s Forever ‘B’ and Robin Berghaus’ Stumped. You can read more about the filmmakers and their movies, the jurors and the competition on the festival’s website.

Part of Greteman Group’s sponsorship included developing an identity for the new DOX Spotlight competition. The logo includes the classic gender symbol for a female, providing an at-a-glance reinforcement of the competition’s focus. DOX (pronounced “docks”) is expressed in all caps. Orange and fuchsia make the identity pop against a white background. The agency also designed the award. Since 2007, only 4 percent of the top 1,000 movie titles were directed by women. The DOX Spotlight could help change that.

“There’s a young girl out there with a story and a camera,” says Greteman. “Let’s give her some more role models, showing that it can be done.”




The Wichita Eagle