Lela Meadow-Conner has been a major part of the Wichita film scene for years, having, among other things, helped found the Tallgrass Film Festival and serving as its executive director. She's now starting a "microcinema" in the Revolutsia development at Central and Volutsia, screening a series of movies from now through October that she's calling "Mamafilm."
The idea of a microcinema [is] something I’ve been thinking about for many, many years ... I emailed Mike Ramsey, who’s the developer of Revolutsia, and just said, “Hey, have you ever thought about putting a microcinema in one of those shipping containers over there?” He said, “That’s a great idea, let’s do it.” And so it just happened very, very quickly — I formed a nonprofit and hit the ground running.
A microcinema for everyone
The name “Mamafilm” is meant to be very broad, although of course you hear it and you think, “women, mothers.” But I don’t want it to be an exclusionary type of film series, it’s really meant to be inclusionary, for anyone who is a nurturer or a caregiver. There are films that we’re showing that have nothing to do with caring for children, that have to do with caring for other beings. So, caring for elderly parents — there are all sorts of ways you can be a nurturer or embrace your inner mama.
A big part of the films that we select are that they are dialogue-sparkers. So, you’re not just coming for the film. Hopefully, you’re coming to engage in a conversation after the film … We encourage people to stay in this comfortable setting, engage as much as they want to engage, make new friends, share their experiences — sometimes it’s easier to share your experiences with people you don’t know.
The film that sparked an idea
The whole impetus for this really came from a film I saw last year at the Seattle International Film Festival called A Kid Like Jake. And it’s a film about two parents dealing with the fact that their five-year-old kindergartner might be transgender. And what I thought was so fascinating … is that when you see yourself reflected on the screen you feel that you may not be the only one that’s in that situation. And there’s something really powerful about film, in that sense. It’s very representational. So, it allows people an opportunity to not feel alone in whatever situation they might be in.