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June 25-30

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Free State Festival 2024 Lineup Announced

Free State Festival 2024 Lineup 

The Lawrence Arts Center is proud to announce the selected films and headliners for Free State Festival 2024 slated for June 25-30. This signature community event celebrates the free spirit of Kansas through independent films, live music, comedy and art experiences in venues throughout the city of Lawrence. 


Highlights include:

      • Music performance by drummer, composer, producer, and bandleader Makaya McCraven presented in partnership with Kansas Public Radio. A beat scientist and a sound visionary, McCraven brilliantly moves between genres and pushes the boundaries of jazz and rhythm to create forms of his own.
      • Standup comedy performance by Mniconjou and Sicangu Lakota actor, writer and comedian Jana Schmieding known for her work on Reservation Dogs and Rutherford Falls.
      • Bring Them Home, a new documentary narrated by Lily Gladstone following a decades-long effort to bring buffalo back to the Blackfeet Reservation. The film examines the role the buffalo played in Blackfeet life before settlers killed millions of the species in an attempt to eradicate the tribe.
      • Music performance by Joe Rainey, a powwow artist whose powerful vocals combine with processed samples to pay homage to history in an avant garde hip hop style.
      • The Heroic True-Life Adventures of Alvin Brooks, the latest documentary by Academy Award winning filmmaker Kevin Willmott tells the story of  one of Kansas City’s most impactful community activists.
      • Chasing Chasing Amy, a documentary that examines the complex legacy of Kevin Smith’s Chasing Amy on the LGBTQIA+ community and its life-saving impact on director (and KU Film and Media Studies alum!) Sav Rodgers. Presented in partnership with Lawrence Pride.
      • Quantum Cowboys, an animated science fiction tale of two hapless drifters who team up with Linde (played by Lily Gladstone)  in a trek across 1870’s Arizona to recover land and find an elusive frontier musician.
      • Another Body, a SXSW Jury Award Winning film following an American college student’s search for answers and justice after she discovers deepfake pornography of herself circulating online. Presented in partnership with Lawrence Talks.
      • Blood of a Poet, a hybrid film and dance experience choreographed and performed by Tristian Griffin amidst projections of the 1932 avant garde classic by Jean Cocteau. This unique film and dance presentation will be accompanied by live music by Alex Kimball Williams, projection design by Peter Jasso and visual art by Justin Canja.
      • A short film and culinary pairing event with thematically connected bites of cinema and tasty treats.
      • The Lawrence Music Alliance presents the results of the Lawrence Music Census with featured guest Elizabeth Cawein, Executive Director of Music Export Memphis, industry conversations and networking opportunities. Presented in partnership with the City of Lawrence and the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission.
      • The Underneath: Children of the Sun, an Afrofuturist epic by St. Louis filmmaker David Kirkman spanning through time and dimensions for a breathtaking journey of galactic politics, heritage, and destiny.
      • Community Squirrel Hunt, a new film by local filmmaker Kevin McKinney about an unusual annual hunting tradition in a Kansas small town.
      • A remix of the 1920 film Daughter of Dawn. This rare silent film featuring an all indigenous cast gets a revisionist re-edit and live score by filmmaker, musician and writer Tweesna Rose Mills.
      • Ultimate Citizens, a family friendly film about an Iranian American public school counselor who coaches an underdog Ultimate Frisbee team in the world’s largest youth tournament.
      • A special presentation of the 1955 film Kiss Me Deadly by Lawrence Modern with commentary by film aficionado Kellee Pratt. 

The Free State Festival is produced by the Lawrence Arts Center and made possible through programming support from community partners, grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Lawrence, Explore Lawrence, the Kansas Arts Commission and media support from Kansas Public Radio. This year’s poster is designed by artist Blanca Herrada.

KU Film and Media Studies, Marriott SpringHill Suites, Lawrence Modern, the Spencer Museum of Art, Morning Light Kombucha.

The American Jazz Museum, Lawrence Talks, Squishington’s Candies, Audio-Reader Network, Lawrence Music Alliance, Lawrence Pride, the Trans Lawrence Coalition, Merchants Pub & Plate, Wine Dive and Kitchen, and Jason the Native Chef.

For additional information and images, please contact Lawrence Arts Center Curator of Film & Media/ Free State Festival Director Marlo Angell: