2014 Heartland Film Festival Announces Lineup Headlined by “The Judge” and “Men, Women & Children”

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The 23rd annual Heartland Film Festival breaks all-time film submissions record, is set to bestow $115,000 in cash prizes and will feature 131 independent films over 10 days across Indianapolis

The Heartland Film Festival—Indiana’s largest and longest-running independent film festival—will showcase more than 130 independent films and gives audiences access to more than 100 independent filmmakers from around the world from Oct. 16-25, 2014. With red carpet premieres and events, parties, and hundreds of film screenings, the Heartland Film Festival offers the best of world cinema right in the heart of the Midwest.

“The films in this year’s Heartland Film Festival represent myriad cultural experiences throughout the United States and in over 40 countries around the world,’ said Tim Irwin, Heartland Film’s artistic director. ‘Some of the films might inspire viewers (‘We Are the Giant,’ ‘East Side Sushi,’ ‘Dukale’s Dream’); some will challenge and change audiences’ perspectives on the world both at home and overseas (‘Drunktown’s Finest,’ ‘Cicada,’ ‘Siddharth,’ ‘Marmato’). Others will warm the heart (‘Finding Harmony,’ ‘Mistaken for Strangers,’ ‘Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind’), while some will bring smiles to faces or provoke outright laughter (‘The Referee,’ ‘Ben’s at Home,’ ‘Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey’).”

The complete Heartland Film Festival lineup and schedule can be viewed here.


Special Kickoff Screening Event & Party – “The Judge” with Director David Dobkin

  • Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 – Director David Dobkin scheduled to attend with a question-and-answer session to follow screening
  • Pre-party: 5 p.m., Café Patachou, Keystone at the Crossing, tickets $40
  • Screening: 7 p.m., AMC Castleton Square 14
    Pre-party ticket holders are invited to this advance, free screening of “The Judge”

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures comes “The Judge,” which pairs two-time Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr. (“Chaplin,” “Tropic Thunder”) and Oscar® winner Robert Duvall (“Tender Mercies”), starring together for the first time on the big screen. The film also stars Oscar® nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”) and Oscar® winner Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade”), and is directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”).

In “The Judge,” Downey stars as big city defense attorney Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

This special kickoff event is co-sponsored by Barnes & Thornburg.


Opening Night Screening & Party – “Men, Women & Children

  • Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, 7 p.m.
  • The Toby, Indianapolis Museum of Art with party to follow at Deer Zink Pavilion
  • Tickets $40
  • Sponsored by The David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation

The 2014 Heartland Film Festival will open with director Jason Reitman’s new film, “Men, Women & Children.” The film follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image and their love lives. The film wrestles with social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to the enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets and our computers. The film’s ensemble cast includes Judy Greer, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, J.K. Simmons, and Emma Thompson. Based on the novel by Chad Kultgen

An in-depth discussion of the many issues presented by the film with follow the screening. A panel of experts and filmmakers will discuss the effects that today’s online culture, including sexting, online pornography, body image issues and online gaming, can have on personal relationships.


Festival Award Winners in Contention for Grand Prizes 

More than $115,000 will be awarded to independent filmmakers at the Heartland Film Festival Awards Ceremony, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. On this evening, Heartland Film will recognize the best independent filmmakers from all over the world and bestow the Festival’s top prizes:

  • $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature. Films in contention include:
  • $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature. Films in contention include:
    • Gabor,” directed by Sebastián Alfie (Spain)
    • Happiness,” directed by Thomas Balmés (France, Finland)
    • Light Fly, Fly High,” directed by Beathe Hofseth, Susann Østigaard (Norway)
    • Marmato,” directed by Mark Grieco (Columbia, USA)
    • We Are the Giant,” directed by Greg Barker (Bahrain, Lybia, Syria, USA)
  • $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short*
    Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award

  • $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short
    Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award

  • $2,000 prizes for the Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards
    • Grand Canal,” directed by Johnny Ma (China)
    • Our Curse,” directed by Tomasz Śliwiński (Poland)
  • $2,500 Grand Prize Winner of the High School Film Competition
    • Chris,” directed by Zachary Oschin (USA)

*The Heartland Film Festival has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within the Short Films category. This means that the winner of the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.


Premiere Titles

Among its Official Selection titles, these select films will launch their festival run at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

  • American Real: The Forrest Lucas Story” (Official Selection, Documentary Feature), directed by Brad Grimm (USA)
    • Cast includes Forrest Lucas, Charlotte Lucas, Carol Cummins, Connie Schooler and Brenda Harris
    • Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
  • Dukale’s Dream” (Official Selection, Documentary Feature), directed by Josh Rothstein (Ethiopia, USA)
    • Cast includes Hugh Jackman, Daborra-Lee Furness, Dukale, Tim Costello, Assefa Tofu, Jeffrey Sachs, Takele Mammo
    • Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
  • Finding Harmony” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Dagen Merrill (USA)
    • Cast includes Billy Zane, Alison Eastwood, Anna Margaret, Jeffery Patterson, Max Lloyd-Jones
    • Talent from the film scheduled to attend
  • The Healing Wall” (Special Presentation, Documentary Feature), directed by Christopher Kosinski (USA)
    • Cast includes Jan Scruggs, Robert Doubek and Steve Bell
    • Talent from the film scheduled to attend
  • Highway to Dhampus” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Rick McFarland (Nepal, United Kingdom, USA)
    • Cast includes Rachel Hurd-Wood, Raj Ballav Koirala, Suesha Rana, Gunner Wright and Sophie McShera
    • Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
  • The Sound and the Shadow” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Justin Paul Miller (USA)
    • Cast includes Joseph E. Murrary, Mary Kate Wiles, Alex Anfanger, Rhomeyn Johnson
    • Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
  • Strangely in Love” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Amin Matalqa (USA)
    • Cast includes Jemuel Morris, Michelle Lang, Sean Carrigan, Amanda Plummer, Abigail Culwell
    • Talent from the film is scheduled to attend

Local Connections

Although the Heartland Film Festival showcases independent cinema from all over the world, it still recognizes talent in its own backyard. Local programming and filmmakers with Indiana ties include:

Indiana Spotlight program, supported by the Indiana Media Production Alliance:

Other films with Indiana connections include:

  • Arne Ahrens, director of “My Circumcision” (Official Selection, Narrative Short Film – “Shorts Program 7: It’s Tough to Be a Kid”) is a Ball State University graduate.
  • Sean Mullin, director of “Amira & Sam” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature) was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Zionsville, Ind.
  • Jace Freeman, director of “The Ballad of Shovels and Rope” (Official Selection, Documentary Feature) grew up in Indianapolis and lives in Nashville, TN – this will be Jace’s third film programmed at the Heartland Film Festival.
  • James Portolese, producer of “All-Stars” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature) is from South Bend and graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington.

View the complete 2014 Heartland Film Festival lineup with schedule of films and events.

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