Special Events Schedule

The 25th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 20-30, 2016) will play host to a fantastic slate of special events.

Heartland Film has partnered with Simon Property Group to make AMC Castleton Square 14 the central hub of this year’s event. Last year’s wildly successful Premiere Pavilion party area will expand in size and be conveniently located across from the main entrance at AMC Castleton. Many events will be hosted at the Premiere Pavilion.

This year's event lineup is set to include:

"The Book of Love" - Opening Night Screening & After-Party

Thursday, Oct. 20 - Scottish Rite Cathedral
Screening: 7 p.m. - Party to follow screening

After tragedy strikes Henry (Jason Sudeikis) and Penny (Jessica Biel), he befriends a tenacious young girl (Maisie Williams) and discovers she is constructing a raft to sail across the Atlantic to find her lost father. Together, along with some unlikely friends, they set forth to construct the vessel and subsequently rebuild their lives.

Actress Jessica Biel, Producer Michelle Purple and Actor Richard Robichaux scheduled to attend.

Sponsored by The David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation

Purchase Tickets

25th Anniversary Celebration
*SOLD OUT*

Friday, Oct. 21 - Premiere Pavilion, AMC Castleton Square 14

  • VIP Reception, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. – Tickets $250
    (included with Silver Screen Society membership)
  • 6:30 – 11 p.m. – Tickets $125

Celebrate Heartland’s silver anniversary in style at this signature red carpet event, where you’ll be greeted by paparazzi snapping photos before joining fellow fans for an evening of live music, drinks and food stations. Actor Brian Dennehy (The Ultimate Gift) to be honored with Heartland Film’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brian Dennehy has maintained a strong presence in film, theater, and television for three decades. He has twice won the Tony Award for Best Actor: honored for playing James Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night, and for playing Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Dennehy is well-known to audiences worldwide for his performances in such popular films as Michael Ritchie’s Semi-Tough, Colin Higgins’ Foul Play, Blake Edwards’ 10, Ted Kotcheff’s First Blood, Ron Howard’s Cocoon, Robert Mandel’s F/X, Alan J. Pakula’s Presumed Innocent, Peter Segal’s Tommy Boy and Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

 

Awards Party

Saturday, Oct. 29 - Premiere Pavilion, AMC Castleton Square 14
7 - 10:30 p.m. 

Join Heartland Film for an exciting and intimate party honoring this year’s inspiring films and filmmakers! We’ll announce all of the 2016 winners, including grand prizes, best premieres, the High School Film Competition Summer White Lynch Memorial Award, the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award and more. 

  • $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature
  • $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature
  • $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
  • $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Animated Short
  • $5,000 Prizes for Best U.S./World Premieres, Narrative & Doc. Features
  • $5,000 for Best Indiana Spotlight Film
  • $5,000 Prize for the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award
  • $2,500 Summer White Lynch Grand Prize Winner of the High School Film Competition - Underwritten by Gary D. & Marlene Cohen
  • $500 Prizes for High School Film Competition Finalists
  • Audience Choice Award Winners

Sponsored by The David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation

Purchase Tickets 

Filmmakers' Brunch

Sunday, Oct. 30 - Sheraton Hotel Indianapolis at Keystone at the Crossing 
11 a.m.

Discover the inspiration behind some of your favorite Heartland Film Festival movies by joining the filmmakers for an informal brunch. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with fascinating storytellers and to hear different perspectives on all aspects of the filmmaking process.

Purchase Tickets 

 

"Josephine" - Closing Night Screening & Party

Sunday, Oct. 30 - AMC Castleton Square 14
Screening: 7 p.m. - Party to follow screening at the Premiere Pavilion

Director/Writer Rory Feek, Producer Aaron Carnaha, Musician Heidi Feek, and Musician Dillon Hodges scheduled to attend.

Near the end of the Civil War, a desperate young farmer’s wife enlists in the army, posing as a man. She battles the enemy, the men of her unit and her own identity in a quest to find her missing husband.

Sponsored by The David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation

Purchase Tickets 


U.S. or World Premiere Screenings

Exclusively at AMC Castleton Square 14. Special event premieres include an after party at the Premiere Pavilion - Fest Passes are not valid for admission. Additional screenings of premiere titles are considered regular screenings (Fest Passes allowed).

High School 9-1-1

World Premiere, Documentary Feature, Official Selection
Premiere Screening: Friday, Oct. 21, 12:15 p.m.
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $12/$9 online 

Director Tim Warren, Producer Kelli Joan Bennett, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

High School 9-1-1 chronicles a year in the life of the only ambulance service in Darien, Connecticut that just happens to be run by high school teenagers. This one-of-a-kind organization services 20,000 residents 365 days a year and responds to over 1,500 emergency calls annually. The foundation of Darien EMS-Post 53 is the empowerment of young people through adult and peer mentorship. “Posties” are taught a multitude of managerial, critical thinking and emergency medical skills and then given the responsibility to implement what they have learned by actually running their own EMS organization. The goal of the film is to inspire and empower young people as well as motivate the adults in their lives – parents, educators, school administrators and community leaders – to create opportunities for making a difference in their communities.

High School 9-1-1 will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

Winter Thaw

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Saturday, Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Actor John Rhys-Davies, Director Adam Thomas Anderegg, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

Inspired by a short story by Leo Tolstoy, Winter Thaw stars legendary actor John Rhys-Davies against the backdrop of a frigid winter in 1885 Russia. Nearing Christmas in a poor village an old cobbler leads a solitary life, visited by painful memories — a wife lost long ago and the son he regretfully forswore. But when the cobbler is visited by a wandering pilgrim, embers of faith that have long sat dormant are rekindled. Affected by visions in the night, he dreams of his wife as she warns that “tomorrow, He will come.” Shaken, the cobbler believes this means the Lord’s visit will take his life. Unsure how to prepare, he attempts to make amends with his estranged son, helping others along the way. But as the day draws to a close, the cobbler experiences a startling revelation that ignites his hope and welcomes him home.

Winter Thaw will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

The JJ Project

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Saturday, Oct. 22, 5:45 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Featured Subject JJ Hunt, Director Matt Starr, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

Born with brittle bone disease, surviving the early days of his life, and overcoming the realities of foster care, 11-year-old JJ House unites a community while achieving his dream to direct a musical. Unable to participate in sports activities due to his bone disorder, JJ captures the hearts of MTVarts, a local theatrical production company where he exercises his artistic muscle. With mentoring support of his theatrical family, JJ assembles a production crew of children and a cast for the musical How I Became A Pirate while inspiring the world around him. His determination of becoming a director clashes with his desire to be an eleven-year-old boy and to adapt to living with constant pain. Some of these moments lead to conflict with his cast, crew of children, the adult mentors, and his family.

The JJ Project will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

When War Comes Home

U.S. Premiere, Documentary Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Sunday, Oct. 23, 12:45 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Michael King, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

Three Iraq/Afghanistan War veterans return home to discover their Post-Traumatic Stress affects not only their own lives, but the lives of their wives, children and friends. Witnessing these powerful stories and many others, retired Four Star General Peter Chiarelli leads the search for better treatment for these invisible wounds of war.

When War Comes Home will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

Reengineering Sam

World Premiere, Documentary Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Sunday, Oct. 23, 3:15 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Brian Malone, Subject Dr. Scott Falci, Subject Dr. Scott Grigsby, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

Sam Schmidt lived out his boyhood dream as an IndyCar racer, winning races and earning the title of IndyCar “Rookie of the Year” along the way. That dream came to an abrupt end when Sam crashed into a wall at 200 miles per hour, leaving him a quadriplegic. Reengineering Sam pulls the curtain back and shows up close the serious implications of a life of paralysis on Sam and everyone around him. Sam’s accident rendered him physically helpless, never being able to brush his teeth, much less drive again, until a dedicated group of some of the brightest minds today stepped up to build him a car that he could drive, using only his head. Through groundbreaking adaptive technologies, Reengineering Sam chronicles Sam Schmidt’s inspirational road back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and shows the promise of freedom and mobility for almost anyone confined to a wheelchair.

Reengineering will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

New Life

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Sunday, Oct. 23, 6 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Drew Waters, Actress Erica Bethea, Actor Jonathan Patrick Moore, and Actor Bill Cobbs scheduled to attend.

Benjamin Morton’s life changed forever the day he met the girl next door. Ava was and always would be the girl of his dreams. From the innocence of a childhood friendship, through adolescent attraction, their love strengthens and grows. When life takes a turn neither of them expected, their entire future is called into question. New Life explores the ups and downs of life and love, showing us that in good times and bad, life can be approached with hope and the opportunity for something new.

New Life will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

Facing Darkness

World Premiere, Documentary Feature, Special Presentation
Premiere Screening: Sunday, Oct. 23, 8:30 p.m.
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $12/$9 online 

Featured Subject Dr. Kent Brantly, Director Arthur Rasco, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

In early 2014, a deadly Ebola epidemic quickly started to spread across West Africa. Two relief agencies, Samaritan's Purse and Doctors Without Borders, responded to the crisis in Liberia. With little international attention, the epidemic continued to surge. In late July, Dr. Kent Brantly, a young doctor serving with Samaritan's Purse in Monrovia, fell ill and tested positive for the Ebola virus, which meant a virtual death sentence. Hours later, Nancy Writebol, a missionary working with Dr. Brantly, also tested positive. The team at Samaritan's Purse was suddenly thrown into a tailspin and had to find a way to save the lives of their colleagues. This is the story behind the headlines of an unparalleled rescue mission to save the lives of those who risked it all and chose compassion over fear..

Facing Darkness is a one-time screening special presentation event. 

Purchase Tickets 

The Healer

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Monday, Oct. 24, 5:30 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Paco Arango, Actress Kaitlyn Bernard, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

A man is unaware he possesses the gift of healing. In the midst of his struggle to comprehend his new reality, a teenager with cancer will show him the way.

The Healer will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

Men in the Arena

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Monday, Oct. 24, 7:45 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director J.R. Biersmith, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

A touching story of friendship, struggle and triumph, the film follows the journey of two Somali national soccer team friends who face impossible odds to fulfill their dreams. After surviving two decades of war, Saadiq, 17, and Sa’ad, 20, the team’s most promising stars, enter the only televised match of the year hoping scouts will be watching. With passports of no value on the world stage, soccer may be their only ticket to escape a growing terror threat, persecution and poverty. Against the backdrop of fear and shared sacrifice, they embark on separate but equally improbable journeys. In the opportunity of a lifetime, Saadiq sets off for America with dreams of an education and a soccer career. Sa’ad continues his career in Mogadishu with the hopes of someday being reunited with his friend. Their biggest dream is shared — to be symbols of hope to generations who have only known war. 

Men in the Arena will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

It's Not My Fault and I Don't Care Anyway

U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7:15 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Chris Craddock, Actor Quinton Aaron, Actress Leah Doz, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

This dark comedy is a tale of Brian, who is coerced by his drug dealer boss, against his nature, to help kidnap Diana and hold her for ransom. It’s a tale of Patrick, who sees his daughter’s kidnapping as a test of his famous philosophy of selfishness and decides not to pay the ransom, despite the threats against his daughter’s life. And it’s a tale of Diana who, devastated by her father’s abandonment, puts a brutal revenge plan into action against him. Written and directed by Chris Craddock, based on his award-winning play, It’s Not My Fault And I Don’t Care Anyway is a dramatically introspective tug on your soul, set to have you question your ethics or bend your moral code in this examination of humanity, asking the question: Does anyone really care about anyone?

It's Not My Fault and I Don't Care Anyway will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

Bugs on the Menu

U.S. Premiere, Documentary Feature, Official Selection
Special Event Premiere Screening: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Ian Toews, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

Bugs on the Menu follows restaurateurs, cricket farmers, scholars, and scientists, who are part of a movement to normalize insect eating in the west, as an alternative to accepted, but resource intensive proteins like chicken, pork, and beef. Traveling worldwide, the documentary observes bug eating traditions in Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Experts Dr. Arnold van Huis of The Netherlands (author of the UN report “Edible Insects”) and Washington D.C.’s Sonny Ramaswamy of the USDA provide scientific analysis of this food industry revolution.

Bugs on the Menu will play three additional times during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets 

From the Ashes: The University of Evansville Purple Aces

World Premiere, Documentary Feature, Indiana Spotlight
Special Event Premiere Screening: Thursday, Oct. 27, 5:30 p.m. w/ after party to follow at the Premiere Pavilion
AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets $15/$12 members 

Director Joe Atkinson, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

On December 13, 1977, 29 people boarded a DC-3 airplane at Evansville, Indiana's Dress Regional Airport. Their destination was Nashville, Tennessee, where they would charter a bus to nearby Murfreesboro for a game against Middle Tennessee State University. The flight lasted 90 seconds. From the Ashes, an original documentary by Court Street Productions, tells the story of that team, which was the University of Evansville's first as an NCAA Division I basketball program; after winning five College Division national championships, the university had made the move to the big time that year. Using interviews from more than 75 people, director Joe Atkinson's film spans nearly a century of Evansville college basketball to tell the story of the night it rained tears in Evansville - and the team for whom an entire city wept.

From the Ashes will play one additional time during the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

Purchase Tickets