Heartland Film Festival Announces 2016 Jury Winners and Awards, Bestows $129,000 in Cash Prizes to Independent Filmmakers

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Tonight the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 20-30, 2016) announced its full slate of winners – including Grand Prizes, Best Premieres, Audience Choice, Indiana Spotlight, and High School Film Competition winners – at its Awards Party at the Premiere Pavilion at AMC Castleton Square 14. Awarding $129,000 in cash prizes for 2016, the Festival has bestowed more than $3 million to independent filmmakers since 1992 – the largest total amount awarded by any film festival in the United States. The event was presented by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our silver anniversary with this fantastic selection of award-winning films from our own backyard and around the world,” said Heartland Film Director of Programming & Marketing Greg Sorvig. “Documentary feature and audience choice winner ‘Night School’ was shot in Indianapolis while narrative feature winner ‘Home Care’ was the Czech Republic’s foreign-language entry for the 2016 Academy Awards®. These powerful films do much more than entertain, and our hope is that these honors and cash prizes will inspire our filmmakers to continue making impactful and inspiring stories for years to come.”

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 (“The Ravens,” directed by Jennifer Perrot) will qualify for consideration in the Live Action Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. The $45,000 Grand Prize Winner for Best Narrative Feature “Home Care” is the Czech Republic’s entry in the foreign-language film category of the 2017 Academy Awards®. Created by Disney-Pixar animators, “Borrowed Time” took top honors in the Festival’s inaugural Animated Short Film category.

The 2016 Heartland Film Festival winners include:

$45,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature
• “Home Care,” directed by Slávek Horák (Czech Republic, Slovak Republic)

$45,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature
• “Night School,” directed by Andrew Cohn (USA), sponsored by Innovative

$5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short
Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award
• “The Ravens,” directed by Jennifer Perrot (Australia)

$5,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short
Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award
• “Mining Poems or Odes,” directed by Callum Rice (United Kingdom)

$5,000 Grand Prize for Best Animated Short
• “Borrowed Time,” directed by Andrew Coats & Lou Hamou-Lhadj (USA)

$5,000 Best Premiere for Narrative Feature
• “Winter Thaw,” directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg (USA, Lithuania)

$5,000 Best Premiere for Documentary Feature
• “Facing Darkness,” directed by Arthur Rasco (USA, Liberia)

$5,000 Indiana Spotlight Winner
• “Go Get Your Horn,” directed by Tim Taylor (USA)

$2,000 Summer White Lynch Memorial Award – High School Film Competition Grand Prize
Underwritten by Gary D. & Marlene Cohen
• “The Optimist,” directed by John Mervin (USA)

$5,000 Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award Winner
• “Wild Prairie Rose,” directed by Deborah LaVine (USA)
The inaugural Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award honors a single film, selected from the Festival’s feature-length narrative and documentary titles. This film embodies the ongoing legacy of actor and national hero Jimmy Stewart and demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit through determination and the defiance of odds, humble vulnerability, and courage in the face of adversity. Made possible by a partnership with The Stewart Family.

Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Feature
• “Te Ata,” directed by Nathan Frankowski (USA)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Feature
• “Night School,” directed by Andrew Cohn (USA)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Short
• “La Femme et le TGV,” directed by Timo von Gunten (Switzerland)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Short
• “Good Business,” directed by Robert Schermbrucker (South Africa)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Animated Short
• “Violet,” directed by Maurice Joyce (Ireland)

Encore performances of feature-length finalists will screen Sunday, Oct. 30 exclusively at AMC Castleton Square 14, followed by Closing Night film “Josephine,” directed by Rory Feek.

Submissions for the 26th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 19-29, 2017) will open in February.

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