Heartland Film Festival Unveils 2015 Winners, Awards More Than $120,000 to Independent Filmmakers

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“The Judgment” wins $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature, “Romeo is Bleeding” wins $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature, “The Way of Tea” wins $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short and “The 100 Years Show” wins $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short

This evening the 24th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 16-25, 2015) announced its full slate of winners – including Grand Prizes, Best Premieres, Audience Choice and Indiana Spotlight winners – at its Awards Ceremony at Old National Centre. Awarding more than $120,000 in cash prizes for 2015, the Festival has now given 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.

“These Grand Prize winners tackle current, topical subjects in profound ways, and tell their important stories with masterful filmmaking,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Tim Irwin. “We are excited to support these filmmakers, and hopefully inspire them to continue to tell stories that need to be told. With the new Indiana Spotlight Award we are hoping to encourage and support the filmmaking community in Indiana.”

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 Way of Tea,” directed by Marc Fouchard) 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. Additionally, $45,000 Grand Prize Winner for Best Narrative Feature “The Judgment” is the Bulgarian entry in the foreign-language film category of the 2016 Academy Awards®.

The 2015 Heartland Film Festival winners include:

$45,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature
• “The Judgment,” directed by Stephan Komandarev (Bulgaria)

$45,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature
• “Romeo is Bleeding,” directed by Jason Zeldes (USA)

$5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short
Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award
• “The Way of Tea,” directed by Marc Fouchard (France)

$5,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short
Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award
• “The 100 Years Show,” directed by Alison Klayman (USA)

$5,000 Best Premiere for Narrative Feature
• “Borderless,” directed by Amir Hossein Asgari (Iran)

$5,000 Best Premiere for Documentary Feature
• “Big Voice,” directed by Varda Bar-Kar (USA)

$5,000 Indiana Spotlight Winner
• “Citizen Teklit,” directed by Tim Taylor (USA)

$3,000 Summer White Lynch Memorial Award Winner – High School Film Competition Grand Prize
Underwritten by Gary D. & Marlene Cohen
• “This Home Is Not Empty,” directed by Carol Nguyen (Canada)

$2,000 prizes for the Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards
• “The Heart Thief,” directed by Ella Rubeli (Australia)
• “Leidi,” directed by Simon Mesa Soto (Columbia, UK)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Feature
• “Marie’s Story,” directed by Jean-Pierre Améris (France)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Feature
• “dream/killer,” directed by Andrew Jenks (USA)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Short
• “Moving On,” directed by Marcia Fields and Mike Spear (USA)

Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Short
• “Teen Press,” directed by T.C. Johnstone (USA)

Encore performances of winners will be showing Sunday, Oct. 25 at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12.

Submissions for the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 21-30, 2016) will open in February.

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