Heartland Film Festival Unveils Film and Event Lineup for its 25th Anniversary

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View the 2016 Festival Guide Book

Appearances by Jessica Biel, Dr. Kent Brantly, John Rhys-Davies, Rory Feek, and Alan Thicke highlight the Festival’s 11-day silver anniversary, set for Oct. 20-30, 2016.

Last night nonprofit Heartland Film announced the full lineup and event schedule for its 25th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 20-30, 2016) at a special event at The Athenaeum. Since its first event in 1992, Heartland has awarded $3 million in prize money to independent filmmakers — more than any other film festival in North America. The Academy Award®-qualifying Festival will once again give its moviegoers access to more than 100 visiting independent filmmakers from all over the world, and will showcase 138 films over 11 days of red carpet premieres and events, parties, and hundreds of film screenings across Indianapolis.

“Twenty-five years is a special milestone, and we are thrilled to celebrate with an unprecedented slate of movies, red carpet premieres, and special appearances,” said Craig Prater, President of Heartland Film. “A record 2,535 films were submitted from 92 countries, and we have crafted a fantastic lineup of 138 movies that not only embody the founding spirit of Heartland, but also show what we have grown to become over the past two-and-a-half decades. This anniversary is truly a testament to the ongoing passion and support of our sponsors, moviegoers, board members, volunteers, and staff. ”

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

  • Opening Night Screening and After Party – “The Book of Love”
    Thursday, Oct. 20 – Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m.
    Narrative feature directed by Bill Purple. Scheduled appearances by Actress Jessica Biel, Producer Michelle Purple, and Actor Richard Robichaux. After party to feature live music from Jon McLaughlin. Sponsored by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.
  • 25th Anniversary Celebration
    Friday, Oct. 21 – Premiere Pavilion at AMC Castleton Square 14, 5:30 p.m. VIP, 6:30 p.m.
    Celebrating the 25-year legacy of Heartland Film. Actor Brian Dennehy scheduled to appear to receive the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award from Heartland Film.
  • Awards Party
    Saturday, Oct. 29 – Premiere Pavilion at AMC Castleton Square 14, 7 p.m.
    Heartland Film Festival will unveil all its winners and bestow $129,000 in cash prizes to independent filmmakers with music by Tonos Triad. Sponsored by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.
  • Filmmakers’ Brunch
    Sunday, Oct. 30 – Sheraton 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 storytellers and to hear different perspectives on all aspects of the filmmaking process.
  • Closing Night Screening and After Party – “Josephine”
    Sunday, Oct. 30 – AMC Castleton Square 14, 7 p.m.
    Narrative feature directed by Rory Feek. Scheduled appearances by Director/Writer Rory Feek, Producer Aaron Carnaha, Musician Heidi Feek, and Musician Dillon Hodges. Sponsored by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.

U.S. AND WORLD PREMIERE TITLES

These 13 U.S. or World Premiere special events will be hosted at AMC Castleton Square 14, with select after parties set at the expanded Premiere Pavilion. Filmmakers and/or talent from every film are scheduled to attend and take part red carpet festivities.

  • “High School 9-1-1” – Friday, Oct. 21, 12:15 p.m.
    World Premiere, Documentary Feature – Directed by Tim Warren
    Director Tim Warren, Producer Kelli Joan Bennett, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Winter Thaw” – Saturday, Oct. 22, 3:30 p.m.
    World Premiere, Narrative Feature – Directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg
    Actor John Rhys-Davies, Director Adam Thomas Anderegg, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “The JJ Project” – Saturday, Oct. 22, 5:45 p.m.
    World Premiere, Documentary Feature – Directed by Matt Starr
    Featured Subject JJ Hunt, Director Matt Starr, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “When War Comes Home” – Sunday, Oct. 23, 12:45 p.m.
    U.S. Premiere, Documentary Feature – Directed by Michael King
    Director Michael King, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Reengineering Sam” – Sunday, Oct. 23, 3:15 p.m.
    World Premiere, Documentary Feature – Directed by Brian Malone
    Director Brian Malone, Featured Subject Dr. Scott Falci, Featured Subject Dr. Scott Grigsby, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “New Life” – Sunday, Oct. 23, 6 p.m., Sponsored by Lilly
    World Premiere, Narrative Feature – Directed by Drew Waters
    Director Drew Waters, Actress Erica Bethea, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Facing Darkness” – Sunday, Oct. 23, 8:30 p.m.
    World Premiere, Special Presentation, Documentary Feature – Directed by Arthur Rasco
    Featured Subject Dr. Kent Brantly, Director Arthur Rasco, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “The Healer” – Monday, Oct. 24, 5:30 p.m.
    U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature – Directed by Paco Arango
    Director Paco Arango, Actress Kaitlyn Bernard, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Men in the Arena” – Monday, Oct. 24, 7:45 p.m.
    World Premiere, Documentary Feature – Directed by J.R. Biersmith
    Director J.R. Biersmith, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway” – Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7:15 p.m.
    U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature – Directed by Chris Craddock
    Director Chris Craddock, Actor Quinton Aaron, Actress Leah Doz, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Matsanjeni (The Bones) – A Thirst Project VR Film” – Wednesday, Oct. 26 and Thursday, Oct. 27
    Documentary Short, Special Presentation, World Premiere – Directed by Zach Richter, Sam Smith and Corey Petrick
    Virtual reality experience with recurring screenings throughout both days at AMC Castleton Square 14. Executive Producer Seth Maxwell, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Bugs on the Menu” – Wednesday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m.
    U.S.  Premiere, Documentary Feature – Directed by Ian Toews
    Director Ian Toews, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “From the Ashes: The University of Evansville Purple Aces” – Thursday, Oct. 27, 5:30 p.m.
    World Premiere, Documentary Feature, Indiana Spotlight  – Directed by Joe Atkinson
    Director Joe Atkinson, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

These six films have been highlighted to encompass the full range of Heartland Film Festival selections and current trends in cinema. From documentaries about Indianapolis to a virtual reality experience about Swaziland, these films show audiences the world through a wide range of perspectives. All screenings will be hosted at AMC Castleton Square 14:

  • “Attucks: The School That Opened a City” – Documentary Feature
    Thursday, Oct. 27, 3 p.m.
    Director Ted Green, cast and crew scheduled to attend. Sponsored by the Lumina Foundation.
  • “Facing Darkness” – Documentary Feature, World Premiere
    Sunday, Oct. 23, 8:30 p.m.
    Directed by Arthur Rasco. Featured Subject Dr. Kent Brantly, Director Arthur Rasco, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “Lion” – Narrative Feature, Truly Moving Picture Award Winner
    Tuesday, Oct. 25, 8:15 p.m.
    Directed by Garth Davis, starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. A special presentation by The Weinstein Company.
  • “Matsanjeni (The Bones) – A Thirst Project VR Film” – Documentary Short, World Premiere
    Wednesday, Oct. 26 and Thursday, Oct. 27
    Directed by Zach Richter, Sam Smith and Corey Petrick. Virtual reality experience with recurring screenings throughout both days at AMC Castleton Square 14. Executive Producer Seth Maxwell, cast and crew scheduled to attend.
  • “The Ultimate Legacy” – Narrative Feature
    Saturday, Oct. 22, 10:45 p.m.
    Directed by Joanne Hock. Actor Brian Dennehy and Writer/Executive Producer Rick Eldridge scheduled to attend.
  •  “USS Indianapolis: The Legacy” – Documentary Feature
    Saturday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 26, 8 p.m.
    Directed by Sara Vladic. Sponsored by PNC. Director Sara Vladic, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

25th ANNIVERSARY RETROSPECTIVE PROGRAM

For the past 25 years, the Heartland Film Festival has been inspiring filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. For its silver anniversary, encore screenings of past Festival favorites are being brought back to the big screen. Titles include:

  • “Rudy” (1993) – Directed by David Anspaugh
    Writer Angelo Pizzo, Director David Anspaugh, and “Rudy” Ruettiger scheduled to attend.
  • “The Ultimate Gift” (2006) – Directed by Michael O. Sajbel
    Actor Brian Dennehy and Producer Rick Eldridge scheduled to attend.
  • “Lars and the Real Girl” (2007) – Directed by Craig Gillespie
  • “Second Hand Wedding” (2008) – Directed by Paul Murphy
  • “Red Dog” (2011) – Directed by Kriv Stenders
  • “Rising from Ashes” (2012) – Directed by T.C. Johnstone
  • “No Ordinary Hero: The SuperDeafy Movie” (2013) – Directed by Troy Kotsur
  • “Where Hope Grows” (2014) – Directed by Chris Dowling

AWARD CATEGORIES AND FINALISTS

Set to award $129,000 in cash prizes, the 2016 Heartland Film Festival will announce all of its winners at the Oct. 29 Awards Party at the Premiere Pavilion at AMC Castleton Square 14. Categories and finalists include:

Narrative Feature Finalists ($45,000 total award)

  • “Blanka” – Directed by Kohki Hasei
  • “Home Care” – Directed by Slávek Horák
  • “Occupy, Texas”  – Directed by Jeff Barry
  • “Pushing Dead” – Directed by Tom E. Brown
  • “Wild Prairie Rose”  – Directed by Deborah LaVine

Documentary Feature Finalists ($45,000 total award)

  • “The Islands and the Whales” – Directed by Mike Day
  • “Night School” – Directed by Andrew Cohn
  • “The Settlers” – Directed by Shimon Dotan
  • “Sonita” – Directed by Ghaem Maghami
  • “They Call Us Monsters” – Directed by Ben Lear

Narrative Short Finalists ($5,000 total award)

  • “A Man Like a Tree” – Directed by Sylvia Borges
  • “La femme et le TGV” – Directed by Timo von Gunten
  • “Love is a Sting” – Directed by Vincent Gallagher
  • “Out of the Village” – Directed by Jonathan Stein
  • “The Ravens” – Directed by Jennifer Perrott

Documentary Short Finalists ($5,000 total award)

  • “Mama Rwanda” – Directed by Laura Waters Hinson
  • “Mining Poems or Odes” – Directed by Callum Rice
  • “The Reinvention of Normal” – Directed by Liam Saint-Pierre
  • “Rotatio” – Directed by Shannon Mackenzie and Ian McClerin
  • “Zain’s Summer: From Refugee to American Boy” – Directed by Joshua Seftel

Animated Short Finalists ($5,000 total award)

  • “Alike” – Directed by Daniel Martinez Lara, Rafa Cano Méndez
  • “Borrowed Time” – Directed by Andrew Coats, Lou Hamou-Lhadj
  • “Scent of Geranium” – Directed by Naghmeh Farzaneh
  • “Violet” – Directed by Maurice Joyce
  • “Way of Giants” – Directed by Alois Di Leo

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award ($5,000 total award)

The inaugural Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award will honor a single winner, selected from the Festival’s feature-length narrative and documentary titles. The winning film will best embody the ongoing legacy of actor and national hero Jimmy Stewart and will demonstrate 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.

Summer White Lynch Memorial Award – High School Film Competition Grand Prize ($2,000 total award, underwritten by Gary D. & Marlene Cohen)
Finalists include winners of the Narrative and Documentary categories of the High School Film Competition:

  • “The Optimist” (Narrative Winner) – Directed by John Mervin
  • “Fragile (A Portrait of Gil Batle)” (Documentary Winner) – Directed by Nilo Batle

Indiana Spotlight Award ($5,000 total award)

U.S. or World Premiere titles in the Indiana Spotlight category qualify for the Indiana Spotlight award.

Best Premiere Awards ($5,000 awards)

One Narrative Feature and one Documentary Feature holding its U.S. or World Premiere will be eligible for Best Premiere Award consideration.

Audience Choice Awards

There will be one Audience Choice Award winner for the Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short categories.

HOW TO PURCHASE TICKETS

The complete 2016 Heartland Film Festival lineup, schedule of films and guide book will be available to the public on Monday, Sept. 26 at heartlandfilmfestival.org. Regular screening tickets are $12 at the box office and $9 when purchased online or at 1-866-HFF-1010 in advance. Discount 12-packs of ticket vouchers are available for $90 at select Indianapolis-area Marsh Supermarket locations beginning Monday, Sept. 26.

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