Heartland Film Festival Unveils Lineup of Best Foreign Language Film Contenders, Top Juried Film to Receive $5,000 Prize

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Titles include “Ayla: The Daughter of War” (Turkey), “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (France), “Divine Order” (Switzerland), “One Thousand Ropes” (New Zealand), “Newton” (India), “Pomegranate Orchard” (Azerbaijan), “Reşeba: The Dark Wind” (Iraq), “Saawan” (Pakistan), “Thelma” (Norway), and “White Sun” (Nepal)

Heartland Film, organizer of the 26th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 12-22, 2017), has announced its full lineup of titles slated for its inaugural “Foreign Language Best Picture Contender” sidebar. These 10 titles are the respective country’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards®. Each selection will play once during Heartland’s 11-day celebration of international independent film.

“Each year, Heartland Film Festival proudly showcases a healthy percentage of foreign language films which are much admired, roundly discussed and debated by our audiences,” said International Film Programmer Hannah Fisher. “We present this year – for the first time – a section of films submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration in the category known as ‘Best Foreign Language Film.‘

“We anticipate this program will grow and evolve in stature, in much the same way that that Heartland Film Festival continues to gain international recognition and prominence. Heartland is thrilled to be among the first North American film festivals to showcase these foreign language contenders,” concluded Fisher.

Set to award more than $100,000 in cash prizes across various categories, the 2017 Heartland Film Festival will bestow a $5,000 cash prize to one of these 10 films, as selected by the Festival’s foreign language contender jury.

Heartland Film Festival “Foreign Language Best Picture Contender” Lineup and Schedule

  • “One Thousand Ropes” (2016)
    Country: New Zealand, Director: Tusi Tamales, Distributor: Transmission Films
    Synopsis: When a father reconnects with his estranged teenage daughter, he is given a rare chance to reshape the future of his family in unexpected ways.
    Screening: Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017 – 12: 15 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2ktcLqr 
  • “Ayla: The Daughter of War” (2017)
    Country: Turkey, Director: Can Ulkay
    Synopsis: The true story of a little orphaned girl and the soldier who fell in love with her.
    Screening: Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 – 12:45 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2z4m9DU
  • “Saawan” (2017)
    Country: Pakistan, Director: Farhan Alam, Distributor: Kalaker Films
    Synopsis: A handicapped nine-year old boy who lives in a valley in the mountains of Balochistan is rejected by his father, intimidated by society, harassed by friends and left alone due to his disability. Strengthened by memories and dreams of the love of his mother, he begins a perilous journey back to his family in the main city.
    Screening: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017 – 12:30 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2xnhr2o
  • “White Sun” (2016)
    Country: Nepal, Director: Deepak Rauniyar, Distributor: Kimstim Films
    Synopsis: A former Maoist rebel struggles to reintegrate with his unwelcoming community and move beyond a painful past.
    Screening: Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 – 12:45 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2ksp8Tz
  • “Newton” (2017)
    Country: India, Director: Amit Masurkar
    Synopsis: A government clerk on election duty in the conflict ridden jungle of Central India tries his best to conduct free and fair voting despite the apathy of security forces and the looming fear of guerrilla attacks by communist rebels.
    Screening: Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 – 2:30 p.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2y4ANwF
  • “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (2017)
    Country: France, Director: Robin Campillo, Distributor: The Orchard
    Synopsis: In Paris in the early 1990s, a passionate group of activists goes to battle for those stricken with HIV/AIDS, taking on sluggish government agencies and major pharmaceutical companies
    Screening: Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 – 8:15 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2yLx6tm
  • “Divine Order” (2017)
    Country: Switzerland, Director: Petra Volpe, Distributor: Kino Lorber
    Synopsis: A bucolic alpine village becomes a battleground for social change in 1970 Switzerland.
    Screening: Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 – 3 p.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2xXyTif
  • “Reşeba: The Dark Wind” (2016)
    Country: Iraq, Director: Hussein Hassan
    Synopsis: Radical Islamist militants attack a village in Iraq where two young Yazidi prepare for marriage. From that moment onwards their lives are turned into a nightmare.
    Screening: Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 – 10 a.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2y4WVqK

  • “Pomegranate Orchard” (2017)
    Country: Azerbaijan, Director: Ilgar Najaf, Distributor: Buta Film
    Synopsis: Gabil returns home to the humble family farmstead, surrounded by an orchard of venerable pomegranate trees; since his sudden departure twelve years ago he was never once in contact. However, the deep emotional scars he left behind cannot be erased from one day to the next.
    Screening: Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 – 3 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14, Tickets: http://bit.ly/2ytm2Vw

  •  “Thelma” (2017)
    Country: Norway, Director: Joachim Trier, Distributor: The Orchard
    Synopsis: A timid young woman leaves her rural home to study in Oslo. She does not understand her unique ability to manipulate her environment.
    Screening: Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017 – 5:30 p.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, http://bit.ly/2y0dAKz

How to Purchase Tickets

The complete 2017 Heartland Film Festival lineup, schedule of films and guidebook is available at heartlandfilmfestival.org. Regular screening tickets are $12 and can be purchased online, by calling 1-866-HFF-1010, or at the box office during the Heartland Film Festival. Passes and packages are also available for purchase.

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