The Heartland International Film Festival announces selections for 27th edition

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Melissa Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard’s MR. SOUL! is
the Opening Night selection, Julie Getz’s CARE TO LAUGH
is the Closing Night choice, Kendall Goldberg’s WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD takes the Centerpiece Screening slot, and Elizabeth Chomko’s WHAT THEY HAD will be the Spotlight Screening

Television legend Hal Linden to be honored
with the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award

More than $80,000 in filmmaker prize money to be awarded

Indianapolis, IN (September 13, 2018) – The Heartland International Film Festival today announced the official selections for the film festival’s 27th edition. Documentaries will be spotlighted to bookend one of the major (and potentially, most lucrative) stops for filmmakers on the regional film festival circuit, with Melissa Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard’s award-winning MR. SOUL! chosen as the Opening Night Gala film, and Julie Getz’s feel good doc CARE TO LAUGH, will make its world premiere as the Closing Night Gala selection. Kendall Goldberg’s WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD is set to be the Centerpiece Screening, and Elizabeth Chomko’s star-studded drama WHAT THEY HAD will be the Spotlight Screening. Television legend Hal Linden was also announced to receive the Heartland’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award.

Joining CARE TO LAUGH will be another 9 films making their world premieres (Nathan Wetherington’s A THOUSAND MILES BEHIND, Steve Bellamy’s BEYOND SKIING EVEREST,
J.J. Harting’s GOD BLESS YOU, MR. VONNEGUT, Julia Whitehead’s MY FRIEND MICKEY: COMMON DECENCY AND THE AMERICAN DREAM, Andrew Paul Davis’s PALACE, Anne O’Neil’s PHIL’S CAMINO: SO FAR, SO GOOD, Cady McClain’s SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT, Jenica Bergere’s SPARE ROOM, Cyrus Mirakhor’s WAKE), with an additional 8 films making their official U.S. premieres (Robin Hays’s ANTHEM OF A TEENAGE PROPHET, Ehecati Garage’s ESMERELDA’S TWILIGHT, Attila Szász’s ETERNAL WINTER, Hideyuki Tokigawa’s HIROSHIMA CARP THEATER, Tony Farjallah’s MORINE, Wes Miller’s RIVER RUNS RED, Jerry Rothwell’s THE SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD, Sean McGinly’s SILVER LAKE).

The Heartland International Film Festival also boasts a film lineup this year in which 50 percent of its competition titles–in addition to all four of the Gala event selections—were directed by women. The eleven-day film festival will showcase more than 136 films in total (108 features, 28 short films) representing 17 countries, and will hand out cash prizes totaling $82,500 to filmmakers at Heartland’s celebrated GLOW: Awards Party at Newfields (4000 N Michigan Rd) on Saturday, October 20.

Heartland International Film Festival President Craig Prater, said, “In our 27th year, Heartland continues to bring an amazing array of films and filmmakers from around the world to screen for our dedicated film fans in Indiana – with 18 of them making their world and U.S. premieres right here in Indiana, while adding a little Hollywood touch to the proceedings. Opening our fest with a film that has been an award winner at other festivals, and closing with a film that will send everyone home with a smile on their face, exemplifies our efforts to strike a great balance with our programming. Of course, honoring a true television icon like Hal Linden, who we welcomed into our living rooms for so many years now, adds an additional bit of magic to everything, as well.”

Haizlip’s MR. SOUL!, which recently won both the jury prize for Best Documentary Feature as well as the Audience Award at Austin’s All Genders, Lifestyles, and Identities Film Festival, after previously winning the Audience Award at AFI Docs, will open Heartland, screening at Newfields on Thursday, October 11. The film tells the story of SOUL!, which was the first nationally broadcast all-Black variety show on public television, premiering in 1968. The show merged artists from the margins with post–civil rights Black radical thought. Visionary producer-turned-host Ellis Haizlip—openly gay and committed to charting new aesthetic territory—brought the avant-garde into the mainstream by foregrounding poetry and politics, debuting icons like Patti Labelle, Ashford & Simpson and Arsenio Hall alongside early legends such as Toni Morrison, James Baldwin and the Last Poets. Haizlip, and Co-Producer Doug Blush will attend with special guest Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track & Field. Following the screening and Q&A will be a Hollywood-style after party featuring music by Indiana recording artist and hair fashionista, Jennie DeVoe.

Kendall Goldberg’s heartfelt comedy WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD will be the film festival’s Centerpiece Screening on Wednesday, October 17 at Newfields. The film follows the efforts of a young man (Jon Heder) to save the old-school bowling alley he manages, after he discovers the owner’s plans to sell. Goldberg and Heder will both be in attendance.

On Sunday, October 14, Chomko’s WHAT THEY HAD will be presented as Heartland’s Spotlight Screening. The drama follows the struggle of a sister and brother (Hilary Swank and Michael Shannon) who must deal with their ailing mother (Blythe Danner) and their father’s (Robert Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together.

Also on Sunday, October 14, Hal Linden will be presented with Heartland’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award at AMC Castleton Square (6020 E. 82nd St.) following a screening of Marc Fusco’s THE SAMUEL PROJECT. The film follows a teenager, who gets to know his grandfather (Linden) for the first time when he makes him the subject of an animated art project for school. With dreams of becoming a professional artist, he discovers that his grandpa was saved from Nazi capture in Germany by a young woman, when he was a boy.

Linden starred in numerous Broadway musicals, including “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” “Subways Are for Sleeping,” “The Apple Tree,” “The Pajama Game,” and “The Rothschilds,” for which he won a Tony Award in 1971. In 1975, Barney Miller premiered with Linden in the title role. The show was nominated for Emmy each year it ran, and Linden became forever identified with the beloved character he helped create. Linden continues to be a frequent presence on television and film, with recent TV appearances on Supernatural, Royal Pains, 2 Broke Girls, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as THE SAMUEL PROJECT.

Getz’s documentary CARE TO LAUGH, produced by AARP Studios, makes its world premiere as the Closing Night selection on Sunday, October 21 at AMC Castleton Square. The film profiles stand up comic, Jesus Trejo, who balances his comedy career while taking care of his parents. However, when his mother has to have surgery to remove a brain tumor, Jesus is forced to forego hitting the road to build his career, in favor of staying close to home and driving hours at a time to perform at open mics and go to auditions between his home in Long Beach and Los Angeles. And then, more devastating news: Jesus’ father, Antonio, is diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer. Like all comics, he uses adversity and his life experience as material for his routine. When his set catches the eye of producers at The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jesus may have finally scored the big break he’s been banking on. Getz and Trejo will be in attendance, with Trejo performing a stand up set during the Closing Night after party.

This year’s Narrative Finalists, vying for the $25,000 Grand Prize, include; Yen Tan’s 1985, an emotional drama about a young man’s struggle to let his family know he is desperately ill; Amélie Van Elmbt’s THE ELEPHANT AND THE BUTTERFLY, which focuses on a man whose return to his hometown doesn’t just include meeting his daughter for the first time, but also being forced to care for her; Faraday Okoro’s NIGERIAN PRINCE, about a Nigerian-American teenager, who works with an internet scammer on a mission to get himself back to the states; Ginny Mohler and Lydia Dean Pitcher’s RADIUM GIRLS, set in the 1920s, about two sisters who paint glow-in-the-dark watch dials at the American Radium Factory until they discover the danger in doing so and the corporate cover-up to hide the truth; and Jim Cummings’s THUNDER ROAD, the crowd-pleasing tale (and SXSW Grand Jury Award winner) of a police officer who raises his daughter as a love letter to his late mom.

The Documentary Film Finalists, also in competition for a $25,000 Grand Prize, include; Dava Whisenant’s BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at Late Night television; Don Hahn’s HOWARD, which profiles the Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and THE LITTLE MERMAID; Alexandria Bombach’s ON HER SHOULDERS, which focuses on Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, who survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS; Scott Balcerek’s SATAN AND ADAM, about two musicians from very different backgrounds who came met in Harlem and made music together for many years; and Denali Tiller’s TRE MAISON DASAN, an intimate portrait of three boys growing up, each with a parent in prison.

Regarding the finalists in Heartland’s Narrative and Documentary competitions, Director of Film Programming Greg Sorvig, said, “Each of these films – half of which were helmed by women, it’s important to note – while very different and varied in their subjects and scope, share a great sense of accomplishment, achievement, and execution. They are at turns, emotionally affecting, thrilling, informative, with moments that will surprise and often touch members of the audience deeply. It was incredibly difficult to narrow what is one of our best film lineups yet down to these handful of films, and choosing one grand prize winner out of those two categories will prove more difficult still.”

Additional highlights among the jam-packed schedule are the impressive list of world and U.S. premiere screenings. Those with after parties celebrating the filmmakers, include; Robin Hays’s ANTHEM OF A TEENAGE PROPHET, about a teenage who predicts his best friend’s death and is labelled the “Prophet of Death” in the small town he lives in; Julia Whitehead’s MY FRIEND MICKEY: COMMON DECENCY AND THE AMERICAN DREAM, which profiles entrepreneur and generous philanthropist, Mickey Maurer; Anne O’Neill’s PHIL’S CAMINO: SO FAR, SO GOOD, about a man who handles his Cancer diagnosis and treatment by replicating the legendary Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in his backyard; Jenica Bergere’s SPARE ROOM, which follows the impact renting a room out to a veteran trying to find himself has on a young widow and her brother with Down Syndrome; and Cyrus Mirakhor’s WAKE, about a widowed mortician, who receives a life-size male doll named Pedro, which unexpectedly complicates her life in ways no one could imagine.

Free-to-the-public Filmmaker Panels with subjects to interest film fans, filmmakers, and aspiring filmmakers, with subjects including; working toward better representation in the film industry in terms of gender, people of color, and those with disabilities (Breaking Boundaries Panel); gaining insight into the avenues to get your film bought, or simply seen on a larger scale (Distribution, Exhibition, and Film Festivals in North America); how to take advantage of the growing local filmmaking industry (Filmmaking in Indiana); and utilizing the power of film to effect real and positive social change (Social Impact Panel).

Heartland will also screen a special presentation of the winners from the Easterseals Disability Challenge on Saturday, October 13, two programs featuring the winners of this year’s inaugural Indy Shorts International Film Festival, and welcome the return of award-winning Disney legend Don Hahn, who will participate in a “Conversation with..” panel on Saturday, October 20.

Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, go to: http://heartlandfilmfestival.org.

The 2018 Heartland International Film Festival official selections:

OPENING NIGHT SELECTION
MR. SOUL!

Directors: Melissa Haizlip, Samuel D. Pollard
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min
Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL. On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, one fearless black pioneer reconceived a Harlem Renaissance for a new era, ushering giants and rising stars of black American culture onto the national television stage. He was hip. He was smart. He was innovative, political, and gay. In his personal fight for social equality, the man ensured the Revolution would be televised. He was Ellis Haizlip. The Revolution was SOUL.

CLOSING NIGHT SELECTION
CARE TO LAUGH WORLD PREMIERE

Director: Julie Getz
Country: USA, Running Time: 77 min
Documentary profiles Jesus Trejo, a rising star in the comedy world who is pursuing his dream of becoming a successful comedian while caring for his aging parents.

CENTERPIECE SCREENING
WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD

Director: Kendall Goldberg
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
When the manager (Jon Heder) of an old-school bowling alley discovers the owner’s plans to sell, saving Winky’s World means pulling himself out of the gutter, too.

SPOTLIGHT SCREENING
WHAT THEY HAD

Director: Elizabeth Chomko
Country: USA, Running Time: 101 min
From first-time writer/director Elizabeth Chomko, WHAT THEY HAD centers on a family in crisis. Bridget (Hilary Swank) returns home to Chicago at her brother’s (Michael Shannon) urging to deal with her ailing mother (Blythe Danner) and her father’s (Robert Forster) reluctance to let go of their life together.

NARRATIVE FILM FINALISTS
1985

Director: Yen Tan
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
A young man goes home for the holidays and struggles to reveal a distressing secret to his loved ones.

THE ELEPHANT AND THE BUTTERFLY
Director: Amélie Van Elmbt
Country: Belgium, Running Time: 87 min
Antoine has just returned to his hometown, where he reunites with his former lover and the mother of their little girl, Elsa, whom he has never met. An unexpected turn of events leaves Antoine suddenly alone to take care of Elsa. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese.

NIGERIAN PRINCE
Director: Faraday Okoro
Country: USA, Running Time: 104 min
After being sent to Nigeria against his will, a stubborn Nigerian-American teenager joins forces with an internet scammer in order to return to the United States. Executive produced by Spike Lee.

RADIUM GIRLS
Directors: Lydia Dean Pitcher, Ginny Mohler
Country: USA, Running Time: 103 min
Based on true events of the 1920’s, sisters Bessie and Jo paint glow-in-the-dark watch dials at the American Radium Factory. When Jo loses a tooth, Bessie’s world is turned upside down as a mystery unravels and they challenge the corporate cover-up.

THUNDER ROAD
Director: Jim Cummings
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min
Officer Arnaud raises his daughter as a love letter to his late mom. Winner of the 2018 SXSW Grand Jury Award.

DOCUMENTARY FILM FINALISTS
BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY
Director: Dava Whisenant
Country: USA, Running Time: 87 min
A “Late Night” comedy writer stumbles upon a hilarious, hidden world of entertainment and finds an unexpected connection to his fellow man. With David Letterman, Martin Short, Chita Rivera, Jello Biafra, and more.

HOWARD
Director: Don Hahn
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
The untold story of Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LITTLE MERMAID, and creator of musicals including “Little Shop of Horrors,” whose unparalleled career and vibrant life were cut short by the AIDS epidemic at only 39 years old.

ON HER SHOULDERS
Director: Alexandria Bombach
Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Repeating her story to the world, this ordinary girl finds herself thrust onto the international stage as the voice of her people.

SATAN AND ADAM
Director: Scott Balcerek
Country: USA, Running Time: 79 min
Shot over 30 years, the film showcases a miraculous journey of friendship, heartbreak and the transformative power of music at a time when America finds itself still deeply divided.

TRE MAISON DASAN
Director: Denali Tiller
Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min
TRE MAISON DASAN is an intimate portrait of three boys growing up, each with a parent in prison. Directly told through the child’s perspective, the film is an exploration of relationships and separation, masculinity, and coming of age in America when a parent is behind bars.

ADDITIONAL NARRATIVE FILMS
ALASKA IS A DRAG
Director: Shaz Bennett
Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
This is a fish out of water story—literally. Everyone who slices fish all day daydreams—Leo’s dreams are just glamtastic. He’s had to learn to fight to survive and his boss who is also an amateur boxer takes note. When a new kid offers to be his sparring partner, Leo and his twin sister are forced to confront the real reason they’re stuck in fish guts.

AMY & SOPHIA
Director: Adam Lipsius
Country: UK, Running Time: 90 min
Two troubled girls come together as friends through their imagination and art, creating their own fantasy world where they can finally be free.

ANTHEM OF A TEENAGE PROPHET U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Robin Hays
Country: Canada, Running Time: 79 min
A small-town teen predicts his best friend’s death with startling accuracy and is labelled the “Prophet of Death.” One thing he didn’t see coming? Falling in love—with his dead friend’s girl.

ANTIQUITIES
Director: Daniel Campbell
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
After his father’s death, a young man searches to find who his dad was only to stumble onto himself.

BACK ROADS
Director: Alex Pettyfer
Country: USA, Running Time: 101 min
A young man cares for his sisters after their mother is imprisoned for murdering their abusive father. When he strikes up an affair with a married woman, long-dormant family secrets bubble to the surface in this noir thriller.

THE DRUMMER AND THE KEEPER
Director: Nick Kelly
Country: Ireland, Running Time: 83 min
When the drummer of an up-and-coming rock band is forced into therapy with a teen diagnosed with Asperger’s, an unlikely friendship develops.

ESMERALDA’S TWILIGHT U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Ehecati Garage
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 95 min
With the death of her husband and the absence of her son, Esmeralda loses her interest in life until a baby pig comes into her life.

ETERNAL WINTER U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Attila Szász
Country: Hungary, Running Time: 110 min
The true story of an unlikely romance in a Soviet labor camp.

FARMER OF THE YEAR
Directors: Kathy Swanson, Vince O’Connell
Country: USA, Running Time: 104 min
After selling the farm 83-year-old Hap Anderson feels old. He tries to recapture his youth by road tripping with his idle granddaughter to his WWII reunion while desperately looking for a date to impress his old army buddies.

FREELANCER’S ANONYMOUS
Director: Sonia Sebatián
Country: USA, Running Time: 105 min
Rushing to get to her pointless job every morning sucks, and Billie’s (Lisa Cordileone) not putting up with it anymore. After getting herself fired, she unfortunately has to break the news to her fiancée (Natasha Negovanlis). When she meets a ragtag group of women who are also looking for employment, Billie is struck with the idea of cultivating their skills to create an app, by designing a prototype for an investor launch party.

HIROSHIMA CARP THEATER U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Hideyuki Tokigawa
Country: Japan, Running Time: 94 min
The day before the final closure of an historic movie theater in Hiroshima, a mysterious man appears. He tells a great tales of Hiroshima Carp the baseball team to help the movie theater survive.

INDIVISIBLE
Director: David G. Evans
Country: USA, Running Time: 119 min
INDIVISIBLE is the extraordinary true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather. When war etches battle scars on their hearts, they face one more battle: the fight to save their marriage.

IN REALITY
Director: Ann Lupo
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
Part documentary, part magical realism narrative, IN REALITY is an autobiographical roller-coaster ride through the mind of a young woman falling in and out of love.

LIFE WITH DOG
Director: Corbin Bernsen
Country: USA, Running Time: 105 min
After losing his wife to a tragedy, Joe Bigler befriends a Dog who helps him grieve and heal, as well as discover the answers to the unsolved mystery surrounding his wife’s accident.

MARISA IN THE WOODS
Director: Antonio Morales
Country: Spain, Running Time: 83 min
A film that flirts with Woody Allen’s sense of humor and Eric Rohmer’s philosophical reflections, Marisa is lost in a jungle of other people’s drama while postponing hers.

MAZE
Director: Stephen Burke
Country: Ireland, Running Time: 94 min
Based on the true story of the 1983 mass break-out of 38 prisoners from the HMP Maze high security prison, MAZE is a gripping prison break film that follows the relationship between two men on opposite sides of the prison bars.

MISS ARIZONA
Director: Autumn McAlpin
Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min
A former pageant queen embarks on an all-night adventure with four unlikely friends she meets at a women’s shelter.

MORINE U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Tony Farjallah
Country: Lebanon, Running Time: 114 min
She would accept, fight, and do anything to win her right as a woman to live and serve in the house of God. Stubborn as she is, a 20-year-old revolutionary girl breaks the rules and endures all the consequences.

MOUNTAIN REST
Director: Alexandra Oscanyan Eaton
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
After sequestering herself to a small mountain town, an aging actress calls her estranged daughter and granddaughter home for reconciliation and one final celebration.

NATHAN’S KINGDOM
Director: Olicer Munoz
Country: USA, Running Time: 98 min
NATHAN’S KINGDOM is a dark fantasy, coming-of-age drama about an autistic man struggling with his teenage opiate-addict sister. Rather than surrendering to social services, they risk their lives to find a kingdom with the potential to transform their lives forever.

NOSOTROS
Director: Felipe Vara de Rey
Country: Spain, Running Time: 93 min
NOSOTROS follows five friends in Madrid during the weekend of the Spanish 2015 presidential election. They face a crucial moment as Spain confronts its future.

PAINLESS
Director: Jordan Horowitz
Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min
Henry Long desperately seeks a cure for the rare condition that leaves him unable to feel physical pain. But when he partners with a rogue scientist who secretly harbors his own agenda, he finds he gets much more then he bargained for.

RADIOGRAM
Director: Rouzie Hassanova
Country: Bulgaria, Running Time: 85 min
1971. Bulgaria is under the Communist regime. In a time when people are systematically oppressed, a father decides to walk almost 100 kilometers to the nearest town so he can buy a new radio for his rock ‘n roll obsessed son.

RIVER RUNS RED U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Wes Miller
Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min
The son of an African-American judge is killed by police officers on the day he was set to begin law enforcement academy. When the courts clear the officers of wrongdoing, the Judge must decide whether the courts are the only arbiters of justice.

ROOM FOR RENT
Director: Matthew Atkinson
Country: Canada, Running Time: 90 min
When a broke 32-year-old ex-lottery winner convinces his parents to rent their spare room to save from downsizing, a creepy stranger with a hidden agenda moves in.

SAINTS REST
Director: Noga Ashkenazi
Country: USA, Running Time: 98 min
A musical drama set in small-town Iowa, SAINTS REST tells the story of two estranged sisters, who, over the course of one summer, form a connection through their shared love of music as they grieve the recent death of their mother.

THE SAMUEL PROJECT
Director: Marc Fusco
Country: USA, Running Time: 82 min
A teenager makes his grandfather the subject of a school art project and discovers that he was saved as a boy from Nazi capture by a young woman in Germany.

SILVER LAKE U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Sean McGinly
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
SILVER LAKE is a story set in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles about Nathan, a writer, who is caught between the odd world of his eccentric friends and the more stable world of his girlfriend and her young children.

SPARE ROOM WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Jenica Bergere
Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
When a young widow caring for her brother with Down Syndrome rents a room to a mysterious veteran, their attraction sparks unforeseen circumstances.

STRANGE DAUGHTER
Director: Stephan Lacant
Country: Germany, Running Time: 106 min
17-year-old Lena meets 19-year-old Farid, a young Muslim. She has a clear-cut attitude towards his culture and religion: utter rejection. Despite their differences – or perhaps, because of them – they fall in love. When Lena unexpectedly gets pregnant and they consider marriage, the two of them face intense opposition from their families.

TEJANO
Director: David Blue Garcia
Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min
Desperate for cash to save his sick grandfather, a South Texas farmhand resorts to the extreme: he breaks his own arm to smuggle a cast made of cocaine across the Mexican border.

A THOUSAND MILES BEHIND WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Nathan Wetherington
Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min
After a motorcycle mysteriously turns up on his doorstep, a grieving man sets out on a solo trip across California hoping to leave his past behind. But will the lonely road simply lead him straight back home?

THE TURN OUT
Director: Pearl Gluck
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min
In a small town in Southern Appalachia, a trucker must decide if he will stand up and take action against sex trafficking at his truck stop.

WAKE WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Cyrus Mirakhor
Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min
A widowed mortician is given a birthday gift from her mother and daughter as a joke. The gift, a life-size male doll named Pedro, goes from funny to fantastical, complicating ties with her family as well as a budding relationship with a documentary Filmmaker.

YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY
Director: Miranda Bailey
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
A 17-year-old boy blackmails his father after discovering his secret second family.

ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILMS
6 WEEKS TO MOTHER’S DAY
Director: Marvin Blunte
Country: USA, Running Time:
Set in the remote jungle of Thailand, 150 underprivileged and orphaned students attending the country’s first democratic school prepare a special celebration to honor their remarkable adoptive mother/principal on Mother’s Day.

93QUEEN
Director: Paula Eislet
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
Set in the Hasidic enclave of Borough Park, Brooklyn, 93QUEEN follows a group of tenacious Hasidic women who are smashing the patriarchy in their community by creating the first all-female volunteer ambulance corps in New York City. With unprecedented—and insider—access, “93QUEEN” offers up a unique portrayal of a group of religious women who are taking matters into their own hands to change their own community from within.

ABOVE THE DROWNING SEA
Directors: Nicola Zavaglia, Rene Balcer
Country: Canada, Running Time: 93 min
On the eve of WWII, tens of thousands of Jewish refugees are trapped in Nazi-controlled Vienna. This documentary is the epic story of their dramatic escape to Shanghai.

ADIOS AMOR – THE SEARCH FOR MARIA MORENO
Director: Laurie Coyle
Country: USA, Running Time: 59 min
The discovery of lost photographs sparks the search for a hero that history forgot —Maria Moreno, a migrant mother who led a movement for farm worker rights years before Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta.

ALONE IN THE GAME
Director: Natalie Metzger
Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min
ALONE IN THE GAME exposes the outdated ideas and outright prejudices that make competitive sports one of the gay rights movement’s final frontiers, and shows how a new generation of queer and transgender athletes are scoring victories on and off the field by standing up for their rights and demanding a chance to compete.

ART PAUL OF PLAYBOY: THE MAN BEHIND THE BUNNY
Director: Jennifer Hou Kwong
Country: USA, Running Time: 73 min
The visual guru of Playboy and creator of the iconic Bunny logo, Art Paul revolutionized the world of illustration and magazine design. He was a true innovator and artist of our times.

BEYOND SKIING EVEREST WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Steve Bellamy
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
BEYOND SKIING EVEREST looks at the idea that it is important to preserve our natural surroundings but even more important to enjoy them.

THE BIKES OF WRATH
Directors: Cameron Ford, Charlie Turnbull
Country: Australia, Running Time: 102 min
THE BIKES OF WRATH is a story of adventure, human connection, and an in-depth look at inequality and disenfranchisement in today’s America through the lens of John Steinbeck’s seminal novel, “The Grapes of Wrath.”

BURDEN OF GENIUS
Director: Tjardus Greidanus
Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min
In 1967, Dr. Thomas Starzl stunned the world with the first successful liver transplantation. His breakthrough provoked controversy. Critics accused him of recklessness, even murder. Others declared it the beginning of a medical revolution.

CHI-TOWN
Director: Nick Budabin
Country: USA, Running Time: 82 min
An underdog basketball player from Chicago goes on a meteoric rise to become one of the best college point guards in the nation while his friends back home struggle with the effects of gun violence.

CIRCLES
Director: Cassidy Friedman
Country: USA, Running Time: 82 min
A Hurricane Katrina survivor who works to keep Black teenagers in school in Oakland, California finds his personal and professional lives colliding when his 15-year-old son goes to jail for a crime he didn’t commit.

CRIME + PUNISHMENT
Director: Stephen Maing
Country: USA, Running Time: 112 min
Amidst a landmark class action lawsuit over illegal policing quotas, CRIME + PUNISHMENT intimately observes the real lives and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops known as “The NYPD 12” and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest and summons in New York City.

DAWNLAND
Director: Adam Mazo
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min
For decades, child welfare authorities have been forcibly removing Native American children from their homes to “save” them from being Indian. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins an unprecedented investigation.

EMANUEL
Director: Brian Ivie
Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min
On June 17, 2015, 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Roof walked into a bible study and murdered nine African Americans during their closing prayer. This is the story of the victims and survivors of that night.

EVA
Director: Ted Green
Country: USA, Running Time: 88 min
At 10, Eva Kor survived experiments by the Nazis’ “Angel of Death.” At 50, she launched the biggest manhunt in history. Now 84, she travels the world to promote what her life journey has taught: Hope. Healing. Humanity.

FIDDLIN’
Director: Julie Simone
Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min
FIDDLIN’ is a celebration of true Americana and artistic expression in the face of adversity. This hopeful, optimistic film shines a light on what is best about America and shows the uplifting and healing power of music.

FILM SCHOOL AFRICA
Director: Nathan Pfaff
Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min
A Hollywood casting director leaves her lucrative career behind in order to teach filmmaking to youth in an impoverished South African community. In an environment resistant towards art and film, the students learn the true power and impact of storytelling.

GAMECHANGERS
Director: Joseph Dondanville
Country: USA, Running Time: 77 min
Two high school basketball games. One headline grabbing brawl. A memorable reunion among rivals 50 years later.

GO PENGUINS!
Director: Randy Caspersen
Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min
GO PENGUINS! follows a theater troupe’s journey to produce a Broadway-style musical featuring children and young adults with developmental disabilities in lead and ensemble roles. This documentary inspires audiences to see the abilities that shine in everyone.

THE HEAT: A KITCHEN (R)EVOLUTION
Director: Maya Gallus
Countries: USA/UK/Canada, Running Time: 72 min
It takes a brazen personality to excel in the competitive sport of professional cooking. A woman can only ascend the ranks if she can take the heat. Meet seven women chefs at the forefront of a “revolution.”

THE HELLO GIRLS
Director: James William Theres
Country: USA, Running Time: 56 min
In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 American women to France as telephone operators to help win the Great War. They were intrepid, united in a common cause. Like Joan of Arc before them, they wanted to save France.

HILLBILLY
Directors: Sally Rubin, Ashley York
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
HILLBILLY is a documentary film that examines the iconic hillbilly image in media and culture. The film explores more than a hundred years of media representation of mountain and rural people and offers an urgent exploration of how we see and think about rural America.

INTELLIGENT LIVES
Director: Dan Habib
Country: USA, Running Time: 71 min
From award-winning filmmaker Dan Habib comes INTELLIGENT LIVES, a catalyst to transform the intellectual disability label from a life sentence of isolation to a life of possibility for the most systematically segregated people in America.

LETTER FROM MASANJIA
Director: Leon Lee
Country: Canada, Running Time: 75 min
An SOS note penned by a Chinese prisoner is found by a mom in Oregon, sparking a nail-biting chain of events that exposes appalling human rights violations and shuts down China’s labor camp system.

LIVE THE STREAM: THE STORY OF JOE HUMPHREYS
Directors: Lucas Bell, Meigan Bell
Country: USA, Running Time: 92 min
Trout streams are fountains of youth for 86-year-old Joe Humphreys: a man who was born to fly fish, lives to teach, and strives to pass on a respect for our local waters.

MANKILLER
Director: Valerie Red-Horse Mohl
Country: USA, Running Time: 74 min
MANKILLER is the life story of Wilma Mankiller, who overcame rampant sexism and personal challenges to emerge as the Cherokee Nation’s first woman Principal Chief in 1985. The film reunites the team of Gale Anne Hurd and Valerie Red-Horse Mohl for their third and most powerful documentary.

MAN MADE
Director: T Cooper
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
MAN MADE takes us into the heart of transgender male (FTM) culture, revealing unexpected truths about gender, masculinity, humanity and love. Four trans men (who, like the film’s director, were born and raised female), take a variety of life paths toward stepping on stage at Trans FitCon, the only all-transgender bodybuilding competition in the world (held in Atlanta, GA).

MANRY AT SEA – IN THE WAKE OF A DREAM
Director: Steve Wystrach
Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min
A middle-aged newspaper editor secretly sets sail across the Atlantic in a tiny sailboat to pursue his boyhood dream and sails into a media firestorm perpetrated by his employer.

MOVING STORIES
Director: Rob Fruchtman
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
An acclaimed New York dance company travels the world working with at-risk youth, teaching them the tools of choreography so they can tell their stories through dance.

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE
Director: Hao Wu
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
In a digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200K a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF DESIRE tells the stories of two such online stars who’ve risen from isolation to fame and fortune in China.

PHANTOM COWBOYS
Director: Daniel Patrick Carbone
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
From acclaimed director Daniel Patrick Carbone comes a fascinating and poetic longitudinal study of growing up in rural America.

PHIL’S CAMINO: SO FAR, SO GOOD WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Anne O’Neil
Country: USA, Running Time: 55 min
Phil has stage 4 Cancer, yet adopts a positive approach to treatment: incorporating exercise by replicating the legendary Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in his backyard. Tracking his progress on a map of Spain, he learns what true pilgrimage is.

POINT OF NO RETURN
Directors: Quinn Kanaly, Noel Dockstader
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
Fueled only by the sun’s rays, two pilots attempt to fly their fragile, experimental airplane around the world to prove the potential of clean energy.

PROOF OF LOYALTY: KAZUO YAMANE AND THE NISEI SOLDIERS OF HAWAII
Directors: Don Sellers, Lucy Ostrander
Country: USA, Running Time: 55 min
PROOF OF LOYALTY: KAZUO YAMANE AND THE NISEI SOLDIERS OF HAWAII tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in WWII. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to loyally serve their country. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of US history.

THE RESCUE LIST
Director: Alyssa Fedele
Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min
Freed from modern slavery on the largest man-made lake on Earth, a courageous teenager asks his rescuers to return for his best friend, setting in motion a gripping journey that changes their lives forever.

THE REST I MAKE UP
Director: Michelle Memran
Country: USA, Running Time: 79 min
The visionary Cuban-American dramatist and educator Maria Irene Fornes spent her career constructing astonishing worlds onstage and teaching countless students how to connect with their imaginations. When she gradually stops writing due to dementia, an unexpected friendship with filmmaker Michelle Memran reignites her spontaneous creative spirit and triggers a decade-long collaboration that picks up where the pen left off.

THE SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Jerry Rothwell
Country: UK, Running Time: 86 min
What is the future of education in a networked world? Indian professor Sugata Mitra sets up an unmanned Internet kiosk in a remote Bengali village to pioneer the SCHOOL IN THE CLOUD. The film follows the children as they encounter the Internet for the first time. Will they be able to use it to transform their futures, or will it destroy the stability of their way of life?

SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Cady McClain
Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min
SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT highlights how mentorship and leadership by female storytellers is essential to encourage and cultivate the next generation of female directors, storytellers, creative visionaries, and leaders.

THE SERENGETI RULES
Director: Nicolas Brown
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
Exploring some of the most remote places on Earth, five pioneering scientists make surprising discoveries that flip our understanding of nature on its head.

THE SILENCE OF OTHERS
Directors: Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar
Country: Spain, Running Time: 95 min
THE SILENCE OF OTHERS reveals the epic struggle of victims of Spain’s 40-year dictatorship under General Franco, who continue to seek justice to this day.

TIME WELL SPENT
Director: James Fazio
Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min
Four young surfers who have endured poverty, abandonment, abuse, and death, find refuge in the ocean on a journey to not let their pasts define who they will become.

TURNING POINT
Director: James Keach
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
In the gripping new documentary TURNING POINT, acclaimed filmmaker James Keach takes us inside the quest for the first medication that that could treat the underlying process of Alzheimer’s disease, more than a century after Dr. Alois Alzheimer first described the brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and cognitive skills.

UNITED SKATES
Directors: Dyana Winkler
Country: Sweden, Running Time: 89 min
When America’s last standing roller rinks are threatened with closure, a community of thousands battle in a racially-charged environment to save an underground subculture—one that has remained undiscovered by the mainstream for generations, yet has given rise to some of the world’s greatest musical talent.

WEED THE PEOPLE
Director: Abby Epstein
Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min
Cannabis has been off-limits to doctors and researchers in the US for the past 80 years, but recently scientists have discovered its anti-cancer properties. Armed with only these laboratory studies, desperate parents obtain cannabis oil from underground sources to save their children from childhood cancers. WEED THE PEOPLE follows these families through uncharted waters as they take their children’s survival into their own hands. Some of their miraculous outcomes beget the unsettling question at the heart of the film: If weed is truly saving lives, why doesn’t the government want people to access it?

WHITE TIDE: THE LEGEND OF CULEBRA
Director: Theo Love
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min
Rodney Hyden is an American dreamer: a small business owner and family man from Central Florida. But after he’s wiped out by the Great Recession, Rodney hears a story that could be his ticket out of his mounting debt: a tale of a map, an island and buried treasure. Fueled by a combination of economic desperation and blissful ignorance, Rodney hatches a plan to retrieve a possibly mythical $2 million stash of cocaine from its reported Caribbean hiding place. With the help of a colorful group of misfits—and without prior drug-running experience—Rodney sets out in pursuit of his very own American dream, with surprising results.

WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY
Director: Roberta Grossman
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY tells the story of Emanuel Ringelblum and the secret archive he created and led in the Warsaw Ghetto.

THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET
Director: Jeremy Workman
Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min
For over six years, Matt Green has been walking every street in New York City. THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET tells the story of one man’s quest and the journey of discovery, humanity, and wonder that ensues.

YASUNI MAN
Director: Ryan Patrick Killackey
Country: USA, Running Time: 92 min
YASUNI MAN is a film about a conflict raging deep within the Ecuadorian Amazon. It’s a real-life “Avatar” story. Once under siege by missionaries seeking to civilize them, the Waorani people battle industry operatives and their own government in a fight to survive.

INDIANA SPOTLIGHT
BULLITT COUNTY

Director: David McCracken
Country: USA, Running Time: 98 min
Four friends reunite for a bachelor party in the Fall of 1977 to hunt for buried Prohibition money on the Bluegrass Bourbon Trail, only to become ripped apart by greed, corruption, and murder.

FINDING HYGGE
Director: Rocky Walls
Country: USA, Running Time: 92 min
A documentary exploring Denmark’s secret to happiness.

FROM NORMAL TO EXTRAORDINARY: BALL STATE’S FIRST CENTURY
Director: John Osterhoudt
Country: USA, Running Time: 67 min
Documentary utilizes the occasion of Ball State’s centennial allows us to reflect on 100 years of history in Indiana, from a small, one-building teachers institute, to, what is now, a major university.

GOD BLESS YOU, MR. VONNEGUT WORLD PREMIERE
Director: J.J. Harting
Country: USA, Running Time: 64 min
The film looks at the life of Kurt Vonnegut, one of America’s all time greatest writers, through the eyes of his most beloved friends.

HESBURGH
Director: Patrick Creadon
Country: USA, Running Time: 105 min
Amidst some of the most tumultuous times in our nation’s history, one unlikely figure finds himself in the eye of the storm as he works to advance the causes of peace and equal rights for all people. He is Father Theodore Hesburgh, long-time president of the University of Notre Dame and “America’s Priest.”

MY FRIEND MICKEY: COMMON DECENCY AND THE AMERICAN DREAM WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Julia Whitehead
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
From working as a boy in the family junkyard to emerging as a successful entrepreneur and generous philanthropist, Mickey Maurer’s full and unvarnished story is shared for the first time.

PALACE WORLD PREMIERE
Director: Andrew Paul Davis
Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min
The family-fractured lives of a stubborn auto-mechanic, a retired widower, and a repressed college student intertwine at a bar in rural Indiana.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS
LITTLE WOODS
Director: Nia DaCosta
Country: USA, Running Time: 105 min
Ollie (Tessa Thompson) is just getting by in economically depressed Little Woods, a fracking boomtown in North Dakota. She has left her days of illegally running prescription pills over the Canadian border behind her, eyeing a potential new job that would finally break her out of the small town. But when her mother dies, she is thrust back into the life of her estranged sister Deb (Lily James), who is facing her own crisis with an unplanned pregnancy and a deadbeat ex (James Badge Dale).

MONROVIA, INDIANA
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Country: USA, Running Time: 143 min
Located in mid-America, “Monrovia, Indiana” (population 1,063) founded in 1834, is primarily a farming community. The film is about the day-to-day experiences living and working in Monrovia, with emphasis on community organizations and institutions, religion and daily life in this farming community.

PROSPECT
Directors: Chris Caldwell, Zeek Earl
Country: USA, Running Time: 100 min
A teenage girl and her father travel to a remote alien moon, aiming to strike it rich. They’ve secured a contract to harvest a large deposit of the elusive gems hidden in the depths of the moon’s toxic forest. But there are others roving the wilderness and the job quickly devolves into a fight to survive

SHORT FILMS

SCREENING WITH FEATURES
A DRAWING
Director: Brad Condie
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
(Screens with FROM NORAL TO EXTRAORDINARY: BALL STATE’S FIRST CENTURY)

AMERICAN
Director: Richie Adams
Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min
(Screens with PROOF OF LOYALTY: KAZUO YAMANE AND THE NISEI SOLDIERS OF HAWAII)

MICROWAVE TIME MACHINE
Director: Ben Redar
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min
(Screens with FROM NORAL TO EXTRAORDINARY: BALL STATE’S FIRST CENTURY)

INDY SHORTS WINNERS #1
TRT: 79 min

THE DRIVER IS RED
Director: Randall Christopher
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min

GRATEFUL: THE JENNI BEREBITSKY STORY
Director: Paul Nethercott
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min

MIDDLEWEIGHT
Director: Jeremy Kemp
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

OPENING NIGHT
Director: Margaret Bialis
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

WHEN KIDS WROTE THE HEADLINES
Director: Michael Husain
Country: USA, Running Time: 29 min

ZION
Director: Floyd Russ
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min

INDY SHORTS WINNERS #2
TRT: 90 min

$30 TO ANTARCTICA
Director: Joey Chu
Countries: Hong Kong/USA/Antarctica, Running Time: 18 min

ABU ADNAN
Director: Sylvia Le Fanu
Country: Denmark, Running Time: 25 min

ALTERNATIVE MATH
Director: David Maddox
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

THE BURDEN (Min Börda)
Director: Niki Lindroth von Bahr
Country: Sweden, Running Time: 14 min

THE HAPPINESS MACHINE
Director: Rebecca Blumhagen
Country: USA, Running Time: 24 min

EASTERSEALS DISABILITY CHALLENGE
THE #1 FAN
Director: Dennis “Scooby” Willoughby

AIN’T WOKE
Director: Cory Reeder

BEST ENEMIES
Director: Emily Hopper

CHECK MATE
Director: Carl Hansen

COMMITTED
Director: Rachel Handler

FOOTLOOSE
Director: David Tenenbaum

GIA AND DRAGON
Director: John Lawson

HIT ON
Director: Day Daniells

JORDAN’S CAKE
Director: Shanlyna Palmer

LIMITED SPACE
Director: Eric Graise

RIVALS OR FRIENDS
Director: Tamara Mena

VISIBILITY
Director: Scott Rosendall

WOODY’S BEANS
Director: Joel Blacker

UNCOMMON GROUND
Director: Lori Saux

About Heartland Film, Inc.
Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Heartland Film is a supporter of purposeful filmmaking, providing an outlet for filmmakers and storytellers from all over the world to be creative and honored for their work. The films selected for the Festival do more than just entertain; they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, and shift audiences’ perspectives on the world. Heartland Film’s three major events include the Heartland International Film Festival, Indy Shorts International Film Festival, and Cultural Journey. For more information, visit heartlandfilm.org.

PRESS CONTACT
John Wildman
Wildworks PR
Festworks.com
jswildman@hotmail.com
323.600.3165

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