28th Annual Heartland International Film Festival Announces Award Winners

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Indianapolis, IN (Oct. 21, 2019) – The Heartland International Film Festival announced the filmmaker award winners for the film festival’s 28th edition during an Awards Brunch held at the Montage (8580 Allison Pointe Blvd.) on Saturday, Oct. 19. The Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature (and a cash prize of $15,000) went to Bora Kim’s “House of Hummingbird,” and Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ “For Sama” took home two awards, including the $15,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature, as well as the Richard D. Propes Social Impact Documentary Award and the $2,000 that came with that award. Each of the finalists in the Narrative and Documentary competition categories received a $1,000 cash prize.

Among the other awards, Brett Fallentine’s documentary about the horse riding community in South Central LA, “Fire on the Hill” received the film festival’s Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award and $5,000. Three of the film’s subjects attended the ceremony with Fallentine, and as they accepted the award, one of the subjects, Ghuan Featherstone, said, “This film is about perceptions and changing those perceptions. Here we are in the Midwest and our lives relate to you.”

Matt Ratner was the festival’s other two-time winner, as his film, “Standing Up, Falling Down” received the festival’s Humor and Humanity Award and $1,000, and he received the FIPRESCI nod for Best Directorial Debut for USA Narrative Film. As he accepted his second award, Ratner, said, “Places like Heartland are so meaningful. There is a space in a crowded marketplace for films about people struggling with their humanity.”

“From South Central LA cowboys to South Korea, our award winners truly demonstrated the international scope of Heartland,” said Craig Prater, Heartland Film President, following the awards presentation.

“This was a banner year for us programming-wise, as we were able to screen so many of our top choices from the film festival circuit, films that are in major consideration for the Oscars® and top critics awards right now,” Greg Sorvig, Heartland Film Artistic Director, added. “Audiences are filling our theaters because they have realized that the Heartland International Film Festival is quickly becoming a true awards tastemaker film festival. With that combined enthusiasm we enjoyed from both our film fans and our filmmakers, it’s great to then cap it by rewarding the wonderful films and filmmakers that won this year. They really deserved it.”

Earlier this year Heartland Film signed the 5050×2020 Parity Pledge guaranteeing that at least half of its festival programming will be directed by women by its 2020 Indy Shorts and HIFF events. In total, 43 percent of this year’s official selection lineup was were directed or co-directed by women, and 63 percent of the overall $60,000 prize purse ($38,000) went to titles directed or co-directed by female filmmakers, led by Kim’s “House of Hummingbird” and al-Kateab/Watts’ “For Sama.”

In addition to the Social Impact Documentary Award, Indiana film critic Richard D. Propes was on hand to present the other award in his name, the Richard D. Propes Social Impact Narrative Feature Award (and $2,000), which went to Flavio Alves’ “The Garden Left Behind.” The Indiana Spotlight Award (and $2,000) went to Prarthana Mohan’s “The MisEducation of Bindu,” with the Indiana Spotlight Audience Choice Award (and $1,000) going to Ashton Gleckman’s “We Shall Not Die Now.”

HIFF’s Best Premiere Awards (along with the corresponding cash prizes of $2,000) were presented to Julie Sokolow’s “Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story,” (Best Premiere Documentary) and Nora Fingscheidt’s “Systemsprenger (System Crasher)” (Best Premiere Narrative). The film festival’s Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender (which came with a $2,000 cash prize) went to Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory (Dolor y gloria).”

HIFF’s Audience Choice Awards, announced today, included Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Just Mercy,” winning the Overall Audience Choice Award and the Audience Choice Award Special Presentation. Robert Tinnell’s “Feast of the Seven Fishes” received the Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature (and $1,000), with Jacob Hamilton’s “Jump Shot” winning Audience Choice for Documentary Feature (and $1,000), and Ashton Gleckman’s “We Shall Not Die Now” winning Audience Choice Award for Indiana Spotlight (and $1,000). Alex Holmes’ “Maiden” won the Audience Choice Award for Awards Season Spotlight, with Marianna Economou’s “When Tomatoes Met Wagner” winning the Audience Choice Award for Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender. And finally, Michael Herbig’s “Balloon” received the Audience Choice Award in the Cultural Journey: Germany category.

The 28th edition of the Heartland International Film Festival, which wrapped up on Oct. 20 with Cretton’s “Just Mercy” and other screenings, has been marked by buzz-worthy titles that film festival fans filled theater after theater to see. Gala titles like Marielle Heller’s “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” and Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes,” along with screenings of hot ticket films like Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” Nadav Lapid’s “Synonyms,” Trey Edwards Shults’ “Waves,” Chinonye Chukwu’s “Clemency,” and Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit,” took HIFF to another level this year.

Among other highlights, Brendan Fraser returned to Indianapolis to receive two standing ovations both prior to and after a special 20th Anniversary screening of his box office smash hit, “The Mummy.” Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Michael Apted received a warm reception at a screening of his latest, “63 Up,” and Dennis Christopher was welcomed enthusiastically at a 40th anniversary screening of Peter Yates’ beloved Indiana-based classic, “Breaking Away.”

The 2019 Heartland International Film Festival Award Winners:

Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature – $15,000
HOUSE OF THE HUMMINGBIRD
Director: Bora Kim

Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature – $15,000
FOR SAMA
Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts

Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award Narrative Feature – $2,000
THE GARDEN LEFT BEHIND
Director: Flavio Alves

Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award Documentary Feature – $2,000
FOR SAMA
Directors: Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award Winner – $5,000
FIRE ON THE HILL
Director: Brett Fallentine

Indiana Spotlight Award – $2,000
THE MISEDUCATION OF BINDU
Director: Prarthana Mohan

Humor and Humanity Award – $1,000
STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN
Director: Matt Ratner

Best Premiere Award Documentary – $2,000
BAREFOOT: THE MARK BAUMER STORY
Director: Julie Sokolow

Best Premiere Award Narrative – $2,000
SYSTEMSPRENGER (SYSTEM CRASHER)
Director: Nora Fingscheidt

Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender – $2,000
PAIN AND GLORY (DOLOR Y GLORIA)
Director: Pedro Almodóvar

FIPRESCI Best Directorial Debut for USA Narrative Film
STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN
Director: Matt Ratner

Overall Audience Choice Award
JUST MERCY
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Warner Bros. Pictures

Audience Choice Award – Special Presentation
JUST MERCY
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Warner Bros. Pictures

Audience Choice Award – Narrative Feature – $1,000
FEAST OF THE SEVEN FISHES
Director: Robert Tinnell

Audience Choice Award – Documentary Feature – $1,000
JUMP SHOT
Director: Jacob Hamilton

Audience Choice Award – Indiana Spotlight – $1,000
WE SHALL NOT DIE NOW
Director: Ashton Gleckman

Audience Choice Award – Awards Season Spotlight
MAIDEN
Director: Alex Holmes
Sony Pictures Classics

Audience Choice Award – Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender
WHEN TOMATOES MET WAGNER, Official Greek Entry
Director: Marianna Economou

Audience Choice Award – Cultural Journey: Germany
BALLOON
Director: Michael Herbig
The Indiana Film Journalist Association Award for Best Special Presentation will be announced later this week.

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 presents the annual Heartland International Film Festival, Academy Award®-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival, the Heartland Film Roadshow, and bestows the Truly Moving Picture Award industry honor to major film releases throughout the year. For more information, visit heartlandfilm.org.

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