Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize Jury Member, Past Winners Highlight Cannes Film Festival


Heartland Film Festival Jury Member Alissa Simon selected as president of FiPRESCI Jury and past Grand Prize Winner Stephan Komandarev to premiere new feature film at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Alissa Simon

Film critic Alissa Simon.

Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique (FiPRESCI) member and 2016 Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize Juror Alissa Simon has been selected as the president of the FiPRESCI Jury at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival (May 17-28, 2017).

Currently senior programmer for the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Simon has been a film curator for more than 25 years. She was named a 1999 “Chicagoan of the Year” for her innovative work as associate director/programming at the Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Alissa began her programming career at the Film Department of Walker Art Center and the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. She has served on international film festival juries in Pusan, Montreal, Karlovy Vary, Ljubljana, San Francisco, Sarajevo, Sochi, Cluj, Torino and Vancouver. She also writes about films and film festivals for the trade paper Variety. Alissa did her undergraduate work at Yale and has a M.A. in Film History and Criticism from the University of Iowa, and a M.A. in Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business.

Stephan Komandarev

Stephan Komandarev at the 2015 Heartland Film Festival with Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature winner “The Judgment.”

Stephan Komandarev, director of “The Judgment” (2015 Heartland Film Festival $45,000 Grand Prize Winner for Best Narrative Feature), will premiere his new feature “Posoki (Directions)” at Cannes as part of the Un Certain Regard section. Besides winning the top $45,000 prize at the 2015 Heartland Film Festival, “The Judgment” was the official Bulgarian best foreign film entry for the 2016 Academy Awards.

Mohamed Diab

Mohamed Diab at the 2012 Heartland Film Festival with Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature winner “Cairo 678.”

This marks the second year in a row that a former Heartland Film Festival grand prize winning-director went on to premiere their subsequent project at Cannes. Last year, Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Diab premiered his critically-acclaimed feature “Eshtebak (Clash)” as an official selection at the 2016 edition. Diab’s “Cairo 678” won the $100,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature at the 2012 Heartland Film Festival.

Last year Simon helped decide the top winners for the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival, including two short films that went on to earn nominations at the 2017 Academy Awards (“Borrowed Time” and “La Femme et le TGV”). Simon will reprise her role as a grand prize juror for the 2017 Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 12-22, 2017).

Learn more about the Heartland Film Festival.


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