Heartland International Film Festival Announces 2018 Jury Winners and Awards, Bestows More Than $80,000 in Cash Prizes


Indianapolis, IN (October 22, 2018) – The Heartland International Film Festival announced the filmmaker award winners for the film festival’s 27th edition during their enthusiastic GLOW: Awards Party at Newfields (4000 N Michigan Rd) on Saturday, October 20. The Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature (and a cash prize of $25,000) went to Amélie Van Elmbt’s THE ELEPHANT AND THE BUTTERFLY, produced by the Dardenne Brothers and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, and the Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature (and a cash prize of $25,000) was given to Alexandria Bombach’s ON HER SHOULDERS. Among the other awards, Kendall Goldberg’s WHEN JEFF TRIED TO SAVE THE WORLD was presented with Heartland’s first FIPRESCI Best Directorial Debut for USA Narrative Film nod and Dava Whisenant’s BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY received the festival’s Humor and Humanity Award.

This year’s edition of the Heartland International Film Festival featured 18 films making their world and U.S. premieres and a film lineup in which 50 percent of its competition titles, all four of the Gala event selections, and nearly 50% of their award winners—were directed by women.

Director of Film Programming Greg Sorvig said, “This was a wonderful edition of the film festival which saw audiences turn out for films in such numbers that we found ourselves needing to add screens to accommodate them all in more than a couple occasions. With that enthusiasm, it wasn’t a surprise that the response to those films, whether it be our lineup of foreign films vying for Oscars selection, our locally produced productions, provocative and thoughtful documentaries, or heartfelt dramas and comedies, was at an all-time high for us. The films and filmmakers that won awards this year are a great representation of that lineup that resonated so strongly with our Hoosier audiences.”

Heartland International Film Festival President Craig Prater added, “Having the contingent of distinguished FIPRESCI journalists come to Indianapolis as well as the presentation of 15 Best Foreign Film Academy Award hopefuls from around the world underlines this film festival’s international reach. The fact that we offered 18 world and U.S. premieres serves notice to the film industry that we are continuing to grow as a discovery film festival. Finally, reaching the 50% gender split with our competition films and award winners, as well as our gala selections being 100% female-directed, demonstrates a programming staff, led by Greg, that isn’t just talking the talk when it comes to better female filmmaker representation that so many fests are rightfully striving for now.”

Accepting ON HER SHOULDERS’ Grand Prize Award for Best Documentary, about Nobel Prize Winner Nadia Murad’s story of surviving atrocities at the hands of ISIS, producer Brock Williams announced he and director Alexandria Bombach intended to give the $25,000 prize winnings to Murad’s efforts on the behalf of others like her, still affected by and fighting the sexual slavery and genocide perpetrated by ISIS.

Noted Indiana film critic Richard D. Propes was on hand to present the two awards in his name, the Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award Narrative Feature (and $2,500) going to Stephan Lacant’s STRANGE DAUGHTER and the Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award Documentary Feature (also coming a cash prize of $2,500) given to Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink’s THE RESCUE LIST.

Patrick Creadon’s documentary HESBURGH, about the legendary long-time president of the University of Notre Dame, took home two awards; The Indiana Spotlight Award (and $2,500), as well as the Indiana Spotlight Audience Choice Award.

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award (and a cash prize of $5,000) went to Ted Green’s documentary EVA, and the Best Foreign Language Contender Prize (as well as the cash prize of $5,000) went to Abu Bakr Shawky’s Egyptian entry, YOMEDDINE (JUDGMENT DAY). The Best Premiere Awards (along with the corresponding cash prizes of $3,500) were presented to Annie O’Neill’s PHIL’S CAMINO: SO FAR, SO GOOD (Best Premiere Documentary) and Attila Szász’ ETERNAL WINTER (Best Premiere Narrative).
The other Audience Choice Award Winners were; David G. Evans’s INDIVISIBLE (Narrative); Brian Ivie’s EMANUEL (Documentary); and Elizabeth Chomko’s WHAT THEY HAD (Special Presentation).
Bookended by an Opening Night crowd at Newfield’s celebrating Melissa Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard’s hit documentary MR. SOUL!, and a Closing Night event featuring multiple theaters at AMC Castleton Square filled with audiences enjoying Julie Getz’s CARE TO LAUGH were a number of festival highlights. Life Achievement Award presentations were given on behalf of genre producer, creator and trailblazer Gale Anne Hurd prior to a screening of Valerie Red-Horse Mohl’s documentary MANKILLER, which Hurd produced, and award-winning TV, film, and stage veteran Hal Linden, who attended the festival with Marc Fusco’s gentle comedy THE SAMUEL PROJECT, in which Linden stars as a grandfather who tells his grandson a story of his survival from the Nazis that he had never recounted prior.

Disney’s Don Hahn also returned to Heartland with his documentary HOWARD, which told the story of Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind Disney classics like ALADDIN, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and THE LITTLE MERMAID. Actor and comic Nic Novicki (Boardwalk Empire) was on hand representing the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge. The festival hosted a number of notable filmmakers this year, including Japan’s Hideyuki Tokigawa (HIROSHIMA CARP THEATER), Corbin Bernsen (LIFE WITH DOG), James Denton (WAKE), The Late Show with David Letterman’s Steve Young (BATHTUBS OVER BROADWAY), All My Children’s Cady McClain (SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT), iCarly’s Ryan Ochoa (THE SAMUEL PROJECT), and the Australian tandem of Cameron Ford and Charlie Turnbull (THE BIKES OF WRATH).

The 2018 Heartland International Film Festival Award Winners:

Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature – $25,000
Writer/Director: Amélie Van Elmbt

Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature – $25,000
Director: Alexandria Bombach

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award Winner – $5,000
Director: Ted Green
The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award honors a single film, selected from the Festival’s feature-length narrative and documentary titles. This film embodies the ongoing legacy of actor and national hero Jimmy Stewart and demonstrates 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.

Best Foreign Language Contender Prize – $5,000
Director: Abu Bakr Shawky
Country: Egypt

Best Premiere Award Documentary – $3,500
Director: Annie O’Neil

Best Premiere Award Narrative – $3,500
Director: Attila Szász

Indiana Spotlight Award – $2,500
Director: Patrick Creadon

Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award Narrative Feature – $2,500
Director: Stephan Lacant

Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award Documentary Feature – $2,500
Directors: Alyssa Fedele and Zachary Fink

Humor and Humanity Award
Director: Dava Whisenant

FIPRESCI Best Directorial Debut for USA Narrative Film
Director: Kendall Goldberg

Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Feature
Director: David G. Evans

Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Feature
Director: Brian Ivie

Audience Choice Award Winner, Indiana Spotlight
Director: Patrick Creadon

Audience Choice Award Winner, Special Presentation
Director: Elizabeth Chomko
Bleecker Street


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