Indianapolis, IN (October 1, 2018) — The Heartland International Film Festival announced at last week’s VIPS & SIPS event, held at Daniel’s Vineyard, three high profile feature films that have been added to this year’s lineup. Those films – each on awards prognosticators “watch” lists – include Joel Edgarton’s BOY ERASED, Peter Farrelly’s GREEN BOOK, and Paul Dano’s WILDLIFE. It has also been confirmed that local luminary, WCW-WWE pro-wrestler/actor Bishop Stevens, would be in attendance this year.
HIFF also announced today the lineup for the film festival’s celebrated Foreign Language Best Picture Contenders series. Introduced to the program last year, the series brings 15 films representing each country’s official submission for the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, to Indianapolis audiences for the first time. All Foreign Language Best Picture Contenders will be shown at AMC Castleton Square 14 (6020 E. 82nd St.). The category also includes a competition for the Best Foreign Language Contender Award, which brings with it, a $5000 prize awarded to the audience favorite.
That lineup includes; Christina Gallego and Ciro Guerra’s BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Colombia); Ofir Raul Graizer’s THE CAKEMAKER (Israel); Gustav Möller’s THE GUILTY (Denmark); Martin Sulik’s THE INTERPRETER (Slovenia); Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji’s THE JOURNEY (Iraq); Emmanuel Finkiel’s MEMOIR OF WAR (France); Aida Begic’s NEVER LEAVE ME (Bosnia); Hirokazu Kore-eda’s SHOPLIFTERS (Japan); Ruth Beckermann’s THE WALDHEIM WALTZ (Austria); Iram Haz’s WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY (HVA VIL FOLF SI) (Norway); Nuri Bilge Ceylan’ THE WILD PEAR TREE (Turkey); Benedikt Erlingsson’s WOMAN AT WAR (Iceland); Arunas Matelis’s WONDERFUL LOSERS: A DIFFERENT WORLD (Lithuania); Pietra Brettkelly’s YELLOW IS FORBIDDEN (New Zealand); and Abu Bakr Shawky’s YOMEDDINE (JUDGEMENT DAY) (Egypt).
Director of Film Programming Greg Sorvig, said, “This is the second year we have presented the Foreign Language Best Picture Contenders series, which puts an exclamation point on the international part of the Heartland International Film Festival. It gives local film fans an opportunity to see and appreciate truly amazing films from some of the most visionary filmmakers the world has to offer – and it might just give them an edge in next year’s Oscar pool too.”
Attended by special guests and sponsors including, JPMorgan Chase, BMW, WFYI, Indiana Grand, One America, LUNA Language Services, and more, the VIPS and SIPS event gave Sorvig and HIFF President Craig Prater an opportunity to announce the most recent additions to the fest’s lineup. Each of the three films looks to figure prominently in the awards race and combined with the Foreign Language Best Picture Contenders series, underlines the growing importance of HIFF as a developing “player” as awards season begins.
Edgerton’s BOY ERASED tells the story of a teenage boy (Lucas Hedges) who is sent to conversion therapy by his religious parents (Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe). Through his experience there, the boy grapples with his identity, and he, as well as his parents, must decide what this means for their family. The Toronto International Film Festival Audience Choice Winner, Farrelly’s GREEN BOOK is set in the segregation-era 60s, and stars Academy Award winner Mahershala Ali as a classical piano genius and Viggo Mortensen as his bouncer/driver. In the film, a friendship develops between the two very different men that helps refine and embolden them both. Dano’s WILDLIFE is the feature film directorial debut of the critically-acclaimed actor. Set in 1960 and seen through the eyes of a young boy, the film follows the deteriorating marriage of his parents (Jake Gyllenhaal and Carrey Mulligan), and his mother’s subsequent relationship with another man after their move to Montana.
The ranks of the many filmmakers, actors, and luminaries attending this year’s Heartland International Film Festival swelled with the announcement that Midwest native, Bishop Stevens, will also be in attendance for the Festival. Former WCW-WWE pro-wrestler turned actor, will be at Opening Night screening of MR. SOUL! at 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 11 at Newfields.
Film festival passes and tickets are on sale now. For more information, go to: http://heartlandfilmfestival.org.
The 2018 Heartland International Film Festival added selections:
Director: Joel Edgerton
Country: USA, Running Time: 114 min
Jared is the son of a small-town Baptist pastor who gets outed to his parents at age 19. He’s soon faced with an ultimatum — attend a gay conversion therapy program or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends and faith.
Director: Peter Farrelly
Country: USA, Running Time: 130 min
Toronto International Film Festival’s Grolsch People’s Choice Award Winner, GREEN BOOK, directed by Peter Farrelly and starring Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen. When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
Director: Paul Dano
Country: USA, Running Time: 104 min
Fourteen-year-old Joe is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry — a housewife and a golf pro — in a small town in 1960s Montana. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job — and his sense of purpose — he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water.
Foreign Language Best Picture Contenders
BIRDS OF PASSAGE
Directors: Christina Gallego, Ciro Guerra
Country: Colombia, Running Time: 125 min
BIRDS OF PASSAGE (Pájaros de veranov) chronicles the true rise and fall of rival Wayuu clans in northern Colombia during the early days of illegal drug trading in Colombia. This epic tragedy of the retaliatory family dispute begins from a place of naive innocence and builds to a full-blown war between two rival factions. Still the film displays profound respect for the indigenous cultures throughout where spirits walk the earth and the wisest of the women within the clan interpret dreams. Indeed, no matter how modern we are, the ancient songs and customs of our forefathers course through our veins.
Screens: Friday, Oct. 19 – 3:15PM
Director: Ofir Raul Graizer
Country: Israel, Running Time: 105 min
Thomas, a young German baker, is having a passionate and hidden affair with Oren, an Israeli married man, who makes frequent business trips to Berlin. One day Thomas learns that Oren has been killed in a car accident in Israel. Without hesitation, Thomas decides to go to Jerusalem as he feels compelled to understand Oren’s death. He creates an identity for himself–that of a struggling student–and manages to befriend Anat, Oren’s newly widowed wife.
Screens: Wednesday, Oct. 17 – 2:15PM
Director: Gustav Möller
Country: Denmark, Running Time: 90 min
THE GUILTY takes place over the course of a single night and centers on police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) who has just been demoted to a desk work pending an internal investigation. He thinks the work will be routine but it proves to be anything but normal. Asger answers a panicked phone call from a kidnapped woman. After the call disconnects, the dispatcher tries to piece together the clues to find the woman only to discover that he is grappling with a crime that is far more serious and expansive than he imagined. Confined to the police station, he is forced to use others as his eyes and ears as the severity of the crime slowly unravels.
Screens: Monday, Oct. 15 – 12:00PM
Director: Martin Sulik
Country: Slovenia, Running Time: 113 min
Ali Ungar (Jiri Menzel), an 80-year-old translator, is always neatly pressed, pinpoint precise and disapproving of Georg, (Simonischek) a bon-vivant bear of a man. Ali discovers a book written by Georg’s father, a former SS Officer. Ali believes this man is responsible for the murder of his own parents in Slovakia. He confronts Georg who responds by suggesting they travel to the places written about by his father. The journey they take veers wildly between comedy and tragedy – but as they grudgingly acknowledge common ground, their exasperation turns to acceptance and peace.
Screens: Sunday, Oct. 14 – 7:15PM
Director: Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji
Country: Iraq, Running Time: 82 min
It is December 2006 in Baghdad, Iraq. It is night. A young woman removes her headscarf and enters the Baghdad Central Station that is crawling with the military, police and security details. Grim faced Sara (Zahraa Ghandour) tries to blend into the scene as she contemplates her mission: to purify the place from the Americans and infidels. Sara’s observations are intruded upon by Salam (Ameer Ali Jabarah) and Sara reacts by planting an explosive device in his pocket and taking him hostage.
Screens: Tuesday, Oct. 16 – 12:00PM
MEMOIR OF WAR
Director: Emmanuel Finkiel
Country: France, Running Time: 127 min
MEMOIR OF WAR is an adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ semi-autobiographical novel, “The War: A Memoir.” Marguerite Duras is an active Resistance member along with her husband, writer Robert Antelme, in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1944. The Nazi reign of terror is ever present throughout France, and in particular in Paris. When Antelme is deported to Dachau by the Gestapo, she feels she has no choice but to become friendly with French collaborator Rabier in order to gain information. As the months wear on without news of her husband, she must begin the process of confronting the unimaginable.
Screens: Monday, Oct. 15 – 2:30PM
NEVER LEAVE ME
Director: Aida Begic
Country: Bosnia, Running Time: 96 min
After his mother dies, 14-year-old Isa is sent to an orphanage for Syrian refugees in Şanlıurfa, Turkey. There, he begins an uneasy friendship with 11-year-old Ahmad and 10-year-old Motaz. Ahmad’s father disappeared in Syria and he has never lost hope they will someday be reunited. Motaz’s mother remarried and left him in the orphanage. He wants to enter a talent show for singers hoping she will notice and take him back. Although the three boys are very different in their temperaments, they find a common interest: they all want to leave the orphanage and start a new life. As they attempt to recover from their highly traumatic past experiences, they help each other put aside their intense anger and hostility. They find trust and friendship with one another and without even realizing it, their healing journey has begun.
Screens: Thursday, Oct. 18 – 2:15PM
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda
Country: Japan, Running Time: 125 min
SHOPLIFTERS is a wise, suspenseful, beautifully drawn family drama and an incisive, clear-eyed social critique, all rolled into one. We are introduced to a group of misfits marginalized in a pounding industrial world. The father does odd jobs but they must turn to shoplifting in order to survive. They have only themselves to rely on for comfort, food and the necessities of life. When they discover a small girl freezing outdoors on a balcony, their humanity prevails and they take the child back to their cramped ill-equipped apartment. They have very little but their small home is filled with love and mutual respect.
Screens: Saturday, Oct. 20 – 11:00AM
THE WALDHEIM WALTZ
Director: Ruth Beckermann
Country: Austria, Running Time: 95 min
Austria is currently one of the Western European nations still governed by the far right and activist Ruth Beckerman has created an incisive documentary exposing the collective “whitewashing” of Austria’s Nazi-era past. Some of the footage she uses from the 1970’s and 1980’s was shot by Beckerman, as she put herself on the front lines, protesting the bid of Waldheim in his bid for the Austrian Presidency in 1998. Waldheim, as UN Secretary General between 1972 and 1982, was the “man trusted by all.” When he declared his candidacy for President in 1985, journalist Hubertus Czernin began the process of exposing records and the tide was unleashed. The case against him grew when the World Jewish Congress gave a press conference in 1986, presenting documents that has been hidden. The waves of violence grew as did the waves of denial by the far right party–rabble rousing, slander, media-bashing and denying facts–Austria broke new ground in this regard.
Screens: Friday, Oct. 12 – 8:15PM
WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY (HVA VIL FOLK SI)
Director: Iram Haz
Country: Norway, Running Time: 109 min
Nisha, a young Pakistani girl, is living a dual life. She wants to be accepted by her peers but at home she is kept on a very tight leash by her father, Mirza, played by the great Indian actor, Adil Hussain. Mirza has moulded himself to fit into the socially acceptable box–created by the Asian immigrant community in Norway–and he expects his daughter to do the same. As a proper Pakistani girl, she must come home immediately after school every day and she must stay at home during the weekends in order to help her mother. When Nisha makes a mistake, Mirza–egged on by his wife and his social circle (all men), takes drastic action to protect her from the pitfalls of life in the West.
Screens: Friday, Oct. 19 – 12:00PM
THE WILD PEAR TREE
Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Country: Turkey, Running Time: 188 min
THE WILD PEAR TREE by Nuri Bilge Ceylan is not unlike a telenovela of family life. In truth, it is a hymn to childhood where people you knew are compared to the wild pears, “Misfits, solitary, misshapen.” Sinan returns home from college with plans to be a school teacher for lack of other options. He is resentful of his father, Idris, whose dashed ambitions and dreams have been swallowed by his addictions. Through seminal meetings with an establish writer, Suleyman, and the local Iman, Sinan engages in ever engaging, complex conversations that weave philosophy, religious tradition, and ethics–perhaps a canvas of Turkey, 2018. Throughout it all, there is the eventual bonding of father and son.
Screens: Saturday, Oct. 13 – 2:45PM
WOMAN AT WAR
Director: Benedikt Erlingsson
Country: Iceland, Running Time: 100 min
Halla loves being a choir mistress and she just learned that she has finally been approved to adopt a child from the Ukraine, a dream she has harbored for several years. It all seems peachy! The undertone is much more interesting. Halla is in fact a terrorist–an eco terrorist–with a laser sharp focus. She cannot abide the destruction of the pristine natural landscape of her country by unscrupulous politicians who are rapidly selling out the country to developers and miners. For her, the only responsible action is sabotage of Iceland’s entire electrical grid, a task she handles with great aplomb.
Screens: Friday, Oct. 12 – 3:00PM
WONDERFUL LOSERS: A DIFFERENT WORLD U.S. PREMIERE
Director: Arunas Matelis
Country: Lithuania, Running Time: 71 min
For most of us, the cyclists riding at the back of a gruelling race are simply losers. They are called “water carriers,” “domestiques” or “gregarious”–and they are those who sacrifice their careers and fore go personal victories so their team leaders can win. They have no chance of victory. What drives them? Why do they keep putting their bodies on the line through such excruciating pain and suffer the continual demoralizing reality of simply living in the background. Arūnas Matelis followed these Sancho Panza’s of professional cycling for seven years during the prestigious Giro d’Italia race and reveals the unseen world from the point of view of the many doctors constantly on hand for the teams. Our bike heroes crash, rise—and immediately prepare to race again.
Screens: Tuesday, Oct. 16 – 3:15 pm
YELLOW IS FORBIDDEN
Director: Pietra Brettkelly
Country: New Zealand, Running Time: 94 min
In 2015 at the Met Gala, Rihanna wore a 55-pound yellow dress constructed of gold thread and fox fur, and activities on the red carpet came to an abrupt halt. Soon enough, all heads turned to Chinese fashion designer, Guo Pei, the subject of YELLOW IS FORBIDDEN. Guo Pei is the only haute couture designer in China. Some of her pieces take 50,000 painstaking hours to complete. She has 500 workers who toil away with age-old embroidery techniques. All of her pieces, in the tradition of haute couture, are hand-made and impossible to wear. Yellow is Forbidden focuses primarily on Guo’s preparation for her Spring 2017 show at La Conciergerie–the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week–ironically held in the former prison of Marie Antoinette.
Screens: Saturday, Oct. 13 – 12:00 pm
YOMEDDINE (JUDGEMENT DAY)
Director: Abu Bakr Shawky
Country: Egypt, Running Time: 97 min
YOMEDDINE is the heartfelt story of a Coptic Egyptian leper (portrayed by non-actor who actually lives in a leper colony) and his orphaned friend. These two charming and kindly misfits leave the leper colony for the first time and set out on a donkey across Egypt in search of their families–if in fact they have any family. The film won the non-official Francois Chalais Prize in Cannes, which is given to life-affirming works.
Screens: Saturday, Oct. 20 – 1:30 pm
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.