(OCTOBER 13, 2020) INDIANAPOLIS – MTV Documentary Films, a division of MTV Studios, has acquired the North American rights to documentary “76 Days,” directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous, at the 29th Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF). Heartland Film has long established itself as an exceptional venue for filmmakers to premiere their films, but this acquisition by MTV Documentary Films demonstrates this is a key venue for industry to find new and unique voices that have both artistic and commercial appeal, it was announced today by Heartland Film President Craig Prater.
“It came as a big, pleasant surprise that MTV Documentary Films acquired ‘76 Days’ during the Heartland International Film Festival. Even in our challenging time of COVID-19, film festivals are continuing to play a crucial role in supporting independent films and filmmakers,” said Hao Wu. “I’m extremely grateful to Artistic Director Greg Sorvig and the Heartland International Film Festival team for having made this acquisition possible.”
“76 Days” is currently screening now through October 18, as part of the 29th HIFF hybrid model of drive-in and virtual screenings, with the virtual presentation available to viewers across the United States. The head of MTV Documentary Films, Shelia Nevins, served as documentary feature jury member for HIFF and acquired the film during the 11-day festival run. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Two of Hao Wu’s previous films screened at previous Heartland Film festivals, “The People’s Republic of Desire” (2018 HIFF Official Selection) and “All In My Family” (2019 Indy Shorts Official Selection), and he credits Heartland Film for making this distribution deal possible.
“An acquisition of the magnitude establishes the Heartland International Film Festival as a commercial festival experience, a position the festival has been building toward and has now achieved,” says Craig Prater. “We are thrilled for Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and all the collaborators on this project.”
Raw and intimate, this documentary captures the struggles of patients and frontline medical professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic in Wuhan, and is one of five Documentary Feature Finalists in competition for the $20,000 Grand Prize for Documentary Feature at HIFF.
Audiences can still watch a virtual screening of “76 Days” as a part of the Heartland International Film Festival through October 18, at http://bit.ly/HEARTLANDFILM76DAYS. Hao Wu will also be available to answer questions on a live Q&A on Friday, October 16, at 8 p.m. EDT at http://bit.ly/HEARTLANDFILM76DAYSQA.
This year’s HIFF features 76 feature films, 22 World and US Premieres, and 29 drive-in screenings. All of the 65 independent films that are a part of this year’s HIFF virtual festival are available until Sunday, October 18, at midnight EDT. The full film lineup, drive-in schedule, and tickets can be found at www.HeartlandFilmFestival.org.
The film was acquired out of the Heartland International Film Festival, where Sheila Nevins served on the feature documentary jury. The sale was negotiated by CAA Media Finance on behalf of the filmmakers and Bahareh Kamali and Lance McPherson on behalf of MTV Documentary Films.
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 Best of Fest, Heartland Film Marquee Series and bestows the Truly Moving Picture Award industry honor to major film releases throughout the year. In response to COVID, Heartland Film launched Heartland Film at Home as a safe option to watch the latest and best in independent cinema, including HIFF films from the past from your home. For more information, visit Heartlandfilm.org.