Heartland cut it close this year. Marketing director Greg Sorvig was not certain about what the festival’s opening night film would be until the last possible moment amid last night’s announcement ceremony at the Athenaeum.
“We received confirmation three minutes before the doors opened,” he said.
Well, it was worth the wait. After receiving standing ovations at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, the Truly Moving Picture Award-winning film Room will open Heartland.
Based on Emma Donoghue’s critically acclaimed novel, the film stars Brie Larson as a young woman held captive with her five-year-old son in a garden shed. “Love knows no boundaries,” the fitting tagline on the film’s poster reads. If the trailer is any indication, Room will be as darkly dazzling as the book.
The film will kick off the festival at the IMA on Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. It will be followed by an opening night party at the Jazz Kitchen.
Other Hollywood films coming to Heartland include The 33 — the true story of the Chilean miners trapped underground for more than two months five years ago — and I Saw the Light — the biography of country singer Hank Williams starring Tom Hiddleston as the influential musician.
The closing night film is Coming Through the Rye. Set in the '60s and inspired by actual events, it follows a young man who runs away from boarding school in search of J.D. Salinger (Academy Award-winner Chris Cooper), the creator of his hero — teen rebel Holden Caulfield.
Coming Through the Rye will play on Sunday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. at AMC Showplace Traders Point 12, the site of the festival's brand new Premiere Pavilion. (This heated party area will be host to opening weekend red carpet premiere screenings along with other events throughout the week, including trivia and live music performances.)
Among the festival's other new features is the competition category, Indiana Spotlight, which will showcase the cream of the crop in Hoosier filmmaking. A cash prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the top film at the Oct. 24 awards ceremony.
Awarding more than $120,000 to independent filmmakers at this ceremony, Heartland Film will cross the $3 million mark awarded to independent filmmakers since the first Heartland Film Festival in 1992. This running total is the highest cash amount any domestic film festival has awarded to filmmakers.
The complete 2015 Heartland Film Festival lineup, schedule of films and guide book will be available to the public on Monday, Sept. 21 at heartlandfilmfestival.org. Regular screening tickets are $11 at the box office and $9 when purchased online. Discount 12-packs of ticket vouchers are available for $90 at select Indianapolis-area Marsh Supermarket locations beginning Monday, Sept. 21.