Heartland Truly Moving Pictures presents its 17th annual Heartland Film Festival Thursday, Oct. 16 through Friday, Oct. 24. A vast array of films from all over the world will be shown to appeal to many interests.
The films are coming from places like Jordan, New Zealand, Denmark, Chile and more. “We are excited about the international flavor,” Jeffery Sparks, CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, says.
Since 1992, the Heartland Film Festival has been supporting filmmakers through cash prizes amounting to $1.6 million over the years.
All the movies selected and receiving awards go along with Heartland’s mission to, “explore the human journey by expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life.”
Cash awards this year will amount to $200,000 and be presented to the filmmakers Saturday, Oct. 18 at the Crystal Heart Awards Gala. The grand prize winner will receive $100,000 for the best dramatic feature. Those in the running for the grand prize are: Second Hand Wedding, Amal, Terra, Captain Abu Raed and Karla’s World. An award of $25,000 will be given to best documentary feature and $10,000 will be awarded to the best short film. The Crystal Heart Awards Gala will be held at Conseco Fieldhouse at 7:30 p.m.
The movies that win cash prizes are judged by other filmmakers.
“We have three juries,” says Sparks. “Those juries are made up of three past Crystal Heart winning filmmakers, so they’ve been here. They’ve been judged by their peers to be the best and they not only get it, but they’re passionate about making sure that the films that they select are the best and they meet our mission.”
Some changes to this year’s festival will hopefully grant attendees an even better experience. One of the biggest changes is the opening night venue. At past festivals the opening night event has sold out.
“We don’t want to have to turn people away,” says Sparks.
The venue last year seated 400 people compared to this year’s 1500 seats at the Murat Centre.
Venues showing movies throughout the festival include: AMC Castleton Square, AMC Greenwood Park, the Murat Centre, UA Circle Centre 9 and the Indiana History Centre.
Kicking off the festival Thursday will be the highly acclaimed film, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Written and directed by Mark Herman, this movie is based on the novel by John Boyne and explores the life of a boy during WWII, who is subject to his Nazi father’s (David Thewlis) prejudices. The screening starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Murat Centre.
“The Boy in Striped Pajamas is, in my opinion, one of the most important movies to come out in a long time because of the subject matter and the power of the film,” says Sparks. “It has opened in Europe and getting rave reviews understandably… it’s one of those films that everyone needs to see.”
Heartland expressed much excitement for this movie. The president of Miramax, the director of the film, the starring actor and the writer of the book will all be at this opening night event and they will follow the movie with a Q&A session.
“This year we have the most programs of shorts,” says Sparks.
Two directors in their twenties have entered their short documentary films in the festival. The filmmakers are Laren Poole, director of Go, and Rachel Sparks, director of Sold: Cat. These short films are being described as very strong pieces that are helping to explain some important issues concerning child prostitution in Thailand and the children affected by the war in Northern Uganda.
Souvenirs & Shiny Things, a documentary by artist Annie Quick, Go and Sold: Cat are in a program of shorts that will be shown four times at different venues starting at AMC Castleton Square Sunday, Oct. 19, 1:30 p.m.
Another short documentary film, Life for a Child, is directed by award-nominee Edward Lachman. This movie explores the diabetes epidemic and the effect it has on children in developing countries. Indianapolis’ own Eli Lilly and Company co-produced this film along with the International Diabetes Federation.
“We are trying to raise awareness,” J. Scott Macgregor, Lilly’s associate communications consultant and the executive producer of the film, says.
Macgregor thinks that this film is extremely important from a societal aspect and notes that very few children are even being diagnosed for diabetes in countries like Nepal.
Life for a Child will be shown with The Game Change starting at the AMC Greenwood Park Saturday, Oct. 18 at 4:45 p.m. But again, these films will be shown at other times and at different venues.
The popular Filmmakers’ Brunch event returns this year and will be hosted at the Westin Indianapolis Sunday, Oct. 19. There should be more than 35 filmmakers at this event. Filmmakers get to meet their audience along with other filmmakers and, in the past, they have gone on to work with people they met at this brunch to produce more films.
Phoebe in Wonderland marks the end of the festival Friday, Oct. 24. Starring Elle Fanning and Felicity Huffman, this story is about a young girl who is drawn to an imaginary world after being removed from her school’s play of Alice in Wonderland. Director Daniel Barnz will be attending this screening. The movie will show at 7 p.m. at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.
Heartland Film Festival
October 16 – 24, 2008
Various locations, including: UA Circle Centre 9, AMC Castleton Square 14. AMC Greenwood Park 14
General admission ticket $8, advance purchase at Indianapolis Marsh Supermarkets $7 (price varies for special events)
More info: www.HeartlandFilmFestival.org
For reviews of select Heartland films, see our movie section, pg. 28.