Grand Prize Winners Announced; Screenings Continue All Week  

The stars came out and the town got dressed up for the 2008 Crystal Heart Awards Gala on Saturday, October 18.  This annual black-tie event is the night for filmmakers and filmlovers at the Heartland Film Festival.  Seventeen films and the filmmakers who created them were honored as Crystal Heart Award Winners, sharing a prize purse of $200,000.  When all was said and done, one filmmaker was $100,000 richer and Heartland had awarded a whopping total of $2 million dollars to deserving independent filmmakers.

Carlos Diaz, corresponded from EXTRA, emceed the night and kept things moving at a clip.  Three Truly Moving Picture Award-winning films were recognized, including Forever Strong, Tinker Bell and Henry Poole is Here.  Directory Mark Pellington and Indianapolis native Rachel Seifreth were both at the event to accept the Award for Henry Poole.

The biggest news of the night were the three films named top in their category.  Documentary short Victoria claimed the Vision Award for Best Short Film; filmmaker Charles Sommer was on hand to accept the honors.  A little later in the program, producer Abigail Disney took the stage to accept the Best Documentary Feature award for the film Pray the Devil Back to Hell, the powerful story of how the women of Liberia changed the political landscape of that country through peaceful protest.

And in the highlight of the evening, writer/director Amin Matalga stumbled over words as he tried to express his gratitude for being named the Grand Prize Winner with his Dramatic Feature Captain Abu Raed.  The film is about an airport janitor who spins exciting, albeit made-up, stories of his life as a pilot.  His sincere belief in the power of dreams serves as an inspiration to the children in the neighborhood who look up to him.

All three films are still playing–screenings run through Thursday, October 23, and tickets are always available at the door.  Visit the Festival Community to check schedules and find a movie to attend.