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Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Blog

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“As High as the Sky,” Featuring All-Female Cast and Key Crew, to Screen at JCC of Indianapolis

Heartland Film Festival favorite “As High as the Sky” to screen at JCC of Indianapolis on May 22, 2014, with Director Nikki Braendlin scheduled for a video chat Q-and-A

“As High as the Sky” a first-time, independent feature from writer-director Nikki Braendlin, is a beautifully nuanced film that explores the fragile bonds between sisters. Made on a SAG Indie Ultra-Low budget, the film packs an emotional and memorable punch with notable performances by Caroline Fogarty (“Big Love” and “Desperate Housewives”) and Bonnie McNeil (“Sympathy for Delicious”).

Featured at the 2013 Heartland Film Festival (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), “As High as the Sky” returns to Indianapolis on Thursday, May 22, 2014 as part of the Heartland Roadshow screening series at the JCC of Indianapolis.

  • WHAT: “As High as the Sky”
  • WHEN: Thursday, May 22, 2014 – 7 p.m.
  • WHERE: JCC of Indianapolis, Laikin Auditorium
    6701 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis, IN
  • WHO: Presented by Heartland Film Festival and JCC of Indianapolis
  • COST: $8 / $5 JCC or Heartland members
    Tickets at the door or online

By seeking to breach the narrow club of five percent female film directors in Hollywood, Braendlin chose a topic she knew well and which would appeal to women. The film centers on Margaret, a woman with OCD who is forced to confront the root of her issues when her estranged sister and niece show up unannounced.

“I wanted to explore probable causes of these behaviors as well as potential ways to heal,” said Braendlin. “I have experienced OCD symptoms and they worsen when I’m working through a particularly difficult time. I was interested in examining the ramifications of someone who has never learned to identify, and thus process, her emotions at all. Additionally, and simultaneously, the film explores the complex and diverse relationships among mothers, daughters and sisters.”

“As High as the Sky” won top narrative feature awards at: Palm Beach International Film Festival, Sonoma International Film Festival, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, Idyllwild CinemaFest, Shining Light Film Festival, as well as being an official selection at Heartland Film Festival, Indy Film Fest and the Carmel Art and Film Festival.

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Heartland Film Festival Takes “Best of the Fest” to Bedford, Ind., Presented by Duke Energy

“Best of the Fest” to feature 6 movies and 4 filmmakers over 2 days — June 13 and 14, 2014 — at Bedford North Lawrence – Performing Arts Center.

Known for showcasing the best in independent, inspiring film from all over the world every October, the Heartland Film Festival—presented by nonprofit arts organization Heartland Film—will offer moviegoers in Bedford, Ind. a chance to experience the festival atmosphere in their own backyard. Four indie filmmakers are scheduled to attend “Best of the Fest,” presented by Duke Energy, and will be available to mingle with attendees and provide insight on the filmmaking process.

“Our new ‘Best of the Fest’ model is the next best thing to the 10-day Heartland Film Festival,” explained Heartland Film President Stuart Lowry. “It gives the community an opportunity to experience a powerful slate of films that they can’t see anywhere else, and the opportunity to meet filmmakers from all over the country. Heartland Film is thrilled to be partnering with the Bedford community.”

Among the organizers responsible for making “Best of the Fest” possible is Bedford’s own filmmaker-in-residence Andie Redwine, who both wrote and produced the film “Paradise Recovered.” Centered on a young woman who must adjust to the outside world after being excommunicated from a religious cult, the independent feature film landed a distribution deal after its world premiere at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival. Redwine is owner of By the Glass Productions, which is headquartered in Bedford.

“Best of the Fest,” presented by Duke Energy

  • WHEN: Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14, 2014
  • WHERE: Bedford North Lawrence – Performing Arts Center, 595 Stars Blvd., Bedford, Ind. 47421

Schedule – Friday, June 13

  • 6 p.m. – Medora” – Director Andrew Cohn scheduled to attend
    2013 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Documentary Feature – 83 min.
    Indiana-made film about small-town Medora, Ind. and its underdog basketball team.
  • 9 p.m. - Walking With the Enemy
    2013 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Narrative Feature – 127 min.

Schedule – Saturday, June 14

  • 4 p.m. – Running Blind” & “Right to Play” – Director/Producer Ryan Suffern scheduled to attend – 73 min.
    “Running Blind” – 2013 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Documentary Short / Audience Choice Award Winner
    “Right to Play” – 2012 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Documentary Short
  • 6:30 p.m. – Finding Hillywood” – Director Leah Warshawski & Post Supervisor Todd Soliday scheduled to attend
    2013 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Documentary Feature – 60 min.
  • 9 p.m. – Wish You Well
    2013 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Narrative Feature – 109 min.

Tickets are now available to purchase online and will also be available at the door.

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2014 Heartland Film Festival Submission Period Now Open

Academy Award®-qualifying festival seeks independent film submissions from all over the world, will award more than $115,000 in cash prizes at 10-day event in October

Independent filmmakers can now submit films for consideration to the 23rd Annual Heartland Film Festival. The 10-day Festival, which will be held in Indianapolis from October 16-25, 2014, serves to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Filmmakers participating in the Festival attend numerous screenings of their films and other special events designed to allow interaction between filmmakers and audiences.

The Heartland Film Festival is a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® in the Short Films Category. This means that the winner of the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. Recent Heartland Oscar® winners and nominees include “Inocente” (2013, winner), “Head Over Heels” (2013, nominee) and “Buzkashi Boys” (2013, nominee).

“From attendance to submissions, the Heartland Film Festival broke records across virtually every category in 2013,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “We expect another strong year in 2014, and are fully committed to the artistic process; filmmakers can rest assured that their films will be watched at least three times in full by our jury members.”

Filmmakers are invited to submit independently-produced feature length and short films in Narrative and Documentary categories. Student filmmakers are encouraged to apply for consideration within the standard field of competition. High school filmmakers are encouraged to enter their films in the Heartland High School Film Competition, now entering its fifth year.

Submissions will be evaluated for their achievement of excellence in filmmaking and alignment with Heartland’s mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Submissions are accepted through Withoutabox.com.

Volunteer screening committees will help narrow down the initial field of competitors. Juries comprised of individuals from the scholarly film community and previous Heartland Film Festival filmmakers will review the submissions and select five narrative features, five documentary features, five narrative short films and five documentary short films including student films, as winners. Outstanding films will be recognized with Heartland Film Festival Awards and more than $115,000 in cash prizes, including a Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature, Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature, Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film and Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short Film. A Grand Prize winner will be announced in the High School Film Competition, along with four Finalists.

Completed U.S. and international feature length and short films may be submitted by April 4 for early consideration and a reduced submission fee. The regular deadline to submit films for the 2014 Heartland Film Festival is May 16.

A record 1,521 independent films were submitted in 2013. Visit HeartlandFilmFestival.org for eligibility requirements, a full list of categories, submission rules and more information on Heartland Film Festival’s 2014 Call for Entries.

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Download Your 2014 Academy Awards® Ballot – Nine Nominations for TMPA Winners!

Make your picks: Download the 2014 Academy Awards® Ballot PDF

Heartland is pleased to announce that four 2013 Truly Moving Picture Award winners have been nominated for Academy Awards® across nine categories:

  • Actor in a Leading Role – Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – June Squibb, “Nebraska
  • Animated Feature Film – “Frozen
  • Cinematography – Phedon Papamichael, “Nebraska
  • Directing – Alexander Payne, “Nebraska
  • Music, Original Score – John Williams, “The Book Thief” (Truly Moving Picture Award winner and Heartland Film Festival Closing Night Film)
  • Music, Original Score – Thomas Newman, “Saving Mr. Banks
  • Music, Original Song – “Let It Go” from “Frozen
  • Writing, Original Screenplay – Bob Nelson, “Nebraska

Winners will be announced March 2, at the 2014 Academy Awards® (7 p.m EST).

The Heartland Film Festival is an Academy Awards-qualifying festival within the Short Films category. Recipients of the festival’s Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

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Heartland Announces Top 10 Truly Moving Picture Award Winners of 2013

Truly Moving Picture AwardEach year nonprofit arts organization Heartland Truly Moving Pictures honors select theatrically-released films with its Truly Moving Picture Award, a seal that signifies a film’s transformative power and appeal.

“The Truly Moving Picture Award jury takes into consideration how every film could impact and engage its target audience,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “This year’s top 10 list includes a dynamic range of films, and clearly shows that inspiring film isn’t limited to any single genre. Heartland would like to congratulate all the winners and their respective studios.”

The top 10 Truly Moving Picture Award winners of 2013 include:

  1. Saving Mr. Banks” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  2. 42” – Warner Bros.
  3. Short Term 12” – Cinedigm
  4. The Book Thief” – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  5. Frozen” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  6. The Kings of Summer” – CBS Films
  7. Nebraska” – Paramount Vantage
  8. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  9. Gimme Shelter” – Roadside Attractions
  10. Monsters University” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Submissions for the Truly Moving Picture Award are received directly from studios and producers for consideration. View the complete list of winners at TrulyMovingPictures.org.

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2014 Heartland Film Festival Programming Internships: Now Accepting Applications

Heartland has several Film Programming internships available for 2014, starting in February 2014 and continuing through summer. Film Programming Interns will manage the intake and cataloging of film submissions for the Heartland Film Festival, and will view approximately 150 short and/or feature length films online and on DVD. They will assist with the screening committees responsible for reviewing each of the submissions. Interns will be asked to assist in administrative/research assignments at the Heartland offices, and will be responsible for various office-related tasks. A $250 stipend per semester will be offered.

The following duties will be assigned to this position:

  • Catalog films for the Heartland Film Festival selection process
  • Research independent films appropriate for entry to the Festival or for special screenings
  • View film submissions, provide written reviews and discuss films with Heartland’s programming staff
  • Evaluate films based upon technical and artistic merit and reflection of Heartland’s mission
  • Assist in updating and maintaining databases of films and filmmakers
  • Create film synopses and other film-related content for Festival
  • Track reviews and reviewers for the Festival
  • Attend Truly Moving Picture Award film screenings (optional)
  • Other tasks as assigned by Artistic Director

Qualified candidate must possess the following skills/accomplishments:

  • Accurate and concise communication skills – both written and verbal
  • Ability to work cooperatively in a team environment
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Thorough researching skills
  • Attention to detail is essential
  • Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication; Radio, Television & Film; Journalism or equivalent; must be in third year of schooling or higher (recent graduates still eligible)
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office and Google Drive
  • Familiarity with film and the independent filmmaking industry
  • Nonprofit experience (helpful but not required)
  • Familiarity with video compression software (preferred but not required)
  • Standing and sitting for extended periods of time may be required
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to lift 25 lbs.

Please send resume and cover letter via email or mail to:

  • JJones [at] TrulyMovingPictures.org, or
  • Jackie Jones
    c/o Heartland
    1043 Virginia Ave, Suite 2
    Indianapolis, IN 46203
    (317) 464-9405
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Heartland’s Board of Directors Names Stuart Lowry President

President Stuart Lowry

President Stuart Lowry

Indianapolis-based nonprofit organizer of the Heartland Film Festival promotes chief operating officer

No stranger to Indianapolis and the arts, Stuart Lowry has been named Heartland’s president by the organization’s board of directors. A published children’s book author and actor, Lowry has previously held leadership positions with White River State Park, the City of Indianapolis Parks Department and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we are grateful for Stuart’s significant and timely contribution to the Festival in this transition year,” said Dan Johnson, Heartland’s chairman of the board. “He has a proven himself a true friend to Heartland, its purposes and the future.”

Acting as the organization’s chief operating officer since October 2012, Lowry has worked closely with former president and CEO Jeffrey Sparks in preparation for the role. Sparks transitioned to founder and president emeritus in August after 22 years with the organization.

“Heartland is in good hands,” said Sparks. “The 2013 Heartland Film Festival broke many records, and I see its success as a testament to a smooth transition. Stuart has been with Heartland for two Festivals now, and I’m confident in his ability to embody Heartland’s spirit, mission and legacy.”

“Working with Jeff and Dan has been a great experience,” said Lowry. “Coming in as president, I’m fortunate to be working with a spectacular staff and board of directors. For two years now I’ve seen what this team can do, and I can’t stress enough how powerful and exciting Heartland is and will be for years to come.”

Planning has already begun for the 2014 Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 16-25, 2014), with the Call for Entries period beginning in February.

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Heartland Film Festival Titles Available Now

We’re pleased when any of the independent films showcased at the Heartland Film Festival get distribution, but today we’re elated. All six of these films are available to rent and own via VOD:

Enjoy the films. Make sure to come back and tell us what you think!

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“Saving Mr. Banks” Honored with Heartland’s Truly Moving Picture Award

Saving Mr. BanksTwo-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.

“Our jury unanimously voted ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ a Truly Moving Picture Award winner,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “Jurors noted exceptional performances across the board, highlighted by Emma Thompson’s portrayal of P.L. Travers. Messages in the film were powerful, yet nuanced, and the story flowed well with the use of Travers’ flashbacks as a young child.”

When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. Read more »

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“Nebraska” Wins the Truly Moving Picture Award

NebraskaAfter receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.

“Our Truly Moving Picture Award jury found ‘Nebraska’ to be authentic and honest,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “Bruce Dern’s performance as Woody made a strong connection with our jurors, who could all relate to the character’s struggles and relationship with his family. The quality of the film’s writing and cinematography were also praised, as they lent credibility and truthfulness to the overall experience.”

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