Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Blog

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Heartland Film Festival Voted Top Film Fest in NUVO’s Best of Indy 2012 Guide

Great films matter. Their impact on society is real–and desperately needed. We believe in the power of movies because we’ve seen what they can do.

Thank you, NUVO readers, for voting us Indy’s best film festival for the 13th consecutive year!

The 2012 Heartland Film Festival is right around the corner. Mark your calendars for October 18-27!

Check out the rest of the best by visiting NUVO’s Best of Indy 2012 website.

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Heartland President Remembers “Mrs. E”

Margot Eccles cared deeply and passionately about this city, the arts, but most of all people.

It was Margot’s love of film brought her into my life over 20 years ago. A mutual friend and Heartland Board member, Chet Browne, introduced us and I will be eternally grateful to him for making the connection.

People are well aware of the wonderful accomplishments Margot made in her incredible life, so I thought I would share three short stories that show her heart.

Bev Midaugh and I were talking earlier this week and she told me about her first trip to see a Heartland Film – by herself. She had some anxiety about going alone, but had made the trip to the theater. Pulling into the parking lot she started to have second thoughts, but just then she saw Margot—cane in hand, dressed in one of her amazing dresses, walking confidently to the theatre—by herself. Bev took courage in seeing Margot and followed her in. Now she thinks of Margot each time she goes to a movie or event by herself.

As we all know, young people always had Margot’s heart. She loved talking and challenging them. Two encounters with a couple of young staff come to mind. First, Jennie Greer:

Jennie had never formally met Mrs. Eccles, but knew who she was. Jennie had something to drop off at the Heartland office. Running behind she decided that, since she would only be a minute or two, she would park in the handicap parking spot.

As she reemerged from the errand she found Margot with her famous lipstick in hand writing a note on her windshield. She was horrified. She started to explain but Mrs. E stopped her and addressed the issue as only Margot could and walked away before Jennie could respond.

Totally undone, Jennie called me and asked what to do. I told her that writing a repentant note would be a start and that Margot would come round.

Wanting to do something more she turned to Joel Grynheim for help. Joel suggested that the Jewish Tradition of making an anonymous gift in repentance might be a way to soften Margot. So Jennie made a gift to a nonprofit dealing with handicap issues and wrote a note stating what she had done.  Margot was very impressed and as she always did – forgave and forgot.

And then there was Maryann Koopmans first meeting with Mrs. Eccles. A new Heartland staff member to Heartland, Maryann had not been given the heads up that no one called Mrs. E “Margot.” On her first encounter with her Maryanne reached out her hand and said, “Great to meet you Margot.”

Mrs. E, with her classic look that sank a thousand ships, responded. “You may call me Mrs. Eccles.” Maryann was undone. Not only did she never again called her Margot she also made sure that future new staff members in their orientation knew how to address Mrs. Eccles.

And as always Mrs. Eccles forgave and forgot.

Recently Maryann reflected on Mrs. Eccles in her blog. Here is what she wrote:

“As intimidating as dear Mrs. Eccles could be, she was truly warm and lovely and became a dear friend to me in my years at Heartland. When I announced to everyone I was moving to Ireland to marry one of our filmmakers, most thought I was crazy.

But Mrs. Eccles, in her uniquely sweet way, grabbed me in a hug before I left and, with tears in her eyes, said to me, ‘My Robert and I only had a few years. I hope you and Frank have many happy years together.’”

This kind farewell meant more to me than I can say.

And that was Mrs. E: A lover of people and this city, a friend among friends, challenging, determined, loyal and loving. We will all miss her.

Jeff Sparks
President & CEO, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures

Read more about the life of Mrs. Eccles at the Indy Star.

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Celebrate July Fourth with TMPA Winner Yankee Doodle Dandee

After the fireworks are lit and the burgers are gone, how are you going to keep the Spirit of Freedom alive this Fourth of July?

By watching Truly Moving Picture Award winner Yankee Doodle Dandy, that’s how!

Beyond introducing audiences to transformative independent films and filmmakers through the Heartland Film Festival, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures also honors theatrically released motion pictures that express the positive values of life with our Truly Moving Picture Award. The TMPA is regularly bestowed to modern films, but classic films dating all the way back to Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1921) are also winner of the TMPA.

Yankee Doodle Dandy, the classic musical from 1942, stars Hollywood legend James Cagney as George M. Cohan, the musical genius behind such American standards as “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “The Grand Old Rag ” (later retitled “The Grand Old Flag”). Cohan began on vaudeville at the age of 13, performing in shows and honing his craft. Over time, Cohan earned accolade upon accolade for his original, exciting compositions, including “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “So Long, Mary”. At his pinnacle, Cohan was the first performer from popular theater to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Cagney, known as one of Hollywood’s original tough guys from his role in gangster films such as Public Enemy and The Roaring Twenties, uses Yankee Doodle Dandy to showcase his often overlooked talent for song and dance.

Directed by Michael Curtiz, Yankee Doodle Dandy was meant to elicit patriotic fervor during World War II. As you’ll see for yourself, the film still packs the same emotional punch and pride today as it did back then!

Right now, if you purchase the DVD through, you will receive a bonus two-day digital rental of the film. Instant patriotism!

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Record-Breaking Submission Numbers for 2012 Heartland Film Festival

Record-Breaking Submissions

It has been incredible to see the submissions pouring in over the past few months, and really spiking here at the end as deadlines loom. In 2011 we broke our previous submission record with a grand total of 858 entries. That momentum has carried over to 2012 as we currently have over 1,150 entries (consisting of roughly 150 Narrative Features, 200 Documentary Features, and 800 Short Films).

We’ve seen a tremendous increase across the board, but particularly in the Short Film category. Now that we are officially an Academy Award qualifying festival for short films, I suspect we’ve generated a great deal more attention than in the past.

The main reason, I believe, for the overall increase in submissions, is the positive word of mouth that spreads in the filmmaking community. Each year we bring several filmmakers to Indianapolis for the Heartland experience, and dozens more travel to Indy on their own. Our Hoosier hospitality truly sets us apart, and this year I’ve heard from a great deal of filmmakers saying that they were told by friends that they had to submit to Heartland, and make it a priority as they make their way across the festival circuit. It’s humbling and exciting to see such a response, even as it makes our programming jobs that much harder as we have to narrow down the field.

Tim Irwin
Tim Irwin, Artistic Director
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures

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Save the Date: Heartland Film Festival Sneak Peek Event

Click to enlargeAugust 23, 2012 – 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Sneak a peek of our Award-winning films and special events that will be featured at the 21st annual Heartland Film Festival!

Evening includes hors d-oeuvres, cash bar, and live auction filled with unique experience packages.

Old National Centre
502 N. New Jersey
Indianapolis, IN 46204

More information to come!

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The Magic of Belle Isle is a Truly Moving Picture Award winner!

The Magic of Belle IslandBelle Isle is a place where people can come and relax during the summer. For the O’Neils they were going to have a pleasant break from school until a new neighbor arrived. Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman) is a retired western author who hasn’t hasn’t had a book in print in years. Stubborn and grumpy, he spends all day in his wheelchair drinking his liquor.

All Monte had to do was to watch the dog, but the town keeps trying to draw him in. There’s the super friendly Al Kaiser (Fred Willard) who brings introduces him to the neighbors, the mentally challenged Carl who needs a friend, and of course the O’Neils.

Willow, Finnegan and Flora are the three O’Neil girls who are curious about the new person in their town. Willow is frustrated about her parent’s divorce and Finnegan wants to learn how to have an imagination. Then there’s the mother (Virginia Madsen) who would love the company of a new friend.

The Truly Moving Picture Award jury was really dazzled by the positivity in this film. They said this is a perfect movie for families during the summer. Seeing the transformation in Monte’s behavior from a judgmental sourpuss to a warm mentor was inspiring for the whole group.

Director Rob Reiner is a familiar face with Heartland thanks to his film last year, Flipped, where he visited Indianapolis with the star of that movie and Belle Isle, Madeline Carroll. Our jury felt this movie fit in perfectly with the feel-good movies he has been making lately.

The Magic of Belle Isle is currently available on Video On Demand and will be hitting theaters across the country on July 6th. It is rated PG for “mild thematic elements and language including some suggestive comments.”

Visit The Magic of Belle Isle Truly Moving Picture Award page.

Visit The Magic of Belle Isle Facebook page.

Visit The Magic of Belle Isle official website.

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Moonrise Kingdom is a Truly Moving Picture Award winner!

Moonrise KingdomWes Anderson films have always been for a more general audience than one might expect. His style which includes bright pastel colors, precocious dialog and delicate camera work seems like this could only work for a niche group of filmgoers. Yet every movie has a warm sense of family around them and how through the dysfunction there can be love and connection.

His latest movie, Moonrise Kingdom, may be the most Wes Anderson Wes Anderson movie. Yet it’s also the one that can appeal to the most people. At a New England summer camp in the 1960s, young Sam runs away from his Khaki Scout troop to meet up with the love of his life, Suzy, everything goes amuck. Not willing to lose a kid on his watch, the troop leader (Edward Norton) plans a rescue mission with the other troops. Meanwhile Suzy’s parents (Bill Murray and Frances McDormand) are dealing with the local police captain (Bruce Willis) to try and find their daughter.

Moonrise Kingdom

Through all of the panic, the audience wants nothing more than for the Sam and Suzy to be okay. Due to their age, they are awkward around each other in a tender way. They are very genuine with their affection for each other to the point where others around them are envious about their purity.

Our jury was entertained by the film’s quirky humor and amusing characters. The central story was one that can be inspiring through its depiction of adolescence and the theme of looking for someone in the world who can understand you. Whether that is one person like for Sam and Suzy or from your family or through a community like the scouts.

Moonrise Kingdom is playing select theaters across the country including the Keystone Landmark Art Cinema in Indianapolis, Ind. It is rated PG-13 for mild sexual content and smoking.

Check out this “making of” featurette from Focus Features:

Visit the Moonrise Kingdom Truly Moving Picture Award page.

Visit the interactive, official Moonrise Kingdom website.

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Disney•Pixar’s Brave is a Truly Moving Picture Award winner!

BraveEvery year there is an additional treat for families between holidays and birthdays: the new Disney•Pixar movie. This is the studio that has dazzled us with the adventures of beloved toys, a robot trying to save the planet and a fish that will do anything to get his son back.

This year Pixar takes us to the gorgeous landscape of ancient Scotland to focus in on one princess who wants to change her fate. Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is tired of being bossed around by her mother. The Queen (Emma Thompson) wants Merida to behave like a proper princess not to ride through the woods shooting targets with her box and arrow.

When the Queen brings forth possible suitors from across the kingdom to compete to win her daughter’s hand in marriage, Merida rebels by finding a mysterious old woman who crafts a magic spell. This spell could tear Merida’s family apart and damage the entire kingdom. Time is running out for Merida to reverse what she did and learn more about her family in the process.

Brave won the Truly Moving Picture Award for many reasons, but our jury was particularly impressed with the relationship between Merida and the Queen. This was a film that encouraged independence while recognizing the respect that comes from understanding each other. Unlike other princess tales, this wasn’t about finding a Prince Charming to make everything okay. This refreshing take on the genre fit with modern sensibilities and the older storytelling traditions.

Disney-Pixar films are always able to appeal to more than one audience. Parents will really respond to the roles of the King (Billy Connolly) and Queen and how they are able to teach to and learn from their children. Older children can reflect on the struggle of identity and her enthusiastic hope from Merida. Younger kids (and everyone really) can enjoy the joyful humor from Merida’s troublesome younger brothers.

Once again Disney•Pixar created a film full of imagination and creativity with wonderful characters that can be enjoyed by all ages. Brave is currently playing in theaters all across the country and is rated PG for some scary action and rude humor.

Visit the Brave Truly Moving Picture Award page.

Visit the official Brave website.

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Full Results of the Pilot Team High School Film Competition

Team High School Film CompetitionFive schools. Six categories. One theme.

A new extension of the Heartland Film Festival High School Film Competition, the inaugural Team High School Film Competition challenged five teams of students from local high schools to create a three-minute film aligning with a theme (“passion vs. apathy”) that meets Heartland’s mission to promote positive change in people’s lives through the transformative power of film.

Beyond the theme, the film had to contain a character (either a Senior who is a varsity athlete but won’t play sports in college, a Junior who is struggling with grades and dislikes school, or a Freshman who has the highest GPA in their class but has not had to work very hard to get their grades yet) and a prop (an orange).

Participating schools included:
- Carmel High School
- Decatur Central High School
- Herron High School
- Lawrence North High School
- Pike High School

Team High School Film Competition

On Saturday, May 19, students from all five schools gathered at Pike Performing Arts Center to participate in a workshop, see their films on the big screen, and collect their awards.

The workshop, “How Can We Improve Our Film Creation Process,” was led by Andie Redwine, the writer/producer of Paradise Recovered (2010 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection). After the workshop, Andie teamed up with two other judges to view and critique the students’ films: Thomas Lewis (a filmmaker, video artist and photographer who teaches video production in Media Arts and Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis), and Sandy Pagano, a Heartland Film Festival screener and Truly Moving Picture Award Jury volunteer.

Roberts Camera is the Official Provider for the Heartland Film Festival High School Film Competitiion

After thoughtful consideration, the judges presented awards across six categories:

1st Place (Prize: Trophy and Roberts Camera gift certificate)
Winner: Carmel High School – Rotating Clock
A film about a frustrated student and a distracted guidance counselor that sets up the future where history does not repeat itself.

Carmel High School - 1st Place

2nd Place (Prize: Prize: Trophy and Roberts Camera gift certificate)
Winner: Lawrence North High School – Passion
A film about an aspiring baseball player, who on the verge of signing his letter of intent decides to follow his passion and instead become a ping pong player.

2nd Place - Lawrence North High School

3rd Place (Prize: Prize: Trophy and Roberts Camera gift certificate)
Winner: Carmel High School – Expectations
A film about a girl choosing between her passions of a future in soccer or culinary school.

3rd Place - Carmel High School

Best Use of Character (Prize: Trophy)
Winner: Lawrence North High School – Passion
A film about an aspiring baseball player, who on the verge of signing his letter of intent decides to follow his passion and instead become a ping pong player.

2nd Place - Lawrence North High School

Best Application of Theme (Prize: Trophy)
Winner: Decatur Central High School – A Small Gesture
A film about and athlete who has lost her passion only to have it restored through a small act of kindness.

Decatur Central High School

Best Application of Prop
Winner: Herron High School – Blue

Herron High School

Congratulations to all the winners! The top three films will be shown during the High School Film Festival grouping at the Heartland Film Festival in the fall.

Roberts Camera is the Official Provider for the Heartland Film Festival High School Film Competitiion

Thank you to Roberts Camera, the official provider for the Heartland High School Film Competitions.

Call for Entries: High School Film Competition Submission Deadline July 1

The Team Competition may have been a local event, but the Heartland Film Festival High School Film Competition is open to all high school student short films and is still accepting submissions! Hurry, the deadline is July 1!

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The Yankles hit a home run, score distribution deal

The Yankles FlyerFrom Zev Brooks, executive producer of 2010 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection The Yankles:

“I wanted to pass on the news that The Yankles movie, winner of nine film festival awards, was just released by Magnolia Pictures across all home video platforms in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean Basin.  It is available on Netflix, at Walmart, Best Buy,, iTunes and other online retailers, as well as cable/satellite pay-per-view. There is also a soundtrack available.

I truly believe The Yankles inclusion in the 2010 Heartland Film Festival gave the film great credibility and was of invaluable assistance in helping us obtain distribution. You understand how difficult it is for an independent film to get distribution, much less from a major player like Magnolia Pictures. We are thrilled at this opportunity (finally achieved after a long festival run) and thank the Heartland Film Festival for the support.”

Congratulations to Zev and The Yankles team! Visit for more information.

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