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Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Blog

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Kony 2012 – The Power of Film, One Way or Another

Jason Russell, one of the three men who started the Invisible Children phenomenon with their trip first to Sudan then Uganda in 2003 – and made a film about it – released a new video focused specifically on Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), creating a call to action for him to be found and brought to justice in 2012. In one week, the 30-minute video has been seen over 74 million times.

The slickly-produced video has attracted a lot of comment, with both detractors and supporters weighing in. Regardless of what anyone thinks about the content of the video, you can’t deny that it has gotten a lot of attention – and that speaks directly to the power that film has in our culture. Whether used for good or ill, transformation or derision, film, and in this case, film combined with the power of social media, has gotten the world’s attention.  It has gotten people talking and thinking.

Did you care, before last week, about the LRA? Not many have even thought about it, if they ever knew who they were. You now either have an opinion or are looking up the pages of videos created in response, are reading blogs, or getting Tweets about it.

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures believes in the same thing: the power of film. We believe the transformative power of film can introduce you to new ideas, inspire you to take action, get you talking. The accumulated effect of many people transformed by the power of film can create great change in the world. And that is why Heartland has existed, for 21 years and counting.

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2011 HFF Award Winner Fambul Tok Continues to Inspire

Imagine years of civil war filled with countless atrocities committed against you and your people. Beheadings. Rape. Enslavement. Genocide.  Then imagine the conflict ends and the perpetrators of those acts live amongst you, granted amnesty by the state government.

Could you physically live among these people? Could you mentally handle the daily roller coaster of fear, sorrow and anger? Could you even fathom the idea of forgiveness?

These were all among the questions that were discussed at a March 9 screening of Fambul Tok, a 2011 HFF Award-winning documentary film that tells the story of healing in post-conflict Sierra Leone through the intimate stories of aggressors and victims.

Through reviving their ancient practice of fambul tok (family talk), Sierra Leoneans are building sustainable peace at the grass-roots level – succeeding where the international community’s post-conflict efforts failed. Filled with lessons for the West, this film explores the depths of a culture that believes that true justice lies in redemption and healing for individuals – and that forgiveness is the surest path to restoring dignity and building strong communities.

Last weekend attendees gathered at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, in Indianapolis, to discuss the film in small groups before joining the film’s executive producer, Libby Hoffman, for a question and answer session via Skype:

Fambul Tok’s radical notion of reconciliation touched everyone who attended. If the villagers of Sierra Leone can forgive each other, then we too can forgive in our everyday lives.

Through a partnership with Emerging Filmmakers, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures is pleased to announce another opportunity to experience Fambul Tok. Join us on March 25 at the Georgetown 14 Cinemas. The screening starts at 3 p.m. with a discussion to follow. Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased here.

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Announcing our year round community screenings!

Exciting news! Thanks to the generous support of the LDI 100th Anniversary Celebration Cultural Partnership Gift Program, we are able to start a new community screening program in Indianapolis! Starting this month we’re spreading the Heartland Film Festival love around the city by partnering with various organizations to bring you past Festival films all year long.

We’re still sorting out all of the final details, but we have our first screening to share with you. On March 25, we’re partnering with Emerging Filmmakers to present 2011 HFF Award winner, Fambul Tok at Georgetown 14 Cinemas. Screening starts at 3 p.m. with a discussion following the film. Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased here.

Many thanks to LDI, Ltd. and the LDI 100th Anniversary Celebration Cultural Partnership Gift Program for this amazing opportunity! Congratulations to the other recipients: Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, The Cabaret, The Children’s Museum, Conner Prairie, Drum Corps International, Eiteljorg Museum, Indiana Historical Society, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indiana State Fair Foundation, Indiana State Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Opera, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Zoo and Music for All.  We can’t wait to see all of your projects!

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Our Second, First Friday!

On March 2nd Heartland Truly Moving Pictures participated in their second First Friday. We kicked off the night around 6 o’clock with our first screening of God of Love, an Award winner from the 2010 Heartland Film Festival. This short film is about a love struck lounge singer, whose prayers are answered when he comes across a box of love-inducing darts. This quirky romantic short was definitely one you didn’t want to miss. So if you’re reading this and you didn’t get a chance to come out and see us… well you really messed up, and you’ll never get a chance to see it again.

Just kidding!  You can buy it here!

Between this film, and the hypnotizing tunes coming from WITT 91.9 DJing in our lobby, the night turned out to be a smashing success! People loved the film, and are excited that we are finally able to participate in First Friday.

Next month we’ll be showing two of the winners of our High School Film Competition from previous years, Clay and Sacrifices of My Father. You really don’t want to miss these brilliant short films made by extremely talented young directors.

If you can’t wait that long to go to another Heartland screening, which lets be honest, we all know you cant. There are four more screenings that we are doing this month! Take a glance at our year round screenings schedule to see if you can make any of them!

We hope to see you soon!

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Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax snags the Truly Moving Picture Award!

It’s finally that time again! Time to announce our newest TMPA winner! Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax was recently voted by our wonderful jury to win the Award. The film comes to theaters March 2, and I personally cannot wait! Ted (voiced by Zac Efron), a love struck twelve-year-old boy lives in a plastic town called Thneedville. In order to impress Audrey (voiced by Taylor Swift), the girl of his dreams, he goes on a mission to find a real tree. In order to get the seed, he must escape the confines of Thneedville, and find the Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms). The movie is filled with fun, quirky characters and a few musical numbers that are bound to get you moving! It is definitely something you and your children should not miss!

The pro-environment message was very well liked by the TMPA jury, and they felt that it was a positive and simple message for young children to understand. The jury loved the animation and felt the 3D effects enhanced the movie. The magical world that Dr. Seuss created in his books was very well portrayed, and it is definitely something that will catch your eye and make it hard to look away! The simple idea that if someone cares enough they can make a difference is one that resounded with the jury, and earned the film the Truly Moving Picture Award.

Are you excited to see Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax?

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TMPA winners Coming to DVD and Blu-ray!

Incase you missed these TMPA winners in theaters, or simply can’t get enough of them; you can now snatch them up on DVD and Blu-ray!

The Way, a film directed by Emilio Estevez makes its way to DVD/Blu-Ray tomorrow, February 21. Buy it here!

Long before Shrek, Puss in Boots had a tale of his own, and I’m not talking about the one attached to his body! Puss in Boots will be arriving on DVD and Blu-ray February 28th!

Disney’s The Muppets originally came flying back to present tense when it was released to theaters. In this movie starring Jason Segal, Amy Adams, and of course the classic Muppets crew, we see what has happened to the Muppets since they disbanded and fell out of the limelight. In case you missed it, or couldn’t get enough of it the first time, you’ll have chance to watch it once again on March 20! Pre-order it today!

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We Are City: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth at the IMA

As a former (though perpetual) student of history, I am enamored with works of nonfiction.  I could curl up with what others might consider “dry reading material” and be captivated for hours.  I am the same way when it comes to film.  Sure I enjoy a good narrative feature now-and-then, and I have always deeply appreciated a filmmaker’s ability to craft a story and tell it onscreen.  But for me few things compare to the marriage of historical research and real-life story telling that a good documentary provides.

Documentaries have always played a huge role in the Heartland Film Festival, and one of the most common things I heard this past October was, “How can we see this film again?”  Well now you have a chance to see my personal favorite 2011 HFF official selection documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth for the first, second or third time!

The film explores St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe complex.  Once considered a housing marvel, the image of its implosion has helped to perpetuate a myth of failure–one that has been used to attack and criticize public assistance programs, Modernist architecture and the residents of these projects themselves.

The Myth is more than just historical footage of high-rise apartments in the midwest.  It tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the post-War years, analyzing the underlying issues of class, race and suburbanization that have dramatically changed cities across the country.  Director Chad Friedrichs weaves in the personal narratives of several Pruitt-Igoe residents, adding a gripping and emotional component to the saga.

We are excited to announce that we will be partnering with the Indianapolis Museum of Art to screen this extraordinary film as part of the IMA’s “We Are City” film series.  This is an ongoing program highlighting ideas for making cities better places to live.  It is presented by the IMA and Wishard Health services with support from Butler University Center for Urban Ecology, URBN DSGN, Big Car, The Platform and Indiana Humanities.

Following the film, a moderated panel discussion will take place, and the audience can participate in “action tables” related to residential architecture and affordable housing in Indianapolis.

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, April 5, at 7:00 p.m. at the Toby Theater.  Head here for more information and tickets.

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Cast Me if You Can hits DVD this week!

Presented at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival, Official Selection, Cast Me If You Can, a charming romantic comedy set in Tokyo, written and directed by Atsushi Ogata, was released on DVD on Tuesday!

Cast Me If You Can tells the story of Hiroshi, a perpetual supporting actor, living in the shadow of his famous playwright father, who gets cast in a Woody Allen remake, meets his muse, falls in love and learns to play the lead in his own life.

Head to Amazon to purchase the DVD today!

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Our First First Friday!

Our view of the Cultural Trail.

As you may recall, in September we moved into our new digs in fabulous Fountain Square.  We’ve been enjoying the many great dining options, people watching on the Cultural Trail and getting to know our friendly and creative neighbors.  Located in the Murphy Art Center we have the honor of being surrounded by brilliant artists in a buzzing environment anchored by my personal favorite night out in Indianapolis–First Fridays.  We are excited to announce that Friday, February 3, will be our first involvement in the city’s monthly art tour!

We will be hanging out in our ground floor space from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm.  We’ll have beer from Upland Brewing Company to go along with multiple screenings of the 2011 Heartland Film Festival Award-winning short The First Anders. This is a great opportunity to welcome the arts community, neighborhood and city into our new home, and we look forward to celebrating with friends, old and new.

If you have never been to a First Friday, you are in for a real treat.  You should expect a night full of wonderful art, people, conversation, food and drink at galleries and studios all around the city.  It is a celebration of the best this city has to offer, and the timing could not be better.  With thousands of visitors in town for the Big Game and Fountain Square as one of the Super Celebration Sites, it’s sure to be one exciting night.  We hope to see you there!

P.S. Before heading out, make sure you are familiar with these transportation and parking guidelines.  Know Before You Go!

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Seven TMPA winners snag Oscar nominations!

As we all know, award season has arrived, and I for one cannot wait until the 84th Academy Awards. All of us here at Heartland will be cheering on the seven Truly Moving Picture Award winners that have been nominated in 16 different categories!

In the technical categories, Jane Eyre received a Best Costume nomination for the amazing time period costumes. Puss in Boots saw some love picking up a nomination in the Animated Feature category. However, leading the pack of TMPA winners is War Horse (word play!) with a total of six nominations, including Best Picture. War Horse better watch his tail though (it’s just too easy!), because Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Help are also nominated in the Best Picture category.

In addition to The Help receiving the Best Picture nomination, it is also looking at three performance nominations, including Best Actress honors for Viola Davis.

Viola Davis isn’t the only actor looking at honors though! We also have three nominees in the Best Supporting Actor category: Nick Nolte (Warrior), Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close).

Click here for a complete listing of nominations.

Join me on February 26 for the live broadcast of the 84th Academy Awards as I tweet with you throughout the evening!

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