Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Blog

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2013 Heartland Film Festival Submission Numbers Up, New Venues and Exclusive Hotel Announced

October’s 22nd Annual Heartland Film Festival will hold its Awards Ceremony at Indiana Repertory Theatre, add third screening venue in Fountain Square, names Omni Severin as exclusive hotel.

Last October Heartland Truly Moving Pictures (Heartland) presented the Heartland Film Festival (HFF), where it welcomed 92 independent filmmakers from 25 countries, awarded over $140,000 in prize money, programmed 119 films and inspired 22,000 attendees at screenings and events across Indianapolis, experiencing an overall 5.7 percent growth in attendance.

Between its expanded award categories and its designation as an Academy Award®-qualifying festival within the Short Films category it is no surprise that the 2013 HFF Call for Entries film submissions are tracking ahead of last year’s numbers. At the end of 2012’s submission period a record-breaking 1,240 films were sent to Heartland. Independent filmmakers, including high school filmmakers, can submit their films to this year’s Festival by the June 15 deadline, or pay an additional fee to submit by the June 22 late deadline. Learn more about submitting a film.

Awards Ceremony at Indiana Repertory Theatre

On Saturday, Oct. 19, the HFF’s marquee Awards Ceremony event will be held at Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT), Indiana’s leading professional resident not-for-profit theatre, providing 124,700 live professional theatre experiences for its audiences last season.

“Bringing our staple event to such an iconic Indianapolis venue is extremely exciting,” says Heartland Film Festival Director Louise Henderson. “As two Indy-based nonprofits we’re proud to be working together to make a really memorable experience. The IRT provides a completely different atmosphere for our longtime attendees and we’re very excited about the possibilities.”

Learn more about Indiana Repertory Theatre.

Fountain Square Screenings at The Theater at the Wheeler Arts Community

With its headquarters located in Fountain Square—right off the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, in the historic Murphy Arts Center in Fountain Square—Heartland is pleased to announce that a third screening venue will be added right in its backyard.

The Theater at the Wheeler Arts Community, managed by the University of Indianapolis, will host four nights of screenings from Wednesday, Oct. 23 through Saturday, Oct. 26. A total of eight films will be played over the four nights. Beer from Sun King Brewing, wine and movie snacks will all be available.

“Having our office and film room located in Fountain Square has allowed us to engage the community on a whole new level,” says Heartland Director of Operations Adam Howell. “Being able to have a screening location for our neighbors in a space as great as The Theater at the Wheeler Arts Community is very exciting for the future of the Festival.”

Learn more about the Wheeler Arts Community.

The Omni Severin Hotel: The Exclusive Hotel of the 2013 Heartland Film Festival

As a longtime sponsor and hosts to the HFF’s Filmmakers Welcome Party and Filmmakers’ Brunch, Heartland has expanded its relationship with the Omni Severin Hotel, making it the exclusive hotel location for its filmmakers and guests come October.

Ideally located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, the Omni Severin Hotel stands as the city’s longest running luxury hotel and is a beautifully restored piece of the city’s history. This luxury Indianapolis hotel elegantly combines the grandeur of the early 1900s with the modern amenities and superior service of today.

“The Omni Severin Hotel is the perfect location for our events and guests,” says Howell. “Both the Heartland Film Festival and The Omni Severin are known for exceptional hospitality, so this relationship couldn’t be a better fit.”

For additional information on special packages or to book accommodations, visit or call 1-800-The-Omni. Travelers or media can also follow Omni Hotels & Resorts at and

Full Venue and Event Schedule

Inspiring filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film, Heartland will hold the 22nd Annual HFF event from Oct.17-26 across these dates and venues:

Film Screenings

  • AMC Castleton Square 14 (Friday, Oct. 18 – Saturday, Oct. 26)
  • AMC Showplace Traders Point 12 (Saturday, Oct. 19 – Saturday, Oct. 26)
  • The Theater at the Wheeler Arts Community (Wednesday, Oct. 23 – Saturday, Oct. 26)


  • Announcement Party, Thursday, Sept. 19
    • The Indianapolis Artsgarden
  • Opening Night Event, Thursday, Oct. 17
    • The Toby at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Festival Award Premiere Day, Friday, Oct. 18
    • AMC Castleton Square 14
    • First day of screenings – all the Festival Award-winning films
  • Awards Ceremony, Saturday, Oct. 19
    • The Indiana Repertory Theatre
  • Filmmakers’ Brunch, Sunday, Oct. 20
    • The Omni Severin Hotel
  • Closing Night Event, Saturday, Oct. 26
    • The Toby at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Closing Night Event After Party, Oct. 26
    • The Jazz Kitchen
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First Friday, May 3: Help Heartland Honor ALS Awareness Month

Heartland invites you to First Friday in Fountain Square: Catch a FREE short film from the Heartland Film Festival in our screening room, every 15 minutes throughout the evening, from 7:00-10:00 p.m.!

In honor of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Awareness Month, Heartland will be showing “It Ain’t Over,” the 2012 Heartland Film Festival Audience Choice Award Winner within the Short Film category.

The first part of the “Ed’s Story” series, “It Ain’t Over” documents Dr. Edward Dobson, who was given 2-5 years to live after being diagnosed with ALS. A man accustomed to counseling others through grief and suffering, he now struggles to find hope for himself in a place where none seems to exist. This film contains mature themes related to disease, 11 minutes.

Sun King Brewing Beer, wine, soda and popcorn are all available for purchase.

Learn more about:

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STUCK Bus Tour Stops in Indy Saturday, April 27

STUCK (2012 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection and co-winner of the Audience Choice Award – Documentary Feature) is back! Indianapolis, IN, is the 45th stop on a 61-city barnstorming tour the documentary is taking to promote international adoption reform.

This is perhaps the most unique premiere on the tour–not only will Executive Producer Craig Juntunen be fielding questions in a discussion after the screening, but he will be joined by his three children from Haiti, adoptive parents Nick and Lori Leroy who are featured in the film, and adoption attorney Kelly Ensslin, also in the film.

Juntunen and the kids will also be at the Boaz Project 5K & Family One-Mile Walk for Orphans Saturday morning, appropriately held at Craig Park in Greenwood.

The tour will end May 17 in Washington, D.C., where the Step Forward for Orphans March will attract families from all over the country to meet with their representatives and deliver signed petitions gathered during the 78-day tour. To learn more about the march, click here.

The screening will be 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at AMC Castleton Square 14. RSVP on the event’s Facebook page.

To view the trailer, learn more about the bus tour, cities and dates and/or to purchase tickets to a screening, please visit:

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The Kings of Summer Wins Truly Moving Picture Award

The Kings of SummerCBS Films’ coming-of-age comedy honored by national arts organization Heartland Truly Moving Pictures for its ability to inspire, educate and engage.

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures has given its Truly Moving Picture Award (TMPA) to CBS Films’ release The Kings of Summer, the coming-of-age comedy that premiered to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Kings of Summer is a quirky film with a great message,” explained Heartland’s Artistic Director Tim Irwin. “The themes of courage, friendship, family, parenting, and growing up were very well received by our jury. Jurors were also struck by the film’s rich photography and acting ensemble.

“A perfect balance of comedy and drama, The Kings of Summer is a solid reflection of adolescent angst and the struggle, bravery and independence necessary to respond to life’s hard circumstances. We are proud to honor The Kings of Summer with the Truly Moving Picture Award.”

The TMPA honors select theatrically-released films that offer more than mere entertainment: awarded films inspire, educate and engage audiences and filmmakers alike. Heartland bestows the TMPA to approximately 15-20 films a year that impact their targeted audiences in a meaningful way. Submissions are received directly from studios and producers for consideration.

The Kings of Summer will open in select theaters May 31. Visit the film’s official website.

About “The Kings of Summer”
Premiering to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, The Kings of Summer is a unique coming-of-age comedy about three teenage friends – Joe (Nick Robinson), Patrick (Gabriel Basso) and the eccentric and unpredictable Biaggio (Moises Arias) – who, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land. Free from their parents’ rules, their idyllic summer quickly becomes a test of friendship as each boy learns to appreciate the fact that family – whether it is the one you’re born into or the one you create – is something you can’t run away from. (CBS FILMS)

About CBS Films
CBS Films is a division of CBS Corporation. The division develops, finances, acquires, produces and releases theatrical feature films spanning all genres. For more information, log on to

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See BESA: The Promise May 9 at the JCC’s Ann Katz Festival of Books and Art

2012 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection BESA: The Promise returns to Indianapolis, IN, for a special screening event with Carmel, IN, Producer Bill Morgan.

BESA: The Promise, an award-winning film featuring an original score by Philip Glass, celebrates the common thread of humanity that connects people of all religions. The Independent Critic calls it a “surprise” and a story “few Americans have even heard about.” Matt Loudon from NUVO says: “The film challenges our traditional thoughts about Jewish-Muslim relations, as men bridge generation gaps and differences in faith to survive.”

An Official Selection – Documentary Feature of the 2012 Heartland Film Festival, this internationally acclaimed documentary returns to Indiana for the Ann Katz Festival of Books and Art, 2nd Edition at the JCC.

Thursday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Arthur M. Glick JCC, 6701 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46260
$8 general public / $5 for JCC and Heartland Film Society members

Following the screening, the audience will have an opportunity to talk with the film’s producer, Bill Morgan. Mr. Morgan currently resides in Carmel, IN, The event is presented by the JCC and Heartland Truly Moving Pictures.


BESA: The Promise follows the modern-day quests of two men: American photographer Norman H. Gershman and Albanian toyshop owner Rexhep Hoxha. Their intersecting journeys reveal the nearly unknown WWII story of thousands of Jews rescued in Albania, a majority Muslim country. The Albanian moral code of besa requires a promise of protection to anyone requesting it, and carries across generations. Rexhep Hoxha’s father sheltered a Jewish family who left behind three precious Hebrew books. Kept hidden during the nearly half-century of repressive communism following the war, Rexhep must now fulfill his father’s besa and return the books – if he can find the family. When Rexhep meets Norman, an unexpected drama is set in motion, uniting fathers and sons, Muslims and Jews.


The 2013 Beaufort International Film Festival awarded BESA: The Promise Best Documentary, and for her work on the film, Rachel Goslins received the Best Director award.

The Seattle Jewish Film Festival also awarded it Best Documentary, and JT News called it “riveting, revelatory, and profound.” In January, BESA: The Promise opened to two sold out screenings in its hometown at the Washington Jewish Film Festival and took home the Audience Award for Best Documentary.

BESA: The Promise has a story like no other,” says the Huffington Post. “…the film’s tense climax and spiritually-uplifting resolution will leave even the most cynical viewer with a new respect for the inherent decency of men.”


BESA: The Promise made its European premiere in Tirana, Albania on November 8th at the 13th Festival of Albanian Film in the 100th Independence Year. Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Speaker of Parliament Jozefina Topalli and Minister of Culture Aldo Bumçi were all in attendance. Also present was Rexhep Hoxha, whose story is central to the film. The capacity crowd gave the film a standing ovation. Although not in competition, BESA: The Promise was presented with a Special Jury Award by the Festival at the closing night gala. A short video of the visit to Albania can be seen on the film’s Facebook page.

To view a trailer of BESA: The Promise, please visit Press kit, links to reviews and publicity stills are available at BESA: The Promise is a production of JWM Productions, the multiple Emmy Award®-winning documentary company created in 1996 by Jason Williams and Bill Morgan. For more information about JWM Productions, please visit

The Producers of BESA: The Promise gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities in the making of this film.

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Celebrate Earth Day with Films that Inspire, Educate and Engage!

Happy Earth Day from Heartland Truly Moving Pictures!

With a mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film, we hope that these independent films inspire, educate and engage you to make our world a better place:

  • Chasing Ice
    2012 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner

    In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

    Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

    Official Website
    See National Screening Schedule

  • Future Weather
    2012 Heartland Film Festival Award Winner – Narrative Feature

    Lauduree is a 13-year-old loner, passionate about nature and obsessed with ecological disaster. Greta, her grandmother, is a fiery nurse jaded by alcohol and disappointment. When Lauduree is abruptly abandoned by her dreamer single mom, she decides to take survival into her own hands, forcing her and Greta to learn to trust each other and leap into the unknown.

    Featuring humorous, sharply drawn characters and powerful performances by Amy Madigan (Field of Dreams, Gone Baby Gone), Lili Taylor (Say Anything, Six Feet Under), and breakout star Perla Haney-Jardine (Kill Bill Vol. 2, Spider-Man 3), Future Weather is about finding the courage to survive change.

    Official Website
    Available now On Demand, iTunes, Amazon, DVD and via other formats

  • Bag It
    2010 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection

    Jeb, an average American guy, who is admittedly not a tree hugger, makes a resolution to stop using plastic bags at the grocery store. Little does he know that this simple decision will change his life completely. Jeb comes to the conclusion that our consumptive use of plastic has finally caught up to us, and looks at what we can do about it.

    Official Website
    Available now on iTunes, Netflix, DVD and via other formats

  • The Cove
    2009 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner

    Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

    Official Website

    Available now on iTunes, Netflix and DVD

  • YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip
    2011 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection

    YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip – is a thought-provoking, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious, documentary about the courageous and creative individuals, groups, businesses and leaders of this country who are tackling the greatest environmental threats in history. Called into action by the ever increasing threats of planetary catastrophe, Mark Dixon, Ben Evans, and Julie Dingman Evans – upended their lives, pooled their collective life-savings and set off on a first-of-its-kind, 50-state, year-long journey of discovery to personalize sustainability and to answer a critical question: Are we doomed?

    Official Website
    Rent the film online

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2012 Heartland Film Festival Official Selections La Source & The Story of Luke available on iTunes!

Coming off the heels of Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, Erasing Hate and Somewhere Between, two more independent films from the 2012 Heartland Film Festival are now available to view online:

  • The Story of Luke
    2012 Official Selection –
    Narrative Feature


    Luke, 25, is autistic and has lived a sheltered life with his grandparents. But his world is turned upside down when his grandmother dies and he is forced to live with his dysfunctional relatives who have no patience for him or his senile grandfather, whom they quickly force into a nursing home. Luke is left with his grandfather’s final semi-coherent words: “Get a job. Find a girl. Live your own life. Be a man!” For the first time in his life, Luke has a mission. He is about to embark on a quest.

  • La Source
    2012 Official Selection – Documentary Feature


    In La Source, Haiti, water does not come easily. Villagers of this rural community must choose between a treacherous walk to retrieve clean water or drink contaminated water from a nearby river. Since he was a teenager, Josue Lajeunesse, with his brother Chrismedonne, have dreamt of channeling clean water from a spring in the mountains. In 1989, Josue moved to New Jersey where he found employment as a custodian at Princeton University. His custodial work and second job as a taxi driver, totaling close to 20 hours a day, allowed him to send money back to Haiti to support his extended family, but much more was needed to pay for a project to channel water from the mountain spring to their village.

    Josue rallies the support of a group of Princeton students and a charity called Generosity Water. Money in hand, he and his brother work with the people of La Source to fulfill their dream to bring clean water to their village. La Source is not simply a movie about clean water and community transformation. It is a story of one man, empowered by a vision, who was able to ignite the passion of people thousands of miles away to change lives in La Source forever. Narrated by Don Cheadle.

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More 2012 Heartland Film Festival Films Hit Netflix: Jason Becker, Erasing Hate and Somewhere Between

Did you miss these films at the 2012 Heartland Film Festival? Wonder if you were ever going to be able to watch them again? Here’s your chance!

Three documentary films from the 2012 Festival are now available on Netflix streaming:

  • Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet
    2012 Award Winner – Documentary Feature

    When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. Twenty-two years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes. It’s the incredible story of a guitar legend who refuses to give up on his dream of being a musician despite the most incredible odds. It is a story of dreams, love and the strength of the human spirit.

  • Erasing Hate
    2012 Official Selection – Documentary Feature

    Erasing Hate is a remarkable story of transformation and redemption. In early 2009, Bryon Widner’s face, neck and hands were covered with intimidating, racist tattoos. It was then he began a series of painful and extensive laser tattoo removal procedures—twenty-five treatments over the course of more than a year and a half. But the tattoo removal was just the outward sign of an inner transformation.

  • Somewhere Between
    2012 Official Selection – Documentary Feature

    This film profiles Chinese adoptees in contemporary America. Roughly 80,000 girls have been adopted from China since 1989—a decade after China implemented its One Child Policy. This film intimately follows four teenagers: Haley, Jenna, Ann and Fang. These four wise-beyond-their-years, yet typical American teens, reveal a heartbreaking sense of self-awareness as they attempt to answer the uniquely human question, “Who am I?” They meet and bond with other adoptees, some journey back to China to reconnect with the culture and some reach out to the orphaned girls left behind.

Let us know what you think about these films! Leave a comment below:

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Ai Weiwei Exhibition, Truly Moving Picture Award-Winning Film at Indianapolis Museum of Art

In 2012, Heartland awarded Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry with the Truly Moving Picture Award for its ability to inspire, educate and engage audiences. The film documents the inside story of a dissident for the digital age who inspires global audiences and blurs the boundaries of art and politics. First-time director Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai while working as a journalist in China. Her detailed portrait provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.

Ai Weiwei, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995/2009. Image courtesy of the artist.

Beginning April 5, Heartland community partner Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) will showcase Ai Weiwei’s artwork in the special exhibit, “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” in the Allen Whitehill Clowes Special Exhibition Gallery. The special exhibition features over 30 works spanning more than 20 years, exploring universal topics of culture, history, politics and tradition. The exhibition will run through July 21.

Coinciding with the exhibit, IMA will be showing Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry at The Toby over three days:

  • Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Come early and see the exhibition to receive $1 off film admission at the IMA box office by showing your exhibition ticket stub.

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The Hobbit, Les Misérables and Lincoln on Blu-ray, DVD and HD Digital!

Three Truly Moving Picture Award winners are being released on DVD, Blu-ray and HD Digital: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey releases March 19, Les Misérables (the No. 2 TMPA of 2012) releases March 22, while Lincoln (the No. 1 TMPA of 2012) releases March 26.

Lincoln – Walt Disney Pictures
In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, President Abraham Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – New Line Cinema/Legendary Pictures
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Les Misérables – Universal Pictures
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the endurance of the human spirit. Ex-prisoner Jean Valjean is hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

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