Heartland Welcomes Hoosier Filmmakers “Back Home Again”  

Among the record 87 films that will screen at the 18th annual Heartland Film Festival are a few films that will undoubtedly be of interest to Heartland audiences. This year’s Festival boasts nine films with ties to Indiana, including a few native Hoosier filmmakers as well as some transplants. These Official Selection films will screen Saturday, Oct. 17 through Saturday, Oct. 24 at AMC Castleton Square 14 (6020 East 82nd Street) and AMC Greenwood Park 14 (461 South Greenwood Park Drive).

“It’s always exciting for us to have a film with Indiana ties in our Festival lineup,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, President and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. “Audiences here feel a great deal of pride for films and filmmakers with local roots and rightly so as these films were selected from more than 600 submissions, which is no easy feat.”

The nine films with ties to Indiana that will screen during the Heartland Film Festival are feature-lengths D Tour, Spooner and My Name is Jerry, and shorts The Best Part of My Day, Chicken Cowboy, Free Wall, Grande Drip, Ragman, and Weathered.


The Best Part of My Day
Al has a very monotonous, geeky life until Janey enters the picture and gives him something to look forward to every day. The Best Part of My Day is a unique, comedic and awkward tale of longing and missed connections.

Producer, director and writer of The Best Part of My Day, Benjamin Dewhurst, is an award-winning independent filmmaker and multimedia professional based in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was born and raised in Shelbyville, Indiana and is a graduate of Ball State University. Dewhurst has directed more than 25 short films, served as the executive producer of an online sketch comedy show, and directed a feature in HD.

Chicken Cowboy
Shelly the chicken wasn’t looking for a fight, but he found one. Can he face his fears and stand up for himself?

Stephen Neary is a Hoosier-born, New York based animator. The ’04 graduate of Lawrence Central High School has created animation for Nickelodeon’s Wonder Pets! and shorts for Saturday Night Live. Neary was also a story artist on Ice Age 3. Chicken Cowboy, which Neary directed, produced and wrote, is his senior project from New York University.

D Tour
Pat Spurgeon is a talented and professional musician who works hard to be where he is today. As a multi-instrumentalist, Pat is an integral part of the indie pop band Rogue Wave. In addition to giving the band everything he’s got, Pat has had to deal with kidney failure and the parameters that have been set for him by his situation. After the success of his first kidney transplant 13 years ago, the kidney starts to fail just as Rogue Wave takes off. D Tour chronicles Pat’s search for a living organ donor and the challenges associated with finding a viable match while touring with his band.

Producer, director and writer of D Tour, Jim Granato, is a self-taught filmmaker who originally hails from Bloomington, Indiana. He has produced and directed several short films, screening both locally and worldwide. In addition, Granato has received many credits on a variety of independent film and television productions. D tour is Granato’s first feature film as director and producer. The film has won several awards, and will make its broadcast television debut this fall on PBS Independent Lens.

Free Wall
James is a young, single dad working at a factory with his friend, Jermain. When new co-worker Cole befriends James, tensions between the three become unbearable causing Jermain to take things into his own hands.

Born in Muncie, Indiana, Jonathan Moisan has always had a strong interest in film and directing. Free Wall is his first major project and hopes that it will be just the beginning to a long, exciting career. Moisan currently resides in Muncie and is an associate professor of telecommunications at Ball State University.

Grande Drip
Eric Jensen buys a cup of coffee every morning, except Eric doesn’t drink coffee. He’s enamored with the girl behind the counter. Unable to muster the courage to woo his love, an unlikely hero comes to the rescue; an eccentric homeless man with a heart of gold.

Grande Drip producer, Greg Wilson, was born in Indianapolis and is a graduate of Perry Meridian High School and Taylor University. In 2004, Wilson attended the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. Through their internship program he landed in legendary writer/director/actor Garry Marshall’s office. That internship led to a part-time job which, in turn, led to full-time work as Marshall’s assistant on the film, Georgia Rule. After the film, Wilson moved up to head of development and casting at Henderson Productions. He currently is gearing up for a webseries called Type. Writer.

My Name is Jerry
As a door-to-door salesman, Jerry Arthur’s life is filled with slamming doors and low expectations. He is a middle-aged divorcée with an unsure and unwanted future, a daughter he has not seen or spoken to in years, a dead-end job and low self-esteem. In other words, Jerry is close to hitting rock bottom. One day Jerry stumbles on a group of young people with their futures before them. Their energy and music reminds Jerry that you can influence your life for the better regardless of the past. Through new and old friends alike, Jerry discovers you can move forward even when you can’t see exactly where you are going.

Director Morgan Mead attended Ball State University and the New York Film Academy where he first teamed up with Doug Jones on a short film, Dead End Delivery. He is currently in post production on The Alpha and the Mega, a hi-definition documentary exploring the underbelly of
the American Megachurch phenomenon. Mead has also directed numerous music videos, including work for the bands Perfect Confusion and The Elsa Project.

Ragman is an adaptation of National Book Award recipient Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s classic short story of unconditional love and self-sacrifice. This dramatic short follows a businessman, who on his walk to work meets the mysterious Ragman with his call of “new rags for old!”

The author of Ragman, Walter Wangerin Jr., hails from Valparaiso, Indiana.

Herman Spooner is a used car salesman who still lives at home with his parents. Turning 30 years old marks a hard deadline set by his mom and dad to get a place of his own. To top it off, Spooner’s boss is putting on the pressure to bring in some numbers or face the chopping block. Headed for one of the worst days of his life, Spooner meets the girl of his dreams, Rose Conlin. Instead of finding a bachelor pad, Spooner is now working on winning the heart of Rose, who is about to leave for the Philippines.

Co-producer and writer of Spooner, Lindsay Stidham, spent her early years making countless trips to Indianapolis as both of her parents are Hoosiers.

Weathered is the intimate portrait of Weather Wellington, who is caged in time by the loss of her fiancé. Retreating inside herself, Weather longs for human connection and reaches out the only way she knows how – by making doctors’ appointments.

Producer and co-director, Matt Webb, grew up in Huntington, Indiana and is a graduate of Huntington North High School and Huntington University. He has written, directed, produced, and toured the U.S. with an original theatrical musical revue, written film reviews and study guides, taught theatre at Huntington University, directed more than 15 staged productions in the U.S. and Haiti, and has produced alongside other up-and-coming filmmakers in Los Angeles. Webb recently finished his masters degree in theology and film at Fuller Theological Seminary and is completing his first feature screenplay Waking up Dead.

The film’s lead, Nicole Parker, is a graduate of Indiana University and recently finished a stint on Broadway as the lead in Wicked.