The Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center (JCC) will screen Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh on Monday, September 10 at 7 p.m. This feature-length documentary is a 2008 Heartland Film Festival Award winner. The filmmakers will join the audience in a Skype discussion after the screening.
Academy Award® nominee Joan Allen narrates the first documentary feature about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet turned paratrooper and modern-day Joan of Arc. Hannah Senesh joined the only military rescue mission for Jews during the Holocaust and parachuted into Nazi-occupied territory to help save her native Hungary’s Jews. With unprecedented access to the family’s archive, the film unfolds through the writings of Hannah and Catherine Senesh.
Tickets are $3 for JCC members and $5 for general public; they may be ordered through JCC Cultural Arts. The screening is funded by the LDI 100th Anniversary Celebration Cultural Partnership Gift Program and is a preview of the upcoming Ann Katz Festival of Books and Arts at the JCC, October 24-November 17.
After a solid run at the 2011 Heartland Film Festival, The Hammer hits theaters Thursday October 27! This Crystal Heart Award winner won over Festival goers with the story of Matt Hamill, the first deaf wrestler to win a National Collegiate Championship. Raised among those with the ability to hear, Matt later finds himself no less an outsider amidst the Deaf Community. Through sheer determination, he uses his perceived disability as an asset to beat the odds.
With screenings all over the country, there’s bound to be a location near you. Head to The Hammer Official Website for screening locations.
Kurt Kuenne on the set of his latest film Shuffle.
I first crossed paths with the Heartland Film Festival in 2007 when my short film Validation won a Crystal Heart Award as well as the Vision Award for Best Short Film and the Audience Choice Award, all in one whirlwind weekend. When I received the Vision Award, I was astounded that a film festival existed that gave a $10,000 cash prize for Best Short Film and even more astounded that I was the one receiving it.
And it came at a very important time for me. At the time I had been working around the clock without pay for a year, editing and completing a documentary that I wholeheartedly believed in. I had raised enough money to finish the film, but not enough to pay myself, and it would be another nine months before I saw any income for my efforts. That $10,000 cash prize made it possible for me to keep working on my documentary in a focused and efficient manner that allowed me to do my best work without worrying about looking for other paying projects.
That documentary, Dear Zachary: a letter to a son about his father, was released to great acclaim the following year, was picked up by MSNBC for television, Oscilloscope Laboratories for theatrical and DVD release, was named one of the top five documentaries of 2008 by the National Board of Review and was listed as “One of the Year’s 10 Best” by more than 40 film critics. Most importantly, though, when I screened it for Canada’s Parliament the following year, it inspired the creation of Bill C-464, which proposed amending Canada’s bail code to give courts the power to deny bail to someone accused of a serious crime who is deemed a potential danger to children under the age of 18. Bill C-464 finally became law on December 15, 2010.
During the past three years, I’ve received nine letters from people who claim that viewing the documentary made them discard suicide plans and vow to embrace life from that point on. Though they may not have been aware of it at the time, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures helped make all of this possible because their prize money helped me live during the final months of completing this film.
Heartland invited me back in 2008, where I received a Crystal Heart Award from my short film Slow. The prize money helped me as I was about to dive into work on another year-long film production where I would again be working without pay until the film sold.
Kurt Kuenne on the set of his latest film Shuffle.
Filmmakers working with small budgets, like I’ve been doing for several years now, have to move forward on faith. They often have to make up their minds to dedicate an enormous amount of time to a project without any guarantee of financial compensation in order to will a film into being. If an independent filmmaker were to wait around for someone to pay them for their efforts, their project might never get made at all. Heartland’s support of filmmakers, with incredibly generous cash prizes, has a kind of lasting ripple effect that encourages this creation, and you may never know the full extent of the impact it is having in the world – but rest assured that it is making a powerful dent.
As Heartland Truly Moving Pictures celebrates 20 years, I extend my sincerest thanks to everyone at the Heartland Film Festival for everything they’ve done and I hope you will consider making a gift to this extraordinary and rare organization so they may continue to support filmmakers whose current work shows promise of great cultural contribution, and whose future work just might be of great significance to making people happier the world over…and you will have helped make that possible.
Writer/Director/Composer Validation (HFF 2007), Slow and The Phone Book (HFF 2008)
With the Academy Award nominations announced this morning, we’d like to congratulate the new nominees who received the Truly Moving Picture Award and were award winners at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival!
The big winner is The King’s Speech, which recently topped our list of the Top 10 Truly Moving Picture Award winners of 2010. The King’s Speech received twelve nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (stay tuned for our interview with director Tom Hooper!), Best Lead Actor (Colin Firth), Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter) and Best Original Screenplay, among others.
Toy Story 3 received nominations for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted Screenplay, Sound Editing and Best Original Song, accounting for five total nominations.
How to Train Your Dragon was also nominated in the Best Animated Feature category, and also received a mention for Best Original Score.
Another big name in the nominations is Winter’s Bone, which received four big nominations, including Best Picture, Best Lead Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (John Hawkes), and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Other TMPA-winning nominees include Tangled, nominated for Best Original Song, and Restrepo, which garnered a nodfor Best Documentary.
Congratulations are also in order for our Festival winners included in the Academy Award nominations! Festival Crystal Heart Award winner in the documentary feature category Waste Land was nominated alongside Restrepofor Best Documentary Feature, Festival Crystal Heart Award winners Sun Come Up and God of Lovewere nominated for Best Documentary Short and Best Short Film respectively.
All told, TMPA winners amassed 26 Academy Award nominations, while films that won Festival Awards at last year’s Festival grabbed three total nominations. Congratulations to all of the nominees; we’ll be rooting for you on February 27th! Join us on Twitter during the broadcast for updates and conversation!