Film: Heartland Film Festival: 2007

Heartland Film Festival Announces Top Winners

“Bella” Receives $100,000 Grand Prize for Best Dramatic Feature, “Hear and Now” Receives $25,000 Award for Best Documentary Feature and “Validation” Receives the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short Film

Indianapolis, IN (October 20, 2007) – The Heartland Film Festival® celebrated and honored some of the world’s most talented and inspiring independent filmmakers during the 16th annual Crystal Heart Awards Gala at Conseco Fieldhouse tonight.

Awards and $200,000 in cash prizes were presented to 16 films. Heartland announced “Bella” by Alejandro Monteverde as the $100,000 Grand Prize Award Winner for Best Dramatic Feature; “Hear and Now” by Irene Taylor Brodsky as the winner of the $25,000 Award for Best Documentary Feature and “Validation” by Kurt Kuenne as the winner of the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short Film.
Award-winning correspondent for “Extra” and Indianapolis native Carlos Diaz emceed the glamorous awards ceremony. Special guests Haley Joel Osment (“Home of the Giants,” “Pay It Forward,” “Secondhand Lions”), Lisa Guerrero (“Inside Edition” correspondent, Executive Producer and actor in “A Plumm Summer”), Angelo Pizzo (“Hoosiers,” “Rudy”) and Judy Stewart (The Stewart Foundation) presented awards. Heartland paid special tribute to Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole (“Invisible Children: Rough Cut”) with the Pioneering Spirit Award for their creative spirit in filmmaking and for supporting the vision of Heartland Truly Moving PicturesTM.
“We are thrilled to present our Pioneering Spirit Award to Jason, Bobby and Laren, the youngest filmmakers to receive this distinguished honor,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, president and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. “These young men understand the power of film and how it can make a difference in people’s lives. We thank them for their inspiring work that has sparked an entire movement.”
During the program, Heartland honored 16 dramatic and documentary short and feature-length films. Four student films received Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards and 12 films were honored with Crystal Heart Awards. These films were selected from 619 submissions for top artistic and technical merit as well as for meeting Heartland’s mission.
The filmmakers honored with Crystal Heart Awards were: “Bella” – Producer/Director/Writer Alejandro Monteverde; “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy” – Director Alice Elliot; “Doubletime” – Producers  Andrea Meditch, Alexandra  Johnes and Producer/Director Stephanie Johnes; “Hear and Now” – Producer/ Director/Writer Irene Taylor Brodsky; “Lars and the Real Girl” – Producer John Cameron and Director Craig Gillespie; “Man In the Chair” – Producer/Writer/Director Michael Schroeder; “Mia Sarah” – Director/Writer Gustavo Ron, Producers Álvaro Ron, Andrés Barbé and Composer Cesar Benito; “Nanking” – Producer Michael  Jacobs; “New Year Baby” – Director Socheata Poeuv; “Owl and the Sparrow” – Director/Writer Stephane Gauger; “Validation” – Producer/Director/Writer Kurt Kuenne; and “War/Dance” – Executive Producer Susan MacLaury and Producer Albie Hecht.
The filmmakers honored with the Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award included: “The Little Gorilla” – Producer/Writer/Director Harry Kellerman; “Monsoon” – Producer/Director/Writer Shyam Balsé; “Still Life” – Director/Writer Mahesh Pailoor and “THE WINDFISHERMAN” – Director/Writer Anna McRoberts.
Heartland also recognized the 17 films selected from November 2006 to date as recipients of the Truly Moving Picture Award. They are: “A Mighty Heart,” “Amazing Grace,” “August Rush,” “Becoming Jane,” “Beyond the Gates,” “Bridge to Terebithia,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Enchanted,” “Freedom Writers,” “Gracie,” “Happy Feet,” “The Hip Hop Project,” “The Kite Runner,” “Martian Child,” “Meet The Robinsons,” “Miss Potter,” “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “The Nativity Story,” “Ratatouille,” “The Seeker,” “The Ultimate Gift” and “We Are Marshall.”
Additional special guests at this year’s Crystal Heart Award Gala  included: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group President Mark Zoradi; Executive Producer Scott Erickson, Producer/Writer Frank Antonelli, Producer/Director/Writer Caroline Zelder, stars Morgan Flynn and Chris Kelly, “A Plumm Summer”; star Manuel Lozano, “Mia Sarah”; star Cat Ly, “Owl and the Sparrow”; Sally and Paul Taylor, featured in “Hear and Now”; Nin and Houng Pouev, featured in “New Year Baby”; Diana Braun and Kathy Conour featured in “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy”; Producer/Writer Mark Condron, Director Brian Gordon, and featured individual Dr. Elaine Cox, “Heart to Heart”; Producer Michael Swanson, “All About Us”; Executive Producer/Writer Cullen Schippe, Producer/Director Phil Cooke, Director Brian Mead and Producer Darren Morman, “The Better Hour: The Legacy of William Wilberforce”; Producer/Director/Writer Robert Zappia and Producer Jim Praytor, “CHRISTMAS IS HERE AGAIN!”; Director/Writer Rusty Gorman, actor Robert Garlati, “Home of the Giants”; Producer/Director Dallas Jenkins, “Midnight Clear”; Producer Andrew MacVicar, Director Sherry Devanney MacVicar and featured individual Isabel MacVicar, “Our Race”; and Producer Rick Eldridge, “The Ultimate Gift.”
This year Heartland awarded $200,000 in cash prize money to winning filmmakers, a 50 percent increase from two years prior. Filmmakers also received the Crystal Heart Award designed by Mark Aronstam of Aronstam Designer/Fine Jewelers. The $100,000 Grand Prize Award is underwritten by the Max Simon Charitable Foundation and the $25,000 award is underwritten by Bright Ideas in Broad Ripple and The Godby Family Foundation. The $10,000 Vision Award is underwritten by Vision Racing. To date, Heartland has awarded more than $1.8 million to support filmmakers in their quest to create dramatically different films.
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, a non-profit organization, seeks to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by expressing hope and emphasizing the best of the human spirit. Its flagship event, the Heartland Film Festival, launched in 1991 and runs each October in Indianapolis, screening independent films from around the world.

Each year, the Festival awards $200,000 in cash prizes and presents its Crystal Heart Awards to the top-judged submissions.  Heartland has awarded more than $1.8 million to support filmmakers during the last 16 years. The organization’s Truly Moving Picture Award was created to honor films released theatrically that align with Heartland’s mission.

By bestowing a watermark to honored films, the award allows studios and distributors to inform audiences of a film’s uplifting message and appeal.  Heartland is also dedicated to its relationship with the National Collaboration for Youth and its expanding F.I.L.M., “Finding Inspiration in Literature and Movies,” project.  For more information, visit

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