Film: Heartland Film Festival: Truly Moving Pictures 2009


“The Blind Side” and “Invictus” Claim Top Spots on List of Year’s Most Meaningful Films

Indianapolis, IN (Jan. 13, 2010) - In conjunction with the start of awards season, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures is honoring the films that it has deemed the Top 10 “Truly Moving Pictures” of 2009. These “top ten” films were chosen from the total 22 films that were bestowed with the Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award in 2009. The award was created by Heartland Truly Moving Pictures as a way to honor theatrically released films that meet Heartland’s mission of emphasizing the best of the human spirit.

Honored films, in order of the top selected, are

1.       The Blind Side – Warner Bros.
A valuable lesson on compassion, The Blind Side shares the inspiring true story of a strong, courageous woman and her family who are compelled to adopt a young man despite their differences and backgrounds, showing what it means for a family to unite in order to help someone that is less fortunate than themselves.
2.       Invictus – Warner Bros.
Based on a true story, Invictus shows how Nelson Mandela used the power of camaraderie and patriotism by joining forces with the South Africa rugby team in an attempt to erase the racial barriers that were destroying the country.
3.       The Horse Boy – Zeitgeist Films
An intensely personal yet epic spiritual journey, The Horse Boy follows a couple and their autistic son through a courageous trek on horseback through outer Mongolia in a desperate attempt to treat his condition with shamanic healing.
4.       Up –Disney/Pixar
Up is a sentimental love story that takes us on a journey of discovery with a 78-year-old widower who leaves his life behind to fulfill the adventurous life he promised his wife. Up proves that even at age 78, there are lessons to be learned and shows viewers the true meaning of commitment.
5.       The Cove – Lions Gate
A documentary on the treatment of dolphins of the coast of Japan, The Cove is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery that adds up to an urgent plea for hope and a call for redemption and justice.
6. Herb & Dorothy - Fine Line Media
A film of pure selflessness and passion, Herb & Dorothy is a documentary of a couple’s commitment to and love for art that inspired them to build one of the most important, contemporary art collections in history with very modest means, only to then give it all away without taking a profit.
7.       The Soloist – Paramount Pictures
The Soloist is based on an incredible true story of a disenchanted journalist’s transformative odyssey through the hidden streets of Los Angeles, where he discovers and builds a most unlikely friendship with a man from those same streets, bonding through the redemptive power of music.
8.       The Boys Are Back – Miramax Films
Inspired by a true story, The Boys are Back is a deeply moving, wryly confessional tale of fatherhood that intimately evokes both the fragility and wonders of family life.
9.       My Sister's Keeper – Warner Bros.
My Sister’s Keeper is a powerful story of one child’s sacrifice for her sister, revealing surprising truths that challenge one’s perceptions of family, love and loyalty and give new meaning to the definition of healing.
10.   Amreeka – National Geographic Entertainment
Amreeka is a universal journey into the lives of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world in which they now live while they search for a place to call home.
Heartland’s top two selections, The Blind Side, starring Sandra Bullock, and Invictus, starring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, are in theaters now, wowing critics and audiences alike. The Blind Side has earned Bullock a People’s Choice Award and a nomination for a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award. Both Damon and Freeman earned SAG Award nominations for their roles in Invictus and the film has been nominated for three Golden Globes.
“This is the first time we have developed a ‘top ten’ list for our Truly Moving Picture Award winners,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, President and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. “We felt it was important to honor these standout films and those who created them, and for their great contribution to the film community in 2009.”
By bestowing a watermark to honored films, the award allows studios and distributors to inform audiences of a film’s uplifting message and appeal. In turn, Heartland hopes that audiences who have been meaningfully impacted by these films will then recognize and continue to look for the Truly Moving Picture Award watermark to use as a guide in selecting quality films among the newly-released films at their local theaters.
“It is our hope that the Truly Moving Picture Award will become a standard that filmmakers and studios wish to aspire to,” added Sparks. “By giving them this award we hope to be able to encourage filmmakers and studios to make more of these enriching and inspiring films.”
To view the complete list of Heartland’s award winners, visit
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 $2.2 million to support filmmakers during the last 18 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 & Movies,” Project.  For more information, visit

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