Entertainment Magazine: Film: Heartland Film Festival: 2012

Heartland Film Festival Ends on High Note

Heartland Film Festival CitizenPhoto: Closing Night at the 2012 Heartland Film Festival.

The Heartland Film Festival celebrated and honored some of the world’s most talented and inspiring independent filmmakers during the 21st Annual Heartland Film Festival Awards Ceremony at the Old National Centre last night. Awards and $140,000 in cash prizes were presented to 17 films.

“For 21 years we have had the incredible opportunity at Heartland to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, president and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. “We honor these independent filmmakers and recognize them for their significant contribution to the mission of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures.”
Awards and more than $140,000 in cash prizes were presented to 17 films. From those films, one Grand Prize winner was awarded per category:

  • The Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature and a $100,000 cash prize went to: Cairo 678, directed by Mohamed Diab.
  • The Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature and a $25,000 cash prize went to: Rising From Ashes, directed by T.C. Johnstone.
  • The Vision Award for Best Short Film and a $10,000 cash prize went to: Head Over Heels, directed by Timothy Reckart.

Chosen from thousands of ballots cast by audience members, the Audience Choice Awards were given to those films that were most enjoyed by Festival attendees. The 2012 winners are:

  • Audience Choice Award for Narrative Feature: A Bottle in the Gaza Sea, directed by Thierry Binisti.
  • Audience Choice Award for Documentary Feature (tie): Stuck, directed by Thaddaeus Scheel & Rising From Ashes, directed by T.C. Johnstone.
  • Audience Choice Award for Short Film: It Ain’t Over, directed by Caleb Slain.

Heartland Film Festival CitizenPhoto: Awards Ceremony at the 2012 Heartland Film Festival.

The glamorous event was emceed by Michael Grady, Indiana Pacers/Indiana Fever emcee and ESPN Radio personality, and introduced by Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. Special guest presenters included Greg Paul (President, Castle Rock Entertainment and Trustee of the Stewart Foundation), filmmaker Angelo Pizzo (“Rudy”, “Hoosiers”) and Corbin Bernsen.

Of the record 1,240 submissions this year (up from 858 last year), Heartland designated 17 feature‐length and short films as Festival Award Winners. Two student films received Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards and 15 films were honored with Crystal Heart Awards. These films were screened by multiple juries, embody Heartland’s mission and demonstrate excellence in filmmaking.

Five documentary feature Award winners competed for the Festival’s $25,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature. These films were: All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet, Rising From Ashes and Trash Dance. The winner was: Rising From Ashes

In addition to narrative and documentary feature competitions, Heartland presented the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short to Head Over Heels, one of the seven Award-winning short films. The films in this category included: Kipp Normand, Inocente, It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Head Over Heels, Dva, Buzkashi Boys and Assemble.

With the goal of inspiring the next generation of filmmaker, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures recognized high school filmmakers for the third year, through its Heartland Institute program. The Grand Prize Award, along with a cash prize of $2,500 and a camera package from Roberts Camera (The Official Camera provider of the Heartland Film Festival), was presented to Director Jenna Yonker of Blufton, Ind. for her film, Dream Away.

Heartland awarded more than $140,000 in cash prizes and winning filmmakers received a Crystal Heart Award designed by Marc Aronstam and Aronstam Fine Jewelers. The $25,000 Award for Best Documentary Feature was underwritten through the generosity of multiple Heartland donors, the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short Film was underwritten by an anonymous donation in honor of Jeff Sparks, and the Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards were underwritten by The Stewart Foundation. To date, Heartland has awarded more than $2.5 million to support filmmakers in their quest to create uplifting and inspiring films—more than any other festival in the nation.

About Heartland Truly Moving Pictures

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, a non-profit arts organization, seeks to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. 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 more than $125,000 in cash prizes and presents its Festival Awards to the top-judged submissions. Heartland has awarded more than $2.4 million to support filmmakers during the last 20 years.

The organization’s Truly Moving Picture Award was created to honor films released theatrically that align with Heartland’s mission. By bestowing this award seal to honored films, the award allows studios and distributors to inform audiences of a film’s transformative power and appeal. Heartland is also dedicated to cultivating youth, and thus created the Heartland Institute to provide innovative educational and outreach programs that enrich the minds and lives of youth and aspiring filmmakers. For more information, visit TrulyMovingPictures.org.

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