Entertainment Magazine: Film: Heartland Film Festival: 2014

Heartland Film Festival 2014

Robert Downey Jr. kicks off 2014 Heartland Film Festival with surprise appearance for “The Judge"

Festival announces “Belle and Sebastian” as closing night film, special presentations of The Weinstein Company’s “St. Vincent” and “The Imitation Game”

The 23rd annual Heartland Film Festival kicked off on Saturday, Oct. 4 with a special party and advance screening of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Judge.” Director David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”) traveled to Indianapolis in support of the film that opens wide on Oct. 10, 2014.

Fans were stunned when Robert Downey Jr. made a surprise introduction before show time. Downey Jr. returned after the screening for a question-and-answer session with Dobkin and Heartland Film President Stuart Lowry. 

“A powerful and entertaining film set in Indiana, ‘The Judge’ was a perfect fit to launch the 2014 Heartland Film Festival,” said Lowry. “The surprise appearance from an actor of Robert Downey Jr.’s caliber shows that we have something very special here in Indianapolis. This was an amazing day for all the fans and supporters of the Heartland Film Festival. We want to sincerely thank Robert Downey Jr., David Dobkin and Warner Bros. Pictures for making this special event possible.” 

Closing Night Title Announced
“Belle and Sebastian,” directed by Nicolas Vanier
• Saturday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. - Indianapolis Museum of Art
• Screening: $25, After-Party: $20, Combo: $40
A beloved story since the 1960s television series introduced resourceful young Sebastian and the giant mountain sheepdog he tames and calls Belle, this heartwarming film is set during WWII in the snowy Alps of occupied France, on the border of Switzerland. Sebastian, lonely and dreaming of the day his mother will return from America for him, befriends “the beast” the local farmers are convinced is killing their sheep – an enormous yet gentle sheepdog who quickly becomes the boy’s best friend and protector. With Nazis in the village rooting out the resistance fighters helping Jewish refugees cross the border, Belle and Sebastian’s loyalty – to each other and the village that’s embraced them both – will be put to the test. In French with English subtitles.

Audience Choice Award winners will be announced in each category, as will the winners of the Best Premiere prizes ($5,000 each for Best Narrative Feature Premiere and Best Documentary Feature Premiere). End the night at the Jazz Kitchen after-party with live music by Sarah Scharbrough.

Sponsored by The David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation

Special Presentation Features Added

In partnership with The Weinstein Co., Heartland Film will present special screenings of two upcoming feature films:

“St. Vincent,” directed by Ted Melfi

• Starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd and Terrence Howard
• Sunday, Oct. 19 – 7 p.m. at AMC Traders Point Showplace 12
Maggie (Melissa McCarthy), a single mother, moves into a new home in Brooklyn with her 12-year old son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher). Forced to work long hours, she has no choice but to leave Oliver in the care of their new neighbor, Vincent (Bill Murray), a retired curmudgeon with a penchant for alcohol and gambling. An odd friendship soon blossoms between the improbable pair. Together with a pregnant stripper named Daka (Naomi Watts), Vincent brings Oliver along on all the stops that make up his daily routine – the race track, a strip club, and the local dive bar. Vincent helps Oliver grow to become a man, while Oliver begins to see in Vincent something that no one else is able to: a misunderstood man with a good heart.

The Weinstein Company, with Chernin Entertainment, present “St. Vincent,” starring Bill Murray (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Monuments Men”), Melissa McCarthy (“Tammy,” “The Heat”), Naomi Watts (“The Impossible,” “J. Edgar”), Chris O’Dowd (“Calvary,” “Thor: The Dark World”), Terrence Howard (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler”, “Hustle and Flow”) and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher (“A Many Splintered Thing”). In theaters everywhere Nov. 21, 2014.

“The Imitation Game,” directed by Morten Tyldum

• Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Rory Kinnear
• Wednesday, Oct. 22 – 8:45 p.m. at AMC Castleton Square 14
During the winter of 1952, British authorities entered the home of mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to investigate a reported burglary. They instead ended up arresting Turing himself on charges of ‘gross indecency’, an accusation that would lead to his devastating conviction for the criminal offense of homosexuality – little did officials know, they were actually incriminating the pioneer of modern-day computing. Famously leading a motley group of scholars, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, he was credited with cracking the so-called unbreakable codes of Germany's WWII Enigma machine.

An intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man, “The Imitation Game” follows a genius who under nail-biting pressure helped to shorten the war and, in turn, save thousands of lives. Directed by Morten Tyldum with a screenplay by Graham Moore, the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Fifth Estate", "Star Trek Into Darkness", and TV’s "Sherlock"), Keira Knightley (BAFTA nominee for “Atonement”, Oscar® nominee for "Pride and Prejudice"), Matthew Goode (“Stoker”, "A Single Man"), Rory Kinnear ("Skyfall"), Allen Leech (“In Fear”, TV’s "Downton Abbey"), Matthew Beard ("An Education"), Charles Dance ("Gosford Park", TV's "Game of Thrones") and Mark Strong Strong ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"). In theaters everywhere Oct. 24, 2014.

Indiana’s oldest and longest-running celebration of independent film, the 2014 Heartland Film Festival will run from Oct. 16-25, 2014 across Indianapolis. Visit www.heartlandfilmfestival.org for full schedule and tickets.


The 23rd annual Heartland Film Festival breaks all-time film submissions record, is set to bestow $115,000 in cash prizes and will feature 131 independent films over 10 days across Indianapolis

(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Heartland Film Festival—Indiana’s largest and longest-running independent film festival—will showcase more than 130 independent films and gives audiences access to more than 100 independent filmmakers from around the world from Oct. 16-25, 2014. With red carpet premieres and events, parties, and hundreds of film screenings, the Heartland Film Festival offers the best of world cinema right in the heart of the Midwest.

“The films in this year’s Heartland Film Festival represent myriad cultural experiences throughout the United States and in over 40 countries around the world,’ said Tim Irwin, Heartland Film’s artistic director. ‘Some of the films might inspire viewers (‘We Are the Giant,’ ‘East Side Sushi,’ ‘Dukale’s Dream’); some will challenge and change audiences’ perspectives on the world both at home and overseas (‘Drunktown’s Finest,’ ‘Cicada,’ ‘Siddharth,’ ‘Marmato’). Others will warm the heart (‘Finding Harmony,’ ‘Mistaken for Strangers,’ ‘Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind’), while some will bring smiles to faces or provoke outright laughter (‘The Referee,’ ‘Ben’s at Home,’ ‘Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey’).”

The complete Heartland Film Festival lineup and schedule can be viewed at heartlandfilmfestival.org.

Special Kickoff Screening Event & Party – “The Judge” with Director David Dobkin

• Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014 -  Director David Dobkin scheduled to attend with a question-and-answer session to follow screening
• Pre-party: 5 p.m., Café Patachou, Keystone at the Crossing, tickets $40
• Screening: 7 p.m., AMC Castleton Square 14 - pre-party ticket holders are invited to this advance, free screening of “The Judge”
From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures comes “The Judge,” which pairs two-time Oscar® nominee Robert Downey Jr. (“Chaplin,” “Tropic Thunder”) and Oscar® winner Robert Duvall (“Tender Mercies”), starring together for the first time on the big screen. The film also stars Oscar® nominee Vera Farmiga (“Up in the Air”) and Oscar® winner Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade”), and is directed by David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”).

In “The Judge,” Downey stars as big city defense attorney Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

Opening Night Screening & Party – “Men, Women & Children”

• Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, 7 p.m.
• The Toby, Indianapolis Museum of Art with party to follow at Deer Zink Pavilion
• Tickets $40
• Sponsored by The David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation
The 2014 Heartland Film Festival will open with director Jason Reitman’s new film, “Men, Women & Children.” The film follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image and their love lives. The film wrestles with social issues such as video game culture, anorexia, infidelity, fame hunting and the proliferation of illicit material on the internet. As each character and each relationship is tested, we are shown the variety of roads people choose – some tragic, some hopeful – as it becomes clear that no one is immune to the enormous social change that has come through our phones, our tablets and our computers. The film’s ensemble cast includes Judy Greer, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, J.K. Simmons, and Emma Thompson. Based on the novel by Chad Kultgen

An in-depth discussion of the many issues presented by the film with follow the screening. A panel of experts and filmmakers will discuss the effects that today’s online culture, including sexting, online pornography, body image issues and online gaming, can have on personal relationships.

Festival Award Winners in Contention for Grand Prizes 

More than $115,000 will be awarded to independent filmmakers at the Heartland Film Festival Awards Ceremony, on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. On this evening, Heartland Film will recognize the best independent filmmakers from all over the world and bestow the Festival’s top prizes:

• $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature. Films in contention include:
• “Cicada,” directed by Dean Yamada (Japan)
• “Drunktown’s Finest,” directed by Sydney Freeland (USA)
• “The Referee,” directed by Paolo Zucca (Italy, Argentina)
• “Siddharth,” directed by Richie Mehta (India, Canada)
• “Uzumasa Limelight,” directed by Ken Ochiai (Japan)
• $45,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature. Films in contention include:
• “Gabor,” directed by Sebastián Alfie (Spain)
• “Happiness,” directed by Thomas Balmés (France, Finland)
• “Light Fly, Fly High,” directed by Beathe Hofseth, Susann Østigaard (Norway)
• “Marmato,” directed by Mark Grieco (Columbia, USA)
• “We Are the Giant,” directed by Greg Barker (Bahrain, Lybia, Syria, USA)
• $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short*
Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award
• “Grand Canal,” directed by Johnny Ma (China)
• “Houses with Small Windows,” directed by Bülent Öztürk (Belgium)
• “Keys of Heaven,” directed by Hamy Ramezan (Finland)
• “Record,” directed by David Lyons (Australia)
• “Yearbook,” directed by Bernardo Britto (USA)
• $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short
Underwritten by Heartland Film Endowment’s Sparks Vision Award
• “German Shepherd,” directed by Nils Bergendal (Sweden)
• “Our Curse,” directed by Tomasz ?liwi?ski (Poland)
• “Ghosts on the Mountain,” directed by Jared Jakins, Carly Jakins (USA)
• “Showfolk,” directed by Ned McNeilage (USA)
• “White Earth,” directed by J. Christian Jensen (USA)
• $2,000 prizes for the Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards
• “Grand Canal,” directed by Johnny Ma (China)
• “Our Curse,” directed by Tomasz ?liwi?ski (Poland)
• $2,500 Grand Prize Winner of the High School Film Competition
• “Chris,” directed by Zachary Oschin (USA)
*The Heartland Film Festival has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within the Short Films category. This means that the winner of the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

Premiere Titles

Among its Official Selection titles, these select films will launch their festival run at the 2014 Heartland Film Festival:

• “American Real: The Forrest Lucas Story” (Official Selection, Documentary Feature), directed by Brad Grimm (USA)
• Cast includes Forrest Lucas, Charlotte Lucas, Carol Cummins, Connie Schooler and Brenda Harris
• Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
• “Highway to Dhampus” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Rick McFarland (Nepal, United Kingdom, USA)
• Cast includes Rachel Hurd-Wood, Raj Ballav Koirala, Suesha Rana, Gunner Wright and Sophie McShera
• Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
• “Dukale’s Dream” (Official Selection, Documentary Feature), directed by Josh Rothstein (Ethiopia, USA)
• Cast includes Hugh Jackman, Daborra-Lee Furness, Dukale, Tim Costello, Assefa Tofu, Jeffrey Sachs, Takele Mammo
• Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
• “The Sound and the Shadow” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Justin Paul Miller (USA)
• Cast includes Joseph E. Murrary, Mary Kate Wiles, Alex Anfanger, Rhomeyn Johnson
• Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
• “Strangely in Love” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature), directed by Amin Matalqa (USA)
• Cast includes Jemuel Morris, Michelle Lang, Sean Carrigan, Amanda Plummer, Abigail Culwell
• Talent from the film is scheduled to attend
Local Connections

Although the Heartland Film Festival showcases independent cinema from all over the world, it still recognizes talent in its own backyard. Local programming and filmmakers with Indiana ties include:

Indiana Spotlight program, supported by the Indiana Media Production Alliance:

• This collection of films (“The Healing Wall,” “Three Months” and “We’ll Be All Right”) features projects by three Indiana filmmakers; the films may have originated in Indiana, but their themes and ideas are universal.
Other films with Indiana connections include:

• Arne Ahrens, director of “My Circumcision” (Official Selection, Narrative Short Film - “Shorts Program 7: It’s Tough to Be a Kid”) is a Ball State University graduate.
• Sean Mullin, director of “Amira & Sam” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature) was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Zionsville, Ind.
• Jace Freeman, director of “The Ballad of Shovels and Rope” (Official Selection, Documentary Feature) grew up in Indianapolis and lives in Nashville, TN - this will be Jace’s third film programmed at the Heartland Film Festival.
• James Portolese, producer of “All-Stars” (Official Selection, Narrative Feature) is from South Bend and graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington.
View the complete 2014 Heartland Film Festival lineup with schedule of films and events at heartlandfilmfestival.org.

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