The 26th annual Heartland International Film Festival will take place October 12 to 22, 2017.  Director Rob Reiner will return to Heartland for the opening night screening of his new film “LBJ”  and will receive Heartland Film’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award. “LBJ” stars Woody Harrelson and is about Lyndon B. Johnson’s ascent to the presidency following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Reiner will also be in attendance for special screenings of classic titles “Stand By Me” and “The Princess Bride” the next morning.

Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies” will close the festival on Sunday, October 22. “Laddie” is one daughter’s journey to discover her father, Alan Ladd, Jr, the quiet studio head and producer behind such iconic films as “Star Wars,” “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “Chariots of Fire,” and “Young Frankenstein.” Amanda Ladd-Jones’ quest leads her to understand her father as the man that he is and the impact he’s had on American Cinema. Director Amanda Ladd-Jones will be in attendance to accept Heartland Film’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of her father.

“We are kicking off the next 25 years of Heartland Film with a bang,” said Craig Prater, President of Heartland Film. “Our international lineup of films has expanded by 75 movies over last year, including 10 titles just announced as official entries for Best Foreign Language Film for the 2018 Academy Awards. We will welcome an unprecedented number of film groups, distributors, and filmmakers this year, and our board, staff, and volunteers are ready to elevate the Heartland International Film Festival from the industry’s best kept secret to a Midwest destination and marketplace. ”

Heartland will host 16 premiere titles and more than 150 filmmakers and members of the international film industry, including Chaz Ebert, who will be in attendance for a special screening of the Roger Ebert documentary “Life Itself” and to moderate a film critics panel to include Klaus Eder, the general secretary of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). Additional panel topics include Indiana filmmaking, women in film, and entertainment law.

Special presentation sneak previews of major motion pictures and documentaries will include; Heartland Film Truly Moving Picture Award winners “Breathe” , “The Florida Project”, and “Thank You for Your Service”; in addition to “Bill Nye: Science Guy”, “The Ballad of Lefty Brown”, and “Columbus”. For the first time ever, Heartland will feature 10 international titles recently announced as official entries for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 2018 Academy Awards.


Opening Night Screening and After Party – “LBJ
Thursday, Oct. 12 – Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, 7 p.m.
Narrative feature directed by Rob Reiner. Scheduled appearance by Director Rob Reiner. After party to feature live music from Josh Kaufman (“The Voice”). Sponsored by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.

GLOW: Awards Party
Saturday, Oct. 21 – The Hi-Fi/Pure Eatery in Fountain Square, 7 p.m.
GLOW: Awards Party is not your typical awards show. The night will shine a light on our top Festival award winners with a neon glow party featuring DJ Michael Graves, Pork and Beans Brass Band, Pinvault Pinball, food trucks, and more. Sponsored by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.

Filmmakers’ Brunch
Sunday, Oct. 22 – The Montage, 11 a.m.
Discover the inspiration behind some of your favorite Heartland Film Festival movies by joining the filmmakers for an informal brunch. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with storytellers and to hear different perspectives on all aspects of the filmmaking process.

Closing Night Screening and After Party – “Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
Sunday, Oct. 22 – AMC Castleton Square 14, 7 p.m.
Documentary feature directed by Amanda Ladd-Jones. Scheduled appearance by Director Amanda Ladd-Jones. After-party to feature live music by Joshua Powell. Sponsored by the David and Betty Klapper Family Foundation.


Heartland Film Festival is excited to present four panel discussions exploring various aspects of the filmmaking industry including film criticism, Indiana filmmaking, women in film, and entertainment law. Most panel discussions are free and open to the public, but they do require a ticket for admittance. All panel discussions will take place at AMC Castleton Square 14 in the Woodbridge Pavilion.

Film Critics Panel – Friday, Oct. 13, 7 p.m.
What does it take to be a film critic? Join moderator Chaz Ebert as she discusses the intricacies of film criticism with renowned local and international industry professionals. Panelists include Klaus Eder (General Secretary of the International Federation of Film Critics), Christopher Lloyd, and Richard Propes. Free, but ticketed.

Indiana Filmmakers Panel – Tuesday, Oct. 17, 6 p.m.
What are the challenges and advantages of local filmmakers in Indianapolis? Join moderator Nathan Bechtold (Indiana Filmmakers Network) as he discusses the Indy film scene with local industry professionals. Panelists Amy Pauszek, Glenn Pratt, and Jack Lugar. Free, but ticketed.

Women In Film Panel – Wednesday, Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m.
What’s it like being a female filmmaker in a male dominated industry? Join moderator Barbara Ann O’Leary (Directed by Women) as she discusses tricks of the trade and industry insights with three industry professionals. Panelists Naghmeh Farzaneh, Laura Goodenow, and Andie Redwine. Free, but ticketed.

Entertainment Law Panel: What’s Next for My Film? – Thursday, Oct. 19, 3 p.m.
Completing a film requires hard work, creativity, and never-ending money-raising efforts. But what happens next? This panel of experts will help filmmakers understand their options. Should they secure a distributor and what does that mean? What are the advantages and disadvantages of filmmakers working the film festival circuit and what legal rights do filmmakers maintain? This and more will be addressed during this program of particular interest to filmmakers and fans of filmmaking. Moderated by Cate Sabatine (Co-chair, Indianapolis Bar Association’s Sports & Entertainment Law Executive Committee) with panelists Ron Elberger (Bose McKinney & Evans), Neil Friedman (Founder/President, Menemsha Films), Angelo Pizzo (“Hoosiers,” “Rudy,” “My All-American”).


Stand By Me” (1986)
Narrative Feature, Columbia Pictures, Truly Moving Picture Award Winner – Directed by Rob Reiner
After the death of a friend, a writer recounts a boyhood journey to find the body of a missing boy.
Director Rob Reiner scheduled to attend.

The Princess Bride” (1987)
Narrative Feature, 20th Century Fox, Truly Moving Picture Award Winner – Directed by Rob Reiner
While home sick in bed, a young boy’s grandfather reads him a story called “The Princess Bride.”
Director Rob Reiner scheduled to attend.

Life Itself” (2014)
Documentary Feature, Magnolia Pictures – Directed by Steve James
The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.
Featured subject Chaz Ebert scheduled to attend.

The Florida Project
Narrative Feature, A24, Truly Moving Picture Award Winner – Directed by Sean Baker
Warm, winning and gloriously alive, Sean Baker’s The Florida Project is a deeply moving and unforgettably poignant look at childhood. Starring Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto, and Bria Vinaite.

Bill Nye: Science Guy
Documentary Feature, PBS Films – Directed by David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
A famous television personality struggles to restore science to its rightful place in a world hostile to evidence and reason.

Thank You For Your Service
Narrative Feature, DreamWorks Pictures, Truly Moving Picture Award Winner – Directed by Jason Hall
DreamWorks Pictures’ “Thank You for Your Service” follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggle to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield. Starring an ensemble cast led by Miles Teller, Haley Bennett, Joe Cole, Amy Schumer, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Brad Beyer, Omar J. Dorsey, and Jayson Warner Smith, the drama is based on the bestselling book by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author David Finkel.

Narrative Feature, Front Row Filmed Entertainment – Directed by Kogonada
When a renowned architecture scholar falls suddenly ill during a speaking tour, his son Jin (John Cho) finds himself stranded in Columbus, Ind. – a small Midwestern city celebrated for its many significant modernist buildings. Jin strikes up a friendship with Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. As their intimacy develops, Jin and Casey explore both the town and their conflicted emotions: Jin’s estranged relationship with his father, and Casey’s reluctance to leave Columbus and her mother.

Narrative Feature, Bleecker Street Media, Truly Moving Picture Award Winner – Directed by Andy Serkis
For his directorial debut, Andy Serkis brings to life the inspiring true love story between Robin and Diana Cavendish (Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy), an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Written by two-time Academy Award® nominated writer William Nicholson, and shot by three-time Academy Award® winner Robert Richardson.

The Ballad of Lefty Brown
Narrative Feature, A24 – Directed by Jared Moshé
When famed Frontier Lawman Eddie Johnson (Peter Fonda) is unexpectedly killed, his longtime sidekick and friend Lefty Brown (Bill Pullman) will stop at nothing to avenge Johnson’s death.


Voyage of the Southern Sun
U.S. Premiere, Documentary Feature, Australia – Directed by Robert Murphy
Australian Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year, Michael Smith, discovered the delights and perils of true adventure in a solo circumnavigation in his tiny amphibious flying boat, Southern Sun, that retraced historical Qantas, Imperial and Pan Am airmail routes, in search of the glory days of 1930s aviation.

Marvin Booker Was Murdered
U.S. Premiere, Documentary Feature, U.S. – Directed by Wade Gardner
Marvin Booker was murdered. The jail guards lied. The city of Denver covered it up. The Booker family lived it. Their attorneys exposed it. We reveal it.
Director Wade Gardner and members of the Booker family are scheduled to attend.

blank 13
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, Japan – Directed by Takumi Saitoh
Following the death of his deadbeat father, a son discovers that there was more to him than anyone in the family suspected.
Director/Actor Takumi Saitoh scheduled to attend.

World Premiere, Narrative Feature, U.S. – Directed by Ramaa Mosley
A dramatic thriller about an army veteran suffering from PTSD who returns home to the Ozarks to look for her brother, but finds an abandoned boy in the woods. As she searches for answers about who the child is, she discovers a mysterious world of folk lore, clan rules and lies.
Director Ramaa Mosley and Actor Leven Rambin scheduled to attend.

No Postage Necessary
World Premiere, Narrative Feature, U.S. – Directed by Jeremy Culver
When a brilliant computer hacker tries to win the heart of a war widow, he must become the man he’s always envisioned or risk going back to prison.
Director Jeremy Culver, cast and crew scheduled to attend.

The New Fire
World Premiere, Documentary Feature, U.S. – Directed by David Schumacher
The good news—there’s a new solution to climate change. The bad news—we may not like it. From MIT to Silicon Valley, young engineers are rebooting a controversial and all but abandoned technology—nuclear power.
Director David Schumacher scheduled to attend.

Triumph: The Untold Story of Perry Wallace
World Premiere, Documentary Feature, U.S. – Directed by Richard Gentile
Narrated by Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker, “Triumph” is a unique window on America’s civil rights movement that chronicles Perry Wallace’s evolution from a reluctant “pioneer” in the final throes of the “Jim Crow” era to a determined “game-changer.”
Director Richard Gentile scheduled to attend.

Mum’s List
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, UK – Directed by Niall Johnson
A heart-warming true life story of Singe and Kate Greene, whose lives were turned upside down when Kate was diagnosed with an incurable breast cancer. Over her last few months she creates her list: writing her thoughts and memories down to help the man she loved create the best life possible for their two sons after she is gone.
Producer Nick Hamson or Producer Gareth Jones scheduled to attend.

Little Kyota Neon Hood
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, Japan – Directed by Satsuki Okawa
Kyota, a 12-year-old Japanese boy who’s never seen without his bright protective hood, learns that his beloved Scottish teacher is leaving town. The news causes a stir in the community, rekindling recent memories of their struggles in post-disaster Japan.
Director/Writer Satsuki Okawa scheduled to attend.

Maestras – The Long Journey of Women to the Podium
U.S. Premiere, Documentary Feature, Germany – Directed by Günter Atteln, Maria Stodtmeier
Being a female conductor means being an exception, even today. But why is it that there have been so few female conductors in the international music scene?
Director/Producer Günter Atteln scheduled to attend.

The Maestro
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, U.S. – Directed by Zach Richter, Sam Smith and Corey Petrick
After the Second World War, budding film composer Jerry Herst moves to Hollywood to study with infamous master teacher Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
Producer David J. Phillips scheduled to attend.

Defining Hope
World Premiere, Documentary Feature, U.S. – Directed by Carolyn Jones
“Defining Hope” follows eight patients with life-threatening illnesses—and the nurses who guide them to make critical choices along the way—as they face death, embrace hope, and ultimately redefine what makes life worth living.
Director Carolyn Jones scheduled to attend.

The Drawer Boy
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, Canada/Mexico – Directed by Arturo Pérez Torres
An actor arrives to rural Ontario to gather stories about farm life and make a play about it. When art attempts to imitate life, the line between truth and fiction is crossed.
Director Arturo Pérez Torres scheduled to attend.

Instrument of War
World Premiere, Narrative Feature, U.S. – Directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg
“Hello American. For you, the war is over.” When US B-24 bomber pilot Clair Cline is shot down and captured in northern Germany, one battle ends and another begins – to keep hope alive. Now behind Nazi barbed wire and oppression, Cline and his fellow POW’s must find a way to bond together to not just survive but transcend their captivity. Inspired by true events.
Director Adam Thomas Anderegg and Producer Russ Kendall scheduled to attend.

A Normal Life
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, U.S. – Directed by Alex Herz
A week away from leaving for his first year of college, Michael becomes concerned about his parents’ overprotective tendencies toward his little brother, who has Down syndrome.
Director Alex Herz scheduled to attend.

The Best of All Worlds
U.S. Premiere, Narrative Feature, Austria – Directed by Adrian Goiginger
The true story of a kid’s life in the unusual world of his heroin-addict mother and their love for each other. World premiere at Berlinale 2017.
Director Adrian Goiginger scheduled to attend.


Set to award $100,000 in cash prizes, the 2017 Heartland Film Festival will announce all of its winners at the Oct. 21 GLOW: Awards Party at the Hi-Fi in Fountain Square. Categories and Finalists include:

Narrative Feature Finalists

($25,000 Grand Prize, $1,000 per non-winning Finalist)

American Folk” – Directed by David Heinz
The Drawer Boy” – Directed by Arturo Pérez Torres
Instrument of War” – Directed by Adam Thomas Anderegg
La Soledad” – Directed by Jorge Thielen Armand
Red Dog: True Blue” – Directed by Kriv Stenders

Documentary Feature Finalists

($25,000 Grand Prize, $1,000 per non-winning Finalist)

Dealt” – Directed by Luke Korem
Liyana” – Directed by Amanda Kopp and Aaron Kopp
Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry” – Directed by Laura Dunn and Jef Sewell
Purple Dreams” – Directed by Joanne Hock
True Conviction” – Directed by Jamie Meltzer

Narrative Short Finalists

($5,000 Grand Prize, $500 per non-winning Finalist)

Across the Line” – Directed by Nadav Shlomo Giladi
The Cage” – Directed by Ricky Staub
The Devil is in the Details” – Directed by Fabien Gorgeart
If Everything Was Real” – Directed by Stephane Mounkassa and Stefan Sundin
“Me and My Father” – Directed by Alek Pietrzak

Documentary Short Finalists

($5,000 Grand Prize, $500 per non-winning Finalist)

Abstraction” – Directed by Jonathan Cipiti
Edges” – Directed by Katie Stjernholm and Jonathan Hiller
The Good Fight” – Directed by Ben Holman
Kachach, Above Zaatari” – Directed by Bruno Pieretti
Refugee” – Directed by Emily Moore and Joyce Chen

Animated Short Finalists

($5,000 Grand Prize, $500 per non-winning Finalist)

After All” – Directed by Michael Cusack
And the Moon Stands Still” – Directed by Yulia Ruditskaya
The Full Story” – Directed by Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Wilder
In a Heartbeat” – Directed by Beth David and Esteban Bravo
The Wishing Jar” – Directed by Denver Jackson

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award ($5,000 total award)

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award will honor a single winner, selected from the Festival’s feature-length narrative and documentary titles. The winning film will best embody the ongoing legacy of actor and national hero Jimmy Stewart and will demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit through determination and the defiance of odds, humble vulnerability, and courage in the face of adversity. Made possible by a partnership with The Stewart Family.

Summer White Lynch Memorial Award – High School Film Competition Grand Prize ($2,000 total award, underwritten by Gary D. & Marlene Cohen)
Finalists include winners of the Narrative, Documentary, Indiana Narrative, and Indiana

Documentary categories of the High School Film Competition:

Gifted [Thanksgiving Post Mortem]
Narrative Winner – Directed by Freddy Macdonald, Switzerland
Two of Five Million
Documentary Winner – Directed by Socs and DZ Zavitsanos, U.S.
Family Tradition
Indiana Narrative Winner – Directed by Khyler Runnels and Matt Jacobs of Fort Wayne, Ind.
Kara Deady: The Pole Vaulter
Indiana Documentary Winner – Directed by Justin Park of Carmel, Ind.
Indiana Spotlight Award ($5,000 total award)

U.S. or World Premiere titles in the Indiana Spotlight category qualify for the Indiana Spotlight award.

Best Premiere Awards ($3,500 awards)

One Narrative Feature and one Documentary Feature holding its U.S. or World Premiere will be eligible for Best Premiere Award consideration.

Audience Choice Awards

There will be one Audience Choice Award winner for the Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short categories.

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