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“76 Days” directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous
“76 Days” directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, and Anonymous

The 29th Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF) announced the award winners and more than $60,000 in cash prizes via its virtual Awards Show this evening. Wuhan COVID-19 outbreak documentary “76 Days” is HIFF’s big winner, taking both the $20,000 Grand Prize for Documentary Feature and $2,000 Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award, Documentary Feature. Earlier this week MTV Documentary Films acquired the North American rights to “76 Days” at HIFF.

“Thank you Heartland International Film Festival and members of the jury for giving ‘76 Days’ the Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature and the Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award,” said “76 Days” Director Hao Wu. “Earlier this week, we announced that MTV Documentary Films acquired the North America rights of our film. Heartland was instrumental in making that deal happen. For that and these awards, I’m truly, doubly grateful. My team and I are mindful of our luck, of how we have always been supported by our own community, of how much support our community still needs in the time of COVID-19, so we decided to donate the $22,000 in award money to Brown Girls Doc Mafia, a growing organization advocating women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry around the world.”

Major cash prizes were also awarded to $20,000 Grand Prize for Narrative Feature winner “There Is No Evil,” from Director Mohammad Rasoulof and Kino Lorber, and $5,000 Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award Winner “Minari” from Director Lee Isaac Chung and A24. In partnership with the Stewart Family, HIFF is the only festival in the world to have a sanctioned award in honor of beloved actor Jimmy Stewart with a cash prize underwritten by the Stewart Family. The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award and $5,000 cash prize is awarded to a one film in the HIFF lineup that best demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit through determination and the defiance of odds, humble vulnerability, and courage in the face of adversity.

This year’s HIFF features 76 feature films, 22 World and US Premieres, and 29 drive-in screenings. The 65 independent films that are a part of this year’s HIFF virtual festival are available until Sunday, October 18, at midnight EDT, including some of the linked award winning films below.

29th Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF) Award Winners

Grand Prize for Narrative Feature ($20,000 Grand Prize)
“There Is No Evil,” directed by Mohammad Rasoulof (Iran), Kino Lorber

Narrative Jury Statement: Rasoulof has crafted a visual intricacy full of intimacy, awe, and hyper-realism to present quotidian perspectives on the entanglement of four strangers in Iran; We are ever so fortunate to be challenged and stimulated by this morally complex gem.

Grand Prize for Documentary Feature ($20,000 Grand Prize)

“76 Days,” directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous (China, USA), MTV Documentary Films

Abbreviated Documentary Jury Statement: With incredible access, and ripped-from-the-headlines rawness, the filmmakers take enormous risks, including their own exposure. Capturing the degree of extreme distress while creating immensely intimate portraits, the film interrogates humanity as played out in life and death, making the story of this global pandemic all the more visceral, immediate, and heroic. This film deserves the award because it is interesting and at the same time, has great messaging – messages of kindness, care, and following the dictates of science.

Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award, Narrative Feature ($2,000 cash prize)
“Best Summer Ever,” directed by Michael Parks Randa, Lauren Smitelli (USA)

Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award, Documentary Feature ($2,000 cash prize)
“76 Days,” directed by Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous (China, USA), MTV Documentary Films

Indiana Spotlight Award ($2,000 cash prize)
“Generation Growth,” directed by Mu Sun (USA)

Heartland Horror ($2,000 cash prize)
“La Dosis,” directed by Martin Kraut (Argentina)

Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award ($5,000 cash prize)
“Minari,” directed by Lee Isaac Chung (USA), A24
Lee Issac Chung’s Acceptance Video

Humor & Humanity Award ($2,000 cash prize)
“Eat Wheaties!” directed by Scott Abramovitch (Canada)

Best Premiere Award, Narrative ($2,000 cash prize)
“Sisters Apart,” directed by Daphne Charizani (Germany, Greece)

Best Premiere Award, Documentary ($2,000 cash prize)
“Dear Santa,” directed by Dana Nachman (USA), IFC Films Dana Nachman’s Acceptance Video

Spirit of Change Award
“The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain,” directed by David Midell

FIPRESCI Best US Narrative Directorial Debut
“The Last Shift,” directed by Andrew Cohn (USA), Sony Pictures

“Song Without a Name,” Directed by Melina León (Peru, Spain, USA), Film Movement

“Congratulations to all the winning filmmakers at the 29th Heartland International Film Festival. We all have been isolated, but your films have brought untold stories and new perspectives from all of the world right into our homes. We may not have been all together this year, but together we had a shared experience around the transformative power of film,” said Heartland Film President Craig Prater.

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