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The Hand of God directed by Paolo Sorrentino
The Hand of God directed by Paolo Sorrentino (2021) © Netflix

Heartland Film International Film Festival (HIFF) announced a star-studded lineup of 128 feature films and 14 Event films for the 30th Anniversary of the festival running October 7-17, 2021.

New Events films include Anniversary Gala Screening of Director Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard”; Feature Event featuring Director Pablo Larraín’s “Spencer”; Silver Screen Event featuring Director Mike Mills’ “C’mon C’mon”; Director Event featuring Director Jane Campion’s “The Power of Dog”; Marquee Event featuring Director Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch”; Celebration Event featuring Director Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast”; and Cinema Event featuring Director Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God.”

Other Event films include Opening Night featuring Directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s “Julia”; Showcase Event featuring Director Fran Kranz’s “Mass”; Spotlight Event featuring Director Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Bergman Island”; World Event featuring Director Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee”; Centerpiece featuring Director Stephen Karam’s “The Humans”; Music Event featuring Director Alison Klayman’s “Jagged”; and Closing Night featuring Director Will Sharpe’s “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain”.

In-theater screenings will be hosted at Kan-Kan Cinema & Brasserie, Living Room Theaters, Historic Artcraft Theatre, Newfields, and the Indianapolis Arts Center (outdoor picnic-style). All film selections will have in-person screenings and many of the films will also be available to view virtually.

“After three decades, the Heartland International Film Festival has cemented itself as a major awards season stop while continuing to showcase impactful independent features from around the world,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Greg Sorvig. “Our team has worked hard to curate a program for this special milestone, and the caliber and variety of these titles will thrill both new and long-time attendees.”

OPENING NIGHT

OPENING NIGHT | “JULIA” | DIRECTORS: JULIE COHEN AND BETSY WEST | SONY PICTURES CLASSICS | PRESENTED BY THE BETTY AND DAVID KLAPPER FAMILY FOUNDATION

“Julia” brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women. Using never-before-seen archival footage, personal photos, first-person narratives, and cutting-edge, mouth-watering food cinematography, the film traces Julia Child’s 12-year struggle to create and publish the revolutionary Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) which has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date, and her rapid ascent to become the country’s most unlikely television star. It’s the empowering story of a woman who found her purpose – and her fame – at 50, and took America along on the whole delicious journey. “Julia” is a Sony Pictures Classics release.

SHOWCASE EVENT

SHOWCASE EVENT | “MASS” | DIRECTOR: FRAN KRANZ | BLEECKER STREET

Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward. In Fran Kranz’ writing and directing debut, he thoughtfully examines their journey of grief, anger and acceptance by coming face-to-face with the ones who have been left behind. “Mass” is a Bleecker Street release.

FEATURE EVENT

FEATURE EVENT | “SPENCER” | DIRECTOR: PABLO LARRAÍN | NEON

December, 1991: The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold. Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana (Kristen Stewart) knows the game. But this year, things will be profoundly different. “Spencer” is a NEON release.

SILVER SCREEN EVENT

SILVER SCREEN EVENT | “C’MON C’MON” | DIRECTOR: MIKE MILLS | A24

Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future, from writer-director Mike Mills. “C’mon C’mon” is an A24 release.

SPOTLIGHT EVENT

SPOTLIGHT EVENT | “BERGMAN ISLAND” | DIRECTOR: MIA HANSEN-LØVE | IFC FILMS

“Bergman Island” follows a couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth), who retreat to the mythical Fårö island for the summer. In this wild, breathtaking landscape where Ingmar Bergman lived and shot his most celebrated pieces, they hope to find inspiration for their upcoming films. As days spent separately pass by, the fascination for the island operates on Chris and souvenirs of her first love resurface. Lines between reality and fiction will then progressively blur and tear our couple even more apart. “Bergman Island” is an IFC Films release.

CELEBRATION EVENT

CELEBRATION EVENT | “BELFAST” | DIRECTOR: KENNETH BRANAGH | FOCUS FEATURES

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast” is the humorous, tender and intensely personal story of one boy’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the city of Branagh’s birth. “Belfast” is a Focus Features release.

WORLD EVENT

WORLD EVENT | “FLEE” | DIRECTOR: JONAS POHER RASMUSSEN | NEON

“Flee” tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, he tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan. “Flee” is a NEON release.

CENTERPIECE

CENTERPIECE | “THE HUMANS” | DIRECTOR: STEPHEN KARAM | A24

Set inside a pre-war duplex in downtown Manhattan, “The Humans” follows the course of an evening in which the Blake family gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving. As darkness falls outside the crumbling building, mysterious things start to go bump in the night and family tensions reach a boiling point. Based on Stephen Karam’s one-act play, this film adaptation marks his directorial debut and features an all-star cast of Beanie Feldstein, Jayne Houdyshell, Richard Jenkins, Amy Schumer, June Squibb, and Steven Yeun. “The Humans” is an A24 release.

MARQUEE EVENT

MARQUEE EVENT | “THE FRENCH DISPATCH” | DIRECTOR: WES ANDERSON | SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

“The French Dispatch” brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city. It stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray, and Owen Wilson. “The French Dispatch” is a Searchlight Pictures release.

CINEMA EVENT

CINEMA EVENT | “THE HAND OF GOD” | DIRECTOR: PAOLO SORRENTINO | NETFLIX

From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino (“Il Divo, ” “The Great Beauty, ” “The Young Pope”) comes the story of a boy, Fabietto Schisa, set in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. “The Hand of God” is a story full of unexpected joys, such as the arrival of football legend Diego Maradona, and an equally unexpected tragedy. Fate plays its part, joy and tragedy intertwine, and Fabietto’s future is set in motion. Sorrentino returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story, a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss. “The Hand of God” is a Netflix Original release.

DIRECTOR EVENT

DIRECTOR EVENT | “THE POWER OF THE DOG” | DIRECTOR: JANE CAMPION | NETFLIX

Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. “The Power of the Dog” is a Netflix Original.

MUSIC EVENT

MUSIC EVENT | “JAGGED” | DIRECTOR: ALISON KLAYMAN | HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS

1995 was the year of Alanis Morissette. Her groundbreaking album Jagged Little Pill delivered a rawness and emotional honesty that resonated with millions. “Jagged” explores how Alanis came to be that empowered woman so many admire, and what happens when a 21-year-old becomes a worldwide phenomenon. “Jagged” is an HBO Documentary Films release.

ANNIVERSARY GALA

ANNIVERSARY GALA | “KING RICHARD” | DIRECTOR: REINALDO MARCUS GREEN | WARNER BROS. PICTURES

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts – rain or shine – the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, “King Richard” follows the journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends. “King Richard” is a Warner Bros. release.

CLOSING NIGHT

CLOSING NIGHT | “THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN” | DIRECTOR: WILL SHARPE | AMAZON STUDIOS | PRESENTED BY THE BETTY AND DAVID KLAPPER FAMILY FOUNDATION

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy star in the film about English artist Louis Wain, who rises to prominence at the end of the 19th century for his surreal cat paintings. “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” is an Amazon Studios release.

FULL 30th HEARTLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL LINEUP

Film Title | Director(s) | Premiere Status | Country of Production
*U.S. Premiere | **World Premiere

Retrospective Titles

“Harvey” – Jimmy Stewart Retrospective | Henry Koster | United States| 1950
Due to his insistence that he has an invisible six-foot-tall rabbit for a best friend, a whimsical middle-aged man is thought by his family to be insane – but he may be wiser than anyone knows.

“Rope” – Jimmy Stewart Retrospective | Alfred Hitchcock | United States | 1948
Two men attempt to prove they committed the perfect crime by hosting a dinner party after strangling their former classmate to death.

“West Side Story” on 35mm – 60th Anniversary | Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins | United States | 1961
Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.

Special Presentations

“The Beta Test | Jim Cummings, PJ McCable | United States | IFC Films

A married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and becomes ensnared in a sinister world of lying, murder, and infidelity in this scintillating satire.

“Becoming Cousteau” | Liz Garbus | USA | National Geographic Documentary Films

“Becoming Cousteau” examines the epic life of Jacques Yves Cousteau, the ocean explorer who spanned the globe with a misfit crew of divers and filmmakers, under the lifelong creed, “Il faut aller voir” — “We must go and see for ourselves.”

“Burning” | Eva Orner | Australia | Amazon Studios

From the lens of Academy® and Emmy-award winning Australian filmmaker Eva Orner, Burning takes an unflinching look at the unprecedented and catastrophic Australian bushfires of 2019-2020, known as ‘Black Summer.’ Fueled by climate change, the nation’s hottest and driest summer ever recorded resulted in bushfires that burned over 59 million acres, killed an estimated three billion animals, and affected millions of Australians. Burning is an exploration of what happened as told from the perspective of victims of the fires, activists and scientists.

“Catch the Fair One” | Josef Kubota Wladyka | United States | IFC Films

In this absorbing revenge thriller executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, a Native American woman embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister.

“Cow” | Andrea Arnold | UK | IFC Films

This film is an endeavor to consider cows. To move us closer to them. To see both their beauty and the challenge of their lives.

Easterseals Disability Film Challenge Finalists

The Heartland International Film Festival is proud to once again partner with the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge to showcase the slate of 2021 Finalists.

“The First Wave” | Matthew Heineman | USA | National Geographic Documentary Films

With exclusive access to one of New York’s hardest-hit hospital systems, Oscar®-nominated and Emmy® Award-winning director Matthew Heineman’s “The First Wave” spotlights the everyday heroes at the epicenter of COVID-19 as they come together to fight one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered.

“India Sweets and Spices” | Geeta Malik | USA | Bleecker Street

Alia Kapur (Sophia Ali) returns to her family’s posh suburban New Jersey home after a year away at college and upends their well-ordered life with her newfound independence.

“Jockey” | Clint Bentley | United States | Sony Pictures Classics

An aging jockey hopes to win one last title for his longtime trainer, who has acquired what appears to be a championship horse. But the years – and injuries – have taken a toll on his body, throwing into question his ability to continue his lifelong passion.

“Luzzu” | Alex Camilleri | Malta | Kino Lorber

A hardworking Maltese fisherman is faced with an agonizing choice. He can repair his leaky luzzu – a traditional, multicolored wooden fishing boat – in the hopes of eking out a meager living at sea. Or he can decommission it in exchange for an EU payout and cast his lot with a sinister black-market operation that is decimating the Mediterranean fish population and the livelihoods of the local families who depend on it.

“Mayor Pete” | Jesse Moss | USA | Amazon Studios

“Mayor Pete” brings viewers inside Pete’s campaign to be the youngest U.S. President, providing an unprecedented intimacy with the candidate, his husband Chasten, and their ambitious team. From the earliest days of the campaign, to his unlikely, triumphant victory in Iowa and beyond. This film reveals what really goes on inside a campaign for the highest office in the land – and the myriad ways it changes the lives of those at its center. Recently appointed to U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Buttigieg serves as the first openly LGBTQ Cabinet member in U.S. history.

“Petite Maman” | Céline Sciamma | France | NEON

Nelly has just lost her grandmother and is helping her parents clean out her mother’s childhood home. She explores the house and the surrounding woods. One day she meets a girl her same age building a treehouse.

“Procession” | Robert Greene | USA | Netflix

A group of survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests battle for justice.

“The Rescue” | E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin | USA, UK | National Geographic Documentary Films

“The Rescue” chronicles the dramatic 2018 rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. Academy Award-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin reveal the perilous world of cave diving, the bravery of the rescuers, and the dedication of an entire community that made great sacrifices to save these young boys.

“Torn” | Max Lowe | USA | National Geographic Documentary Films

On Oct. 5, 1999, legendary climber Alex Lowe was tragically lost alongside cameraman and fellow climber David Bridges in a deadly avalanche on the slopes of the Tibetan mountain, Shishapangma. Miraculously surviving the avalanche was Alex’s best friend and climbing partner, renowned mountaineer Conrad Anker. After the tragedy, Anker and Alex’s widow, Jennifer, fell in love and married, and Anker stepped in to help raise Alex’s three sons.

“Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America” | Emily Kunstler & Sarah Kunstler | United States | Sony Pictures Classics

Interweaving lecture, personal anecdotes, interviews, and shocking revelations, criminal defense/civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States.

Official Selections – Narrative Features

* “3PUFFS” | Saman Salour | U.S. Premiere | Iran

A man would like to make a better life for his waif and new born baby, in a strange way.

“Americanish” | Iman Zawahry | United States

In Jackson Heights, Queens, career-driven sisters Maryam and Sam and their newly-immigrated cousin Ameera must navigate the consistent and sometimes conflicting demands of romance, culture, work, and family.

“Any Day Now” | Hamy Ramezan | Finland

Thirteen-year-old Ramin and his Iranian family have been living in a refugee center in Finland. Just as Ramin starts to enjoy the school holidays, the family receives the terrible news that their asylum application has been denied. As Ramin starts the new school year, every moment, every friendship will be more precious than ever.

“Beans” | Tracey Deer | Canada, United States

Twelve-year-old Beans is on the edge: torn between innocent childhood and delinquent adolescence; forced to grow up fast to become the tough Mohawk warrior she needs to be during the Indigenous uprising known as The Oka Crisis, which tore Quebec and Canada apart for 78 tense days in the summer of 1990.

*“Black Sheep” | Arkadiusz Pietrzak | U.S. Premiere | Poland

“Black Sheep” is a warm and moving comedy-drama about bonds that are impossible to break. The film tries to give a humorous answer to many important questions regarding family relations and growing up.

*“Disfluency” | Anna Baumgarten | U.S. Premiere | United States

After failing her final college class, Jane returns home to her family’s lake house and comes to terms with the confusing trauma that derailed her senior year.

“Escape From Pretoria” | Francis Annan | United States

Based on the real-life prison break of two political captives, “Escape From Pretoria” is a race-against-time thriller set in the tumultuous apartheid days of South Africa. Starring Daniel Radcliffe.

*“Esluna: The Crown of Babylon” | Denver Jackson | U.S. Premiere | Canada

An action-adventure set in the retro-futuristic world of Esluna. After her mentor is abducted by a renegade monk, a relic hunter and her crew must find the Crown of Babylon, an ancient artifact rumored to have the power to bring back the dead.

“Everything in The End” | Mylissa Fitzsimmons | Iceland

Stranded in a small Icelandic village during Earth’s final days, a Portuguese man seeks solace in the brief human connections he encounters.

**“The Falconer” | Adam Sjoberg, Seanne Winslow | United States

Inspired by true events, “The Falconer” is about two best friends, one Middle Eastern and one Western, who conspire to steal animals from the zoo and sell them on the black market to pay for the Omani boy’s sister’s divorce from an abusive marriage.

“Firebird” | Peeter Rebane | Estonia

At the height of the Cold War, a troubled soldier forms a forbidden love triangle with a daring fighter pilot and his female comrade amid the dangerous surroundings of a Soviet Air Force Base.

“FIRSTNESS” | Brielle Brilliant | United States

A maladjusted dad tries to heal in an experimental therapy group. Meanwhile, his nonbinary kid develops a friendship with an older man. Their relationship feels both dreamy and concerning—depending on who’s watching.

“It’s a Summer Film!” | Soushi Matsumoto | Japan

“Barefoot” is a movie-obsessed schoolgirl who adores samurai films, but the school film club prefers shooting cheesy romantic dramas. Ready to finally produce her unrealized samurai script, Barefoot resolves to make her dream come true over the course of one summer with her friends and a ragtag crew that includes a mysterious classmate whose love of samurai films matches her own.

“KNOCK KNOCK” | Xiang Liu | China

One night, in one room, three strangers – a thief, a retired policeman, and a delivery guy – are all present during the murder of the room’s occupant – a young lady. As the three strangers try to figure out this bizarre situation…

“The Knot” | Ashish Pant | India

An upper-middle-class couple who hits a rickshaw driver with their car must face the moral implications of their actions when the driver’s younger brother shows up at their doorstep informing them the injured man is fighting for his life.

“Ludi” | Edson Jean | United States

Desperate to send money to her family back in Haiti, hardworking and exhausted nurse Ludi Alcidor spends a chaotic day battling coworkers, clients, and an impatient bus driver as she chases the American Dream in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.

“Lune” | Arturo Perez Torres, Aviva Armour-Ostroff | Canada

Miriam is a South African-born Jew raising her 17-year-old daughter Eliza. Nelson Mandela’s upcoming election triggers a manic episode in the bipolar Miriam, who has spent years fighting apartheid.

*“The Machinery of Dreams” | Eric M. Hurt | U.S. Premiere | United States

After her mother is hospitalized due to a car crash, Lily, a girl of eight goes into a fairy tale told to her by her grandmother in search of a talisman to save her mom.

“Moving in 2008” | Calogero Carucci | United States

It’s 2008, and the U.S. economy is quickly collapsing. The LaManna family has recently moved after a series of constant moving. As the nation starts to crumble, the LaMannas face a harsh reality after receiving news of a fatal illness.

“NinjaBaby” | Yngvild Sve Flikke | Norway

A baby has lodged itself unnoticed in Rakel’s stomach, but she is absolutely not ready to be a mother. The life-hungry young woman has a blooming imagination and spends time illustrating her everyday life. The animated character Ninjababy accompanies Rakel through the madness that is called growing up.

“Nudo Mixteco” | Ángeles Cruz | Mexico

The trace of the past is present when three migrants return to a community in the highlands of Mixtec Oaxaca in México, where their three stories intersect.

“One Second Champion” | CHIU Sin Hang | Hong Kong

A single father becomes gifted with the power of seeing one second into the future. When his ability is exposed, a boxing buff persuades him to use his power in the ring.

“Peace by Chocolate” | Jonathan Keijser | Canada

After the bombing of his father’s chocolate factory, a charming young Syrian refugee struggles to settle into his new Canadian small-town life, caught between following his dream to become a doctor and preserving his family’s chocolate-making legacy. Based on the internationally recognized true story.

“Poser” | Ori Segev, Noah Dixon | United States

A young musician slips into a dark transformation as she explores an exclusive underground music scene.

“See You Next Christmas” | Christine Weatherup | United States

When chronically single Natalie and Logan continue to run into each other at their friends’ annual holiday party year after year, they begin to wonder if maybe they’re meant to be together…

“Since August” | Diana Zuros | United States

A young recovering drug addict confronts her demons by befriending the grief-stricken deaf mother she mysteriously spies on. Instead, she forges a much deeper friendship than she ever anticipated – one built upon the shared trauma of the women’s pasts.

“Snakehead” | Evan Jackson Leong | United States

Sister Tse comes from China to New York via a human smuggler known as a snakehead. She gains favor with the matriarch of the crime family and rises the ranks quickly, but success isn’t the only reason she came to America. Sister Tse needs to reconcile between personal success and her family.

“Standard” | Fernando González Gómez | Spain

Tomás’ two great passions are classical music and a compulsion for putting things in order. After his secret platonic love, Laura, disappears, he analyzes the habits and obsessions of an eccentric array of clients to find out who is behind her disappearance.

*“Tusind Timer” | Carl Moberg | U.S. Premiere | Sweden, Denmark

“Tusind Timer” is about a young musician, her music dreams and her search for love – and herself.

**“Unconformity” | Jonathan DiMaio | World Premiere | United States

An ambitious, rock-climbing geology student defies her imperious advisor to travel to the Nevada high desert, where a career-defining discovery and an unexpected friendship with a young cattle rancher force her to make life-altering decisions.

*“Unsilenced” | Leon Lee | U.S. Premiere | Canada

When the Chinese Communist Party launches a brutal crackdown on its citizens, a team of innocent students risks everything to expose the deadly propaganda and fight for freedom.

“Voodoo Macbeth” | Dagmawi Abebe, Victor Alonso-Berbel, Roy Arwas, Hannah Bang, Christopher Beaton, Agazi Desta, Tiffany Kontoyiannis Guillen, Zoë Salnave, Ernesto Sandoval, Sabinca Vajrača | United States

In 1936 Harlem, the first all-Black cast production of ‘Macbeth’ struggles to make it to opening night amid the downward spiral of their young and untested director — Orson Welles. A University of California School of Cinematic Arts production.

“We Burn Like This” | Alana Waksman | United States

When 22-year-old Rae, a descendant of Holocaust survivors, is targeted by Neo-Nazis in Billings, Montana, her ancestors’ trauma becomes real. Inspired by true events, this coming-of-age story shows the inherited effects of historical trauma and the strength of survival and healing.

“Women is Losers” | Lissette Feliciano | United States

In 1960s San Francisco, Catholic school girl Celina Guerrera survives a difficult home life by following the rules, until an indiscretion creates a series of devastating consequences. As Celina faces the compounded obstacles of being young and alone, she sets out to rise above the oppression of poverty and invest in a future that sets new precedents for the time.

Official Selections – Documentary

“100 Years from Mississippi” | Tarabu Betserai Kirkland | United States

Mamie Lang Kirkland was seven years old when she fled Ellisville, Mississippi in 1915 with her mother and siblings as her father and his friend, John Hartfield, escaped an approaching lynch mob. 100 years later she returned to bear witness to the terrible legacy of racial terror.

“A Sexplanation” | Alex Liu | United States

To right the wrongs of his all-American sex education, 36-year-old Alex goes on a quest to uncover naked truths and hard facts—no matter how awkward it gets.

“Alien On Stage: The Documentary” | Lucy Harvey, Danielle Kummer | United Kingdom

Bus drivers from rural England make an amateur stage show of Ridley Scott’s “Alien” and accidentally take it to London’s famous West End theatre district. With awkward acting and special effects requiring more luck than judgment, will their homemade homage be all right on the night?

“All These Sons” | Bing Liu, Joshua Altman | United States

On Chicago’s South and West sides, gun violence is destroying countless lives. Two men dedicate their lives educating, empowering, and healing young Black men at high risk for being victims or perpetrators of shootings.

“American Gadfly” | Skye Wallin | United States

A decade since his last campaign, 89-year-old former senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel comes out of retirement when a group of teenagers convinces him to run for president one last time.

“Beijing Spring” | Andy Cohen, Gaylen Ross | United States

At Democracy Wall in Beijing 1978, the “Stars,” a group of self-taught artists (including a young Ai Weiwei) challenged propaganda art by showing their new art that championed individuality and free expression, often exposing the inhumanity of the Cultural Revolution. The authorities cracked down and closed Democracy Wall, imprisoning many and slamming the door on this brief period of reform. Recording it all was a daring young filmmaker named Chi Xiaoning.

“Being BeBe” | Emily Branham | United States

15 years in the life of drag performer Marshall Ngwa (aka BeBe Zahara Benet): an immigrant to America from homophobic Cameroon, the first champion on reality TV phenomenon “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” and a leading artist celebrating Black Queer Excellence today.

“Bernstein’s Wall” | Douglas Tirola | United States

Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, “Bernstein’s Wall” follows Leonard Bernstein on his lifelong journey to define his role as one of America’s most important musical figures while fighting to create social change and inspire political activism through his work.

“BIG vs SMALL” | Minna Dufton | Finland, Portugal

When a champion Portuguese big-wave surfer has to conquer her fear of drowning, she finds herself locked in combat with long-buried demons under a frozen Finnish lake.

“City of a Million Dreams” | Jason Berry | United States

New Orleans jazz funerals and Sunday second line parades absorb the pain of death and the legacy of racism, soaring to joyful, transcendent rebirth. But tragedy plunges a musician and a culture carrier into a search for the city’s soul.

“Daughter of a Lost Bird” | Brooke Pepion Swaney | United States

Kendra, an adult Native adoptee, reconnects with her birth family, discovers her Lummi heritage, and confronts issues of her own identity. Her singular story represents many affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act and the Indian Adoption Project.

“Faceless” | Jennifer Ngo | Hong Kong, United States

An intimate portrayal of four young protestors in Hong Kong struggling to protect their freedom and way of life under the shadow of authoritarianism.

“Ferguson Rises” | Mobolaji Olambiwonnu | United States

How does a father find purpose in pain? In 2014, Michael Brown Sr.’s son was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that fueled the global Black Lives Matter movement. But his personal story seeking justice and healing has not been told until now.

“Fireboys” | Jake Hochendoner, Drew Dickler | United States

“Fireboys” tells the untold story of young men incarcerated in California who are offered a way out: by fighting wildfires.

“The First Step” | Brandon Kramer | United States

In a divided America, Van Jones attempts to pass a landmark criminal justice bill — and finds himself under fire from all sides.

“For the Left Hand” | Gordon Quinn, Leslie Simmer | United States

At age 10, aspiring pianist Norman Malone is paralyzed on his right side after being attacked by his father. Over the next several decades he masters the left-hand repertoire in secret before a chance discovery of his talent leads him towards making his concert debut. Aged 78, he will perform the greatest work in the canon: Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.

“The Incredible Lamont” | Taylor Keating | United States

Described as “Houdini with a sunnier disposition,” illusionist Lamont Ream extends his magic beyond cards and coins to his work as a live-in caregiver.

“Kili Big” | Ida Joglar | United States

A group of plus-sized women from around the world attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain on the planet.

**“Krimes” | Alysa Nahmias | World Premiere | United States

While locked up for six years in prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art—including an astonishing 30-foot mural—which he smuggles out piece-by-piece, hoping to see it in totality upon coming home.

“LIKE A ROLLING STONE: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres” | Suzanne Joe Kai | United States

From working at his immigrant parents’ Chinatown restaurant, a kid with an unlikely dream, a wicked sense of humor, and only a radio to the outside world became a trailblazing influencer as Rolling Stone’s legendary writer and music editor.

“Mission: Joy – Finding Happiness in Troubled Times” | Louie Psihoyos, Co-Director Peggy Callahan | United States

Deeply moving and laugh-out-loud funny, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu share science-backed wisdom of how to live with joy in troubled times.

**“The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses” | Steven Latham, Conrad Stanley | World Premiere | United States

There are more than 80,000 wild horses on our federal lands and more than 50,000 in government. “The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses” takes audiences on an odyssey throughout America to places few people have seen or even know about.

“The Neutral Ground” | CJ Hunt | United States

“The Neutral Ground” follows writer and comedian CJ Hunt as he documents the struggle to remove and the struggle to preserve New Orleans’ confederate monuments. After witnessing this fight in his adopted city, CJ then explores how we understand a collective history as a nation with a contentious past.

“No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics” | Vivian Kleiman | United States

The story of five scrappy and pioneering cartoonists who depicted everything from the AIDS crisis, coming out, and same-sex marriage, to themes of race, gender, and disability.

“Not Going Quietly” | Nicholas Bruckman | United States

When a young father chances to meet a powerful senator on an airplane, their filmed exchange goes viral and sparks one of the most powerful political movements in a generation.

**“One Pint at a Time” | Aaron Hosé | World Premiere | United States

Eager to shift the historical perception of who makes and drinks beer, Black brewers and beer brand owners across the United States are reclaiming their place with the nation’s multi-billion-dollar craft beer industry, where they currently share less than 1% of annual revenues.

“On Our Own Island” | Ellie Dylan, Sky Dylan-Robbins | United States

A timeless true love story that chronicles the seasons of a relationship from its romantic beginnings through life’s final moments.

“On the Divide” | Maya Cueva, Leah Galant | United States

“On The Divide” brings us into the lives of three Latinx people in McAllen, Texas, whose different beliefs end up coming to a head at the last abortion clinic on the U.S./Mexico border.

“Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché” | Celeste Bell, Paul Sng | UK

The death of punk icon and X-Ray Spex frontwoman Poly Styrene sends her daughter on a journey through her mother’s archives in this intimate documentary.

*“THE POSTCARD” | Asmae Elmoudir | U.S. Premiere | Morocco

Finding an old picture postcard of a mountain village marks the start of an existential journey for director Asmae El Moudir. She explores life in Zawia, Morocco, where her mother was born and embarks on a quest into her mother’s past, and thereby her own. ”

“The Real Jon Mobley” | Bailey McBride | United States

Jon Mobley finds out what it is like to perform magic without his persona. Short film screening with “The Incredible Lamont.”

“The Return: Life After ISIS” | Alba Sotorra Clua | Spain, UK

Shamima Begum (UK) and Hoda Muthana (US) made it into worldwide headlines when they left their countries as teenagers to join ISIS. Now they want to return, but their countries don’t want them back

*“Satoshi Kon, The Illusionist” | Pascal-Alex Vincent | U.S. Premiere | Japan, France

The mangaka and anime filmmaker Satoshi Kon died suddenly in 2010. He left behind a short and unfinished body of work. Ten years after his death, his family and collaborators finally speak out about his work, while his heirs in Japan, France, and Hollywood look back on his artistic legacy.

“Scenes from The Glittering World” | Jared Jakins | United States

Three Indigenous youth come of age on the fringes of the Navajo Nation. ‘Scenes from the Glittering World’ is a meditation on adolescence, trauma, and the power of connecting with a homeland.

“Set!” | Scott Gawlik | United States

Table setting – for most of us is a chore, but for some, it’s a sport. Once a year, a group of highly competitive table-setters vie for the “Best of Show” ribbon at the Orange County Fair competition, often referred to as “The Olympics of Table Setting”.

“Socks on Fire” | Bo McGuire | United States

Bo McGuire composes a cinematic love letter to his grandmother as his homophobic aunt and drag queen uncle wage war over her estate in Hokes Bluff, Alabama.

“Soy Cubana” | Jeremy Ungar, Ivaylo Getov | United States

In 2017, the all-female Cuban quartet, Vocal Vidas, was invited to perform their first show in America, just as US-Cuba relations were closing. What began as a concert became a journey across physical and ideological borders: an affirmation of the connective power of music, even in the most uncertain times.

“The Sound of Us” | Chris Gero | United States

Filmed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this groundbreaking film helps define the magic of music, in an epic celebration of hope, humanity and unity. Featuring interviews with Sarah McLachlan, Ben Folds, Patti Smith, Sekou Andrews, and many more.

“Stay Prayed Up” | D.L. Anderson, Matt Durning | United States

Making music and making a life are one in the same in this inspiring documentary about a legendary North Carolina gospel group and their 82-year-old matron whose powerful testimony is matched only by her mighty voice.

“TOPOWA! Never Give Up” | Philip Sansom, Indigo Gilmore | United Kingdom

TOPOWA! is a journey of hope that celebrates the power of music to change lives. From the Katwe slums in Uganda to the streets of London and the fields of Cheltenham Festival, follow five young teacher musicians and the Brass For Africa band as they prepare for an unforgettable experience that will transform their lives forever.

“Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance” | Khadifa Wong | United States

A film that celebrates the history, lineage, and future progressions of jazz dance. With special appearances by Debbie Allen, George Faison, Chita Rivera, Camille, A. Brown, and Thomas F. DeFrantz.

“Wandering, a Rohingya Story” | Olivier Higgins, Mélanie Carrier | Canada

“Wandering, a Rohingya Story” is an immersive, poetic, and powerful look into the biggest refugee camp in the world, the Kutupalong refugee camp.

“YOUTH v GOV” | Christi Cooper | United States

“YOUTH v GOV” follows 21 young Americans suing the world’s most powerful government to protect their constitutional rights to a stable climate. If they win, they will change the future.

“Zero Gravity” | Thomas Verrette | United States

A diverse group of middle-school students go on the journey of a lifetime when they compete in a nationwide tournament to code satellites aboard the International Space Station.

Official Selections – Heartland Horror

“The Alpines” | Dante Aubain | United States

Seven friends come together for a weekend getaway after years of little contact. They’ve grown apart. They’ve moved on with their lives. But the secrets of their past have come back to haunt them, this time with a very real threat ready to expose every last one.

“The Alternate” | Alrik Bursell | United States

The Alternate follows Jake, a videographer who discovers a portal to another dimension in which he has everything he has always wanted: the perfect version of his wife Kris, the filmmaking career of his dreams, and the daughter he never had.

“Hellbender” | Toby Poser, Zelda Adams & John Adams | United States

There will be hell to pay when a lonely teen discovers her family’s ties to witchcraft.

*”Kathaputali ‘The Puppet’” | Veemsen Lama | U.S. Premiere | Nepal

Trapped in an abandoned royal palace, a young prince must confront the unsettling secrets of his family’s past, escape evil forces, and battle dark magic in order to survive.

“What Josiah Saw” | Vincent Grashaw | United States

A family with buried secrets reunite at a farmhouse after two decades to pay for their past sins. Starring Robert Patrick, Nick Stahl, Scott Haze, Kelli Garner, and Tony Hale.

Official Selections – Indiana Spotlight

**“The Addict’s Wake” | Michael Husain | World Premiere | United States

After a crippling series of overdose deaths, rural Brown County, Indiana decides to “Do Something” differently to fight addiction. The film is a powerful story of hope and recovery for individuals in use, their families, and the community as a whole.

“Crossroads Stories” | Ryan Furr | United States

“Crossroads Stories” is a radically real mini-documentary exploring what it’s like to be Black and living in “Small-Town America.” It seeks to determine how small Midwestern towns contribute to systematic racism, and how change is still possible.

“IMBPREZ” | Rocky Walls, Grant Michael | United States

Artist, designer, and furniture maker Brian Presnell discusses how his life experiences have impacted his career, community, and his passion for recycling.

“Letters Home” | Jerald Harkness, Bob Massie | United States

A father-son team of history sleuths return a WWII soldier’s memorabilia in a moving tribute to the Greatest Generation.

“Mayberry Man” | Stark Howell | United States

An arrogant movie star is forced to attend a festival celebrating “The Andy Griffith Show,” where characters reminiscent of the classic TV show give him the chance to discover the true meaning of friendship and family.

**“On The Road: The Newport Hill Climb” | John Isberg | World Premiere | United States

The Newport Hill Climb is the third-largest road race in Indiana after the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400. This documentary tells the story of the Hill Climb and one team’s attempt to race the hill in the first Dodge truck, a 1926 Graham Brothers truck.

**“Our Story: Once the Doors Opened” | Aaron Turner | World Premiere | United States

Against the backdrop of racism, “Our Story” tells the story of the first Black students allowed to attend the all-white University of Evansville.

“Pompano Boy” | Andrew Paul Davis | United States

A conflicted minister reckons with his marriage and a new foster child. Meanwhile, the foster child’s mother tries to get her son back, her past coming back to haunt her.

“Vital Passage” | Kyle Hufford | World Premiere | United States

“Vital Passage”” chronicles a pair of midwestern Jewish merchants’ amazing story as they risked their business and livelihood to provide a vital passage for German Jews to escape the Holocaust and come to America.”

2021 Indy Shorts International Film Festival Award Winners – HIFF Encore Screenings

“5 Years from Water” | Thao Nguyen | United States | High School Film Competition Audience Choice Award

Upon retirement, Mike Danesi’s dream was to build a boat to sail across the ocean. 19 years later he’s still working on it, though he believes he’s only 5 years away from fulfilling his dream.

“A Concerto is a Conversation” | Ben Proudfoot, Kris Bowers | United States | Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award

A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“Bruiser” | Miles Warren | United States | Directorial Debut Award

After his father gets into a fight at a bowling alley, Darious begins to investigate the limitations of his own manhood.

“Close Ties to Home Country” | Akanksha Cruczynski | United States | Comedy Award

Millennial immigrant Akanksha waits for her sister’s visit from India (they haven’t seen each other in nine years!) Meanwhile, she’s dogsitting the fancy Frenchie of Instagram influencers India and Harry, who themselves are on a trip to India’s namesake.

“Cutters” | Matt Dillman | United States | Indiana Spotlight Award and Indiana Spotlight Audience Choice Award

The Cutters Cycling Team has one of the greatest legacies in intramural sports. Inspired by an 1970s film and sponsored by national brands, the IU students who compete with the team show the utmost dedication and passion for their craft.

“Heartland” | Jahmil Eady | United States | Audience Choice Award, Narrative Short

A woman attempts to immortalize her dying grandfather using virtual reality technology, but her obsession with documenting drives a wedge between them.

“Homebird” | Ewa Smyk | UK| Grand Prize for Animated Short

Struggling to make it in a big city, a young artist finds herself retreating into the rose-tinted memories of the village she left behind.

“Learning To Drown” | Ben Knight | United States | Audience Choice for Documentary Short

Jess Kimura, considered one of the most influential female snowboarders in the world, was at the top of her career when she lost the love of her life in an accident. Her grief led her in a direction she could have never anticipated.

“Like the Ones I Used to Know” | Annie St-Pierre | Canada | Grand Prize for Narrative Short

Christmas 1983. Julie and her cousins ate too much sugar, Santa is late. Denis is anxious at the idea of picking up his children at his ex-in-law’s.

“Love Is Just A Death Away” | Bára Anna Stejskalová | Czech Republic | Best Student Animated Short

A tender story about finding love even amid utter decay.

“MTXE: Mental Toughness Xtra Effort” | Emmanuel Terrell | United States| Best Indiana Spotlight Student Short

A portrait of two Indianapolis High School wrestlers, who face incredible challenges beyond the mat.

“Plaisir” | Molly Gillis | United States | Best Narrative Student Short

A lonely American faces unrequited love on a farm commune in the south of France.

“Seahorse” | Nele Dehnenkamp | Germany | Best Documentary Student Short

Against the prosaic background of a swimming course, a young Yezidi wrestles quietly with her fearsome memories of the Mediterranean Sea.

“Street Reporter” | Laura Waters Hinson | United States | Overall Audience Choice Award

Determined to become a professional photojournalist, a homeless reporter discovers her voice while investigating the story of “Tent City” for the local street paper.

“SWIPE” | Anthony Sneed | United States | Audience Choice for Comedy Short

A delinquent teenage boy learns a valuable lesson about growing up.

“Sophie and Jacob” | Max Shoham | Canada | Summer White Lynch Memorial Grand Prize, High School Film Competition

Inspired by the true story of how my great-grandparents met and fell in love as refugees from the holocaust, Sophie and Jacob is a personal testimony of the bonds of love found in a time of unimaginable suffering.

“The Thing That Ate the Birds” | Sophie Mair, Dan Gitsham | England | Heartland Horror Award

On the North Yorkshire Moors, Abel, Head Gamekeeper, discovers the thing that is eating his grouse.

“TIO” | Juan J Medina | Mexico | Heartland Horror Audience Choice Award

On his first day of work as a miner, Martin, a cocky teenager will learn the importance of rituals and respect for ancestors.

“Your Street” | Güzin Kar | Switzerland | Grand Prize for Documentary Short

How to commemorate the victims of history whose stories trigger pain and guilt?

Event Films

“Belfast” | Kenneth Branagh | United Kingdom | Focus Features

Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast” is the humorous, tender and intensely personal story of one boy’s childhood during the tumult of the late 1960s in the city of Branagh’s birth. “Belfast” is a Focus Features release.

“Bergman Island” | Mia Hansen-Løve | France, Germany, Sweden | IFC Films

“Bergman Island” follows a couple of American filmmakers, Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth), who retreat to the mythical Fårö island for the summer. In this wild, breathtaking landscape where Ingmar Bergman lived and shot his most celebrated pieces, they hope to find inspiration for their upcoming films.

“C’mon C’mon” | Mike Mills | United States | A24

Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) and his young nephew (Woody Norman) forge a tenuous but transformational relationship when they are unexpectedly thrown together in this delicate and deeply moving story about the connections between adults and children, the past and the future, from writer-director Mike Mills.

“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” | Will Sharpe | UK | NEON

Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy star in the film about English artist Louis Wain, who rises to prominence at the end of the 19th century for his surreal cat paintings.

“Flee” | Jonas Poher Rasmussen | Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway, United States, Slovenia, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Finland | NEON

“Flee” tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband.

“The French Dispatch” | Wes Anderson | UK, France, Germany | Searchlight Pictures

“The French Dispatch” brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in a fictional 20th-century French city.

“The Hand of God” | Paolo Sorrentino | Italy | Netflix

From Academy Award-winning writer and director Paolo Sorrentino (“Il Divo,” “The Great Beauty,” “The Young Pope”) comes the story of a boy, Fabietto Schisa, set in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. Sorrentino returns to his hometown to tell his most personal story, a tale of fate and family, sports and cinema, love and loss.

“The Humans” | Stephen Karam | United States | A24

Set inside a pre-war duplex in downtown Manhattan, “The Humans” follows the course of an evening in which the Blake family gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving. As darkness falls outside the crumbling building, mysterious things start to go bump in the night and family tensions reach a boiling point.

“Jagged” | Alison Klayman | United States | HBO Documentary Films

1995 was the year of Alanis Morissette. Her groundbreaking album Jagged Little Pill delivered a rawness and emotional honesty that resonated with millions. “Jagged” explores how Alanis came to be that empowered woman so many admire, and what happens when a 21-year-old becomes a worldwide phenomenon.

“Julia” | Julie Cohen, Betsy West | United States | Sony Pictures Classics

“Julia” brings to life the legendary cookbook author and television superstar who changed the way Americans think about food, television, and even about women.

“King Richard” | Reinaldo Marcus Green | United States | Warner Bros. Pictures

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on Compton, California’s abandoned tennis courts – rain or shine – the girls are shaped by their father’s unyielding commitment and their mother’s balanced perspective and keen intuition, defying the seemingly insurmountable odds and prevailing expectations laid before them. Based on the true story that will inspire the world, KING RICHARD follows the journey of a family whose unwavering resolve and unconditional belief ultimately delivers two of the world’s greatest sports legends.

“Mass” | Fran Kranz | United States | Bleecker Street

Years after an unspeakable tragedy tore their lives apart, two sets of parents (Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton, Reed Birney and Ann Dowd) agree to talk privately in an attempt to move forward.

“The Power of the Dog” | Jane Campion | UK, Australia, USA, Canada, New Zealand | Netflix

Charismatic rancher Phil Burbank inspires fear and awe in those around him. When his brother brings home a new wife and her son, Phil torments them until he finds himself exposed to the possibility of love.

“Spencer “| Pablo Larraín | UK, Germany, Chile

The Prince and Princess of Wales’ marriage has long since grown cold. Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at Sandringham Estate. But this year, things will be profoundly different.

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