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Ann Dowd, Woody Norman
Ann Dowd, Woody Norman

Actress Ann Dowd and actor Woody Norman will be presented with the Pioneering Spirit Awards at the 30th Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF), set to open this week in Indianapolis (October 7-17).

Actress Ann Dowd, featured in the HIFF Showcase Event title “Mass” (Bleecker Street) will be honored with the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award, and actor Woody Norman, featured opposite Joaquin Phoenix in Silver Screen Event title “C’mon C’mon” (A24) will be recognized with the Pioneering Spirit: Rising Star Award for his breakout performance as Jesse.

“Ann Dowd has been a force across film, television, and the stage, with dozens of memorable performances,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Greg Sorvig. “It is our distinct honor to present Ann with the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award to celebrate her entire body of work, and to showcase her latest powerhouse performance as Linda in ‘Mass,’ which we fully expect to be noticed come this awards season.”

“Woody Norman surprised our team as we screened ‘C’mon C’mon,’” said Sorvig. “When the lights went up, his performance was the first thing we all talked about and we knew this ‘Rising Star’ honor had to be given. Norman brings so much depth, energy, and pathos to the role of Jesse and we are honored to bestow the young actor with his first award – we know there will be many more to come!”

Over the years, the HIFF Pioneering Spirit Awards have honored individuals who have embodied Heartland Film’s mission; those whose work has inspired conversation, ignited imagination, and shifted perspectives. The Pioneering Spirit Award honors individuals in the prime of their career, (recent past honorees include Jessica Biel and Geoffrey Rush), and the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the full career contributions of an individual (recent honorees include Cloris Leachman, Michael Apted, Brian Dennehy, and Rob Reiner). The Pioneering Spirit: Rising Star Award is reserved for young and up-and-coming talent, and Vanessa Hudgens received the Award back in 2014.

About Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Honoree Ann Dowd

Ann Dowd has been gracing the stage and screen for more than 30 years, and was the recipient of the 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her performance as Aunt Lydia on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel. For her work on the show, which is now streaming in its fourth year, Dowd has also won a Critics’ Choice Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe award and multiple Screen Actors Guild awards. Dowd also received a 2017 Emmy nomination for her performance as Patti Levin on the beloved HBO series “The Leftovers,” a role she played for three seasons.

For her work on the big screen, Dowd was the recipient of a Best Supporting Actress award from the National Board of Review for her performance in Craig Zobel’s psychological thriller “Compliance.” She was also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and Critics’ Choice Award for the role. Additional film roles include “Hereditary,” “American Animals,” “Captain Fantastic,” “St. Vincent,” “Marly & Me,” “Garden State,” “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Philadelphia.” She can most recently be seen in Fran Kranz’s “Mass,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and now being featured at the 30th Heartland International Film Festival.

Other notable TV roles include the award-winning Foxtel series “Lambs of God,” “Olive Kitteridge,” recurring roles on “Good Behavior,” “Masters of Sex,” “Quarry,” “Nothing Sacred,” “Judging Amy,” “Third Watch,” “Freaks and Geeks,” and memorable appearances on “At Home with Amy Sedaris,” “True Detective,” “Louie,” “Girls,” “House,” “Chicago Hope,” “The X-Files,” and “NYPD Blue.” She has portrayed nine different characters in the “Law & Order” franchise.

On stage, Ann has appeared on Broadway in “The Seagull” with Kristen Scott Thomas and Carey Mulligan, “Taking Sides” with Elizabeth Marvel, and “Candida” alongside Mary Steenburgen, as well as notable productions of plays including “The Normal Heart,” “Doubt,” and “Blood from a Stone.”

Dowd will be honored with the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, October 8, at the Showcase Event screening of “Mass” at the Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie.

About Pioneering Spirit: Rising Star Honoree Woody Norman

UK-based actor Woody Norman had an incredible experience working with Joaquin Phoenix in the A24 film “C’mon C’mon,” written and directed by Mike Mills. Norman is currently filming Amblin’s “Last Voyage of the Demeter,” directed by Andre Øvredal, where he shares the screen with Corey Hawkins.

Norman will be seen in 2022 starring in the Lionsgate thriller “Cobweb” opposite Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr. Other film credits include Alexander Jeremy’s “The Space Man” with Colin Farrell, Karl Golden’s “Bruno,” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s “The Current War,” where he played Benedict Cumberbatch’s son and Justin Molotnikov’s “The Small Hand.” Woody recurred on BBC One’s “Poldark,” “Troy: Fall Of A City,” “The War Of The Worlds,” and “Les Miserables.” He was also seen in Starz’s “The White Princess” opposite Jodie Comer and ITV’s “Peter and Wendy.”

Norman will be honored with the Pioneering Spirit: Rising Star Award on Sunday, October 10, at the Silver Screen Event screening of “C’mon C’mon” at Newfields.

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