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Film lovers rejoice. Heartland International Film Festival is back for its 27th year, and the lineup is packed with all sorts of noteworthy goodness.

Now in its 27th year, Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF) will span from Oct. 11-21, with all kinds of films screening around Indianapolis. From dramas to documentaries, HIFF is widely regarded for its rich slate of independent films, filmmaker support, cash prizes, Academy Award® qualification status, and Hoosier hospitality.

Documentaries will be spotlighted to bookend one of the major (and potentially, most lucrative) stops for filmmakers on the regional film festival circuit, with Melissa Haizlip and Samuel D. Pollard’s award-winning Mr. Soul! chosen as the Opening Night Gala film, and Julie Getz’s feel good doc Care to Laugh, will make its world premiere as the Closing Night Gala selection. Kendall Goldberg’s When Jeff Tried to Save the World is set to be the Centerpiece Screening, and Elizabeth Chomko’s star-studded drama What They Had will be the Spotlight Screening. Television legend Hal Linden was also announced to receive Heartland’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Heartland International Film Festival also boasts a film lineup this year in which 50 percent of its competition titles–in addition to all four of the Gala event selections—were directed by women. The 11-day film festival will showcase more than 136 films in total (108 features, 28 short films) representing 17 countries, and will hand out cash prizes totaling $82,500 to filmmakers at Heartland’s celebrated GLOW: Awards Party at Newfields (4000 North Michigan Road) on Saturday, October 20.

“In our 27th year, Heartland continues to bring an amazing array of films and filmmakers from around the world to screen for our dedicated film fans in Indiana – with 18 of them making their world and U.S. premieres right here in Indiana, while adding a little Hollywood touch to the proceedings,” said Heartland International Film Festival president Craig Prater. “Opening our fest with a film that has been an award winner at other festivals, and closing with a film that will send everyone home with a smile on their face, exemplifies our efforts to strike a great balance with our programming. Of course, honoring a true television icon like Hal Linden, who we welcomed into our living rooms for so many years now, adds an additional bit of magic to everything, as well.”

Additional highlights among the jam-packed schedule are the impressive list of world and U.S. premiere screenings. Those with after parties celebrating the filmmakers, include; Robin Hays’s Anthem of a Teenage Prophet, about a teenage who predicts his best friend’s death and is labeled the “Prophet of Death” in the small town he lives in; Julia Whitehead’s My Friend Mickey: Common Decency and the American Dream, which profiles entrepreneur and generous philanthropist, Mickey Maurer; Anne O’Neill’s Phil’s Camino: So Far, So Good, about a man who handles his cancer diagnosis and treatment by replicating the legendary Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in his backyard; Jenica Bergere’s Spare Room, which follows the impact renting a room out to a veteran trying to find himself has on a young widow and her brother with Down Syndrome; and Cyrus Mirakhor’s Wake, about a widowed mortician, who receives a life-size male doll named Pedro, which unexpectedly complicates her life in ways no one could imagine.

Free-to-the-public Filmmaker Panels with subjects to interest film fans, filmmakers, and aspiring filmmakers, with subjects including; working toward better representation in the film industry in terms of gender, people of color, and those with disabilities (Breaking Boundaries Panel); gaining insight into the avenues to get your film bought, or simply seen on a larger scale (Distribution, Exhibition, and Film Festivals in North America); how to take advantage of the growing local filmmaking industry (Filmmaking in Indiana); and utilizing the power of film to effect real and positive social change (Social Impact Panel).

Heartland will also screen a special presentation of the winners from the Easterseals Disability Challenge on Saturday, October 13, two programs featuring the winners of this year’s inaugural Indy Shorts International Film Festival, and welcome the return of award-winning Disney legend Don Hahn, who will participate in a “Conversation with..” panel on Saturday, October 20.

Film festival passes and tickets are on-sale now. For more information, visit here.