Indiana’s largest and longest-running film festival will celebrate its 28th anniversary this October across Indianapolis! Since the inaugural Festival in 1992, Heartland has grown from a 4-day event with less than 20 films to an 11-day celebration featuring more than 200 independent films.
The Heartland Film Festival has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within the Short Films category. This means that the winner of the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. Since the first Festival in 1992, Heartland Film has awarded more than $3 million in cash prizes – the largest prize amount given to independent filmmakers by a festival in North America, and quite possibly the entire world.
- Opening Night
Kick off the 2019 Heartland International Film Festival with fellow film lovers and filmmakers at a special event screening and an after-party featuring live music by Sarah Scarbrough, food, a cash bar, and dancing! Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy Winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America's most beloved neighbor. Courtesy of TriStar Pictures.
- Anniversary Film: The Mummy
A rousing, suspenseful, and horrifying epic about an expedition of treasure-seeking explorers in the Sahara Desert in 1925. Stumbling upon an ancient tomb, the hunters unwittingly set loose a 3,000-year-old legacy of terror, which is embodied in the vengeful reincarnation of an Egyptian priest who had been sentenced to an eternity as one of the living dead. Actor Brendan Fraser is scheduled to attend. Q&A moderated by film critic Pete Hammond to follow the screening.
- Cultural Journey: Germany
Heartland Film has initiated a new and unique international program called Cultural Journey, a tribute to and a celebration ofthe cinema, culture, and cuisine of a specific country. The program began in 2017 with a look at the explosive cinema of India. In 2018, we explored the cultural highlights of Mexico. This year, Heartland Film will present eight stunning new feature films from Germany, as well as tastings of German delicacies at a special reception and screening event. Reception includes classic German food, German music by Monika Herzig, and a screening of “25 km/h."
- Awards Brunch
At Awards Brunch, we will recognize the best independent filmmakers from allover the world and bestow the Festival’s top prizes.
- Showcase Screening
AMC Castleton Square
The Two Popes
From Fernando Meirelles, the Academy Award®-nominated director of “City of God,” and three-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Anthony McCarten, comes an intimate story of one of the most dramatic transitions of power in the last 2,000 years. Frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire in 2012 from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins). Instead, facing scandal and self-doubt, the introspective Pope Benedict summons his harshest critic and future successor to Rome to reveal a secret that would shake the foundations of the Catholic Church. Behind Vatican walls, a struggle commences between both tradition and progress, guilt and forgiveness, as these two very different men confront elements from their pasts in order to find common ground and forge a future for a billion followers around the world. Courtesty of Netflix.
- Centerpiece Screening
"Marriage Story" is Academy Award® nominated filmmaker Noah Baumbach's incisive and compassionate portrait of a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. The film stars Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta co-star. Courtesy of Netflix.
- Closing Night
Closing Night of HIFF ends with one of the top films of the year, "Just Mercy" from Warner Bros. Pictures. After-Party to follow at the Jazz Kitchen. Michael B. Jordan (“Black Panther,” “Creed,” “Creed II”) and Oscar winners Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “Baby Driver,” “Django: Unchained”) and Brie Larson (“Room,” “The Glass Castle,” “Captain Marvel”) star in “Just Mercy,” an inspiring drama that brings one of the most important stories of our time to the big screen. Award-winning filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (“The Glass Castle,” “Short Term 12”) directed the film from a screenplay he co-wrote, based on the award-winning nonfiction bestseller by Bryan Stevenson.
A powerful and thought-provoking true story, “Just Mercy” follows young lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Jordan) and his history-making battle for justice. After graduating from Harvard, Bryan had his pick of lucrative jobs. Instead, he heads to Alabama to defend those wrongly condemned or who were not afforded proper representation, with the support of local advocate Eva Ansley (Larson). One of his first, and most incendiary, cases is that of Walter McMillian (Foxx), who, in 1987, was sentenced to die for the notorious murder of an 18-year-old girl, despite a preponderance of evidence proving his innocence and the fact that the only testimony against him came from a criminal with a motive to lie. In the years that follow, Bryan becomes embroiled in a labyrinth of legal and political maneuverings and overt and unabashed racism as he fights for Walter, and others like him, with the odds—and the system—stacked against them.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in Association with Endeavor Content/One Community/Participant Media/Macro, a Gil Netter Production, an Outlier Society Production, “Just Mercy.” The film is slated for limited release on December 25, 2019 and will go wide on January 10, 2020. “Just Mercy” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and has been rated PG-13 for thematic content, including some racial epithets.
Major Event Titles:
- TriStar Pictures’ “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” directed by Marielle Heller featuring Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers, which will open HIFF on Thursday, October 10, at Newfields.
- Netflix will present “Marriage Story,” directed by Noah Baumbach featuring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson, as HIFF Centerpiece on Wednesday, October 16, at Newfields in addition to “The Two Popes,” directed by Fernando Meirelles featuring Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins as the HIFF Showcase Screening on Thursday, Oct. 17 at AMC Castleton Square.
- Closing HIFF on Sunday, October 20, will be Warner Bros. release “Just Mercy” directed by Destin Daniel Cretton starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson based on the memoir of the same name by Bryan Stevenson.
Highlights from the 200 plus feature film lineup include:
- “63 UP” directed by Michael Apted (Independent Television ITV)
Michael Apted scheduled to attend to receive the HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award
- “The Apollo” directed by Roger Ross Williams (HBO), Award Season Spotlight Program
- “Breaking Away” directed by Peter Yates, 40th Anniversary Special Presentation
Actor Dennis Christopher scheduled to attend
- “By the Grace of God” directed by François Ozon (Music Box Films), Special Presentation
- “The Cave” directed by Feras Fayyad (National Geographic), Award Season Spotlight Program
- “Clemency” directed by Chinonye Chukwu (NEON), Special Presentation
- “Dolor y gloria / Pain and Glory” directed by Pedro Almodóvar (Sony Pictures Classics), Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender Program
- “Il traditore / The Traitor” directed by Marco Bellocchio (Sony Pictures Classics), Special Presentation
- “I Lost My Body” directed by Jérémy Clapin (Netflix), Special Presentation
- “In Fabric” directed by Peter Strickland (A24), Special Presentation
- “Midnight Cowboy” directed by John Schlesinger, 50th Anniversary Special Presentation
Photographer Michael Childers scheduled to attend with a moderated Q&A hosted by Bruce Fessier
- “The Mummy” directed by Stephen Sommers, 20th Anniversary Special Presentation
Actor Brendan Fraser scheduled to attend with a moderated Q&A hosted by Pete Hammond
- “Parasite” directed by Bong Joon Ho (NEON), Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender Program
- “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” directed by Céline Sciamma (NEON), Special Presentation
- “Slay the Dragon” directed by Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance (Magnolia Pictures), Special Presentation
- “Synonyms” directed by Nadav Lapid (Kino Lorber), Special Presentation
- “Systemsprenger / System Crasher” directed by Nora Fingscheidt (Ad Vitam Distribution), US Premiere in the Cultural Journey: Germany and Best International Feature Film Oscar® Contender Programs
- “Waves” directed by Trey Edwards Shults (A24), Special Presentation
- “When We Last Spoke” directed by Joanne Hock, Official Selection
Actor Cloris Leachman to receive the HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award, Actor Corbin Bernsen scheduled to attend