updated: 10/30/2007 7:53:21 AM

Film Festival Concludes With 22,000 Attendees

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Heartland Film Festival celebrated its 16th festival with more than 22,000 filmgoers attending nine days of events. The Grand Prize Award for Best Dramatic Feature was presented to “Bella," the Best Documentary Feature was given to “Hear and Now” and Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole and Jason Russell received the Pioneering Spirit Award.

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Press Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- The 16th annual Heartland Film Festival® concluded its nine-day run on Friday, October 26 with the announcement of the 2007 Audience Choice Award winners and two sold-out screenings of “The Kite Runner” with Screenwriter David Benioff in attendance.

The 2007 Festival was a success as more than 22,000 filmgoers attended events and saw films that bring out the best in the human spirit as well as met the filmmakers and stars that made them.

The Festival kicked off in Hollywood style on Thursday, October 18 with a sold-out, premiere event featuring “August Rush” by Warner Bros. Pictures. Producer Richard Barton Lewis and Music Supervisor Anastasia Brown greeted fans on the red carpet and accepted a Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award for the film. The festivities continued on Friday evening as 16 Crystal Heart Award-winning films opened at three Indianapolis venues. These films were selected from 619 international submissions for demonstrating artistic and technical merit and for best meeting Heartland’s mission.

Indianapolis-native and award-winning correspondent Carlos Diaz from “Extra” emceed the Festival’s annual black tie awards gala where Heartland presented Crystal Heart Awards and $200,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers for their role in creating enriching and inspiring films. Special guests Haley Joel Osment ("Home of the Giants," "Pay It Forward"), Lisa Guerrero ("Inside Edition" correspondent, Producer and actor in "A Plumm Summer"), Angelo Pizzo ("Hoosiers," "Rudy") and Judy Stewart (The Stewart Foundation) presented the awards.

The $100,000 Grand Prize Award for Best Dramatic Feature was presented to “Bella.” Producer/ Director/Writer Alejandro Monteverde accepted the award. Heartland’s grand prize award was doubled to $100,000 in 2006 and is underwritten by the Max Simon Charitable Foundation. All award-winning dramatic feature films are eligible to receive this award, which is one of the largest single cash prizes awarded by a film festival.

The $25,000 Award for Best Documentary Feature was given to Producer/Director/Writer Irene Taylor Brodsky for “Hear and Now.” All award-winning documentary feature films are eligible to receive this award, which is sponsored by Bright Ideas in Broad Ripple and The Godby Family Foundation.

Producer/Director/Writer Kurt Kuenne received the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short Film for “Validation.” Sponsored by Vision Racing, all awarding-winning shorts are eligible to receive this award.

Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole and Jason Russell ("Invisible Children: Rough Cut") received the Pioneering Spirit Award for their innovative and creative spirit in filmmaking as well as for their ability to understand the power of film and how it can make a difference in people’s lives.

Heartland honored 22 films selected from November 2006 to date as recipients of the Truly Moving Picture Award: “A Mighty Heart,” “Amazing Grace,” “August Rush,” “Becoming Jane,” “Beyond the Gates,” “Bridge to Terebithia,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Enchanted,” “Freedom Writers,” “Gracie,” “Happy Feet,” “The Hip Hop Project,” “The Kite Runner,” “Martian Child,” “Meet The Robinsons,” “Miss Potter,” “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “The Nativity Story,” “Ratatouille,” “The Seeker,” “The Ultimate Gift” and “We Are Marshall.” Mark Zoradi, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group, was on hand to accept the Truly Moving Picture Award for “Enchanted,” “Meet The Robinsons” and “Ratatouille.”

Filmmakers honored with Crystal Heart Awards and cash prizes included: Producer/Director/Writer Alejandro Monteverde for “Bella”; Director Alice Elliot for “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy”; Producers Andrea Meditch, Alexandra Johnes and Producer/Director Stephanie Johnes for “Doubletime”; Producer/ Director/Writer Irene Taylor Brodsky for “Hear and Now”; Producer John Cameron and Director Craig Gillespie for “Lars and the Real Girl”; Producer/Director/Writer Michael Schroeder for “Man In the Chair”; Director/Writer Gustavo Ron, Producers Álvaro Ron, Andrés Barbé and Composer Cesar Benito for “Mia Sarah”; Producer Michael Jacobs for “Nanking”; Director Socheata Poeuv for “New Year Baby”; Director/Writer Stephane Gauger for “Owl and the Sparrow”; Producer/Director/Writer Kurt Kuenne for “Validation”; and Executive Producer Susan MacLaury and Producer Albie Hecht for “War/Dance.”

Filmmakers honored with Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards for best student films included: Producer/Director/Writer Harry Kellerman for “The Little Gorilla”; Producer/Director/Writer Shyam Balsé for “Monsoon”; Director/Writer Mahesh Pailoor for “Still Life”; and Director/Writer Anna McRoberts for “THE WINDFISHERMAN.”

Additional Festival activities included a premiere screening of “A Plumm Summer” with actors Chris J. Kelly (Elliot Plumm), Owen Pearce (Rocky Plumm), Lisa Guerrero (Roxie Plumm and Producer), Morgan Flynn (Haley Dubois) and Producer/Director/Writer Caroline Zelder at the always-popular Family Movie Event; an exclusive peek at clips from upcoming Walt Disney Pictures’ films with Mark Zoradi, President of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group; and special screenings of “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” and “Renewing American Culture: The Pursuit of Happiness.” Aspiring filmmakers participated in Heartland’s expanded two-day educational seminar. The event featured industry experts Sterling Van Wagenen and David Weiss, Heartland Pioneering Spirit Award honorees Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole and Jason Russell along with several 2007 award-winning filmmakers as they shared knowledge and advice on the independent filmmaking process.

The 2007 Festival ended with two sold-out screenings of DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Kite Runner” with Screenwriter David Benioff in attendance. Heartland also announced the 2007 Audience Choice Award winners that screening audiences liked most. More than 21,000 ballots were cast by audiences to determine the winner in three categories – Dramatic Feature, Documentary Feature and Short Film. All films were eligible. The 2007 winners are:

Audience Choice Award for Dramatic Feature: “Man In the Chair” produced, directed and written by Michael Schroeder.

Audience Choice Award for Documentary Feature: “Hear and Now” produced, directed and written by Irene Taylor Brodsky.

Audience Choice Award for Short Film: “Validation” produced, directed and written by Kurt Kuenne.

“The Audience Choice Award is very important to filmmakers,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, president and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving PicturesTM. “They will use this award in the marketing of their films. It sends a clear message that the Heartland embraces their work.”

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, a non-profit organization, seeks to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by expressing hope and emphasizing the best of the human spirit. Its flagship event, the Heartland Film Festival, launched in 1991 and runs each October in Indianapolis, screening independent films from around the world. Each year, the Festival awards $200,000 in cash prizes and presents its Crystal Heart Awards to the top-judged submissions. Heartland has awarded more than $1.8 million to support filmmakers during the last 16 years. The organization’s Truly Moving Picture Award was created to honor films released theatrically that align with Heartland’s mission. By bestowing a watermark to honored films, the award allows studios and distributors to inform audiences of a film’s uplifting message and appeal. Heartland is also dedicated to its relationship with the National Collaboration for Youth and its expanding F.I.L.M., “Finding Inspiration in Literature and Movies,” project. For more information, visit www.TrulyMovingPictures.org.

Source: Heartland Truly Moving Pictures

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