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By Film Threat Staff | September 17, 2007

Heartland Truly Moving PicturesTM announced tonight at the annual Crystal Heart Awards Announcement Celebration that a premiere event featuring Heartland’s newest Truly Moving Picture Award winner, “August Rush” from Warner Bros. Pictures, will open the 2007 Heartland Film Festival® while “The Kite Runner” will close the 16th annual Festival.

Directed by Kirsten Sheridan, “August Rush” tells the story of a charismatic young Irish guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a sheltered young cellist (Keri Russell) who have a chance encounter one magical night above New York’s Washington Square, but are soon torn apart, leaving in their wake an infant, August Rush, orphaned by circumstance. Now performing on the streets of New York and cared for by a mysterious stranger (Robin Williams), August (Freddie Highmore) uses his remarkable talent to seek the parents from whom he was separated at birth. Producer Richard Barton Lewis is scheduled to attend.

An unforgettable story of redemption, “The Kite Runner” tells an epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the Taliban reign. Golden Globe-nominated director Marc Forster brings to life Khaled Hosseini’s bestseller The Kite Runner with a globally diverse cast and crew. The result is a journey into a new world – through a universal human story that speaks to anyone who has ever yearned for a second chance to make a change and find forgiveness. DreamWorks Pictures, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions present “The Kite Runner,” a Sidney Kimmel Entertainment Production and Parkes/MacDonald Production released by Paramount Classics.

“Since 1991 it’s been Heartland’s mission to showcase films that bring out the best of the human spirit,” said Jeffery L. Sparks, president and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. “This year we are thrilled to return with a unique and diverse collection of world class films and events that demonstrate Heartland’s continued commitment to honor films that uplift as well as entertain. Ranging from powerful, inspiring documentaries to quirky comedies and romantic dramas, the lineup offers an opportunity for everyone to be moved.”

Sparks also announced that 16 films were selected from 619 international submissions (representing 40 countries) to receive Crystal Heart and Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards and $200,000 in cash prizes. The premier showcase for dramatically different films, the Heartland Film Festival line-up provides audiences with opportunities to be moved by stories of courage, integrity and hope from top independent filmmakers. In total, the Festival will present nearly 50 films with two World Premieres, three U.S. premieres, 19 official selections and a sidebar of films that inspire change. The 2007 Heartland Film Festival runs October 18-26 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The complete list of films and special events is available at

Five Crystal Heart Award-winning films will compete for the $100,000 Grand Prize for Best Dramatic Feature. The lineup includes: “Bella” produced by Sean Wolfington; “Lars and the Real Girl,” a thought-provoking feature produced by John Cameron, directed by Craig Gillespie and starring 2007 Academy Award® Best Actor nominee Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider and Patricia Clarkson; “Man in the Chair,” an inspiring drama starring Christopher Plummer and produced, directed and written by Michael Schroeder; Mia Sarah” directed and written by Gustavo Ron; and “Owl and the Sparrow,” a moving drama from director and writer Stephane Gauger.

Five Crystal Heart Award-winning films will also compete for the $25,000 prize for Best Documentary Feature. These films include: “Doubletime” executive produced by Julie Goldman, produced by Andrea Meditch and directed by Stephanie Johns; the deeply personal feature “Hear and Now” produced, directed and written by Irene Taylor Brodsky; “Nanking,” a powerful film directed and written by Academy Award® winner Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman; Director Socheata Poeuv’s intimate “New Year Baby”; and the incredible “War/Dance” executive produced by Susan MacLaury.

Heartland Film Festival will also present the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short. Crystal Heart Award-winning films in competition are “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy” directed by Alice Elliott and “Validation” produced, directed and written by Kurt Kuenne.

Four student films distinguished as outstanding among submissions will receive Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Awards and also compete for the $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short. They include “The Little Gorilla” produced, directed and written by Harry Kellerman; “Monsoon” produced, directed and written by Shyam Balse; “Still Life,” directed and written by Mahesh Pailoor; and “THE WINDFISHERMAN” directed and written by Anna McRoberts.

All cash prizes and awards will be presented at this year’s Crystal Heart Awards Gala on Saturday, October 20 at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The public will have the opportunity to view this year’s films from October 19-25 at AMC Theatres Clearwater Crossing 12 on the northside, AMC Theatres Greenwood Park 14 on the southside and this year’s new location, Regal Entertainment Group’s UA Circle Centre 9 in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

Heartland will showcase several films in addition to this year’s award winners, including an official selection program and a sidebar of films. The Official Selection films are not in competition but are eligible for the Audience Choice Award. Official Selections include “All About Us” produced, directed and written by Michael and Christine Swanson; “Bonneville” produced by Robert May; “CHRISTMAS IS HERE AGAIN!” produced by Jim Praytor and directed by Robert Zappia; “Home of the Giants” directed and written by Rusty Gorman and starring Haley Joel Osment; “Midnight Clear” produced and directed by Dallas Jenkins; “Saving Angelo” directed and written by Dominic Scott Kay; “Moondance Alexander” produced and directed by Michael and Janeen Damian and starring Kay Panabaker, Lori Loughlin, Sasha Cohen and Don Johnson; “The Better Hour: The Legacy of William Wilberforce” produced by Cullen Schippe and directed by Phil Cooke; “A Senseless Act” produced, directed, and written by David de Vos; “Compañeras” produced and directed by Liz Massie; “Life Is Not the Same” produced, directed and written by Oscar Torres; “Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life” produced and directed by Logan Smalley; “Muse of Fire” directed by Lawrence Bridges; “Heart to Heart” produced and written by Mark Condron and produced and hosted by Patrick Dempsey; “Note by Note” produced and directed by Ben Niles; “Our Race” produced and directed by Andrew and Sherry (Devanney) MacVicar; “The Pact” produced and directed by Andrea Kalin; “TWISTED: A Balloonamentary,” produced and directed by Naomi Greenfield and Sarah Taksler; and “When I Grow Up” produced and directed by Michelle Meeker.

Selected by Indianapolis organizations, the 2007 sidebar films focus on the mission or an important topic for each organization, and follows Heartland’s goal to recognize films that impact and uplift. The sidebar films include “A Hero for Daisy” selected by the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana; “Crash” selected by Indy Hub, “Desk Set” selected by the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library; “Innocent Voices” selected by La Plaza; “Pay it Forward” selected by the Indiana Youth Institute; and “To Kill A Mockingbird” selected by Indiana Black Expo, Inc.

In addition to the year’s lineup of unique and inspiring films, the Festival offers an exciting program of events for those of all ages to enjoy.

Opening the nine-day event on October 18 is “August Rush.” The Festival continues on October 19 with the opening night of film screenings and exclusive Q&A sessions with filmmakers. Additional events include an opportunity to meet filmmakers and special guests at the Filmmakers’ Brunch; a special premiere screening of “A Plumm Summer” at the Family Movie Event; a special presentation of “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” with the filmmakers; an exclusive screening of “Renewing American Culture: The Pursuit of Happiness” followed by a discussion with the authors and prominent civic and business leaders from Indianapolis; and A Conversation with Disney’s Mark Zoradi which features an exclusive peek at a collection of clips from upcoming and much-anticipated Walt Disney Pictures’ films, including “Enchanted,” and insights from Zoradi, President, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Group. Plus, an expanded two-day educational seminar for aspiring filmmakers. The 2007 Heartland Film Festival closes with “The Kite Runner.”

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