Heartland Film Festival announced that it has bestowed its prestigious Award of Excellence to Lumumba, a film by Raoul Peck. Set to open in New York City on June 27, 2001, Lumumba is a gripping political thriller which tells the story of the legendary African leader Patrice Emery Lumumba. Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington, received Heartland’s first Award of Excellence last year and kicked off the Heartland Film Festival in October 2000.
Based on a true story, Lumumba chronicles the rapid rise of the brilliant and charismatic Patrice Emery Lumumba. Lumumba, played by Eriq Ebouaney (Les Enfants du marais), became Prime Minister when Belgium conceded the Congo’s independence in June 1960. His vision of a united Africa gained him powerful enemies: the Belgian authorities, who wanted a much more paternal role in their former colony’s affairs, and the CIA, who supported Lumumba’s former friend Joseph Mobutu in order to protest U.S. business interests in Congo’s vast resources and their upper hand in the Cold War power balance. The architects behind Lumumba’s brutal death in 1961, a mere nine months after becoming the country’s first Prime Minster, recently became known and are dramatized for the first time in Lumumba.
Heartland Film Festival will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year and will be held October 17-25, 2001 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Heartland will also reach the million dollar milestone when it awards a total of $100,000 to the visionaries of this year’s selected winning films. The Heartland Film Festival was established in 1991 to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life.
For more info, check out the official site for Lumumba.

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