Indiana’s longest-running celebration of cinema, the 26th Heartland Film Festival, will kick off tomorrow, October 12th, with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Rob Reiner, and run through Sunday, October 22nd. It was founded by a team headed by President Emeritus Jeff Sparks and was voted this year as one of the Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in Moviemaker Magazine. The nonprofit organization will award a total of $100,000 across multiple categories such as Grand Prizes, the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award, U.S. and World Premieres, High School Film Competition, and the Indiana Spotlight Program.
RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert will speak after a special screening of “Life Itself,” Steve James’s acclaimed 2014 documentary about her late husband Roger, at 3:30pm on Friday, October 13th. Later that day, she will moderate a critics panel at 7pm, featuring Christopher Lloyd, Richard Propes and Klaus Eder, the general secretary of the International Federation of Film Critics.
Director Rob Reiner will be present for several screenings at the festival this year, including the opening night gala for his latest picture, “LBJ,” a biopic starring Woody Harrelson as Lyndon B. Johnson, on Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. He will be honored at the screening with Heartland Film’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award. Two of his most beloved films, 1986’s “Stand By Me” and 1987’s “The Princess Bride” will be screened the next morning with the filmmaker in attendance.
This year’s closing night selection, “Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies,” chronicles the efforts of director Amanda Ladd-Jones to learn about her father, Alan Ladd Jr., the trailblazing producer whose filmography contains such immortal titles as “Star Wars,” “Alien,” “Young Frankenstein,” and the film for which he won an Oscar, “Braveheart.” Ladd-Jones will be in attendance at the October 22nd screening (at AMC Castleton Square 14) to accept Heartland Film’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award on her father’s behalf.
Presiding over the festival is its new President, Craig Prater, who began his tenure last year and has had major roles at various festivals throughout his career. He most recently served as Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for the San Diego International Film Festival and Director of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
For the full festival line-up, visit the official Heartland site.