Closing night film moves Heartland artistic director 


Heartland International Film Festival Artistic Director Greg Sorvig is passionate about all the films his festival shows, but one in particular stood out this year.

“‘The Whale’ means a lot to me on many levels, from the first time I saw the film a couple months ago to sharing it with a sold-out crowd on closing night (Oct. 16),” said Sorvig, a Carmel resident. “Indianapolis-born Brendan Fraser was here prior to COVID for an anniversary screening of ‘The Mummy’ and the parallels of seeing him transform both onscreen in his career-best performance and offscreen as his career resurges to new heights has been touching. ‘The Whale’ is a powerful film with an especially impactful ending, and it was amazing being able to share that with our fans to close out the festival.”

All three major cash prizes were awarded to women directors who were present at the Oct. 15 awards presentation. The top prize winners were “Hidden Letters” from director Violet Du Feng and co-director Qing Zhao ($20,000 Documentary Feature Grand Prize); “Our Father, the Devil” from director Ellie Foumbi ($20,000 Narrative Feature Grand Prize); and “Wildcat” from directors Melissa Lesh and Trevor Frost ($5,000 Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award). 

“The B1G Story: George Taliaferro,” directed by Tucker Gragg and Kevin Weaver, won the Indiana Spotlight Award ($2,000 cash prize) and “The Best We’ve Got: The Carl Erskine Story,” directed by Ted Green, received the Indiana Spotlight Audience Choice Award.  

The Overall Audience Choice Award went to “Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game,” directed by Austin Bragg and Meredith Bragg (USA).

“I received more compliments on the lineup and our variety of films this year than ever before from our in-person attendees,” Sorvig said. “Movie-going has changed dramatically with streaming and COVID, but response and interest remains high, which was encouraging, both for in-person and streaming.”

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