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The 14th annual Heartland Film Festival awards

The 14th annual Heartland Film Festival® concluded its nine-day run on Friday, October 21 with the announcement of the inaugural Audience Award winners and a sold-out screening of “Duma” with the film’s director and Academy Award® nominee Carroll Ballard (“The Black Stallion,” “Fly Away Home”).

The 2005 Festival was a great success and brought another increase in attendance, despite a decrease in box office sales nationwide. An estimated 18,000 celebrated some of the year’s best Truly Moving PicturesSM and met directors, actors, screenwriters and producers from around the world.

Heartland presented nearly 40 films, including a record 24 award winners (six dramatic feature films, a record seven documentaries and 11 shorts), selected from more than 550 submissions for demonstrating excellence in filmmaking and for best meeting Heartland’s mission.

The Festival kicked off in Hollywood style with a sold-out premiere of DreamWorks’ “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story.” Actor Dakota Fanning and Director/Screenwriter John Gatins were greeted by hundreds of fans on the red carpet. Fanning and Gatins accepted a Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award for the film. Heartland and the National Collaboration for Youth also announced “Dreamer” as the second film in their collaborative F.I.L.M. (Finding Inspiration in Literature and Movies) program, which encourages youth associated with NCY organizations around the country to screen the program’s featured film, read the book/script associated with the movie, utilize the activity guide and partake in related service projects.

Judge Reinhold emceed the Festival’s annual black tie awards ceremony where Heartland presented awards and more than $100,000 in cash prizes to filmmakers for their role in creating Truly Moving Pictures. Awards presented included:

$50,000 Grand Prize Award for Best Dramatic Feature presented to “End of the Spear.” Producer and Co-Writer Bill Ewing, Actor Louie Leonardo and Associate Producer Jen Clymer accepted the award. Heartland’s $50,000 grand prize remains one of the largest single cash prizes awarded by a film festival.

Vision Award: Laura Neri’s film “A Kiss on the Nose” received the inaugural award. Sponsored by Vision Racing, this award recognizes an emerging filmmaker who shows vision in filmmaking. All awarding-winning short films were eligible for this award.

Saab Pioneering Spirit Award: Producers Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins of Tollin/Robbins Productions received this award for their creative spirit in filmmaking and for supporting Heartland’s mission. Tollin and Robbins have won three Heartland Truly Moving Picture Awards for “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story,” “Coach Carter” and “Radio” and three Crystal Heart Awards for “Hardwood Dreams,” “Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream” and “Hardwood Dreams: Ten Years Later.”

Truly Moving Picture Award: Heartland honored 11 films selected as 2005 recipients of the Truly Moving Picture Award, which honors theatrically released films that inspire and enrich lives. "Cinderella Man," "Coach Carter," Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story," "Duma," "The Game of their Lives," "The Greatest Game Ever Played," "Ice Princess," "Mad Hot Ballroom," "Madison," "Millions" and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" each received a Truly Moving Picture Award designed by Mark Aronstam of Aronstam Designer/Fine Jewelers. Filmmakers on hand to receive awards included: Producers Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins for “Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story” and “Coach Carter,” Director David Anspaugh and Producer/Writer Angelo Pizzo for "The Game of Their Lives," Director Bill Paxton for “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” Director Tim Fywell and Producer Bridget Johnson for “Ice Princess,” Producer/Director and Writer Bill Bindley for “Madison” and Director Ken Kwapis for “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.”

Filmmakers honored with Crystal Heart Awards and cash prizes included: Simon Vaughan for “A Bear Named Winnie,” Kelly Kennedy for “The Baseball Card Shop,” David Hunt, Patricia Heaton and Sarah Rush for “The Bituminous Coal Queens of Pennsylvania,” David Mahanes and Brent Gudgel for “Dear Francis,” Wolfgang and Candice Bayer for “Earthling,” Bill Ewing and Jen Clymer for “End of the Spear,” Doug Hansen for “Five Children and It,” Don Bernier for “In a Nutshell: A Portrait of Elizabeth Tashjian,” Michael Husain and Dr. Jane Abramson for “The Innocent,” Oscar Torres for “Innocent Voices,” Norton Dill for “Kathryn: The Story of a Teller,” Jeff Garton for “Lift,” Michael Sporn for “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,” Gary Wheeler for “Midnight Clear,” Owen Carey Jones for “A Mind of Her Own,” Sidney King for “Pearl Diver,” Laura Paglin for “Shadow of the Swan – A Composer’s Story,” Hank Rogerson for “Shakespeare Behind Bars,” Andy Collen and Amy Blumenstein-Collen for “Winter/En Hiver” and David Meyers for “Wood Diary.”

Filmmakers honored with JIMMY STEWART MEMORIAL CRYSTAL HEART AWARDS for best student films included: Laura Neri for “A Kiss on the Nose,” Jaron Henrie-McCrea for “Knock Knock,” Andy Nguyen for “A Silent Night” and Jeffrey Courter and Tim Sutherland for “Thin Ice.”

Additional Festival activities included a special screening of “The 12 Dogs of Christmas” with special guest appearances by Director/Writer Kieth Merrill (“Great American Cowboy”), Executive Producer Ken Kragen (“We are the World,” “Hands Across America”) and two of the film’s stars and upcoming actors – Adam Hicks (“Titus,” upcoming “How to Eat Fried Worms”) and Alisha Mullally (upcoming “Bee Season”) during the Kids’ Movie Party.

Film fans, students and filmmakers participated in Heartland’s all-day educational seminar to gain an inside perspective into filmmaking. “Script to Screen” featured industry-renowned Director Ken Kwapis (“The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and TV’s “ER,” “The Office”) and a panel of 2005 award-winning filmmakers moderated by Angelo Pizzo (Producer/ Screenwriter of “Hoosiers,” “Rudy”) as they discussed script development, film production and exhibition, and answered questions about the industry.

The 2005 Festival ended with a sold-out screening of the Warner Brothers’ film “Duma” with Director Carroll Ballard receiving a Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award for the film. Heartland also announced the inaugural Audience Award winners that screening audiences liked most. More than 6,000 ballots were cast by audiences to determine the winner in three categories – Dramatic Feature, Documentary Feature and Short Film. All Crystal Heart Award-winning films were eligible to receive the Audience Award.

The 2005 winners:
Audience Award for Dramatic Feature: “Innocent Voices” produced by Lawrence Bender and Luis Mandoki, directed by Luis Mandoki and written by Oscar Torres and Luis Mandoki

Audience Award for Documentary Feature: “Earthling” produced by Wolfgang Bayer and directed and written by Tristan Bayer

Audience Award for Short Film: “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” produced and directed by Michael Sporn, a four-time Crystal Heart Award Winner

“2005 was a fantastic year for Heartland Film Festival. We are thrilled to see the success of the Festival continue to grow and to again have such wonderful community support,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, president of Heartland Film Festival. “The national media attention along with increased attendance proves Heartland is gaining influence in the industry and that people want to see more Truly Moving Pictures.”


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