Franklin International Film Festival returns



Over the next week, Johnson County moviegoers will have the chance to experience a thrilling adventure as they emerge from a notorious jail.

They will step into the life of a well-known magician whose real magic is to be a full-time caregiver. Inspiration will spring from the screen of a story about a pianist who has spent his entire life learning to play with just his left hand, and the story of a group of unsuitable bus drivers who took “Alien” away. in the theater capital of England.

And to top it off, people can follow the cursed love between two New York teenagers in the classic “West Side Story”.

As it celebrates its 30th anniversary, the Heartland International Film Festival unveiled its biggest event to date. The cinematic extravaganza will feature some of the season’s most anticipated films. Animated screenings include a biopic on Princess Diana, documentaries about legendary chef Julia Child and musician Alanis Morissette, and new films from directors Wes Anderson and Kenneth Branagh.

Films starring Will Smith, Joaquin Phoenix, Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy are included in all 143 films shown over the next nine days.

More importantly for local moviegoers, the festival once again features screenings at the Historic Artcraft Theater.

“We know people are excited to come back. Audiences are ready to go back to the movies, so we knew people would be excited about it, ”said Greg Sorvig, Artistic Director of Heartland Film. “People love Artcraft, so it’s a given.”

The Heartland International Film Festival has brought the best of uplifting and uplifting cinema to central Indiana over the past three decades.

Founded in 1991, the idea for the film festival came from filmmakers in the Indianapolis area who wanted to showcase more life-affirming art in the city. The Heartland Film team envisioned a balance with the glamorous and sometimes soulless film culture that is so abundant on the East and West coasts.

During the first 20 years, the festival grew slowly. But since 2011, its reputation and prestige have skyrocketed. Over the years, Heartland Film has awarded $ 3.5 million in cash prizes – the highest total amount awarded by a film festival in North America. Over 1,800 feature films and short films were screened at the event, including seven Oscar-winning titles.

“We’re a real Oscar stopover here in central Indiana,” Sorvig said.

This year’s event features a fascinating roster of films. Featured events include the Princess Diana “Spencer” biopic, starring Kristin Stewart; “Come on, come on”, with Joaquin Phoenix; and “Belfast”, a grandiose film by Branaugh starring Golden Globe nominee Caitríona Balfe, Judi Dench and Oscar winner Ciarán Hinds.

Anderson’s latest film, “The French Dispatch” features his quirky sense of humor and style, backed by a massive cast including Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.

“From studios that held back their releases last year, it feels like the floodgates have opened this time around,” Sorvig said. “We have locked up so many fantastic movies, where this is arguably our biggest year.”

But apart from the flagship events, the entire festival offers some incredibly visceral and moving films. “The First Wave” focuses on everyday heroes at the COVID-19 epicenter in one of New York’s hardest hit hospitals at the start of the pandemic. “Mayor Pete” brings viewers inside Pete Buttigieg’s campaign to be the youngest president of the United States. “Catch the Fair One” is a revenge thriller produced by Darren Aronofsky, about a Native American woman who embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister.

“Mayberry Man,” which features Franklin’s Circle City Sidewalk Stompers Clown Band, tells the story of an arrogant movie star who is forced to attend a festival celebrating “The Andy Griffith Show,” where he discovers the real sense of friendship and family.

The public response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

“People who had never been there before, or people who thought we were something they weren’t attracted to, we have such compelling programming that people are excited,” Sorvig said. “We’re already seeing a lot of people coming back, new people who’ve never bought tickets before, and the presales are really, really strong.”

After hosting an event with a strong focus on virtual screenings and some live events at local drive-in theaters last year, the festival will feature an increased number of indoor events, although virtual options are still available. The films will be screened at the Kan-Kan Cinema & Brasserie in Fountain Square, the Living Room Theaters at the newly opened Bottleworks Complex in downtown Indianapolis, Newfields and the Indianapolis Arts Center for picnic-style events.

At the same time, the festival is expected to bring back a list of films to the Artcraft Theater, continuing what has become a long-standing relationship.

The Artcraft has partnered with Heartland Film for the past eight years to host Best of the Fest, a showcase of the year’s treasured film festival films. Since starting this program, Artcraft has been one of the organization’s favorite stops, Sorvig said. The event has also become one of the popular events in the Franklin Theater’s annual program.

The success of Best of the Fest led Artcraft to be chosen to host the Heartland International Film Festival screenings starting in 2019. At the time, it was the first South Side venue chosen for the festival in 10 years, since the Greenwood Park 14 theater was an official venue.

The Heartland and Artcraft teams worked together to find the right balance between films to be shown in theaters. The result is a roster of seven films that run the gamut from the heartbreaking drama of a true prison break in “Escape from Pretoria” to the Christmas-themed romantic comedy “See You Next Christmas” in the inspiring story of ‘a magician and home caregiver in “The Incredible Lamont”.

“Peace By Chocolate” tells the story of a Syrian refugee who struggles to settle into his new life in a small Canadian town, caught between his dream of becoming a doctor and preserving his family’s chocolate heritage. “Alien On Stage” is a documentary about a group of British bus drivers who put on an amateur stage show of the sci-fi classic “Alien”, eventually bringing it to London’s West End theater district. “For the Left Hand” tells the story of a pianist paralyzed at the age of 10 who, over the following decades, mastered the repertoire of the left hand.

Artcraft screenings end with “West Side Story”, the musical masterpiece starring Natalie Wood and George Chakiris. At the first Heartland Film Festival event, the film was screened, so it’s a good step back to remake it for the festival’s 30th anniversary, Sorvig said.

“This first year we did ‘West Side Story’ and gave awards to directors, so now, on our 30th anniversary, we can show it on 35mm film at Artcraft,” he said. Sorvig said. “This is the real birthday flashback.”


What: A cinematic event featuring over 125 films in a hybrid format, offering both in-person screenings across Indianapolis and a selection of virtual titles.

When: until October 17

Full program and festival titles:

Screenings at the Historic Artcraft Theater, 57 N. Main St., Franklin:

On Monday

5 pm: “Alien on stage”

A documentary about the bus drivers of rural England makes an amateur spectacle of Ridley Scott’s “Alien”, accidentally taking him to London’s West End theater district; $ 14

7:30 p.m .: “Escape from Pretoria”

Based on the real-life prison break of two political captives, this time-trial thriller set during the tumultuous apartheid era in South Africa stars Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe of fame; $ 14


5.30 pm: “For the left hand”

A pianist is paralyzed at the age of 10, and over the next several decades, he masters the repertoire of the left hand. At 78, he performed Ravel’s “Piano Concerto for the Left Hand”; $ 14

7:30 p.m .: “Peace through chocolate”

A Syrian refugee struggles to settle into his new life as a small Canadian town, caught between his dream of becoming a doctor and preserving his family’s chocolate heritage; $ 14


5.45 p.m .: “The Incredible Lamont”

Described as “Houdini with a sunnier disposition,” illusionist Lamont Ream extends his magic beyond cards and coins to his homemaking work.

“The real John Mobley”

This short documentary follows Jon Mobley, a professional magician, as he changes his stage name Johnny Magic to the use of his real name; $ 14

7:30 p.m .: “Next Christmas”

Chronically single, Natalie and Logan continue to cross paths at annual friends’ parties, year after year. They start to wonder if they are meant to be together; $ 14


6.30 p.m .: “West Side Story”

This 1961 classic tells the story of two young people from rival New York gangs who fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends turn into tragedy; $ 14


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