HEARTLAND INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ROUND UP – Laura Emerick reports

To stand out among the many regional film festivals nationwide, Heartland has created its own special niche by focusing on movies that convey the transformative power of cinema. Witness its mission statement: “The films we select and exhibit — whether they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, or shift audiences’ perspectives on the world — all have one thing in common: they are story-driven films that do more than entertain.”

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LOUISIANA FILM PRIZE: Filmmaker Rachel Emerson on the Making and Meaning of MAVEN VOYAGE – Jennifer Merin interviews

Rachel Emerson’s Maven Voyage, one of twenty short films selected to compete for the $50,000 cash award bestowed by the annual Louisiana Film Prize, was shot in Shreveport, per submission requirements. Emerson won the fest’s $1,000 best actress award and a $3,000 Founders Circle Award to seed her next project. She comments on the making and meaning of her film, an engaging scifi adventure about a gal (Emerson) who wants to join the first manned mission to Mars.

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Memphis Film Prize Top 10 finalist Lauren Cox talks WITHOUT A ROOF, domestic violence and homelessness – Brandy McDonnell interviews

While she was pregnant with her second child, Lauren Cox also wrote, produced, directed and starred in her third short film. “Without a Roof,” starring Cox as a pregnant woman who resorts to homelessness to escape her abusive marriage, was one of the Top 10 finalists earlier this month for the Memphis Film Prize, where Cox also was a nominee for best performance by an actress.

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Memphis Film Prize winners Abby Meyers and Kevin Brooks talk A NIGHT OUT and Sexual Violence – Brandy McDonnell interviews

A Night Out was primarily shot in the twisty hallways and narrow staircases of the Mollie Fontaine Lounge, an old Victorian mansion that has been converted into a trendy Memphis night spot. The short literally follows Jessica (Rosalyn Ross) as she wanders through the corridors and encounters an admiring stranger (Bertram Williams) who takes flirtation too far.

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Memphis Film Prize 2019 Wrap – Sarah Knight Adamson reports

The Memphis Film Prize is a uniquely creative showcase for emerging talent. Filmmakers from across the country submit short films — five to fifteen minutes long — for a cash prize of $10,000. The main requirement is that the films be shot in Shelby County, Tenn. Ten films selected for the competition are screened for audiences and judges in August, and a winner is chosen. The goal of the festival is to compensate creativity, allowing filmmakers to keep their creative work moving forward. I was one of three AWFJ members on the 2019 jury.

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THE SEER AND THE UNSEEN – Review by Pam Grady

A grandmother takes on the powers that be in The Seer and the Unseen, Sara Dosa’s sophomore feature that made its debut at the SFFILM Festival. The documentary’s depiction of efforts to stop development across one of Iceland’s magnificent lava fields is enchanting—and not just because Iceland’s legendary elves are the titular “unseen.”

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Australia’s 2019 Moro Spanish Film Festival – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

As demonstrated by this carefully curated selection of eleven films, the future is bright for Spanish and Latin American women filmmakers and this program is a rare opportunity to see their work presented on the big screen in Australia.

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