Heartland International Film Festival Sets Rustin, The Holdovers, and The Lionheart for 32nd Lineup
Stills from The Lionheart, Rustin and The Holdovers courtesy of Heartland Film

The 32nd annual Heartland International Film Festival will feature Rustin, The Holdovers, and The Lionheart as major event films in its lineup.

Taking place October 5-15 in Indianapolis, Indiana, the festival will open with HBO and TIME Studios’ documentary The Lionheart about Dan Wheldon, the two-time Indy 500 winner who passed away suddenly 10 years ago.

Netflix’s Rustin historical drama starring Colman Domingo as civil rights leader Bayard Rustin will be featured as a centerpiece film, and the closing night film will be Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers starring Paul Giamatti from Focus Features.

This year’s festival theme is “YOU CAN’T LOOK AWAY.” In total, there will be over 120 film screenings over the festival’s 11-day schedule, both in person and virtually. The full lineup will be revealed on Friday, September 15 at heartlandfilmfestival.org.

HIFF was featured in MovieMaker’s 2023 Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World list. Heartland Film was founded in 1991 with the mission to curate, promote and celebrate thoughtful and engaging films from diverse perspectives. 

Also Read: 5 Shockingly Pro-Amber Heard Details Revealed in Netflix’s Depp v. Heard

Here’s more info about each of the three main screenings, courtesy of Heartland:

The Lionheart / Midwest Premiere / Director: Laura Brownson / HBO, TIME Studios

Heartland International Film Festival Sets Rustin, The Holdovers, and The Lionheart for 32nd Lineup
A still from The Lionheart

Opening Night Presented by The Klapper Family Foundation

Thursday, October 5, The Toby at Newfields

When Dan Wheldon, two-time Indy 500 Champion, is killed in one of the worst crashes in IndyCar history, it shakes motorsports to its core. Now, ten years later, Dan’s two boys, Sebastian and Oliver, follow in their father’s footsteps as they work through their loss the only way they know how: getting behind the wheel to race. 

“Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world, and ‘The Lionheart’ is a perfect choice for opening night as a tribute to Dan Wheldon, who became a legend in our city,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Greg Sorvig. “Director Laura Brownson has crafted a moving and intimate tribute about the man, his family, and their legacy.” Executive produced by Ian Orefice, Loren Hammonds, Rebecca Teitel, Connor Schell, Aaron Cohen, Kristen Lappas, Bryn Mooser, Justin Lacob, Andy Hsieh, and Adrian Sussmann. Produced by Maclain Way, Chapman Way, Laura Brownson, and Carolyn Craddock.

Rustin / Midwest Premiere / Director: George C. Wolfe / Netflix Originals 

Centerpiece Presented by IndyStar/LOCALiQ

Wednesday, October 11, The Toby at Newfields 

The architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington, Bayard Rustin, was one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known. He challenged authority never apologized for who he was, what he believed, or who he desired. And he did not back down. He made history, and in turn, he was forgotten. Directed by DGA Award and five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe and starring Emmy Award winner Colman Domingo, Rustin shines a long overdue spotlight on the extraordinary man who, alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom. Produced by Academy Award-winner Bruce Cohen, Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis and George C. Wolfe, the film features an all-star cast including Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Aml Ameen, Gus Halper, CCH Pounder, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Johnny Ramey, Michael Potts, with Jeffrey Wright and Audra McDonald. Written by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black. Story by Julian Breece. The film’s score was composed by 3-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and music historian Branford Marsalis. Multiple Grammy Award-winner Lenny Kravitz contributed an original song, “Road To Freedom.” 

“Colman Domingo was honored last year by Heartland Film with our Pioneering Spirit Award, an honor bestowed to artists at the top of their craft and in the prime of their career,” said Sorvig. “His performance in ‘Rustin’ embodies that honor, and we are thrilled to share this performance and story with audiences as our Centerpiece title.” 

The Holdovers / Midwest Premiere / Director: Alexander Payne / Focus Features 

Closing Night Presented by The Klapper Family Foundation

Sunday, October 15, The Toby at Newfields

From acclaimed director Alexander Payne, “The Holdovers” follows a curmudgeonly instructor (Paul Giamatti) at a New England prep school who is forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. Eventually, he forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) — and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). Written by David Hemingson. Executive produced by Andrew Golov, Thom Zadra and Chris Stinson. Produced by Mark Johnson, P.G.A., Bill Block and David Hemingson. 

“Alexander Payne is a director I have admired for years, and it’s a thrill to celebrate his latest project as our Closing Night film,” said Sorvig. “Paul Giamatti leads a strong and intimate ensemble that will really connect with our audiences on a high note to end the 32nd edition of the Heartland International Film Festival.”  

Main Image: A still from The Lionheart courtesy of HIFF