So far, I have selected my top narrative short films, documentary short films, and narrative feature films. Now, I am pleased to give you my list of top documentary feature films at this year’s Heartland Film Festival. For the documentary feature category, I have selected my top six…don’t judge me, I couldn’t just pick five. In fact, I helped fund The Wrong Light (formerly Selling Our Daughters) on Kickstarter earlier this year and added a note on my donation to please submit to Heartland…I love documentaries!

I still have several more documentaries to watch that I am sure are also great and have watched many more that I will attest that they are great so get your tickets now!

The Book of Love Kicks Off the 25th Annual Heartland Film Festival

The 25th Anniversary kicks off this Thursday, October 20 with a special screening of The Book of Love starring Jason Sudeikis, Maisie Williams, Jessica Biel, Mary Steenburgen, and Paul Reiser. The Director/Producer, Michelle Purple; Actress/Producer, Jessica Biel; and, Actor, Richard Robichaux are scheduled to attend.

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Keep Quiet

An anti-Semitic far-right politician experiences an astonishing transformation after finding out he is Jewish.

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Off the Rails

The remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome, whose overwhelming love of transit has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes. Although Darius has never damaged any property or hurt anyone in his decades of service, he has spent 23 years in maximum security prison. Darius’ recidivism embodies the criminal justice system’s failure to channel the passions of a harmless, mentally challenged man into a productive career and purposeful life.

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They Call Us Monsters

In California, violent juveniles between 14-17 years old can be tried as adults. Typically, they are accused of heinous crimes-murders and attempted murders-that leave their victims’ families shattered. And yet, they are still kids, with a greater capacity to change and one day return to society. What is our responsibility to these kids? And to their victims? Do they deserve a second chance? These are the questions legislators are grappling with across the country as they attempt to reform our juvenile justice system. Meanwhile, behind the walls of the Compound, three violent juvenile offenders are writing a movie as they await their trials; It’s the story of their childhoods with the ending rewritten. Jarad was arrested at 16 and is facing 200-years to life for four attempted murders; Juan was arrested at 16 and is facing 90-years to life for first-degree murder; Antonio was arrested one month after his 14th birthday and is facing 90-years to life for two attempted murders.

Talent Scheduled to Attend:
Benjamin Lear, Director

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Dramatic Escape

Dramatic Escape transports the viewer into the lives of a group of maximum security inmates at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York, as they attempt to mount a behind-bars stage production of A Few Good Men.

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The Wrong Light

The Wrong Light tells the riveting story of a charismatic activist who leads a globally-regarded anti-trafficking NGO in Northern Thailand that provides shelter and education to young girls rescued from brothels. But troubling discrepancies soon emerge when the filmmakers embed themselves at the shelter and meet the young girls and their families. As the filmmakers embark on a quest to uncover the truth while keeping the girls safe, the heroic tale takes a shocking turn and uncovers a dark side of child advocacy behind the trafficking headlines.

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The Settlers

An intimate look at the core of the most daunting challenges facing Israel and the international community today, The Settlers offers a comprehensive and intimate view of Jewish settlers in the occupied territories of the West Bank.

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I have to admit, it was really tough for me to pick my top five because there were others I loved (New Life, The Healer, The Tiger Hunter, The Adventure Club, Blanka) and some that I am excited to see that I have yet to see (Girl Flu, It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway, and more!). Returning to the film festival for the premiere of It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway is Quinton Aaron who starred in the Blindside.

For ticket information, visit heartlandfilm.org/festival.