The 2019 Heartland International Film Festival announces Michael Apted and Cloris Leachman will both be honored with the Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award


The Heartland International Film Festival (October 10-20) announced today that director Michael Apted, noted for his award-winning work directing both narrative and documentary films, and acting legend Cloris Leachman will be honored with the Heartland Film Festival’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award during this year’s 28th edition of the film festival.

Indianapolis native Brendan Fraser will be a special guest of the popular film festival, as Heartland brings him back to Indiana to salute his career with a 20th Anniversary of his box office hit, THE MUMMY and a retrospective of his films, including THE QUIET AMERICAN and GODS AND MONSTERS.

“Bold, daring, and innovative, are all key words for us at the Heartland International Film Festival this year, and our two honorees and our very special guest each are examples of those words in multiple ways. It will be a great pleasure to celebrate the work of our two incredible Life Achievement Award honorees; Michael Apted, who has proven to be an exemplary storyteller, regardless of whether he is working in fiction or documentary; and Cloris Leachman, an on-screen force-of-creative nature for going on 8 decades now,” said Heartland International Film Festival’s Executive Director Craig Prater. “That alone sets us up for an amazing film festival. However, to be able to also welcome to Heartland an actor who has put together one of the most eclectic and entertaining filmographies on record, AND happens to be one of Indy’s favorite son’s – Brendan Fraser? Well, that already puts us over the top for 2019, and we haven’t even announced our lineup yet.”

On Friday, October 11, the Heartland International Film Festival will present a special 20th Anniversary of Stephen Sommers’ THE MUMMY at Newfields (4000 N Michigan Rd) with Brendan Fraser is attendance. Following the screening, Fraser will participate in a Q&A focusing on the film and others in his extensive filmography of critically acclaimed and beloved films with Deadline Hollywood’s Chief Film Critic Pete Hammond. The following day, Saturday, October 12, Heartland will offer retrospective screenings of two films at AMC Castleton Square (6020 E. 82nd St.) featuring Fraser’s critically lauded performances; Philip Noyce’s THE QUIET AMERICAN, and Bill Condon’s GODS AND MONSTERS.

Later that day, Apted will be presented with Heartland’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award at AMC Castleton Square and participate in a brief “Conversation on Film” reflecting on his award-winning career preceding his most recent documentary, 63 UP. The 9th chapter in the documentary series of films that began with SEVEN UP! (1964), The film catches up with the British subjects of the films, focusing on the changes in their lives that have taken place over the past 7 years. Following the screening, Apted for a Q&A focused on the making of 63 UP, and the film series as a whole.

One week later, on Saturday, October 19, Leachman’s work will be honored with Heartland’s Pioneering Spirit: Lifetime Achievement Award as part of a screening of her latest film, WHEN WE LAST SPOKE at Newfields. Directed by Joanne Hock, the heartwarming film is set in 1967 where two sisters are abandoned by their mother and raised by their grandparents. With their father fighting a war, the girls fight and bond in a sometimes crazy and sometimes sad, but always entertaining household. Leachman will accept her award via video message.




The rare filmmaker that has made award-winning films both on the narrative and the documentary side, Michael Apted has proven himself to be one of cinema’s most versatile directors. His feature films include COAL MINER’S DAUGHTER (1980), GORKY PARK (1983), GORILLAS IN THE MIST (1988), THUNDERHEART (1992), NELL (1994), THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (1999), ENIGMA (2001), ENOUGH (2002), AMAZING GRACE (2006, and Heartland’s Opening Night selection that year), THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER (2010), and UNLOCKED (2017). Apted’s impressive documentary slate includes; BRING ON THE NIGHT (1985), THE LONG WAY HOME (1989), INCIDENT AT OGLALA (1992), MOVING THE MOUNTAIN (1994), ME AND ISAAC NEWTON (1999), THE POWER OF THE GAME (2007), and THE FIFA 2006 WORLD CUP FILM: THE GRAND FINALE.

However, Apted is likely best known for the ground-breaking (and ongoing) achievement of his internationally acclaimed, award-winning sequels based on the  SEVEN UP! documentary. The films have followed the lives of 14 people from that time until now (with his current film, 63 UP). Apted has received numerous awards and nominations for his work, including a Grammy, BAFTAs, a DGA Award, and the IDA Career Achievement Award.



One of the most accomplished and beloved American actresses of stage, film and television, Cloris Leachman is a true Hollywood icon. During a career that has spanned 8 decades, the Academy Award-winning actress has also won 8 Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a Daytime Emmy Award. Leachman has been front and center and made appearances on seemingly every notable  television series including; “Lassie,” “Route 66,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Twilight Zone, “Perry Mason,” “The Big Valley,” “Mannix,” “Adam-12,” “Ironside,” to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” for which she won two of her Emmys in one of her signature roles as Phyllis Lindstrom. From “Facts of Life” and “Malcolm in the Middle” (another two Emmys) to “Raising Hope” and “American Gods,” Leachman is noted for never failing to give an indelible performance. On the big screen, Peter Bogdonavich’s THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971) earned Leachman an Oscar and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. Mel Brooks was a frequent collaborator, teaming with Leachman in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974), HIGH ANXIETY (1977), and HISTORY OF THE WORLD: PART 1 (1981). Other notable titles include CRAZY MAMA (1975), THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979), PRANCER (1989), TEXASVILLE (1990), THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES (1993), THE IRON GIANT (1999), SPANGLISH (2004), THE LONGEST YARD (2005), THE WOEMN (2008), THE CROODS (2013), and LEZ BOMB (2018).  Leachman was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011, has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was granted an honorary doctorate in 2014 by her alma mater Northwestern University.



Seamlessly transitioning from smart independent films to action-packed blockbusters, Brendan Fraser continues to garner widespread critical acclaim for his versatile inspired performances as well as his keen eye for selecting thought-provoking material. Fraser is best known for his role in Universal’s THE MUMMY franchise as likable rogue adventurer Rick O’Connell. Stephen Sommers’ 1999 smash hit action/horror adventure was an ambitious retooling of the 1932 horror classic. In 2001 Fraser reteamed with Sommers and co-star Rachel Weisz on the film’s sequel, THE MUMMY RETURNS, leading an entertaining franchise that has grossed $1.415 billion worldwide to date. While succeeding at the box office, Fraser has also been in a string of some of the most successful independent films of the past decade including; Paul Haggis’ CRASH (2004), which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Phillip Noyce’s THE QUIET AMERICAN (2002), and Bill Condon’s GODS AND MONSTERS (1998). Fraser can currently be seen in the highly acclaimed “Doom Patrol” revival as Robotman, following his work on the FX anthology series “Trust,” and Showtime’s award-winning TV series “The Affair.” On the big screen, Fraser starred recently in Francesco Cinquemani and George Gallo’s THE POISON ROSE, and Ron Krauss’s GIMME SHELTER opposite Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Hudgens (2013, and Heartland International Film Festival’s Opening Night selection that year). Other notable film credits for Fraser include EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES (2010), INKHEART (2008), THE AIR I BREATHE (2007), MONKEY BONE (2001), BEDAZZLED (2000), BLAST FROM THE PAST (1999), DUDLEY DO-RIGHT (1999), GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (1997), MRS. WINTERBOURNE (1996), THE TWILIGHT OF THE GOLDS (1996), THE SCOUT (1994), WITH HONORS (1994), AIRHEADS (1994), SCHOOL TIES (1993), and ENCINO MAN (1992). Upcoming for Fraser  is Rohit Karn Batra’s LINE OF DESCENT about the tense relationship between a mafia family and an undercover officer, and Viaplay’s “The Professionals,” a ten-part series set against a backdrop of international espionage and corporate sabotage.

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