Film advocate Heartland aims to raise $12.5 million

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, which holds a film festival in Indianapolis each October, is looking for $12.5 million to
strengthen its influence on the film industry.

Heartland CEO Jeffrey Sparks publicly announced the fund-raising campaign, dubbed “One Film Can,” Monday morning
during a press conference downtown. Director Rob Reiner, known for such films as “A Few Good Men” and “When
Harry Met Sally,” attended the announcement. He's in town for the premiere of his latest movie, “Flipped.”

“Heartland Truly Moving Pictures strongly believes one film can captivate, educate, shed light on an important issue
and inspire change,” Sparks said in a prepared statement, released before the press conference. “Our ‘One
Film Can’ Campaign is designed to expand our national outreach, and educate current and future filmmakers and major
Hollywood studios on the benefits of creating movies that emphasize the best of the human spirit.”

The Heartland Film Festival awards $100,000 in cash prizes each year to independent filmmakers. With the campaign, however,
the organization is looking to raise the profile of all its programs.

Much of Heartland's work revolves around the “Truly Moving Picture” award. Independent of movie studios,
a local jury selected by Heartland bestows the award. Then the organization promotes the films among its grassroots network.

The organization’s “Heartland Institute” creates film-centered curriculum for use by national youth organizations
and organizes a high school film competition.

Heartland actually started the fund-raising campaign in January 2008 and has already raised $7.9 million, Sparks said. The
goal is to raise the remaining $4.6 million by 2012. Leading donors include the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation,
LaRita and Leland Boren, and the Glick Fund.

Apart from an endowment for the film festival's cash prizes, the money will go to the organization's operating budget.

Sparks said the money will be allocated to specific projects:

— $1.85 million to the Heartland Institute;

— $2.5 million to build the grassroots membership base;

— $2.3 million to increase national and local fund-raising capacity;

— $2.7 million on national advertising and marketing for the Truly Moving Picture program.

One of Heartland's internal goals is to see the top five movie studios devote a percentage of their production to “Truly
Moving” projects.

Sparks said in an earlier interview that the “Truly Moving” award is getting some traction. Warner Brothers,
for example, credited it with the better-than-expected performance of “My Sister's Keeper,” and “The
Blind Side,” he said.

After accepting the Truly Moving Picture award for his latest film from Sparks, Reiner said, “This means more to me
than anything I’ve done.”

Addressing teenagers in the audience, Reiner explained that his values changed as he grew older. His favorite movie, he said,
is “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and he wants to make movies like “Flipped,” which is about first
love and the influence of family.

“To me, this is the most important thing I’ve ever gotten in my whole career,” Reiner said of the Truly
Moving Picture award.

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures was founded in 1991. The organization has given the Truly Moving Picture award to 425 movies.
The film festival has awarded $2.2 million in cash prizes.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.