A record 129 films are set to be screened at this year's Heartland Film Festival--none of which I've seen yet. So it would be silly to try to guess now which ones will be the cream of the crop.
I can, however, tell you a few that I'm looking forward to checking out after hearing of the list, which was announced earlier tonight.
--"Much Ado About Nothing." What makes this Shakespeare adaptation different then others? The cast and crew is made up entirely of students at a Salt Lake City High School. I'll take a chance on guts like that.
--"Little Red Wagon." The latest from "Hoosiers" director David Ansbaugh concerns a real-life kid who became an advocate for the homeless.
--"Janie Jones." It's got Abigail Breslin in it. And the kid's got a very solid track record so far.
--"The Redemption of General Butt Naked." Yes, it sounds like a Fringe Fest play, but this could be fascinating. The documentary concerns a Liberian warlord responsible for the deaths of thousands who has renounced his past and attempts to spiritually guide the former child soldiers who killed for him.
--"Zero Percent." This doc goes inside the walls of Sing Sing to examine inmates participating in a college program. Harry Belafonte, Warren Buffett, and Ice-T are among the outsiders interviewed.
--And, of course, there's opening night film "The Way," with appearances by Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez.
That's just the beginning. More details on the whole schedule here. And watch for my recommendations--based on actually seeing the films--in IBJ the Monday before the fest, which runs Oct. 13-22.