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.