Heartland Film Festival surprises

When the Heartland Film Festival announces its schedule Thursday night, eyebrows may well be raised from those who interpret its "truly moving pictures" mission to be synonymous with "wholesome PG fare."

This year's films that would be difficult to imagine in the early years of the festival include:

"Drunktown's Finest," whose main characters include a transsexual ready and willing to have sex with strangers (On that matter, the film is unambiguous without being graphic).

"Lucky Stiff," a "Weekend at Bernie's"-like musical about a man who carts the body of his murdered uncle to Monte Carlo.

"Jesus Town, USA," a documentary about a cast change in the lead role at a popular Oklahoma passion play.

"An Honest Liar," a documentary about James Randi, the magician who has taken it upon himself to expose alleged faith healers.

And there's not a roller-skating-monkey movie in the bunch.

The festival kicks off Oct. 16. I'm already deep into screening many of these for a preview column. Stay tuned.

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