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The 2017 Heartland Film Festival starts on October 12, just a week from tomorrow!
Check out the Jewish and Israeli documentaries that will be shown:

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Watch Not The Last Butterfly trailer


Not The Last Butterfly tells the inspiring tale of The Butterfly Project, a grassroots arts and education initiative that memorializes the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust through global displays of ceramic butterflies—one butterfly painted for each child. The Butterfly Project's messages of hope and healing are woven together with survivors’ courageous stories of these dark times, including a little-known story of the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, where a young Ela Weissberger was imprisoned as a child. Now a survivor in her eighties, Ela reveals how she and other children were given the strength to endure the Holocaust by an artist and teacher who helped them express the trauma of their experiences through art.  

Tues., Oct. 17, 5:30 pm: Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Wed., Oct. 18, 5:45 pm: AMC Castleton Square 14


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Watch The Last Laugh trailer


Are we allowed to make jokes about the Holocaust? In this outrageously funny and thought-provoking film The Last Laugh, filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein puts the question about comedy's ultimate taboo to legends including Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, Harry Shearer, Jeff Ross, Judy Gold, Susie Essman, Larry Charles, and many other critical thinkers, as well as Holocaust survivors themselves. Through these interviews and clips from our favorite standup comedy, TV shows, and movies, The Last Laugh offers fresh insights into the Holocaust, our own psyches, and what else—9/11, AIDS, racism— is or isn’t off-limits in a society that prizes freedom of speech. In the process, The Last Laugh also disproves the idea that there is nothing left to say about the Holocaust, and opens a fresh avenue for approaching this epochal tragedy.

Sun., Oct. 15, 5:45 pm: AMC Castleton Square 14

Tues., Oct. 17, 12:30 pm: AMC Showplace Traders Point 12


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Watch the Peter Ertel trailer


At the time The Unimaginable Journey of Peter Ertel was filmed, Ertel was 96 years old. He was an author, a poet, and an avid pianist. He was also a former agent for the U.S. State Department, having been recruited by the government to help rebuild his former country, Germany, which was decimated by six years of war. After immigrating to America in 1953, he worked nearly three decades for a small industrial chemical firm in Cleveland, Ohio. The company was owned by Jewish people, who knew that Peter served five years in the German Army during World War II. They knew because Peter made no attempt to hide this during his job interview. 

How a man who, a few years previously, represented “the incarnation of evil” to the Jewish people found his way to be considered "like family" by his Jewish employers is just one part of a remarkable life story that is captivatingly recalled by the titular storyteller in this feature-length documentary. The film is a first-person narrative about an honorable man who maintained his uncommon humanity despite being trapped in a universe of hatred, destruction and death. It is also a story of the sometimes miraculous pull of the tides of fate. Featuring rare archival film and photographs from German, Russian and British sources — much of which has never been shown before — the documentary illuminates the under-told perspective of a former foot soldier, forced against his will into being part of history’s most notorious army, with unprecedented insight and candor.  

Sat., Oct. 14, 1:15 pm: AMC Showplace Traders Point 12

Tues., Oct. 17, 3:15 pm: AMC Castleton Square 14


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Watch My Hero Brother trailer


In My Hero Brother, a group of remarkable young people with Down syndrome embark on a demanding trek through the India Himalayas, accompanied by their "normal" brothers and sisters. Unresolved conflicts and the complexities of growing up with a Down syndrome child in the family come to the surface, while a heartwarming and special closeness develops among the siblings as they deal with formidable physical and emotional challenges. Through the eye of the camera, the viewer catch a glimpse into the internal world of those with Down syndrome, and is led on a journey of discovery and admiration, as their inspiring natural qualities begin to emerge; wholesomeness, direct and honest emotional expression, and the capacity to feel and communicate unconditional love. The difficult trials and poignant relationships, set against the richly colourful backdrop of India, open new horizons and greatly deepen the viewer's understanding of special needs people and their families.  

My Hero Brother was screened at the 2nd Annual Indianapolis Israeli Film Festival (presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, JCC Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council) in July 2017 to great success.

Fri., Oct. 20, 1 pm: AMC Showplace Traders Point 12

Sat., Oct. 21, 6 pm: AMC Castleton Square 14

Note: Aside from My Hero Brother, JFGI has not viewed these films, and therefore cannot take responsibility for the content.

Contact JFGI: 6705 Hoover Rd., Indianapolis, IN, 46260 | 317-726-5450 |
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