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The Independent Critic

 2012 Heartland Film Festival: A-Z Reviews, Vol. 13 
Head Over Heels (10 Mins., Animated Short)
Head Over Heels (10 Mins., Animated Short)

Featuring: Nigel Anthony and Rayyah McCaul; Written and Directed by: Timothy Reckart; OFFICIAL WEBSITE

Easily one of the highlights from the 2012 Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis, Head Over Heels also picked up the $10,000 grand prize for short film along with a Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award.

This beautifully animated film is also a wonderfully unique story perfectly suited for an animated short. Walter and Madge, voiced to perfection by Nigel Anthony and Rayyah McCaul, have grown apart to such a point that he lives on the floor while she lives on the ceiling. When Walter tries to reignite the flame, their equilibrium comes crashing down and the two must work together to see if their marriage can be put back together.

D.P. Chloe Thomson's camera work is simply extraordinary, while production designer Eleonore Cremonese gives the film a look that is both whimsical and deeply felt. Jered Sorkin's original music rounds out a terrific production team with music that is nearly as captivating as the film itself.

There are many years when I struggle with Heartland's winners, but this year's selections have across the board been exceptional films that also capture the true spirit of the Heartland Film Festival.

The Hunter (7 Mins., Animated Short)

Directed by: Marieka Walsh; OFFICIAL WEBSITE

A thought-provoking and beautiful 7-minute short film from Marieka Walsh, The Hunter is an official selection of the 2012 Heartland Film Festival and has proven to be quite popular on the film festival circuit. A stop-motion sand animation film, The Hunter may not prove to be the most popular film from this year's festival, however, it will leave one of the strongest impacts for many people. The film centers around a hunter who heads off into the wilderness to track down a boy who is feared to have been taken away by wolves. His experience in the wilderness causes his entire relationship with wilderness to be changed, a change that is captured beautifully in a mere seven minutes by Walsh.

Jack Finsterer voices The Hunter, while Elliott Wheeler's original composition helps to ensure that the film lingers in your psyche' long after the closing credits. Luke Bacon's sound design gives the film an almost mystical sensation, while Walsh has crafted what is easily one of the most unique films in this year's festival.

Hurdy Gurdy (4 Mins., Doc Short)

Directed by: Daniel Seidener

A simple and rather straight-forward four-minute short from this year's Heartland Film Festival, Daniel Seidener's Hurdy Gurdy uses extraordinary aesthetics and motion to question "What is real?" and "What isn't?" As is appropriate for a four-minute film, Hurdy Gurdy is a quick impact film that plants its thoughts and images and then leaves the viewer to process, remember and reflect once the film is done.