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The Independent Critic

 2012 Heartland Film Festival: A-Z Reviews, Vol. 16 
Kipp Normand (11 Mins., Doc Short)
Kipp Normand (11 Mins., Doc Short)

Featuring: Kipp Normand; Directed by: Jonathan Frey

It seems like every year, the Heartland Film Festival has a few predictable selections. Among their "predictable" types of films would be the "artsy, introspective" artist short film. Kipp Normand is such a film, though it's admittedly a notch above the films that Heartland has usually landed in this slot. This 11-minute short focuses on an artist named, you guessed it, Kipp Normand. Normand is an artist who focuses his energy on renewal - He takes objects with a past life and creates a new life.

The film would be rather humdrum if not for Normand himself, an almost textbook example of the slightly eccentric artist with a passion for his work. Director Jonathan Frey captures his art and his personality quite nicely, while those who can appreciate the artistic mindset will likely be enthralled by Normand's personality and craft. An award-winner during the 2012 Heartland Film Festival, Kipp Normand is probably everything Kipp Normand the artist is not - straightforward, mainstream and accessible.

L'equip Petit (9 Mins., Doc Short)
L'equip Petit (9 Mins., Doc Short)

Directed by: Roger Gomez, Dani Resines; OFFICIAL WEBSITE

L'equip Petit is a nine-minute short from Spain about 14 kids working together to solve a football mystery. Instead, they end up teaching the grown-ups around them a lesson about life. While the film may not qualify as one of the 2012 Heartland Film Festival's best shorts this year, it certainly has its place as one of the festival's most adorable and sweet films.

La Camioneta (71 Mins., Doc Feature)

Directed by: Mark Kendall; OFFICIAL WEBSITE

La Camioneta is a strangely involving film, a film that captures your interest and is so unique that you can't help but be mesmerized throughout its 71-minute running time. Directed by Mark Kendall, the film follows the journey of a bus from America to Guatemala.

Sound boring?

It's not.

Sound predictable? It's most definitely not.

What's intriguing is to watch those who encounter this bus, including those to whom the bus is eventually sold. What seems like nothing but, well, a bus is actually quite a bit more as it journeys from retirement here in the United States to a second life and, perhaps, even a symbol of hope in Guatemala.

Kendall picked up an award for Best Hispanic Filmmaker and 2nd place among doc features at the Nashville Film Festival, and the film just captured quite a bit of interest during its run at Indy's own Heartland Film Festival. Kendall's camera work is simple yet the film is beautifully lensed. T. Griffin contributes the perfect musical accompaniment to the film, and La Camioneta became one of the underrated gems of the 2012 Heartland Film Festival.

Last Call From Nowhere (9 Mins., High School Film Competition)

Directed by: Nicholas Heighway;

One of the more inventive and insightful of the Heartland High School Film Competition entries, Nicholas Heighway's Last Call From Nowhere follows one man into the men's room and, as a result, into quite the adventure with a lost cell phone. Heighway does a nice job of taking a situation that feels familiar and putting an entertaining and introspective spin on it.