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The Independent Critic

 2012 Heartland Film Festival: A-Z Reviews, Vol. 24 
The Station Master (21 Mins., Narrative Short)

Starring: Shane Attwooll, Nadia Cameron-Blakey, Christopher Hall; Directed by: Jon Olav Stokke; Written by: Benjamin Noble; OFFICIAL FACEBOOK

Those of us who served as a judge for the Heartland shorts this year found ourselves a bit perplexed by The Station Master, a beautifully realized and pristine film that is disappointingly devoid of anything that really draws you into the film and holds you in place.

The film takes place in 1950's England. A lonely station master (Shane Attwooll) lives in the middle of nowhere. One night, a woman (Nadia Cameron-Blakey) exits a steam train and has to wait until the next day to catch the next train. During the night that they spend together, he begins to see a version of life he never dreamed possible.

An official selection of the festival, The Station Master was a difficult film to peg. The film is absolutely beautifully photographed by D.P. Stephen Murphy with a stellar production design by Michael Mulligan, both of whom work together to make the film one of the more beautiful productions at this year's Heartland. Unfortunately, the rest of the film doesn't hold up to that lofty praise, with Benjamin Noble's script lacking the emotional heft that would allow the film to really soar during its 21-minute running time.

Stories and Legends: Historic Preservation in Muncie, IN (23 Mins., Doc Short)

Directed by: Kayla Eiler and Christen Whitney

One of the local entries in this year's Heartland Film Festival, Kayla Eiler and Christen Whitney's informative documentary about historic preservation efforts in Muncie, Indiana centers around four specific locations in the city just north of Indianapolis. This 23-minute short doc breezes through its time pleasantly enough and with enough informative and interesting material to please most historic preservationists and Indiana history buffs.

The Story About Rosa (45 Mins., Doc Short)

Directed by: Rene' Bo Hansen;

The Story About Rosa is an involving 45-minute short about five children who share their experiences growing up in a foster family and, perhaps more powerfully, their thoughts and feelings about their birth families. Rene' Bo Hansen's film is an authentic and at times difficult to watch film. The beautiful part of the film comes when the children work together to create an animated film about a girl named Rosa, a film that will touch you just knowing the hearts and minds that it comes from.