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The Independent Critic

 2012 Heartland Film Festival: A-Z Reviews, Vol. 26 
Tom Sadly (17 Mins., Narrative Short)
Tom Sadly (17 Mins., Narrative Short)

Starring: Thomas Huszart, Guilherme Seta, Gabriela Cerquiera; Directed by: Andre Saito and Cesar Nery

It's rather surprising that Tom Sadly didn't end up in competition at the 2012 Heartland Film Festival, Indianapolis's film festival devoted to films that celebrate the human spirit. Nonetheless, the film is unquestionably one of the festival's hidden jewels, a 17-minute experience that touches the heart and makes you think.

The film centers around, you guessed it, a man named Tom Sadly. Tom grew up believing that everything he touched turn sad, and has always taken it so far as to wear a glove to protect himself and the world from this power. When he meets Bella, his touch is desired more than ever. The only way he can make her happy is to risk making her sad.

This Brazilian entry into this year's festival is a beautifully constructed short featuring a terrific cast and direction from Andre Saito and Cesar Nery that wrings every ounce of heart and humanity it can from the simple yet powerful story. While this film may have not been in competition, it no doubt competed for the hearts of many who could be heard raving about it after each viewing.

Venia (9 Mins., High School Film Competition)

Directed by: Stephen Byrum

This nine-minute short film from Stephen Byrum received an Honorable Mention in the 2012 Heartland Film Festival's High School Film Competition. The story of two characters, one wealthy and selfish and the other poor and simple, Venia presents a powerful lesson as the two characters have an encounter that leads them down a path where they can choose between revenge or learning the meaning of "venia."

A well done short that truly captures the spirit of the Heartland Film Festival, Venia is yet another stand-out production from an exceptionally strong year for Heartland's high school filmmakers.