Acclaimed Director Michael Apted and Producer Ken Wales to Attend U.S. Premiere of “Amazing Grace” at Heartland Film Festiva
Heartland President and CEO Jeffrey L. Sparks announced their scheduled appearance today. Apted and Wales also will participate in a question and answer session following the 7:30 p.m. film screening. Sharon Swart, special editor for “Variety,” will moderate the session. Limited tickets are available for the Opening Night event by visiting www.HeartlandFilmFestival.org or calling toll-free 1-866-HFF-1010.
“We are both thrilled and honored to have Michael and Ken join us as we celebrate Heartland’s 15th anniversary and the U.S. premiere of ‘Amazing Grace,’” said Sparks.
Award-winning director Michael Apted made his feature film debut in 1972 with “The Triple Echo.” Since then he has served as a director, producer, writer and actor on countless films, theater productions and television episodes. Apted’s credits include “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Nell,” James Bond adventure “The World is Not Enough,” the “Seven Up” documentary series and the first three episodes of HBO’s series “Rome.” He currently serves as President of the Directors Guild of America and is also a Member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
TV and film veteran Ken Wales acted in more than 35 films and television programs before turning to producing. His production credits include “Breakfast at Tiffany's” (Audrey Hepburn), “Days of Wine and Roses” (Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick), “The Tamarind Seed” (Julie Andrews, Omar Sharif), “Wild Rovers” (William Holden, Ryan O'Neal), “The Great Race” (Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood), “The Party” (Peter Sellers), “Islands in the Stream” (George C. Scott) and “Revenge of the Pink Panther.” Wales also produced the first season of “Cagney and Lacey,” John Steinbeck's “East of Eden” (a miniseries), and the acclaimed CBS show “Christy.”
Tremendously appealing to both heart and mind, “Amazing Grace” tells the story of William Wilberforce, a British Parliamentarian who led abolitionists in their crusade to end the slave trade in late 18th century England. The film stars Ioan Gruffudd (“Black Hawk Down”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“Hawking”), Rufus Sewell (“The Illusionist”), Romola Garai (“Vanity Fair”) and Albert Finney (“Erin Brockovich”).
“Amazing Grace” opens nationally February 23, 2007. Tickets for the 4:30 p.m. matinee screening are $20 for adults and $15 for students with a valid ID. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. screening, which include the reception and Q & A session with the filmmakers at the Eiteljorg Museum are $30 for adults and $25 for students with a valid ID.
Heartland Film Festival, a non-profit organization, was established in 1991 to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life. Each October, Heartland screens Truly Moving Pictures from around the world and presents cash prizes and Crystal Heart Awards to the Festival’s top entries.
In 2006, Heartland will increase its total prize money to $200,000. This includes doubling its Grand Prize for Best Dramatic Feature to $100,000 and two new awards: a $25,000 cash prize for Best Documentary Feature and a $10,000 Vision Award for Best Short Film.
The $100,000 Grand Prize Award is underwritten by the Max Simon Charitable Foundation and the Vision Award is underwritten by Vision Racing. The remaining $65,000 will be shared among the 2006 Crystal Heart and Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award winners. Including the 2006 prize money, Heartland will have awarded more than $1.6 million in 15 years to support filmmakers in their quest to create Truly Moving Pictures.