Heartland Film Festival Summer Rewind – June 26-28, 2014
Heartland Film Festival Summer Rewind showcases some of the best Heartland Film Festival movies of the past in an abbreviated, three-day mini-festival format, giving moviegoers an opportunity to see an enlightening slate of independent films and to meet the filmmakers who crafted them. Today we interview two of the attending filmmakers, Producer/Editor/Writer Julia Morrison and Producer/Editor/Writer Director James Duff. Their film, Hank and Asha, was an official selection at the 2013 Heartland Film Festival.
James E. Duff Director, Producer, Writer
James E. Duff earned his MFA in directing from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where he won a fellowship for excellence in directing actors, and his BA from Indiana University. His award- winning short film, “Life is a Sweet,” screened at over 40 festivals worldwide. His documentary, The Cycle Also Rises, was broadcast nationally on PBS as part of the POV series, and he spent two years in West Africa directing development and human rights documentaries. He has taught filmmaking in Kenya, to Saharawi refugees in the Sahara Desert, and at the Prague Film School in the Czech Republic. In the theatre, James has worked with New York companies such as Ensemble Studio Theatre, and has directed productions at such venues as The Cherry Lane Theatre and SoHo Playhouse, as well as the NYC International Fringe Festival. Hank and Asha, which has won thirteen awards at more than 25 festivals worldwide, is James’ feature film writing and directorial debut.
Julia Morrison Producer, Editor, Writer
Julia Morrison has over 10 years of industry experience as a documentary producer, researcher, and instructor. She has produced historical documentaries for the prestigious PBS series, American Experience (Dolley Madison; Alexander Hamilton) with Middlemarch Films, and was associate producer on the Emmy-award winning PBS mini-series, Benjamin Franklin. Julia also spent four years producing current affairs documentaries for New York Times Television, including the award-winning MLK Boulevard and China Rises: Getting Rich, a co-production of New York Times Television, CBC, and ZDF, which received Canada’s Gemini award. Julia studied film at Wesleyan University. Hank and Asha marks Julia’s debut as a feature film producer, writer, and editor.
Heartland Film Interview
Heartland Film: Can you tell us a little about your overall Heartland Film Festival experience and what you’re looking forward to most about returning to Indy?
Julia & James: We had such a terrific experience at the Heartland Film Festival, especially because of the enthusiastic and engaged audiences. We really loved the Q&As, and also the long conversations we had with people in the lobby after our screenings. And as filmgoers ourselves, we thought the programming of the festival was excellent. Heartland is where we discovered some of our favorite films of last year — all of them challenging and heart-wrenching, in the best possible sense. We were only sorry that we weren’t able to stay for the entire festival…so we’re thrilled to have been invited back!
Heartland Film: Give us an update on Hank and Asha since it was shown at Heartland last October. Any big news?
Julia & James: Since October, we’ve been very lucky to have been traveling the world with Hank and Asha, connecting with audiences at festivals from Florida to Alaska, and as far away as Thessaloniki, Greece and Glasgow, Scotland. The film has won 13 awards including both jury awards and audience awards for Best Narrative Feature. In April the film opened theatrically in New York, Los Angeles, and cities across the country, and was called “uniquely captivating … lively, adorable, and thoroughly winning!” in a rave review from the Los Angeles Times. We’re very excited that “Hank and Asha” will be available on DVD and digital platforms in July.
Heartland Film: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Summer Rewind attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?
Julia & James: There’s no such thing as a bad question – we love talking about anything and everything! We especially enjoy hearing about how the film resonates with viewers’ own lives.