Review: ‘American Folk’

By Ross Bembenek Well, it finally happened. It took 13 screenings and the entire 10 days of the festival, but I finally watched my first real dud of the 2017 Heartland Film Festival on the final day of the festival. And oh boy, the dud gods sure came roaring in with a vengeance, because American Folk wasn’t just the worst film I watched at Heartland, … Continue reading Review: ‘American Folk’

Review: ‘One Thousand Ropes’

By Ross Bembenek How does one reconcile his past, a past in which he’s inflicted so much pain, so much hurt, that his own family has abandoned her, leaving hom broken and alone? Tusi Tamasese’s Samoan-language drama One Thousand Ropes brings this question to life in vivid, emotional detail. Uelese Petaia portrays Maea, a former fighter turned baker and midwife. He is haunted by the … Continue reading Review: ‘One Thousand Ropes’

Review: Heartland Shorts Program 12 (After Hours)

By Ross Bembenek One of the things I love about the Heartland Film Festival is the emphasis they put on short films. Every year I can count on there being a handful of solid shorts, and this year was no different. Something I didn’t expect, however, was seeing an entire block of short films that was fantastic all the way through. Shorts Program 12 (the … Continue reading Review: Heartland Shorts Program 12 (After Hours)

Review: ‘Intent to Destroy’

By Ross Bembenek I feel like I’ve been in this situation before: I randomly picked a documentary out of the Heartland guidebook to see, and then felt MISERABLE walking out of the theater (see my 2015 review of the documentary Crocodile Gennadiy, later renamed Almost Holy). Now, let me clarify what I mean by miserable: the subject matter is so heavy, so severe and serious, … Continue reading Review: ‘Intent to Destroy’