Bella Wins Top Prize for Dramatic Movie at Heartland Film Festival

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 30, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bella Wins Top Prize for Dramatic Movie at Heartland Film Festival Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 30,

Indianapolis, IN ( — Bella, the touching drama that has inspired the pro-life community and took in the second highest per-theater amount last weekend, started off its premier with another film festival award. This time, the movie captured the Grand Prize Award for Best Dramatic Feature at the 16th annual Heartland Film Festival.

The festival, based in Indiana, concluded its nine-day run on Friday, the same day Bella premiered in 31 cities across the country.

The 2007 Festival saw more than 22,000 filmgoers attend events and they saw films such as Bella that bring out the best in the human spirit. They also met the filmmakers and stars behind the movies.

Winners were selected from 619 international submissions for demonstrating artistic and technical merit and for best meeting Heartland’s mission.

The $100,000 Grand Prize Award for Best Dramatic Feature was presented to “Bella.” Producer, writer and director Alejandro Monteverde accepted the award.

Heartland’s grand prize award was doubled to $100,000 in 2006 and is underwritten by the Max Simon Charitable Foundation. All award-winning dramatic feature films are eligible to receive this award, which is one of the largest single cash prizes awarded by a film festival.

Monteverde also earned a Crystal Heart Award, which is given to the best filmmakers.

This is the second time Bella has performed well at a major film festival as the movie unexpectedly won a Toronto Film Festival award last year.

Bella is the story of a star Mexican soccer player who seemingly has all the fame and fortune the status as a sports star can afford. That is until he accidentally kills a little girl in an automobile accident and learns the value of human life. reporters were first shown the movie over two years ago in a private filming and came away convinced it could have a significant impact if it could get distribution nationwide.

Last weekend, Bella opened solidly with $1.3 million and it firmly established itself in second place with almost $8,000 on average at each of the 165 theaters where it opened.

Bella opens in another 12 cities on November 9, including Albuquerque, Des Moines, Duango, Colorado, El Paso, Green Bay, Honolulu, Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Tucson.

The sales figures could prompt its distributor to move to a larger release in the coming weeks.

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