Hearts and Minds Film Festival 2011

19 movies make up 2011's Hearts and Minds Film Festival. 14 of them are documentaries. Why so many docs? Documentary films are the best form that fits Hearts and Minds' mission. The fest wants civic engagement through cinema or movies that address social issues with the goal of not only informing but inspiring action. Documentaries almost by nature do that.

For the past few years, the Hearts and Minds Film Festival has been held in the Schwartz Center for the Arts in downtown Dover. The April event this year has been moved to the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA) in Wilmington, along the city's rejuvenated Riverfront.

Sara Teixido, the DCCA marketing director, says the move was in the hope that they could "draw a larger audience from the Philadelphia and Baltimore/DC areas." There was more parking than at the Schwartz and it was easily accessed directly off the I-95. The Schwartz Center is a former opera house and with its orchestra, mezzanine and balcony could hold over 500 people for movies. The DCCA's Wings Foundation Auditorium is a black box theatre that seats only 100.

Nevertheless, the DCCA has hosted film festivals before, including the Taiwain Film Festival, the Wilmington Fringe Festival, and the center was a screening place for independent films by the city prior to the opening of Theatre N. Being that the Hearts and Minds organization is headquartered in Wilmington anyway, Teixido says the event was "a fit for our audience."

Common threads through the two-day run of movies include the causes and the casualties of war. A few deal with disabilities and disease. A handful handle mentors, those who teach or those who simply encourage others, especially young people, and even one that grapples with gay rights.

Opening the festival at 5:00PM on Friday, April 1, is ...And This is My Garden by Katharina Stieffenhofer, a hour-long, Canadian look at empowered students growing their own food in backyards.

Following it is Where Do I Stand? by Molly Blank, a half-hour trip to South Africa with seven young people struggling with identity amid an environment of xenophobia.

That same night, Hearts and Minds will zip you not that far across South Africa's border to Mozambique for a 14-minute piece by and about a teenage, AIDS orphan. The festival ends Friday evening in Urva, a 13-minute essay on a disappearing village and culture in the Republic of Turkey in western Asia.

The spotlight of the seven films shown that evening will be Cultures of Resistance by Iara Lee. It's the longest movie playing at the festival, running 73 minutes. Lee's feature focuses on artists in five countries who are working to change or better the places around them.

The remaining twelve films of Hearts and Minds will screen on Saturday, April 2nd, the second and final day of the fest. The films begin at 10AM and run to 4:30PM. The mix is more eclectic with a narrative, an experimental film and two animated shorts, including two eye-opening, hour-long docs. One of which is Hidden Battles, a dramatic and deeply personal piece on the psychological impact of killing on soldiers, both male and female.

Most of the movies take you all over the world, but there are at least two that were made close to home. Coming Off the DL by Dan Hunt follows two managers of the men's and women's basketball teams at Villanova University just outside Philadelphia. Healing Neen by Laura Cain centers on a woman who survived abuse at home, prison time, and life on the streets of Annapolis.

Tickets for Friday are $3. Tickets for Saturday are $4 and passes for both days are $5. To order tickets and for showtimes, go to: http://www.heartsandmindsfilm.org/. For more information, interviews with filmmakers and reviews of movies, check out The M Report at themreporter.blogspot.com.

Hearts and Minds Film Festival Schedule


...And This is My Garden. 515PM
Reverse the Wave. 630PM
Where Do I Stand. 630PM
Cultures of Resistance. 715PM
Mozambique. 830PM
Pray for Eric. 830PM
Urva. 830PM


Hand to Hand. 1045AM
Jr. Posse. 1045AM
The Scarf. 1045AM
Off the Streets. 1115AM
Prayers for Peace. 1115AM
Coming Off the DL. 1145AM
Michael. 1145AM
God's Square Mile. 1230PM
When Cotton Blossoms. 1230PM
Goldstar, Ohio. 145PM
Hidden Battles. 145PM
Healing Neen. 315PM


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