Local documentary makes Heartland Film Festival

A mini-documentary film done by a Columbus duo featuring local residents talking about racial justice will be part of the prestigious, Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Festival that opens Thursday.

The 37-minute production, “Crossroads Stories,” will show in-person at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Living Room Theaters, 745 E. Ninth St., Suite 810, Indianapolis, according to festival staff. And it also will show at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie, 1258 Windsor St., Indianapolis. Virtual showings are available anytime during the festival from Thursday through Oct. 17, according to writer and producer Alyse Tucker Bounds.

Tucker Bounds is a Columbus native living in Indianapolis. She worked with director Ryan Furr of Columbus on the project.

Furr, of Ryan Furr Creative, called the recognition “pretty crazy.”

Tucker Bounds acknowledged nearly the same for the self-funded project that later won the support of the African American Fund of Bartholomew County for its presentation at the Amplify Columbus Film Festival in May.

“I’m honestly really, really excited,” Tucker Bounds said. “I did not expect it to get in, to be honest. I just said, ‘I’m going to go for it.’”

Furr labeled it “something we never really expected.”

The film is up for two awards, according to the local duo — the Indiana spotlight award and the social justice award.

Tucker Bounds said festival leaders liked the heavy Hoosier angle of the film, as well as the social justice aspect.

This is Tucker Bounds first shot at filmmaking, though Furr is experienced in video production. But his other work has consisted of commercial efforts.

The nonprofit Heartland is especially notable because, since it began in 1992, it has bestowed more than $3.5 million in prize money to independent filmmakers — the largest total amount awarded by any film festival in North America, according to its organizers.

“When there is a film like this,” Furr said, “it’s generally more like a passion project (of yours).”

The film features interviews with six Black Columbus residents highlighting the racial disparities that exist in what is often referred to as “small-town America.”

And it includes a delicate balance in its examination of racism, partly via Tucker Bounds’ own father, Al Tucker.

“Most people assume certain things about Black people,” her father said on camera. “And most Black people assume certain things about Black people.”

Tucker Bounds and Furr believe their work easily could continue on an entire Crossroads Stories series focusing on smaller communities nationwide on a national platform such as Netflix.

“With this now on our resume, if you will, I’m hoping to continue to make as many connections as possible, “ Tucker Bounds said. “Netflix is kind of the next best thing that could happen, though I’m not necessarily expecting it. I’m just trying to reach out to the right people to hopefully make that happen.

“With this traction, it’s become a possibility.”