As patrons fill theaters throughout southern Utah Sept. 3-7, on the big screen at the Dixie State University (DSU) DOCUTAH Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival will be the work of three Utah filmmakers: “An Ordinary Hero” is among competition films in the feature category and was submitted by filmmaker Loki Mulholland of Lehi, Utah. Curt Wallin from Draper, Utah, submitted “Musicwood”. And the documentary short film, “Heart of the Andes,” by St. George writer and filmmaker Melynda Thorpe Burt. “Heart of the Andes” is the only southern-Utah professionally produced documentary film accepted to this year’s festival.
Filmed on location in Peru in 2012, “Heart of the Andes” tells the story of the international humanitarian organization Heart Walk Foundation based in southern Utah. Cofounders Tim and Penelope Eicher (Tim is a DSU professor and Penelope a mental health therapist) learned of the plight of the Q’ero Tribes living high in the Andes Mountains while they were traveling in Peru ten years ago.
Following the Sept. 5 screening (7 p.m. at the Eccles Fine Arts Building Main Stage Theater) will be announcement of a national film tour for the film.
Written and directed by cinematographer Melynda Thorpe Burt, co-producers Myke Bush and Keith Owen join visual affects and sound engineering with Burt’s gripping story telling and cinematography to share an unforgettable story.
Through the eyes of a small boy, “Heart of the Andes” describes how Heart Walk Foundation is bringing hope and opportunity to a once forgotten and impoverished people.
“We are thrilled that this touching short film was accepted among so many submissions from around the world,” Heart Walk Foundation Co-founder Penelope Eicher said. “This film builds a bridge across two continents and takes viewers truly into the heart of the Andes Mountains and into the lives of the indigenous and impoverished Q’ero people.”
According to Brian Tenney of the film’s representing agency, TCS Advertising and Public Relations, “Heart of the Andes” will debut its national film tour after screening at the DOCUTAH Film Festival in September. “Our goal and primary focus is to help Heart Walk Foundation raise the funds they need to meet the request of the Q’ero tribal leaders for greenhouses,” Tenney said.
In May 2013, Tim and Penelope Eicher made their annual trek to the high mountain Q’ero villages in Peru where tribal members expressed enthusiasm for the first 7 greenhouses funded by Heart Walk Foundation in 2011 providing vegetables for school children and the elderly. Embracing the success of the initial greenhouse projects, Q’ero tribal leaders requested 100 more greenhouses so that every family can raise vegetables for improved nutrition.
“One hundred new greenhouses would give every family a garden to grow and tend to,” Penelope Eicher said. “In a country where we have access to so many modern amenities, it is difficult to comprehend how much a gift like this truly means to a mountain community subsisting only on potatoes and tubers for nearly 500 years.”
According to Tenney, “We are thrilled to be able to assist Heart Walk Foundation and the beautiful people of Peru by taking this film on the road and allowing supporters to participate in this Growing a Mountain Garden yearlong campaign.”
Comprised of 256 local volunteers, 50 screening teams have been viewing and rating film submissions for several months. Vetting for acceptance to the festival and the opportunity to compete for DOCUTAH Raven Awards, filmmakers worldwide have been anxiously awaiting today’s announcement of films.
Also diverse in subject matter, DOCUTAH once again offers programming in a variety of categories including arts, health, sports, travel, politics and civil rights.
“Our closing gala film, ‘An Ordinary Hero’ tells the amazing story of one white southern woman’s courage to join the civil rights movement. Her son who lives in Lehi, Utah, produced this powerful documentary which is not to be missed,” Schultz says.
From the 50 film selections are 15 feature-length films and 7 short films that have been selected to compete for Raven Awards. “An Ordinary Hero” submitted by a filmmaker from Lehi, Utah, is among competition films in the feature category and was submitted by a
filmmaker from Lehi, Utah. “Heart of the Andes” and “Mike’s Migration” are the only two locally-produced films accepted to the festival this year. “Mike’s Migration” is a Dixie State University student project, and “Heart of the Andes” features the volunteer contributions of Dixie State Professor Tim Eicher and his wife Penelope in their effort to save a starving, indigenous tribe of the Andes Mountains in Peru.
Following opening night festivities at Towne Square Sept.3, DOCUTAH offers a solid schedule of documentary film screenings with feature events highlighting artists and their artwork, humanitarians, athletes, musicians, and various social issues.
The Festival will close Saturday, Sept. 7 with a celebration of filmmakers and Raven Awards ceremony at the DSU Eccles Main Stage Theatre.
A unique feature of the DOCUTAH Festival is its dedication to education. Following many film premiers, viewers will have the opportunity to engage in question and answer sessions with filmmakers, industry professionals and scholars.
The DOCUTAH International Film Festival originated at Dixie State University in 2010. The Festival has since put southern Utah on the map for hosting this event that attracts professional, amateur and student filmmakers each fall. The festival has expanded to Mesquite, Nevada with a DOCUTAH “Best of Fest” to be held September 12th and 13th. Festivalgoers enjoy coming for the films, staying for the scenery and departing having experienced documentary film inspiration. Touted one of the nation’s best “Small-Town Documentary Film Festivals for 2012” by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), this year’s festival will showcase the best of 330 submissions from 39 world countries.
As part of the festival’s ongoing commitment to providing quality exposure to documentary films, DOCUTAH now offers year-round screening events in the state and region. The September Festival serves as the organizations culminating annual event.
For more information, call (435) 879-4273 or visit www.heartoftheandes.com.
DOCUTAH 2013 International Film Festival
Out of 50 films selected – 30 countries, commonwealths and republics are represented:
Antarctica Brazil Canada Cameroon China Columbia France Germany Honduras India Iran
Israel Italy Kenya Kosovo Luxembourg Moldova Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Norway
Peru Philippines Puerto Rico Spain Sweden Tonga Turkey United Kingdom United States
Utah Produced Film Selections
An Ordinary Hero (USA) 91 minutes
The amazing true story of one white southern woman’s courage to choose her convictions and join the Civil Rights Movement. By the time she was 19, Joan Trumpauer was shot at, attacked, and put on death row but that’s just the beginning of her remarkable journey to help change the world. Heralded as an unsung hero but disowned by her family, Joan takes us on an incredible journey of her life in the Civil Rights Movement and the power of the human spirit to persevere against the world. Shot over the course of a year in six states, ‘An Ordinary Hero’ is the only complete story of Joan Trumpauer and includes interviews with scholars, authors, journalists and those who fought alongside this courageous woman.
Heart of the Andes (USA, Peru) 13 minutes
Filmed on location in Peru, “Heart of the Andes” tells the story of a decade of commitment and contributions of the international humanitarian organization Heart Walk Foundation based in southern Utah. Tim and Penelope Eicher (Tim is a university professor and Penelope a mental health therapist) learned of the plight of the Q’ero Tribes living high in the Andes Mountains while they were traveling in Peru ten years ago. Through the eyes of a small boy, learn how Heart Walk Foundation is bringing hope and opportunity to a once forgotten and impoverished people. You’ll discover something unforgettable about the resilience of human nature, and the hope that education and assistance has given to a destitute mountain people.
Musicwood (USA) 80 minutes
Musicwood is a modern twist on a classic story; an urgent battle between the white man and Native Americans, where age-old land disputes upend our simplistic view of the past. A band of world-famous guitar-makers travel together into one of the most primeval rainforests on earth. Their mission: negotiate with Native American loggers before it’s too late for acoustic guitars.