Sunny in the Dark shines during 2015 Heartland Film Festival

The AMC Castleton Square 14 premiere screening of Sunny in the Dark was packed. There were lots of attending filmmakers there, too, which added to the excitement and overall buzz of the anticipating crowd. Lots of festival goers were talking about this film; it's taken home several awards already.
Sunny in the Dark follows therapist Jonah Bock settling into a new loft that he's been waiting to rent for two years. What Jonah doesn't realize comes with the rent is Sunny, a homeless women that lives in the dark crawl space above his place. She sleeps in the crawlspace at night, and when Jonah leaves for his family counseling practice each day, she drops down and makes herself at home. Sunny is always careful to leave no trace of her existence before returning to the crawlspace each evening.

It is interesting to watch two people who have never met vis a vis become close, intimate even, over the course of the film. Both Jonah and Sunny barricade themselves from the pain of the world in different ways, and at times their loneliness is palpable. The story is not all heavy, though. There are plenty of laughs and two cute animal co-stars for balance.

Kudos to Jay Huguley (Jonah Brock) and Hannah Ward (Sunny) on their performances. Fun fact: Following the screening, the audience learned from director Courtney Ware that the location originally scouted for Jonah's apartment fell through at the last minute and the one in the film was pulled together very quickly. Never would have guessed!

Autism in Love premieres at 2015 Heartland Film Festival

I joined a crowd of moviegoers for the first screening of Autism in Love at AMC Castleton Square 14.

The documentary film explores how adults with autism find and manage romantic relationships. The film focuses on four different adults with autism from across the country. Lenny is a young man living with his single mom, hopeless for a girlfriend. Stephen is as middle-aged man whose wife, Gita, is battling cancer. Lindsey and Dave are working through what it means to take their eight-year relationship to the next level.

Love and romance are tricky and difficult for everyone, and this film depicts the additional complexity of the emotion for people on the autism spectrum. It's also about the journey of not only accepting others, but in accepting ourselves.
Director and producer Matt Fuller told Vanity Fair that he and fellow producer Carolina Groppa hope that audiences walk out of the film with a specific idea in mind. "First is empathy," Fuller said. "This is about really spending time with them and seeing them as individuals, and not their disabilities."
The second idea, added Groppa, is to "increase the awareness for adults on the spectrum. There's so much focus out there in the media on the children. No one is talking about what's going to happen to these kids when they grow up."
You can purchase tickets for Autism in Love online, as well as by phone and at Heartland Film Festival theater box offices.

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2014 Heartland Film Festival 'Dukale’s Dream' Review

How often do you purchase Fair Trade goods? Are you aware of the global reach and impact of purchasing Fair Trade goods? Not even sure what a Fair Trade good is? That’s okay, I’ve got you covered.

Fair Trade goods come from farmers and workers from developing countries who are justly compensated, meaning they are paid a fair price for the good they bring to free market and also earn a fair wage. This helps these farmers and workers build sustainable business that positively influences their communities.

This may not sound like a “big deal,” but trust me – IT IS. You may not realize that October is Fair Trade Month, and I can’t think of a better way to support Fair Trade than to watch ‘Dukale’s Dream’ for yourself.

About the Film
‘Dukale’s Dream’ celebrates its world premiere at the Heartland Film Festival this year.

The film follows Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness on a trip to Ethiopia in their role as ambassadors for World Vision Australia. During their visit they meet a coffee farmer named Dukale; poverty deprived him of education but he is determined to create a new future for his growing family with the help of World Vision.

Dukale makes a big impression on Hugh Jackman, and the second part of the documentary feature details the lengths that Hugh goes to in order to keep a promise that he made to him during his trip to Ethiopia.

'Dukale's Dream' filmmakers following the film's world premiere.

‘Dukale’s Dream’ Review
If you aren’t convinced to begin purchasing Fair Trade goods for your household after this film, I will be incredibly surprised.

‘Dukale’s Dream’ does an excellent job of demonstrating how Fair Trade works and how it offers farmers and workers in developing countries a hand up instead of a hand out. By providing them with the necessary technology, education and opportunities, these men and women have the power to not only change their lives, but the lives of those in their communities, too.

This film is a great reminder of the global connection we share, and why it is important for us to pay a fair price for goods.

There is one more opportunity for you to watch ‘Dukale’s Dream’ during the Heartland Film Festival. Ticketing information is available at

Remaining ‘Dukale’s Dream’ Showtime
Saw the film? You can purchase Dukale’s Dream (Espresso) on the Laughing Man website: