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The Independent Critic

Brian Presley, Treat Williams, Henry Thomas, Bruce Davison, Brad Leland, Will Wallace, Brea Bee, James Russo
Brian Presley
84 Mins.
P12 Films

 "The Great Alaskan Race" Has World Premiere at Heartland Film Fest 
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If you're not quite ready for the "bold cinematic space" promised by the 2019 Heartland International Film Festival, you may be able to take refuge in writer/director Brian Presley's The Great Alaskan Race. Leaning toward more traditional Heartland fare, The Great Alaskan Race stars Presley as Leonhard Seppala, a champion dog sledder in 1925 Alaska who embarks on a great race of mercy by leading a group of mushers 700 miles to retrieve a diphtheria vaccine following an outbreak of the deadly disease in isolated Nome, Alaska. 

A difficult journey during the best of times, when a blizzard strikes and temperatures drop to 40 degrees below zero the task suddenly seems impossible as he doesn't have near the usual 25 days it would take for the journey. 

Having received the Dove Foundation's 12+ Seal of Approval, The Great Alaskan Race is for the most part a family friendly, faith inspired tale of man vs. nature and belief in the impossible. The charismatic Presley's central promise is never less than compelling, while the film is dotted with Hollywood familiar faces including Treat Williams as Dr. Welch, Henry Thomas as Thompson, Bruce Davison as Governor Bone, and James Russo as Wild Bill. Williams, in particular, leaves a strong impression here as the disciplined and determined doctor determined to do what he can to save the children of Nome. 

Filmed in Colorado, The Great Alaskan Race features top notch lensing by Mark David and a driven, mood-setting original score by John Koutselinis. 

The Great Alaskan Race is a terrific opportunity for families to experience the Heartland International Film Festival, though children under the age of 12 may have some questions about the sick children and the film's occasionally mature moments. The film is easily one that teens should appreciate and enjoy. 

Ahead of a planned limited indie release with P12 Films on October 25th, The Great Alaskan Race is having its world premiere at the acclaimed Heartland International Film Festival in Indianapolis with screenings set for October 11th and 15th during the 10-day festival that offers among the top financial prizes in the U.S. and possibly beyond. 

For more information on Heartland International Film Festival, visit the Heartland Film website

Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic