Starting Oct. 16, The Campus Citizen will be providing coverage of the Heartland Film Festival movies and events. For those new to the festival, read more about it’s background below.
Hoosiers take pride in doing a few things exceptionally well -- hosting the Indy 500, being a walkable city, and having an unusual amount of microbreweries come to mind as a few Indiana trademarks. But since 1991, another Indianapolis event has risen to the top of notable happenings in the city: the Heartland Film Festival.
From Oct. 16-25, Heartland Film Festival will screen over 130 independent films at three different venues: AMC Castleton Square 14, The Theatre at the Wheeler Arts Community, and AMC Showplace Traders Point 12. Heartland, a nonprofit arts organization, has maintained a focus on growing the filmmaking scene in the local arts community.
Festival growth continues at an impressive rate. Last year, Heartland FIlm Festival filled over 23,000 seats for screenings during festival week. From 2011 to 2014, film submissions more than doubled in amount from 800 to over 1,600.
Heartland films are divided into categories based on film type -- Festival Award Winners, Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and High School Film Competition.
As with other film festivals (Sundance, Cannes, etc.), the film selection process takes place throughout the year. Heartland's process is divided into three stages. The first step in the screening process takes place among a group of committee members who have passed a “critical examination” to determine their skill in judging film quality. Films making it past this stage will be shown during the week in at least one of the theatres. Next, the committee sends 10-15 of the top films from each category to the Festival Award jury. This group of film professionals, academics, and critics will give the title of Festival Award Winners to five films from each category. Finally, the Grand Prize jury awards the top film from each category with the title of Grand Prize winners.
This year, Heartland will continue their long-standing tradition in the film community.
“The Heartland Film Festival’s mission is to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film,” said Heartland Marketing Coordinator Sarah Silcox. “During the Festival, we curate, exhibit, honor and discuss entertaining films that do much more than entertain and connect moviegoers with more than 100 international filmmakers.”
But why bother with film festivals when services like Netflix have streamlined the entire movie industry? While the Heartland staff is very aware of the current film landscape, this doesn’t seem to worry them when it comes to independent films.
"The filmmakers really want to see their film projected as they intended it, on a bigger screen," said Heartland Artistic Director Tim Irwin in an interview with the IndyStar. "And when they can look out at 150 to 300 faces that are all engaged at the same time, that's why film festivals exist."
The Heartland Film Festival will begin with an opening night screening of “Room”, a narrative feature film, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Starting on Oct. 17, movies will be screened nearly all day across the three locations. For a full list of movies, download the guidebook here, buy tickets online, or download the new Heartland Film Festival app on iTunes.
For a list of top local films, check out this NUVO review of the top Indiana films taking part in this year’s festival.