Heartland of Indianapolis

By Erica Faunce

The Heartland Film Festival kicked off this past Thursday at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, presenting the first of over 300 screenings of around 100 different films. These films will grace the screens of several theaters in the Indianapolis area for the next week, showcasing their perspective-shifting, transformative messages. Since 1991, Heartland has influenced the state of Indiana with programs promoting independent and theatrical film and brought in a constantly growing audience to experience what the nonprofit organization calls “the power of film.”

     Promotion of the arts for young contributors is one of Heartland’s main goals. The Heartland Film Institute recently launched its High School Film Competition in 2010, which allows young filmmakers to enter the world of independent production and theatrical presentation. High school films are presented alongside other independent pictures during the annual festival. Five finalists of the competition receive all-access passes to the festival along with a cash prize. Heartland also holds workshops at the festival and throughout the year to educate aspiring artists about film technology and the budding film community of Indiana.

Along with the festival, Heartland Film hosts what has been dubbed Heartland Roadshow, which exhibits films, usually some of the most watched or most awarded films, from the festival all year in various Indiana venues.  No Ordinary Hero: The Super Deafy Movie, which had several sold-out screenings at the 2013 festival, was shown all over the state through the winter and summer months.

Heartland gets in on the Hollywood scene with the Truly Moving Picture Award. Studios and producers submit theatrical productions to a panel of Heartland staff for consideration where the panel’s task is to “identify entertaining films that do much more than just entertain.” This year’s winners include: The Imitation GameMaleficent, and The Fault in Our Stars. By pointing out that independent movies and theatrical Hollywood movies share similar attributes, filmmakers are encouraged to aspire to quality of film over box office statistics.

Heartland Film advocates and celebrates life-changing films, and is having progressively increasing influence in the Indiana community. Filmmakers young or old, new or established, experienced or fresh off the cinematic vine, can all come together and present their works to an eager audience, hungry for stories full of meaning.