Submissions FAQ: https://www.heartlandfilm.org/faqs

ACADEMY AWARD® QUALIFIER FOR LIVE ACTION, DOCUMENTARY & ANIMATED SHORT CATEGORIES - SEEKING SHORT FILMS (running time of 40 minutes or less) FOR CONSIDERATION

FEATURE FILMS, SUBMIT TO HIFF: Submit films 41 minutes or longer to Heartland International Film Festival at https://filmfreeway.com/HeartlandFilmFestival

NOTE: Please submit your film to ONE CATEGORY ONLY. For example, if your film is submitted as an Indiana Spotlight Narrative it will also be eligible for consideration as a general Narrative short. Please submit to the most specific category possible (example: Horror genre shorts to Heartland Horror). Films across all categories are eligible for Grand Prize consideration within their respective category - please note that titles that have previously submitted to the Academy Awards are not eligible for the qualifying Narrative/Documentary/Animated Grand Prizes, but are eligible for other awards. If you have any questions about submitting please email submissions@heartlandfilm.org.

COVID-19 Response/Planning: Please note that the festival went hybrid in 2020/21 with drive-in and secure virtual screenings via Eventive in response to COVID-19. Safety is our top priority, and although plans are in place to return to theaters in July 2022, the contingency plan will be a similar hybrid model of outdoor, indoor, and virtual screenings in the event of a resurgence. Cash prizes WILL remain intact regardless of in-theater and/or drive-in/virtual screenings.

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Nonprofit arts organization Heartland Film, Inc. will host the fifth annual Indy Shorts International Film Fest (Indy Shorts) to exclusively showcase short films (under 40 minutes in length) from July 19-24, 2022, tentatively with in-person screenings in Indianapolis but with a pandemic contingency plan for a hybrid virtual and outdoor event. All winners will play encore screenings at the Heartland International Film Festival in the following October. An Academy Award®-qualifying film festival in all three categories (Live Action, Documentary, and Animation short film categories), the winner of the Narrative, Documentary, and Animated Grand Prizes will qualify for Academy Awards without the standard theatrical run, granted they meet all the other requirements needed to qualify. Short films featured at Indy Shorts/Heartland over the years have gone on to be short-listed, nominated, and winners of Academy Awards®. In the past 10 years, 29 films have been nominated with 8 going on to win Oscars®.

Top Reasons to Submit to Indy Shorts
1. Cash prizes, including grand prizes at $5,000 each
2. Academy Award-qualifying festival in all 3 Short Films categories.*
3. One of MovieMaker Magazine's Top Short Fests in the World 2022.
4. One of MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2021.
4. Regarded for our Hoosier hospitality with a strong community between filmmakers, moviegoers, and volunteers.

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WAIVER POLICY: Waivers are reserved only for Indy Shorts and Heartland International Film Festival alumni.

Please do not contact us requesting waivers or reduced submission fees. As a nonprofit organization, our annual operations and the process of viewing the volume of submissions we receive are very costly. We strive to keep our fees as reasonable as possible, and encourage all applicants to take advantage of our early and official deadlines to save on submission fees.

We do not offer offer Student waivers, but we offer discounted Student pricing for all categories.

ALUMNI WAIVERS: If you have directed a short or feature film that has screened at Indy Shorts or Heartland Film Festival in the past, please email submissions@heartlandfilm.org with your film’s title and the year it screened.

Indy Shorts has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® for all three Short Film categories: Live Action, Documentary, and Animated. This means that the winner of the Indy Shorts Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short, Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short, and Grand Prize for Best Animated Short will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

The fifth annual Indy Shorts event will bestow more than $31,000 in cash prizes across multiple categories, including:

• Narrative Short ($5,000 Cash Prize)
Academy Award®-qualified category

• Documentary Short ($5,000 Cash Prize)
Academy Award®-qualified category

• Animated Short ($5,000 Cash Prize)
Academy Award®-qualified category

• High School Film Competition (HSFC) ($2,000 Summer White Lynch Memorial Grand Prize, Underwritten by Gary D. and Marlene Cohen)
Four category winners awarded $500 each - Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Indiana

• Indiana Spotlight Competition ($1,500 Cash Prize)

• Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award ($1,800 Cash Prize)

• Heartland Horror Award ($1,000 Cash Prize)

• Best Comedy Short ($1,000 Cash Prize)

• Best Directorial Debut ($1,000 Cash Prize)

• Best Student Film Awards ($1,000 Cash Prize each)
Categories of Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Indiana. Films made at the college, university, and conservatory level.

• Audience Choice Awards in the Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Indiana Spotlight, Comedy, Heartland Horror, High School categories ($250 each)

About Indy Shorts

The Academy Award®-Qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival presented by Heartland Film (Indy Shorts) is the largest shorts festival in the Midwest running in Indianapolis, Indiana, since 2018! Originally an expansion to the Heartland International Film Festival, Indy Shorts has become its own six-day summer festival that celebrates the unique, creative and captivating art of short films in a wide range of categories including horror, comedy, documentary, narrative, animated, and more!

Categories

Indy Shorts selects and films in three main film types/categories (all 40 minutes or less in running time):

- Narrative Short, Live-action dramatic or comedic narratives.
One Narrative Short will win the $5,000 Grand Prize for Narrative Short and 2023 Academy Award qualification.

- Documentary Short, Live-action nonfiction films.
One Narrative Short will win the $5,000 Grand Prize for Documentary Short and 2023 Academy Award qualification.

- Animated Short, Animated films, dramatic or nonfiction.
One Narrative Short will win the $5,000 Grand Prize for Animated Short and 2023 Academy Award qualification.

Official Selection Status

Standard lineup films are considered Official Selections and are eligible for Grand Prizes and other awards. Special Presentation films play outside of competition and are not eligible for Grand Prizes.

Films highlighted in the Indiana Spotlight Competition, Comedy, Horror, etc.- are still considered Official Selections and are still eligible for other awards, including Grand Prizes.

Selection Criteria

Each submitted film goes through an involved judging process, and is screened in its entirety by at least one member of the selection committee. Selected films could eventually be seen more than six times by members of the screening committees, programming staff, and juries.

Films submitted to Indy Shorts are judged on their overall artistic and technical quality. We ultimately look for a strong mix of technical skill, story, and unique vision. The films we select and exhibit – whether they inspire conversation, ignite imagination, or shift perspectives – all have one thing in common: they are films that do more than just entertain.

Awards & Prizes

Indy Shorts has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® for all three Short Film categories: Live Action, Documentary, and Animated. This means that the winner of the Indy Shorts Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short, Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short, and Grand Prize for Best Animated Short will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.

The fifth annual Indy Shorts event will bestow more than $31,000 in cash prizes across multiple categories, including:

Narrative Short ($5,000 Cash Prize)
Academy Award®-qualified category

Documentary Short ($5,000 Cash Prize)
Academy Award®-qualified category

Animated Short ($5,000 Cash Prize)
Academy Award®-qualified category

High School Film Competition (HSFC) ($2,000 Summer White Lynch Memorial Grand Prize, Underwritten by Gary D. and Marlene Cohen)
Four category winners awarded $500 each - Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Indiana

Film must have been made while student/filmmaker was still enrolled as a student at a high school or international high school equivalent.

Indiana Spotlight Competition ($1,500 Cash Prize)

Films in competition for the Indiana Spotlight Award must either include principal production (director or producer) or cast (leading actor/actress) from or currently living in Indiana and/or the film was shot in Indiana.

Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award ($1,800 Cash Prize)

Heartland Horror Award ($1,000 Cash Prize)

Films shown in the Horror block are eligible.

Best Comedy Short ($1,000 Cash Prize)

Films shown in the Comedy block or tagged comedy are eligible.

Best Directorial Debut ($1,000 Cash Prize)

Film made by a first-time director are eligible.

Best Student Film Awards ($1,000 Cash Prize each)

Categories of Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Indiana. Films made at the college, university, and conservatory level.

Audience Choice Awards in the Narrative, Documentary, Animated, Indiana Spotlight, Comedy, Heartland Horror, High School categories ($250 each)

Eligibility

To be eligible for Indy Shorts, films must comply with the following:

The film must have been completed on or after January 1, 2021.

The film must be available for up to 2 in-person screenings during Indy Shorts, July 19-24, 2022, and virtually on-demand via Eventive Virtual Festival (US geofence, 250 cap per program)

There must not be a screening fee attached to the film. Heartland will not pay a screening fee to any film featured in the Festival; there are no exceptions.

The film cannot require dual projection (interlock) or separate soundtracks. Non-English films must be subtitled in English.

Films must provide an H.264 or ProRes copy suitable for exhibition by the deadlines communicated. Failure to provide film print files and/or other requested film contract materials can result in your film being pulled from the lineup.

Premiere status does not affect eligibility, but if a Premiere status is confirmed with the Festival at the time of confirmation it cannot change. Indy Shorts has the right to pull the film from the lineup if this status is changed after confirmation.

Short films available prior to the Festival via paid or unpaid streaming/online services are still eligible for Festival consideration.

No public/in-person exhibition of your film can take place in Indiana from the time of confirmation through the Indy Shorts event. If your film is not available online at the time of confirmation, we highly suggest that you do not make it available until after the event.

Short films that have already applied for the Academy Awards (in 2021 of before) are not eligible for the Grand Prizes. Titles that have already applied for Academy consideration are still eligible to be Official Selections and are eligible for other awards.

Rules for Submission

In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, filmmakers must comply with the following submission rules to be considered as a Finalist in their respective category:

The submitting filmmaker must be either the producer or director of the film.
Entries are accepted exclusively through www.FilmFreeway.com.

A completed official entry on FilmFreeway.com

Payment of the non-refundable entry fee must accompany the submission.

A functional streaming video file (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) in high definition 720p or 1080p included with your submission, either embedded or linked with working password.

Multiple submissions must be provided as individual submissions.

If submitting a film that is not yet complete, place "WORK IN PROGRESS" in the submission.

Notification

All filmmakers will be notified by email after that date or before early June, 2022. Heartland Film reserves the right to release basic information about selected films before that time.

What are the Festival’s Terms and Conditions of Entry to Which All Applicants Must Agree?

Submitting filmmaker (producer or director) of the film, acknowledge and agree that they have read, understood, and complied with the Indy Shorts submission rules.

I hold that any claims I have made about the premiere status of my film are accurate at the time of submission. I hereby acknowledge that I will notify Heartland International Film Festival of any changes in the film’s premiere status as soon as they occur. I accept that changes in the film’s premiere status prior to the Indy Shorts may result in the film being pulled from the lineup.

Heartland Film, Inc. / Indy Shorts reserves the right to withdraw any film from screening consideration at any point in the process.

Filmmaker warrants that they are authorized to commit the film for screening, and understand and accept these requirements and regulations, and, if accepted for Indy Shorts, agree that no screening fee will be demanded. I hereby warrant that I have all the necessary rights to exhibit all elements of my submission, including music rights.

If selected to screen at Indy Shorts, you authorize Heartland Film, Inc. to publicly exhibit your film again as part of year-round screening series, for at least one potential screening in 2022 or 2023.

If your film is chosen as a Grand Prize Winner in a respective category attached with a cash prize, Indy Shorts mandates the use of the Grand Prize laurel/prize language on the film’s ongoing written and visual promotional materials including, but not limited to: press releases, website, posters, etc. It is the responsibility of the filmmaker to convey this requirement to distributors if said title is eventually picked up for distribution.

Filmmakers shall indemnify and hold harmless Heartland Film Inc. / Indy Shorts from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening prints/films entered.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Lauren Ciaravalli

    Absolutely loved attending this high quality film festival with the staff, locals and fellow filmmakers at IndyShorts. A cinephile's paradise in the Midwest filled with passionate film-lovers, excellent films, great food and drink, celebratory spirit and more. What a joy to revel in independent cinema in such a genuine and committed atmosphere. Venues, food and drink were all top notch too!

    August 2022
  • Karen Newman

    Wonderful festival, so well organised and film-maker friendly. Superb communication throughout

    August 2022
  • Meg Griffiths

    We love that this film festival celebrates short films, and we're honored that you included FOUNDERS in your lineup!

    August 2022
  • WOW. What a festival. From the easy communication, filmmaker toolkit (and social media assets!), incredible attention to tech needs, and awesome programming and filmmaker events – Indy Shorts is the best. Thank you for including Daughters in your official selection. It was such an honor to be among such great films and filmmakers!

    August 2022
  • Thank you so much for including our film Cat and Moth in your official selection this year. It was an incredibly organised event, and the best social media prep I have seen so far! They provided a lot of materials in order to advertise the selection and they were very communicative. I would highly recommend applying to this festival, and look forward to doing so again in the future!

    August 2022