Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Since the inaugural Heartland Film Festival (HFF) in 1992, the fest has grown from a 5-day event with less than 20 films to an 11-day celebration featuring more than 130 independent films, 150 visiting filmmakers and 280 film screenings. HFF has built a reputation on its impactful movies, the connections audiences make with visiting filmmakers, the overall hospitality and intimacy of the experience, and bringing big Hollywood names – like Robert Downey Jr., Jessica Biel, and Oscar® winner Geoffrey Rush – to the Hoosier state.

Top Five Reasons to Submit to the Heartland Film Festival
1. Expanded number of cash prizes - 33 in 2017 vs. 13 in 2016! Ranging from $500 - $25,000 per prize.
2. Academy Award-qualifying festival in the Short Films category.*
3. One of MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2016.
4. Artistic integrity: transparent selection process offering screener feedback by request after the Festival.
5. Regarded for our Hoosier hospitality with a strong community between filmmakers, moviegoers and volunteers.

The 26th annual Heartland Film Festival will take place in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, October 12-22, 2017. Filmmakers participating in the Festival attend numerous screenings of their films and other special events designed to allow interaction between filmmakers and audiences. Filmmakers from around the world are invited to submit films; student filmmakers are welcomed in each category as well. The Heartland Film Festival selects and honors films in several categories:

- Narrative Feature
- Documentary Feature
- Narrative Short
- Documentary Short
- Animated Short
- High School Film Competition (HSFC)
- Indiana Spotlight

Awards & Prizes

Awarding $100,000 in cash prizes for 2017, the Festival has bestowed more than $3 million to independent filmmakers since 1992 – the largest total amount awarded by any film festival in North America.

*HFF has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within the Short Films category. This means that the winner of the Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film 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.

Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature $25,000
$1,500 cash prize per non-Grand Prize-winning Finalist (four total prizes)

Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature $25,000
$1,500 cash prize per non-Grand Prize-winning Finalist (four total prizes)

Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short $5,000
$500 cash prize per non-Grand Prize-winning Finalist (four total prizes)

Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short $5,000
$500 cash prize per non-Grand Prize-winning Finalist (four total prizes)

Grand Prize for Best Animated Short $5,000
$500 cash prize per non-Grand Prize-winning Finalist (four total prizes)

Summer White Lynch Memorial Award – High School Film Competition Grand Prize $2,000
$250 cash prize per non-Grand Prize-winning Finalist (three total prizes)

The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award $5,000
Best Narrative Feature Premiere $5,000
Best Documentary Feature Premiere $5,000
Indiana Spotlight Competition $5,000
Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Feature
Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Feature
Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Short
Audience Choice Award Winner, Documentary Short
Audience Choice Award Winner, Animated Short
Audience Choice Award Winner, Indiana Spotlight

Films selected as Finalists are eligible for Grand Prize Awards, the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award, and Audience Choice Awards. Official Selections are eligible for the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award, Best Premiere Awards, and Audience Choice Awards. Indiana Spotlight selections are eligible for the Indiana Spotlight Audience Choice Award and Best Premiere Awards.

INDIANA SPOTLIGHT
We are excited to exhibit films with ties to the Hoosier state for the third year of our Indiana Spotlight Competition. Films in competition for the Indiana Spotlight Award and $5,000 cash prize are films that meet at least one of the following requirements:
At least one of the filmmakers is a current Indiana resident
At least one of the filmmakers is an Indiana native
The majority of the film was shot in Indiana

THE JIMMY STEWART LEGACY AWARD
The Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award will include a $5,000 cash prize for a single winner, selected from the Festival’s feature-length narrative and documentary titles. The winning film will best embody the ongoing legacy of actor and national hero Jimmy Stewart and will demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit through determination and the defiance of odds, humble vulnerability, and courage in the face of adversity.

Rules & Terms

SELECTION PROCESS
Each submitted film goes through an involved judging process, and is screened in its entirety by at least three members of the selection committee. Selected films have been seen 4-15 times by members of the screening committees, programming staff, and juries.

Films submitted to the Heartland Film Festival are judged on their overall artistic and technical quality. Selected films have a transformative power that impacts audiences by educating, inspiring, challenging or shifting perspectives - ultimately the Heartland Film Festival programs story-driven films that do much more than entertain.

RULES & TERMS
Please visit http://heartlandfilm.org/festival/submit/ for a full list of 2017 Rules and Regulations

ELIGIBILITY
To be eligible for the Heartland Film Festival, films must comply with the following:
- The film must have been completed on or after June 1, 2016.
- The film must be available for up to 8 screenings during the Festival, October 12-22, 2017.
- 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.
- Heartland requires a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) for every film (feature or short). No Blu-rays, DVDs or 35mm prints will be screened at the Festival.
- Films that have had a theatrical release, a television broadcast within the United States or a release through an on-demand outlet such as Netflix, Amazon On-Demand or any other outlets that are available in Indiana prior to the Festival dates are not eligible to be named Finalists, but may be considered for “Special Presentation” screenings.
- Films with a theatrical release, television broadcast or available on-demand outside of the USA are eligible to screen as “Official Selections” and are eligible to be named Finalists.
- The film cannot require dual projection (interlock) or separate soundtracks.
Non-English films must be subtitled in English.

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 through www.FilmFreeway.com.
- A completed official entry on FilmFreeway.com must be digitally signed by the filmmaker.
- Payment of the non-refundable entry fee must accompany the submission.
- Payment can be made by credit card, check or money order payable in US dollars to Heartland Film, Inc. The filmmaker will be responsible for bank fees associated with any check returned to Heartland by the bank as unpaid.
- All items on the materials checklist (below) must be provided by the entry deadline.
- Link to a functional streaming video file (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) in high definition 720p or 1080p. If the link is password-protected, the password is mandatory. Links may be included in the FilmFreeway cover letter or emailed to submissions@heartlandfilm.org.
- Multiple submissions must be provided as individual submissions.

MATERIALS CHECKLIST
All entries must submit the following information to be considered for the Festival:
- Link to a functional streaming video file (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) in high definition 720p or 1080p. If the link is password-protected, a working password is mandatory.
- Completed and digitally signed submission on FilmFreeway.com.
- Entry fee.

NOTIFICATION
Filmmakers (producer or director) for films selected as Finalists in their respective category will be notified by phone around mid-August, 2017. All other filmmakers will be notified by email after that date or before mid-September, 2017. Official Selections and Finalists will be publicly announced on September 14, 2017, at the Heartland Film Announcement Party. Heartland reserves the right to release basic information about selected films as early as August.

FINALISTS/OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
Films are ultimately chosen as either Finalists, which remain in competition for the Grand Prizes, or Official Selections, which screen out of competition for the Grand Prizes (though they may remain eligible for Best Premiere or Indiana Spotlight prizes).
29 filmmakers will be selected as Finalists in the following categories:
- 5 Narrative Features
- 5 Documentary Features
- 5 Narrative Short Films
- 5 Documentary Short Films
- 5 Animated Short Films
- 4 HSFC Films

Films are ultimately chosen as either Finalists, which remain in competition for the Grand Prizes, or Official Selections, which screen out of competition for the Grand Prizes (though they may remain eligible for Best Premiere or Indiana Spotlight prizes, as described below).

All submitted films that meet the below eligibility requirements are considered “in competition” to be selected as a Heartland Film Festival Finalist at the time of submission. In September 2017, Finalists are publicly announced. Only Finalists are eligible for the Grand Prize in each category. Grand Prize winners are announced at the Heartland Film Festival Awards Party on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Filmmakers must be present to win, as described below.

Films that are not honored as Finalists may be invited to screen as “Official Selections” and are eligible for the Audience Choice Awards. Official Selections are no longer “in competition” for the Grand Prizes: only Finalists will be eligible for Grand Prizes.
Feature-length films having their U.S. or World Premiere at Heartland are eligible for Best Premiere Awards. Indiana films meeting eligibility requirements for the Indiana Spotlight competition are eligible for the award in that category.

Other films may be invited to screen at the Festival as a “Special Presentation” or in a “To Be Announced” time slot; these may be eligible for the Audience Choice Award depending on when the films are scheduled.

Films selected as Finalists will be programmed to screen up to eight times during the Festival. Official Selections will screen up to four times.

In past years, Heartland Film generally selected 25-30 Narrative Features, 25-30 Documentary Features, 55-65 short films (narrative, documentary, and animated combined) and 10-15 High School Film Competition submissions. In 2016, 138 films were selected from 2,535 submissions. This distribution of category selections is subject to change and expand.

1 Review

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • false
    Sylvia Borges

    It was a wonderful experience with great movies, kind, caring and open people and a open-minded audience. I hope to come back to the Heartland Film Festival one day.

    November 2016
    2017hffgraphic 01
    Response from festival:

    Thank you, Slyvia, and congrats again on being a Finalist in 2016! We enjoyed having you in Indianapolis and hope to have you back again soon.