Announcing the Winners of Heartland’s First High School Film Competition  

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures announced the winners of the inaugural Heartland High School Film Competition today, honoring aspiring, young filmmakers from across the country.

Grand Prize winner John Gordon of Dallas, Texas took top honors with his film Clay. Gordon’s short film embodies the 2010 Competition’s theme of HOPE and tells the story of a boy trapped in the rubble after the Jan. 12, 2010 Haitian earthquake. By recalling happy memories, the boy strives to hold onto hope in order to stay alive.

“My short film takes place during the traumatic event of the Haitian earthquake, and was made to instill a quiet sense of hope in the audience,” said the now 18-year-old Gordon, who was a senior in high school when he made the film. “When I received the call to inform me that I had won, my heart was beating at the speed of light…and I was glad that my work had been recognized.”

As the Grand Prize winner, Gordon will be awarded $2,500, paid travel and accommodations for him and one parent/guardian to attend the 2010 Heartland Film Festival, along with two FEST Passes to the 2010 Heartland Film Festival where Clay will be screened as part of the Heartland High School Film Competition shorts program. He will also be honored onstage during the 2010 Heartland Film Festival Awards Gala.

Gordon, who is now enrolled in the Film program at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., plans to save the money he won to make another short film during college or immediately following.

“We believe that the best way to encourage young filmmakers is to provide them with opportunities and resources,” said Jeffrey L. Sparks, president and CEO of Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. “That’s exactly what the Heartland High School Film Competition does: it provides the opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work that displays integrity and heart, and it rewards them with the financial resources necessary for them to continue pursuing their dreams.”

Other winners include the four finalists: Regina Nicholson of Long Beach, Calif. (Glimpse of Horizon), Sarah Johnson of Matthews, N.C. (I am Afraid), Melody C. Miller of Canyon, Calif. (A Hat, Some Change and a Shoe) and Evan Trout of Fishers, Ind. (Lady and the Champ).

Johnson, Miller, Nicholson and Trout will each be awarded $500 and two FEST Passes to the 2010 Heartland Film Festival where their films will be screened as part of the Heartland High School Film Competition shorts program. They will also receive recognition during the 2010 Heartland Film Festival Awards Gala.

During Heartland’s inaugural High School Film Competition, aspiring high school filmmakers were given four months to concept, shoot and edit their own 10-minute film that embodied the 2010 theme: HOPE. The competition was open to all currently enrolled high school students who had not graduated prior to the spring of 2010. Film submissions were judged on criteria similar to that of the Heartland Film Festival, including artistic excellence, technical merit and representation of Heartland’s organizational values such as: hope, integrity, tolerance and courage.

Winners’ films will be screened as part of the Heartland High School Film Competition shorts program during the 2010 Heartland Film Festival, Oct. 14-23 in Indianapolis, Ind. The complete schedule of films and special events will be announced Sept. 23. Tickets go on sale Sept. 24. For additional information, visit HeartlandFilmFestival.org.

The 2011 Heartland High School Film Competition theme is COURAGE. The call for entries will open Jan. 15, 2011.