Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Blog

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2014 Heartland Film Festival Submission Period Now Open

Academy Award®-qualifying festival seeks independent film submissions from all over the world, will award more than $115,000 in cash prizes at 10-day event in October

Independent filmmakers can now submit films for consideration to the 23rd Annual Heartland Film Festival. The 10-day Festival, which will be held in Indianapolis from October 16-25, 2014, serves to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Filmmakers participating in the Festival attend numerous screenings of their films and other special events designed to allow interaction between filmmakers and audiences.

The Heartland Film Festival is a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® in 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. Recent Heartland Oscar® winners and nominees include “Inocente” (2013, winner), “Head Over Heels” (2013, nominee) and “Buzkashi Boys” (2013, nominee).

“From attendance to submissions, the Heartland Film Festival broke records across virtually every category in 2013,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “We expect another strong year in 2014, and are fully committed to the artistic process; filmmakers can rest assured that their films will be watched at least three times in full by our jury members.”

Filmmakers are invited to submit independently-produced feature length and short films in Narrative and Documentary categories. Student filmmakers are encouraged to apply for consideration within the standard field of competition. High school filmmakers are encouraged to enter their films in the Heartland High School Film Competition, now entering its fifth year.

Submissions will be evaluated for their achievement of excellence in filmmaking and alignment with Heartland’s mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Submissions are accepted through

Volunteer screening committees will help narrow down the initial field of competitors. Juries comprised of individuals from the scholarly film community and previous Heartland Film Festival filmmakers will review the submissions and select five narrative features, five documentary features, five narrative short films and five documentary short films including student films, as winners. Outstanding films will be recognized with Heartland Film Festival Awards and more than $115,000 in cash prizes, including a Grand Prize for Best Narrative Feature, Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature, Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short Film and Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short Film. A Grand Prize winner will be announced in the High School Film Competition, along with four Finalists.

Completed U.S. and international feature length and short films may be submitted by April 4 for early consideration and a reduced submission fee. The regular deadline to submit films for the 2014 Heartland Film Festival is May 16.

A record 1,521 independent films were submitted in 2013. Visit for eligibility requirements, a full list of categories, submission rules and more information on Heartland Film Festival’s 2014 Call for Entries.

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Download Your 2014 Academy Awards® Ballot – Nine Nominations for TMPA Winners!

Make your picks: Download the 2014 Academy Awards® Ballot PDF

Heartland is pleased to announce that four 2013 Truly Moving Picture Award winners have been nominated for Academy Awards® across nine categories:

  • Actor in a Leading Role – Bruce Dern, “Nebraska
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – June Squibb, “Nebraska
  • Animated Feature Film – “Frozen
  • Cinematography – Phedon Papamichael, “Nebraska
  • Directing – Alexander Payne, “Nebraska
  • Music, Original Score – John Williams, “The Book Thief” (Truly Moving Picture Award winner and Heartland Film Festival Closing Night Film)
  • Music, Original Score – Thomas Newman, “Saving Mr. Banks
  • Music, Original Song – “Let It Go” from “Frozen
  • Writing, Original Screenplay – Bob Nelson, “Nebraska

Winners will be announced March 2, at the 2014 Academy Awards® (7 p.m EST).

The Heartland Film Festival is an Academy Awards-qualifying festival within the Short Films category. Recipients of the festival’s 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.

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Heartland Announces Top 10 Truly Moving Picture Award Winners of 2013

Truly Moving Picture AwardEach year nonprofit arts organization Heartland Truly Moving Pictures honors select theatrically-released films with its Truly Moving Picture Award, a seal that signifies a film’s transformative power and appeal.

“The Truly Moving Picture Award jury takes into consideration how every film could impact and engage its target audience,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “This year’s top 10 list includes a dynamic range of films, and clearly shows that inspiring film isn’t limited to any single genre. Heartland would like to congratulate all the winners and their respective studios.”

The top 10 Truly Moving Picture Award winners of 2013 include:

  1. Saving Mr. Banks” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  2. 42” – Warner Bros.
  3. Short Term 12” – Cinedigm
  4. The Book Thief” – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  5. Frozen” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  6. The Kings of Summer” – CBS Films
  7. Nebraska” – Paramount Vantage
  8. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
  9. Gimme Shelter” – Roadside Attractions
  10. Monsters University” – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Submissions for the Truly Moving Picture Award are received directly from studios and producers for consideration. View the complete list of winners at

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2014 Heartland Film Festival Programming Internships: Now Accepting Applications

Heartland has several Film Programming internships available for 2014, starting in February 2014 and continuing through summer. Film Programming Interns will manage the intake and cataloging of film submissions for the Heartland Film Festival, and will view approximately 150 short and/or feature length films online and on DVD. They will assist with the screening committees responsible for reviewing each of the submissions. Interns will be asked to assist in administrative/research assignments at the Heartland offices, and will be responsible for various office-related tasks. A $250 stipend per semester will be offered.

The following duties will be assigned to this position:

  • Catalog films for the Heartland Film Festival selection process
  • Research independent films appropriate for entry to the Festival or for special screenings
  • View film submissions, provide written reviews and discuss films with Heartland’s programming staff
  • Evaluate films based upon technical and artistic merit and reflection of Heartland’s mission
  • Assist in updating and maintaining databases of films and filmmakers
  • Create film synopses and other film-related content for Festival
  • Track reviews and reviewers for the Festival
  • Attend Truly Moving Picture Award film screenings (optional)
  • Other tasks as assigned by Artistic Director

Qualified candidate must possess the following skills/accomplishments:

  • Accurate and concise communication skills – both written and verbal
  • Ability to work cooperatively in a team environment
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Thorough researching skills
  • Attention to detail is essential
  • Pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication; Radio, Television & Film; Journalism or equivalent; must be in third year of schooling or higher (recent graduates still eligible)
  • Familiarity with Microsoft Office and Google Drive
  • Familiarity with film and the independent filmmaking industry
  • Nonprofit experience (helpful but not required)
  • Familiarity with video compression software (preferred but not required)
  • Standing and sitting for extended periods of time may be required
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must be able to lift 25 lbs.

Please send resume and cover letter via email or mail to:

  • JJones [at], or
  • Jackie Jones
    c/o Heartland
    1043 Virginia Ave, Suite 2
    Indianapolis, IN 46203
    (317) 464-9405
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Heartland’s Board of Directors Names Stuart Lowry President

President Stuart Lowry

President Stuart Lowry

Indianapolis-based nonprofit organizer of the Heartland Film Festival promotes chief operating officer

No stranger to Indianapolis and the arts, Stuart Lowry has been named Heartland’s president by the organization’s board of directors. A published children’s book author and actor, Lowry has previously held leadership positions with White River State Park, the City of Indianapolis Parks Department and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

“On behalf of the board of directors, we are grateful for Stuart’s significant and timely contribution to the Festival in this transition year,” said Dan Johnson, Heartland’s chairman of the board. “He has a proven himself a true friend to Heartland, its purposes and the future.”

Acting as the organization’s chief operating officer since October 2012, Lowry has worked closely with former president and CEO Jeffrey Sparks in preparation for the role. Sparks transitioned to founder and president emeritus in August after 22 years with the organization.

“Heartland is in good hands,” said Sparks. “The 2013 Heartland Film Festival broke many records, and I see its success as a testament to a smooth transition. Stuart has been with Heartland for two Festivals now, and I’m confident in his ability to embody Heartland’s spirit, mission and legacy.”

“Working with Jeff and Dan has been a great experience,” said Lowry. “Coming in as president, I’m fortunate to be working with a spectacular staff and board of directors. For two years now I’ve seen what this team can do, and I can’t stress enough how powerful and exciting Heartland is and will be for years to come.”

Planning has already begun for the 2014 Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 16-25, 2014), with the Call for Entries period beginning in February.

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Heartland Film Festival Titles Available Now

We’re pleased when any of the independent films showcased at the Heartland Film Festival get distribution, but today we’re elated. All six of these films are available to rent and own via VOD:

Enjoy the films. Make sure to come back and tell us what you think!

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“Saving Mr. Banks” Honored with Heartland’s Truly Moving Picture Award

Saving Mr. BanksTwo-time Academy Award®–winner Emma Thompson and fellow double Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks topline Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” inspired by the extraordinary, untold backstory of how Disney’s classic “Mary Poppins” made it to the screen.

“Our jury unanimously voted ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ a Truly Moving Picture Award winner,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “Jurors noted exceptional performances across the board, highlighted by Emma Thompson’s portrayal of P.L. Travers. Messages in the film were powerful, yet nuanced, and the story flowed well with the use of Travers’ flashbacks as a young child.”

When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. Read more »

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“Nebraska” Wins the Truly Moving Picture Award

NebraskaAfter receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.

“Our Truly Moving Picture Award jury found ‘Nebraska’ to be authentic and honest,” said Tim Irwin, Heartland’s artistic director. “Bruce Dern’s performance as Woody made a strong connection with our jurors, who could all relate to the character’s struggles and relationship with his family. The quality of the film’s writing and cinematography were also praised, as they lent credibility and truthfulness to the overall experience.”

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Three Heartland Film Festival Titles Make Oscar® Shortlists

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has released its shortlists across various categories for February’s 86th Annual Academy Awards®.

Three films from the Heartland Film Festival have been shortlisted:

Oscar® nominees will be announced on Thursday, January 16. Best of luck to all three films!

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Support Heartland on Giving Tuesday!

Dear Friend of Heartland,

We don’t ask often, but we need your support more than ever before. This year’s Heartland Film Festival broke submission and screening attendance numbers, but we’re not certain how much longer we can sustain our efforts without your generosity.

As we plan to build on this year’s successes in 2014, and plan for our silver anniversary in 2016, we need to know if we can count on your support. Your donation makes it possible to honor and celebrate the best of independent films and filmmakers right here in Indianapolis.

Thank you for believing in us – please consider giving your strongest year-end gift to Heartland today.

Can’t make a large donation? Even a gift of $11 – the price of a Festival screening ticket – will make a big impact!


Stuart Lowry
Heartland COO

Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofits arts organization. Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
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