So this is my second year as the programming coordinator for the Heartland Film Festival. What does that mean? Well right now it means that I watch a heck of a lot of movies. Last year I watched approximately 250 films out of 605 that were submitted to the festival. I’m pretty sure I’m on my way to, at least, that number again this year. I am a bit smarter about it all though and the process seems to be a bit smoother than last year. We program approximately 70 to 80 films at the Heartland Film Festival every year and, after the festival was finished, in a moment of brilliance or delirium (the jury is still out) I thought that maybe I should set a goal of having 800 films submitted for 2010. That way, we are programming about 10% of the submissions that are coming in and hopefully more filmmakers would be aware of our existence. Plus I thought that having more submissions would make our final selections more prestigious! So I set the goal: 800 for 2010! Of course, that was November of 2009 when I was still in fest recovery mode!
Fast forward to 2010. Sundance is always the opening of the festival season for us as we begin scouring the web to see what films are making their way through the festival circuit. I was very fortunate to have the able assistance of Tim Irwin who absorbs more movie knowledge faster than anyone I know. We set out to get the best films possible submitted to the festival and guess what? We did it! Not only did we have 800 submissions accounted for just 11 hours before our call for entries closed in June, but we are seeing a higher quality of films coming through our review committees.
Total film submission for 2010: 832!!
Now I have even more movies to watch! Oh well…it will just make for an amazing festival this October. Don’t miss out this year!
- Ray Mills, Festival Programming Coordinator