Posts tagged with Heartland Institute

Acting for Animators with Ed Hooks

We at Heartland are thrilled to be able to bring Ed Hooks to Indianapolis for a day long workshop, Acting for Animation, A Master Class. Hooks, a theatre professional for three decades, pioneered acting training specifically for animators instead of stage actors. He authored, Acting for Animators and Acting in Animation: A Look at 12 Films, which are standard texts at animation schools all over the world.

Acting for Animation with Ed Hooks
A Master Class
Saturday, November 5

10 am – 5 pm
IUPUI School of Informatics
IT 152
Price $79 for industry, $59 for students

Acting for Animators is designed specifically for animators, not stage actors. The difference is that stage actors practice their art “in the present moment.” Therefore, actors require training that includes sensory exercises, emotional recall, relaxation and so on. Animators do not need any of that because they work with the ILLUSION of a present moment, i.e. 24-frames-make-a-second. Actors and animators use the same basic acting theory, but it is perceived and applied in different ways.

Ed will focus on the essential principles for strong performance animation.  He will also examine and deconstruct clips from animated and live action films, discussing how acting principles are applied in the real world – and what happens when the principles are not applied.

We wouldn’t be able to present this great opportunity without the tremendous support of sponsors and partners who help offset the cost of offering this unique opportunity to Indianapolis.


Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Inc.Finish LineStarbucks Coffee CompanyIUPUI Campus Center


Summer 2011 F.I.L.M. Curricula Ready for FREE Download!

One of the great joys for me of working at Heartland is creating curricula for our Finding Inspiration in Literature & Movies (F.I.L.M.) program. I get to dig in to a movie and look at themes from every angle. I also get to tap into my inner kid and come up with fun, engaging activities for youth of every age.

With three brand new curricula released this summer, it’s no surprise that lately I’ve been having a ton of fun at work. I hope that you’ll download some of our curricula, new or old, and see what kind of fun you can have as well.

Here’s our latest lineup of summer curriculum, suitable for a range of ages.

Nanny McPhee Returns
Ages 6 – 12

In Nanny McPhee Returns, Mrs. Isabel Green lives in a scenic valley with her children. They each understand the importance of working together as a family, and things are going remarkably smoothly for the rural quartet until a pair of spoiled cousins arrive for an extended stay, effectively turning the quaint little farm into a virtual zoo. As the situation quickly getting out of hand, Nanny McPhee suddenly appears on her doorstep claiming that she can bring a much-needed sense of order to the out-of-control household.

Objectives for youth include:

• Celebrate the magic and impact of reading.
• Explore relationships, especially those within families.
• Make efforts to better the lives of family members and strangers.

Download Nanny McPhee Returns F.I.L.M. Curriculum (pdf)

Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Ages 8 and older

Mr. Popper is a driven businessman who is clueless when it comes to the important things in life. Mr. Popper finally understands what he’s been missing, thanks to a new inheritance: six penguins who turn his swanky New York apartment into a snowy winter wonderland and the rest of his life upside-down.

Objectives for youth include:

• Celebrate the journeys you can take while reading.
• Explore animals and the environments in which they live.
• Examine ways to preserve memories.
• Take action towards bettering the lives of people and animals.

Download Mr. Popper’s Penguins F.I.L.M. Curriculum

The Help
Ages 13 and older

In Mississippi during the 1960s, Skeeter is a southern society girl who returns from college determined to become a writer, but turns her friends’ lives — and a Mississippi town — upside down when she decides to interview the black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent southern families.

Objectives for youth include:

• Explore the importance of friendships.
• Learn more about the Civil Rights movement in the south during the ‘60s.
• Discover the ability a group of people has to transform community.
• Take action in your community.

Download The Help F.I.L.M. Curriculum (pdf)

If you’ve used the F.I.L.M. curricula in your organization, classroom or with your family, be sure to share your stories with us. Better understanding how movies can help both youth and adults learn more about the world and the people around them is what keeps this program going and helps us add even more meaning to the movies!

California Teen Takes High School Film Competition Top Prize!

I am so very proud to announce the winners and official selection filmmakers of the 2011 Heartland High School Film Competition. These fine filmmakers represent the 2011 theme Courage through many different lenses. With winners and official selection filmmakers representing five different states and ten different cities, we see that young filmmakers with amazing talent are everywhere. Their resources differ, but their desire to tell meaningful stories is the same.

Official Selection Honorees:

Always Sprinkle Pepper directed by Evan Trout of Fishers, Indiana
Focus directed by Dylan Sullivan of Aurora, Colorado
Independence in Sight directed by Lauren Lindberg of Danville, California
One Small Step directed by Nicholas Heighway of Indianapolis, Indiana
Shades of Gray directed by Laura Baker and Samantha DeMaria of Carmel, Indiana
The Gift directed by Ryan Bowman of Whitestown, Indiana


(__) directed by Chad Werner of Fort Worth, Texas
Soap directed by Jon Sheets of Valparaiso, Indiana
You Walk I Glide directed by Joel Rosales of Fontana, California
The 36 directed by Nic Weinfeld of Silver Spring, Maryland

Grand Prize Winner:

Sacrifices of My Father directed by Miguel Lopez of Fontana, California

Miguel Lopez graduated from A.B. Miller High School in Fontana, Calif. this spring and says of winning this award:

“I’ve never been outside of California so this opportunity to travel by plane to Indiana is really special for me. I never knew what I wanted to do with my life until I met Mr. Lee my Freshman year of high school. He taught me about the power of film and it’s influence within our society. I believe, without a doubt, that I will pursue … the power of film to celebrate the average man. Everybody has a story. Whether it be of struggle, talent, joy, it’s important that these stories be heard. The power of film allows us to connect with society and touch many hearts.

As soon as I got the phone call stating that I won the Grand Prize for the Heartland High School Film Competition my heart started racing and the first thing that came to mind was ‘Is this a dream? This isn’t happening…’ I was overwhelmed by the idea that my father’s film was acknowledged by such a renowned organization.”

Miguel’s enthusiasm for Heartland, for filmmaking and for powerful stories is exciting to say the least. We are honored to have Miguel and his teacher Mr. Lee as our guests at the Heartland Film Festival this October and to have Sacrifices of My Father play as part of the High School Film Competition Collection. Miguel’s film defines the courage that a father has to support his family and the courage a son has to embrace his father’s story and make sure that it is heard.

Stay tuned for more details about the rest of the winners and official selection filmmakers as we highlight each one leading up to their films playing in the Heartland High School Film Competition Collection during the Heartland Film Festival.

Official Press Release: Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Announces Winners in Second Annual High School Film Competition (pdf)

2010 Heartland Institute Workshop and the Art of Collaboration

Claire Norton, Director of Heartland Institute

As we wrapped up the 2009 Heartland Film Festival we realized the common sentiment among nearly each filmmaker discussing his or her films’ success was the importance of collaborating with others during the filmmaking process.  With that in mind, in 2010 we embarked on developing a Heartland Institute Workshop that embraced the theme of collaboration on multiple levels.  We wanted aspiring filmmakers to not only walk away from our workshop with insights into honing specific aspects of their craft, but also wanted them to walk away with an appreciation for and inspiration about what they can do with a team of fellow filmmakers.

The 2010 Heartland Institute Workshop is just around the corner (mark your calendar for October 18!) and we’re excited to have been able to achieve just what we set out to do.  Past Institute presenter Elliot Kotek will be kicking the morning off with his discussion on using social media to make and promote films.  Past festival award winners Gustavo Ron and Frank Kelly will chat with Elliot as well as the three of them explore the value of collaboration on their most recent project, experimental documentary and 2010 Official Selection, 140.

Two more presenters will follow Kotek, building on the theme of the day.  Official Selection filmmaker Chip Hackler will present on the collaborative process of making his short film Two Hours in the Dark, which tells a fascinating story about Frank Capra.  Then Award-winning filmmaker of The Road Home, Rahul Gandotra and co-author of Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds, Ruth E. Van Reken will discuss how the making of The Road Home has lead them to focus on collaborating in the future.

And guess what. It doesn’t stop there.  During lunch a panel made up of 2010 Award-winning and Official Selection filmmakers will answer audience questions on topics ranging from writing, directing, producing and much more.  Panelists Elliot Kotek, Gustavo Ron, Andie Redwine, Storme Wood and Sultan Sharrief are sure to cap off a full day of inspiration and insight by sharing their filmmaking experiences in way that’s certain to keep filmmakers motivated and working away at their next film.

Can’t wait to see you there!

F.I.L.M. Project in Action

Erin Brown, Educator

This past spring I decided to try and use the F.I.L.M. guide for The Express for a seventh grade AVID class where I was a student teacher.  For those who haven’t been exposed to the program, AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination.  I thought that the values that were laid out in the guide for the film and the accompanying article from Saturday Evening Post were perfect for the students in this class.  Some of these values included strength of character, individual determination, positive thinking, and discipline.  These are all values that we pushed hard in the AVID class.  It was refreshing for the students to actually see a film that promoted what we preached, and made it seem “cool”.  They became very interested in Ernie Davis and each day would come to class wanting to see what happened next!  It was inspiring to me watch the impact of positive film has on youth.  Thanks to Heartland Truly Moving Pictures for creating the  free curriculum! I hope that I am able to utilize other F.I.L.M. guides as I had a very positive experience with this one.

Please consider your support of the F.I.L.M. Project by making a contribution of $25 towards the $9,000 goal to create 3 new F.I.L.M. Guides so that other educators like me can continue to utilize this amazing resource.

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Announcing High School Film Competition Official Selections!

Claire Norton, Director of Heartland Institute

It’s official.

We have an amazing High School Film Competition Program set for the 2010 Heartland Film Festival. We knew it was going to be great as we started receiving submissions, but now that the program is all in place we can’t help but sit back and smile.

As the 19th annual Heartland Film Festival grows near, we can’t wait to meet those student filmmakers who are making the trek to Indianapolis to be a part of the High School Film Competition Program. Grand Prize winner John Gordon, Dallas, TX, who will be in attendance as a guest of Heartland for his film, Clay says of his selection in our competition:

When I received the call to inform me that I had won, my heart was beating at the speed of light, I felt extremely ecstatic, and I was glad that my work had been recognized. …I was truly humbled by the experience and I give extreme thanks to the festival …. I plan on saving the money for a future professional short film I hope to make either during college or immediately after.

In addition to John, other finalists in the High School Film Competition will be receiving prizes and recognition: Sarah Johnson, Matthews, NC (I am Afraid); Melody Miller, Canyon, CA, (A Hat, Some Change, and a Shoe) Regina Nicholson, Long Beach, CA (Glimpse of Horizon); Evan Trout, Fishers, IN (Lady and the Champ).

But it doesn’t stop there. We have even more high school filmmakers to highlight.

It wouldn’t be a well-rounded program without highlighting our official selections. With the amazing talent we encountered in this first year of judging it was hard to make our selections. We couldn’t simply highlight the five winners – we expanded the program by adding six Official Selections.

Luke Broyles, Westfield, IN (Michael); Sam Evenson, Greentown, IN (The Picture Box); Nicholas Heighway, Indianapolis, IN (Out of the Box); Olivia Huntley, Indianapolis, IN (Pour le Facteur [For the Mailman]); Richard Mattox, Tallahassee, FL (Chicken Little); Cheffy Thomas, Carmel, IN (Death Becomes Him);

When can I see this amazing collection of films that embody what HOPE means to the next generation of filmmakers, you ask?

HSFC Program Screenings at Heartland FF
Date Screening Theater
15-Oct 5:45pm Castleton AMC 14
17-Oct 5:15pm Showplace AMC 17
20-Oct 6:00pm Castleton AMC 14
21-Oct 7:30pm Showplace AMC 17

Come on out and join the fun as we celebrate these emerging talents alongside all the other amazing folks who are going to be out in full force at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival. They deserve your support. They are the face of filmmaking to come. We’ll see you at the festival!

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

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

Young Filmmakers Give Us Hope

Claire Norton, Director of the Heartland Institute

Claire Norton, Director of the Heartland Institute

While the winners of the first ever Heartland High School Film Competition have not yet been announced, the process has been a remarkable one and we’d be remiss not to share.

As the 2010 HHSFC Call for Entries came to a close, I sat at my desk and eagerly watched the number of student film submissions increase. As the films piled up, I got more and more excited to dig in and watch each second of every student film. After watching them all wide-eyed, I’m happy to say that the results of this competition are going to blow you away.

In the inaugural year of the HHSFC, we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout. Aspiring student filmmakers from 10 states and Canada answered our call to create films that embodied the theme of “Hope” and embraced the Heartland mission.

As our jury works its way through evaluating the films, not only are we enjoying learning what “Hope” means to a diverse set of young filmmakers, but we are realizing the tremendous talent that is ever-present among these youth. Their stories are bold, their ideas impressive and their desire and ability to create a well-told tale are admirable.

Through this competition we at Heartland are being reaffirmed in our belief that the future of filmmaking is bright and “Hope” is a lot more than just a theme. Hope is a sentiment shared by today’s youth, no matter what their situation. Whether it’s hope for their communities, hope for those people they have never met, or hope and belief that their future is going to be bright, the importance of “Hope” isn’t lost on a single young person.

Make sure you take time to come see what “Hope” means to the next generation at the 2010 Heartland Film Festival where the award-winning films will be screened and stay tuned for the winners to be announced in August.

-Claire Norton, Director of the Heartland Institute

Richard Robichaux Engages Aspiring Actors at the Heartland Film Institute Seminar

Heartland recently hosted its latest Heartland Film Institute with special guest Richard Robichaux, an actor and teacher who’s worked with Al Pacino, Susan Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Michael J. Fox, Marcia Gay Harden among others.

As a staff member, normally I would be engaged in typical event management duties, but this particular Film Institute brought about an exciting opportunity. Ahead of the event, Richard sent a brief two page script for 10 attendees to memorize in preparation for his direction at the seminar and I was lucky enough to be one of the 10.

Richard paired the actors together as we arrived and had us discuss the scene specifics (who, what, where) with our partners. My partner James and I sat and worked out the relationship between our characters. The script provided only speaking lines, leaving the actors with a lot of room for creativity.

When the seminar began, Richard introduced himself and his plan for the day. There were three cameras set up around the room for the live web stream. One of the cameras was directed towards a set that Richard would use to direct the 10 participants.

As Richard finished his introduction, he invited James and I to take the stage. As we settled into our places, Richard reminds the audience to focus at the screen above the set projecting what the scene would look like on film. With a deep breath and “Action!”, James and I read our scene. The silence in the room followed by Richard’s comment “First of all, I like you both…” had me nervous that we were both about to be ripped apart. Instead Richard took us on a journey like no other acting class I’ve been part of. His warm personality encouraged a learning environment that made you feel okay that you’re not perfect and that you will make mistakes. That’s why we’re in class.

As the different pairs took the stage, we went through different types of scenes including the two-shot and close up.  Having the camera projecting on the screen in real time was an invaluable tool. Richard explained to us that losing eye contact in the middle of a close up weakens the scene. Actually seeing it on screen was an excellent visual.

One of my favorite parts was when he invited the front row to stand around the actors as they did the scene to mimic the atmosphere on set with various crew members around. Given my personality that’s something that would be extremely distracting. Later in the seminar an audience member asked for advice on how to handle such a situation. Richard’s response was a quote from Actor Frank Langella: “Be profoundly prepared.”  Having only theatre experience, I’m used to growing and exploring a character throughout the rehearsal process. With time costing money in the film world, an actor has no other option but to be profoundly prepared. Those are words I will carry with me.

Richard ended the seminar with encouragement that all of us are capable of succeeding, but it will take a lot of work. It’s refreshing to hear this encouragement in such a competitive industry.

It’s easy for me as a member of Heartland’s staff to encourage anyone who is interested in the film industry to attend our Film Institute seminars. However as an aspiring actress myself, this truly was one of the best lessons I’ve received and after speaking to many others in attendance that day, I know I can speak for many of us.

Special thanks to the Butler, Huntington and Purdue students for sharing your talents! It was an honor to share this experience with you.

-Allison Ackmann, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures Staff Member

If you missed the seminar, it will soon be archived on our site. Check back here!

Free Seminar with Director & Writer of Captain Abu Raed!

Amin Matalqa, Director & Writer of Captain Abu Raed

Join us on Thursday, February 11 at the IUPUI Campus Center for a FREE seminar with Amin Matalqa, Director and Writer of 2008 Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize winning film, Captain Abu Raed.

CINEMA MAGIC: The Art of the Scene begins at 9am with a continental breakfast followed by the free seminar and an optional networking lunch later in the day for $10. During the seminar, Matalqa will break down the filmmaking process to the essential elements that make for effective storytelling by utilizing scenes from Captain Abu Raed. Through these scenes, he will explore the marriage between writing, directing, performance, cinematography, production design, editing, sound-mixing and music. Matalqa will discuss what makes a scene work and how you can create an opportunity for cinema magic. He will also talk about making the transition from writing and directing short films to feature films.

If you’re an inspiring filmmaker, avid moviegoer or just a big fan of Captain Abu Raed, you won’t want to miss this one.

Registration is required, so do so now! If you haven’t seen Captain Abu Raed, learn more about the film, on DVD February 23.

The Heartland Film Institute presents Animated Filmmaking: Emotions in Motion

Join award-winning animator and director John Ludwick on September 10 as he leads us through key animation principles that underpin all successful animation projects. Ludwig will discuss this intriguing and versatile art form and its integration with film.

Through a partnership with the Academy of Educational Development (AED), this Indianapolis seminar will be broadcast to a live audience in Washington, DC. Attendees at both locations will be able to interact with the presenter, participate in activities, and learn how to move an audience with visual storytelling. Learn more and register to attend either the Indianapolis or Washington location!

Heartland Film Institute Announces 2009 Programming

As the demand grows in central Indiana for valuable filmmaking insights, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures has responded with a year-round program of exclusive seminars that are geared toward filmmakers at every level, from student to professional.

This year, Heartland announces more exciting opportunities to hear from the experts where the industry is headed and how to become a part of it.  Heartland Film Institute dates for 2009 are

April 30 – The Business of Filmmaking, featuring producer Johan Bas

September 10 - Animation, featuring John Ludwick from IU’s New Media department

October 19 – as part of the 2009 Heartland Film Festival, this daylong institute will bring aspiring filmmakers into contact with not only the up-and-coming filmmakers featured at the Festival, but established industry professionals who want to share their experiences.

Heartland Institute events are held at the IUPUI Campus Center.  Please check back often or contact Heartland Truly Moving Pictures ( for further details.  Groups welcome.

Heartland Film Institute – The Art of Post Production

The Heartland Film Institute makes industry experts from both Indianapolis and Hollywood more accessible to students than ever before.  The next program, The Art of Post Production, is scheduled for Thursday, September 4 in downtown Indy.  Local experts Eric Maloney and Brice Bowman will cover the ins and outs of finessing footage in order to make the most professional piece possible.

This event is a free program, and students at all levels of filmmaking will find the morning valuable.  To add to the experience, stick around for Lunch with the Experts, just $10 immediately following the seminar.  Get all the details on the event, or jump right in and register today and secure your spot at the event!