The Heartland International Film Festival is in full swing in Indianapolis, and the artistic director for Heartland Film says Hoosier hospitality and word of mouth make the event an annual success. This year’s festival features more than 100 independent films, including 10 world premieres, culminating with a closing night screening of The Whale, starring Indianapolis native Brendan Fraser. “People say if a film plays well here, it’ll play well anywhere, and that’s very true,” said Greg Sorvig.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Sorvig said Indianapolis is a great place to have a film festival.
“We have very smart film fans, moviegoers here. We’ve had some that have been with us for decades. We have some that are coming for the first time, which is fantastic,” said Sorvig. “But, it’s word of mouth. We’re Oscar affiliated. We have more film distributors, more filmmakers from all over the world coming in, and everyone just has a good time. It feels like it’s authentic.”
The festival has awarded $3.5 million to filmmakers since 1992, the largest total amount awarded by any film festival in North America.
Sorvig says in addition to visibility, Heartland helps contribute to the city’s and state’s quality of place efforts.
“We hear from filmmakers and attendees from the industry every year. They’ve never been to Indy. I think people have an idea of what Indianapolis is, Indiana is, and they come here, and they are just blown away. They want to do business here. They want to come back to the festival. They want to meet more people. So, that is really, really rewarding to redefine Indiana in a very positive way, attract long-term relationships and economic development, in our case, through film.”
The incentives include up to 20% for qualified production expenses, including acquisitions, filming and sound, labor and story rights; up to 5% for having at least 20% of the overall workforce based in Indiana during pre- and post-production; and up to 5% for adding an IEDC-approved Indiana brand to the production’s credits.
Film, television, music or digital media projects could be eligible for the incentives.
Sorvig says he hopes the incentives will have an impact not only on productions in the state, but the film festival as well.
“A film festival in a state with tax incentives, you can kind of bring that springboard, the debut event, if you will, to premiere these types of projects,” he said. “We’ll be partnering with IEDC in the initiative, so they can meet filmmakers from around the world in Indiana here during the festival. So, we want to be that great partner to the IEDC in this incentive and see it grow as well.”
The Heartland International Film Festival runs through Sunday. You can learn more about the event by clicking here.