The Heartland Film Festival has announced it will award more than $120,000 in cash prizes at this year's event. New this year, Heartland will award $5,000 for an Indiana Spotlight competition. The nonprofit is currently looking for independent film entries from all over the world.

February 3, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Set to award more than $120,000 in cash prizes, the 2015 Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 16-25, 2015) has opened its call for entries period to independent filmmakers from around the world. Prize categories and awards include:

– Best Narrative Feature ($45,000 total award)

– Best Documentary Feature ($45,000 total award)

– Best Narrative Short ($5,000 total award)*

– Best Documentary Short ($5,000 total award)

– Jimmy Stewart Memorial Crystal Heart Award Winners ($2,000 each, $4,000 total award)

– High School Film Competition Grand Prize Winner ($3,000 total award)

– Best Premiere, Narrative Feature ($5,000 total award)

– Best Premiere, Documentary Feature ($5,000 total award)

– Indiana Spotlight Winner ($5,000 total award)

*The Heartland Film Festival is a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within 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.

“Since 1991, Heartland Film has awarded $2.9 million in cash prizes—more than any other film festival in the United States—to independent filmmakers at the annual Heartland Film Festival,” said Heartland Film’s Artistic Director Tim Irwin. “Indiana may have a small footprint on the film industry, but the Heartland Film Festival has had a great impact on the lives of independent filmmakers and moviegoers for over two decades.”

Spotlight on Indiana Filmmakers

New in 2015, the Heartland Film Festival will feature a cash prize for its Indiana Spotlight competition winner, with a total prize of $5,000.

Submissions from the Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short and Documentary Short categories that meet the eligibility requirements and hold their U.S. or World Premiere at the Festival will be in competition for the prize.

Films must meet two of the following three criteria for eligibility (proof is required):

– Director is a current Indiana resident or Indiana native

– Producer/executive producer/screenwriter is a current Indiana resident or Indiana native

– At least 65 percent of the film was shot in Indiana

Films competing for the Indiana Spotlight prize will remain in competition for other prizes, assuming all eligibility requirements are met.

Interested filmmakers can submit independent films at, now through the final May 29 deadline.

About Heartland Film, Inc.

Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Heartland Film is a curator and supporter of purposeful filmmaking, honoring a wide variety of cinema and awarding storytellers from all over the world. The films Heartland Film selects and exhibits – whether they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, or have the ability to shift audiences’ perspectives on the world – all have one thing in common: they are entertaining films that do more than just entertain. Every October, the Heartland Film Festival gives its moviegoers access to more than 100 visiting independent filmmakers from all over the world, right in the heart of the Midwest. Heartland Film Festival showcases more than 130 entertaining movies that do much more than just entertain over 10 days of red carpet premieres and events, parties and hundreds of film screenings across Indianapolis. The Heartland Film Festival has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within the Short Films category. Each year, the Heartland Film Festival awards more than $120,000 in cash prizes and presents its Festival Awards to top-judged submissions. Heartland Film has awarded more than $2.9 million to support indie filmmakers over the last 23 years. Beyond the Heartland Film Festival, Heartland Film honors theatrically-released films that align with its mission via the Truly Moving Picture Award, inspires the next generation of filmmakers via the Heartland Film Institute, and exhibits films across Indiana all year long via the Heartland Film Roadshow. To learn more, visit

Source: Heartland Film

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