Artistic Process, Integrity & Quality

Artistic process, integrity and quality are top priorities at Heartland Film.

Recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
The Heartland Film Festival has earned the special designation of being 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.
We Actually Watch Your Movies
When a film is submitted to the Heartland Film Festival, we guarantee that it will be seen–in its entirety–by at least three separate individuals (jury members, staff and/or interns).  Each film is scored and is given feedback based on standard judging criteria, and that feedback is available to filmmakers upon request.
Three-Tier Selection Process
Heartland Film Festival Film Selection ProcessInitially, films are viewed by one of three (Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature and Short Film categories) screening committees, which consist of 15-20 volunteers apiece. Committee members, each having taken a critical examination, are hand-selected by Heartland Film staff. A combination of scoring and discussion among these committee members and our artistic director/programming staff  ultimately decide the lineup of the Heartland Film Festival.

From this pool of selections, 10-15 of each category's highest-scoring films are sent on the the Festival Award jury. Consisting of film professionals, academics and critics, this jury will select the five best films within each category. These five best films, or Festival Award Winners, are all in contention for the Grand Prize within their respective category.

The third, and final, jury tier is the Grand Prize jury. Comprised of diverse and tenured Heartland Film screening committee members, this jury is tasked with selecting the top film within each prize category.

Full Exhibition Control & Quality
With primary screening locations at AMC Theatres, our Festival screenings give indie films and filmmakers the blockbuster treatment. We exhibit off the most reliable and high-quality formats, hire our own projection staff, and tie in directly to AMC's state-of-the-art systems. 

Every Festival we hear that the films we showcase have never looked better on the big screen – it's this level of control and quality that ensures that the work of our filmmakers looks and sounds exactly as it was intended.