Heartland Film Festival Expands Number of Cash Prizes for 2017, Opens Call for Entries after Three Short Films Earn Academy Award® Nominations

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2017 HFF Call for Entries2016 Heartland Film Festival selections Borrowed Time, La Femme et le TGV  and Sing advance as nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards®. The Heartland Film Festival is an Academy Award-qualifying festival in the Short Films category.

Set to award $100,000 in cash prizes, the Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 12-22, 2017) has expanded its number of cash-eligible award categories from 13 in 2016 to 33 for this year’s 26th annual event. Both feature-length and short films across the narrative, documentary and animated categories are invited to submit their titles for consideration during the 2017 call for entries period (February – May, 2017).

The call for entries period opens one week after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards®, including three short films from the 2016 Heartland Film Festival.

“Since 1992, Heartland Film has awarded $3 million in cash prizes — more than any other film festival in North America — to independent filmmakers at the annual Heartland Film Festival,” said Heartland Film’s President Craig Prater. “We hope that the expanded number of cash prizes will inspire our filmmakers to continue making impactful, inspiring stories for years to come.”

Cash Prizes Expand to All Finalists

New for 2017, the Heartland Film Festival will feature a cash prize of $1,000 for each narrative feature and documentary feature finalist who were not chosen for the $25,000 Grand Prize in their respective categories. Likewise, each non-winning finalist in the narrative, documentary and animated short categories will also receive a $500 cash prize. Prize categories and awards include:

  • Grand Prize, Narrative Feature ($25,000 total award)
    • Four Narrative Feature Finalists ($1,000 award per finalist)
  • Grand Prize, Documentary Feature ($25,000 total award)
    • Four Documentary Feature Finalists ($1,000 award per finalist)
  • Grand Prize, Narrative Short ($5,000 total award)*
    • Four Narrative Short Finalists ($500 award per Finalist)
  • Grand Prize, Documentary Short ($5,000 total award)
    • Four Documentary Short Finalists ($500 award per finalist)
  • Grand Prize, Animated Short ($5,000 total award)
    • Four Animated Short Finalists ($500 award per finalist)
  • Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award ($5,000 total award)
  • High School Film Competition Grand Prize Winner ($2,000 total award)
    • Four Category Winners – Narrative, Documentary, Indiana Narrative, Indiana Documentary ($500 prize per winner)
  • Best Premiere, Narrative Feature ($3,500 total award)
  • Best Premiere, Documentary Feature ($3,500 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 Heartland Film Festival’s 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.

Academy AwardⓇ Nominations

Among the record 2,535 films submitted to the 2016 Heartland Film Festival, three of the 138 programmed titles have been nominated for Academy Awards® by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Additionally, five Truly Moving Picture Award-winning films (studio films honored by Heartland Film throughout the year) have been nominated for Academy Awards® across 10 categories.

Borrowed Time, directed by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj
2016 Heartland Film Festival Grand Prize Winner, Animated Short
Nominated for Animated Short Film

La Femme et le TGV, directed by Timo von Gunten
2016 Heartland Film Festival Audience Choice Award Winner, Narrative Short
Nominated for Live Action Short Film

Sing, directed by Kristof Deák
2016 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Narrative Short
Nominated for Live Action Short Film

Lion, directed by Garth Davis
2016 Heartland Film Festival Special Presentation
2016 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner
Nominated for Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role (Dev Patel), Actress in a Supporting Role (Nicole Kidman), Adapted Screenplay (Luke Davies), Cinematography (Greg Fraser), Original Score (Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka)

Hidden Figures, directed by Theodore Melfi
2016 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner
Nominated for Best Picture, Actress in a Supporting Role (Octavia Spencer), Adapted Screenplay (Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi)

Loving, directed by Jeff Nichols
2016 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner
Nominated for Actress in a Leading Role (Ruth Negga)

Moana, directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
2016 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner
Nominated for Animated Feature, Original Song (“How Far I’ll Go” – Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda)

Life, Animated, directed by Roger Ross Williams
2016 Truly Moving Picture Award Winner
Nominated for Documentary Feature

“The Heartland Film team is thrilled that the Academy has nominated a slate of powerful, story-driven films to compete at the 2017 Academy Awards,” said Heartland Film Director of Film Programming & Marketing Greg Sorvig. “Among those nominated are two of the 2016 Heartland Film Festival’s top prize winners: Grand Prize for Animated Short Film winner Borrowed Time and Narrative Short Audience Choice Award winner La Femme et le TGV. We are proud of all the short film nominees that were part of the Heartland Film Festival and major motion picture nominees who were also recipients of our Truly Moving Picture Award. This is truly the icing on our 25th anniversary birthday cake and we wish the best of luck to our nominees.”

Call for Entries: 2017 Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 12-22, 2017)

Interested filmmakers can submit independent films now through the extended early June deadline. For a complete list of rules & regulations, film categories, submission fees, and deadlines, please visit the Heartland Film Festival submissions page.

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