Saturday night, at a special screening of “It’s a Wonderful Life” at The Athenaeum, Kelly Stewart accepted the Pioneering Spirit Award — Heartland Film’s lifetime achievement honor — on behalf of The Stewart Family and her late father, beloved actor Jimmy Stewart. Ms. Stewart was then joined by Heartland Film President Stuart Lowry to announce the all-new Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award, set to debut at the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 21-30, 2016).
The annual Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award will include a $5,000 cash prize for a single winner, selected from the Festival’s feature-length narrative and documentary titles. The winning film will best embody the ongoing legacy of actor and national hero Jimmy Stewart and will demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit through determination and the defiance of odds, humble vulnerability, and courage in the face of adversity.
“There’s no better way to kick off the Heartland Film Festival’s silver anniversary than the announcement of this award in honor of silver screen legend Jimmy Stewart,” said Heartland Film President Stuart Lowry. “Stewart inspired millions of people, on and off the screen, and we know the films chosen for this award will do the same. We sincerely appreciate the support of The Stewart Family and Lilly Endowment, Inc. for making this new award possible.”
“Our family is deeply honored by the creation of the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award and we thank Heartland Film and Lilly Endowment Inc. for making it possible,” said The Stewart Family. “We have no doubt that it will foster the sorts of films our father is beloved for – films that help us believe in the finer qualities of human nature, through characters we can almost touch. Our father would be very proud, as are we, his family.”
Funding for the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award is made possible by Lilly Endowment, Inc. as part of a $5 million grant announced earlier this month to support Heartland Film’s operations and future sustainability. Beyond the Jimmy Stewart Legacy Award, the other Heartland Film Festival awards endowed through the grant include the Grand Prize for Best Documentary Feature, Grand Prize for Best Animated Short Film, Best Premiere Narrative Feature and Indiana Spotlight.
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. The Festival showcases more than 130 entertaining movies that do more than just entertain over 10 days of red carpet premieres and events, parties and hundreds of film screenings across Indianapolis. The 25th annual Heartland Film Festival will take place Oct. 21-30, 2016.