Nonprofit organizer of the Heartland Film Festival taps international film festival executive to lead organization through its 25th anniversary.
Heartland Film has named San Diego-based Craig Prater as president after a seven-month national search conducted by Arts Consulting Group. Prater began his international film festival career as executive director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (Palm Springs, California), where he co-founded the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and the Film Noir Festival before being recruited by the Royal Thai government to lead their new Bangkok International Film Festival as executive director.
“The board of directors is thrilled to have someone of Craig Prater’s caliber take Heartland Film through this milestone year and beyond,” said Heartland Film Board Chair Gary D. Cohen. “The search committee has worked diligently to find the perfect candidate and it was clear that Craig possessed the experience, drive, and track record to take us to the next level, all while understanding and respecting the mission of Heartland Film, its values, and Midwestern heritage. Craig understands every facet of the film festival experience and will ensure that everyone — from patrons, donors, sponsors and filmmakers — will get the red carpet treatment as VIPs at the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival this October. On behalf of the board and staff, I would like to thank Frank Basile for his extraordinary service and commitment over the past seven months as interim president – his leadership has ensured a smooth transition for Craig to come in and hit the ground running.”
Prater also founded the Festival of Festivals, whose debut coincided with the opening of the Mary Pickford Theatre in Cathedral City, California, and served as the director/producer of the Latino Film Festivals for the National Hispanic American Educational Foundation in Indio, California and Tampa, Florida. Most recently, Prater served as executive VP, strategic partnerships for the San Diego International Film Festival and director of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.
“I have spent the last couple decades working with domestic nonprofit boards and ministries of commerce, economic development, and tourism in foreign countries to produce, direct, and manage international film festivals to great results,” said Prater. “Between the organization’s fantastic community support, strong reputation across the industry, and Indianapolis’ ever-growing arts landscape, Heartland Film is primed and ready to take that next big step.”
Prater will start his role at Heartland Film as the organization makes final preparations for the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival, set for Oct. 20-30 across Indianapolis. Major events include an opening night screening and party at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Thursday, Oct. 20 and a 25th Anniversary Celebration signature event at the AMC Castleton Square 14 Premiere Pavilion on Friday, Oct. 21. The full film and special event lineup will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival Announcement Party at the Basile Theatre at the Historic Athenaeum.