Heartland Film Staff


Craig Prater – President

Craig was named president of Heartland Film in August, 2016.

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.

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.



Michael Ault – Vice President of Development

Michael leads Heartland Film's development strategy and sponsor/donor relationships.

Passionate about the Central Indiana community, Michael teaches a Nonprofit Volunteer and Management Class at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), serves on the board for Teachers’ Treasures and Camp Saturday – The People’s Burn Foundation, and volunteers for a myriad of causes, including Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Indianapolis Meridian Kessler Home Tour, Rock for Hope, the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and more. Michael previously worked at Methodist Health Foundation and is a graduate of Ball State University with a Certificate in Fundraising Management from IUPUI.

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Adam Howell – Director of Operations

Adam is responsible for running all the behind-the-scenes operations at the Heartland Film Festival and Heartland Film Roadshow events. This includes planning logistics, event management, technical production, quality control, vendor liaison and more.

Adam earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Business from Anderson University. Outside of working with Heartland Film, Adam has worked at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, managed production for three Anderson University chorale tours across the country, and still performs in a vocal group that has performed more than 600 concerts across the country.

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Greg Sorvig – Director of Film Programming

Greg is responsible for film programming for the annual Heartland International Film Festival and other Heartland Film programs.

Greg earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Culture, with a focus in film studies, at Indiana University and has previously worked for Fortune 100s, including The Walt Disney Company, and nonprofits. Active in the community, Greg is a “Big Brother” in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana program and has chaired nonprofit fundraising events for Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Greg serves on the alumni board of the Media School at Indiana University and is a 2018 class member of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy.

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Abby Specht – Operations Manager & Programming Coordinator

From scouting out venues to managing the box office, Abby works with the director of operations to make sure the Heartland Film Festival and other year-round events run smoothly from start to finish. She also works with the programming team throughout the screening process and helps decide what films make the final cut. As a shorts programmer, she watched over 550 short films last year alone! She is always happy to give some film recommendations, but don’t expect the name of just one film if you ask her about her favorite (Spoiler alert: She’s got about 10).

Before working for Heartland Film full time, Abby paid her dues as a film programming intern and a seasonal marketing assistant for the 2013 Heartland Film Festival. Abby earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology/Biology Sciences from Indiana University.

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Christiana Beasley – Project Administrator

Christiana works with Heartland Film's President and Board of Directors on special projects throughout the year. Additionally, Christiana assists in all technical aspects during Heartland events in and out of the office.

Inspired by her passion for creative storytelling, Christiana achieved a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a strong focus on audio, video, and cinema productions from Anderson University. Christiana has worked in both film and television productions taking up positions from makeup artist to lead producer. She has traveled the country working on shows such as NBC's The Voice and American Ninja Warrior. Aside from managing Heartland events, Christiana continues her creative and outgoing lifestyle through production involvement, writing, photography and videography, music, exploration, and more.

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Julia Ricci

Julia Ricci – Film Programming Coordinator

Julia supports the film programming team by overseeing film submissions, working with volunteer screening committees, interacting with filmmakers, overseeing filmmaker travel, and more.

Julia is an Emmy® Award-nominated researcher with a bachelor’s degree in History from Ball State University. She was a researcher for the Emmy®-winning documentary short "Legacies of Perfection: Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg" (2013) and the documentary feature "The Healing Wall" (2014 Heartland International Film Festival Indiana Spotlight). Beyond her role at Heartland Film, Julia continues to combine her love of film and history with her work as a freelance researcher for Turner Classic Movies and The Criterion Collection’s streaming service FilmStruck.

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Yarquiry Ferrer – Administrative Services Coordinator

Yarquiry is responsible for Heartland Film’s bookkeeping, financial reporting and office upkeep. Additionally, Yarquiry is working closely with Vice President of Development with donor database.

Originally from the New York, Yarquiry moved to Indianapolis in 2013. Yarquiry earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Alfred University and, outside of work, is working with her community church.

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Julie Sommers Neuman – Grants Writer

Julie is Heartland Film's grant writer.

Julie is an attorney with development experience. As a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Vanderbilt University, Julie's experience spans the for-profit, governmental and non-profit worlds. From working with Washington Township Schools to United Way of Central Indiana, she has a broad experience in grant-writing and fundraising. Julie serves on the Coalition for Our Immigrant Neighbors (COIN) and provides pro bono legal work for the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic.

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