Heartland Film Staff

Craig Prater

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.

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Michael Ault

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

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

Greg Sorvig – Director of Film Programming & Marketing

Greg is responsible for Heartland Film’s film programming and marketing.

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.

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Susan Frenzel

Susan Frenzel – Volunteer Manager

Heartland Film’s point of contact for its passionate core of 1,500+ volunteers, Susan manages volunteer support for year-round programming and events, including the Heartland Film Festival.

Susan started volunteering for Heartland in 2005 and served on the Heartland Film Board of Directors from 2008 to 2016. An aspiring writer, Susan's involvement with Heartland Film has continued to deepen her passion and love of storytelling.

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Yarguiry Ferrer

Yarquiry Ferrer – Bookkeeper & Office Coordinator

Yarquiry is responsible for Heartland Film’s bookkeeping, financial reporting and office upkeep. Additionally, Yarquiry is known as the smiling face behind the front desk at Heartland Film’s office in Fountain Square.

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 busy starting a local Girl Scout troop.

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Sarah Silcox

Sarah Silcox – Marketing Manager

Sarah works with the marketing director to promote the Heartland Film brand using social media, design, writing, public relations and various marketing strategies. Additionally, Sarah is responsible for adding new and compelling content to Heartland Film’s website, blog and social media channels.

An avid lover of multimedia storytelling, Sarah received a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Indiana University. Before working at Heartland Film, Sarah held internships with NBCUniversal, KCETLink-Los Angeles and the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology in Bloomington, Indiana. Sarah is a film and television addict who also loves writing essays, reading and working on her own creative projects.

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Abby Specht

Abby Specht – Operations Manager & Patron Services 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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Angie Monger – Film Programming Manager

Angie oversees the film submission process and film screening committees.

Angie received a Bachelor of Science in Nonprofit Management from Indiana University. In 2014, she joined Heartland as a film programming intern and returned in 2016 as the Filmmaker Services Coordinator. Angie is an avid Indiana sports fan and coaches fifth and sixth grade volleyball at her grade school.

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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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Lisa Ripley – Development Manager

Lisa works with the Vice President of Development with Sponsors, Donors & Membership.

A long time Heartland Film fan, Lisa has been attending the Festival for over 14 years. She is passionate about non-profit work and has held volunteer positions with Komen Indianapolis Race for the Cure & Alpha Phi Fraternity. She is a current Board Member for Energy Krazed, a non-profit group that is committed to fostering a happier and healthier Indiana by empowering youth to take charge of their health. She graduated from Ball State University and earned her degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Insurance. She spent 25 years working in the insurance industry and retired in 2013 to assist her husband in establishing a local music festival which brings awareness to two of Indy’s great resources, White River State Park & Broad Ripple Park.

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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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