Artistic Process, Integrity, & Quality

Artistic process, integrity, and quality are top priorities at Heartland Film.

Recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
Indy Shorts has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® for all three Short Film categories: Live Action, Documentary, and Animated. This means the winner of the Indy Shorts Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short, Grand Prize for Best Documentary Short, and Grand Prize for Best Animated Short 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. Over the years, 23 films featured at Indy Shorts/HIFF have been nominated with 7 going on to win Oscars®!
We Provide Feedback
Each submitted film is scored and given feedback based on standard judging criteria, and that feedback is available to filmmakers upon request.
Three-Tier Selection Process
Heartland Film Festival Film Selection ProcessInitially, films are viewed by one of three (Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature and Short Film categories) screening committees, which consist of 15-20 volunteers apiece. Committee members, each having taken a critical examination, are hand-selected by Heartland Film staff. A combination of scoring and discussion among these committee members and our artistic director/programming staff ultimately decide the lineup of the Heartland International Film Festival.

From this pool of selections, 10-15 of each category's highest-scoring films are sent onto the Festival Award jury. Consisting of film professionals, academics and critics, this jury will select the five best films within each category as Finalist and provide their top picks for Grand Prize Winners.

Full Exhibition Control & Quality
With primary screening locations at AMC Theatres, our Festival screenings give indie films and filmmakers the blockbuster treatment. We exhibit off the most reliable and high-quality formats, hire our own projection staff, and tie in directly to AMC's state-of-the-art systems.

Every Festival we get filmmaker feedback that the movies we showcase have never looked better on the big screen – it's this level of control and quality that ensures that the work of our filmmakers looks and sounds exactly as it was intended.