Volunteer Spotlight: How Has Heartland Film Impacted Your Life?


In honor of National Volunteer Week, we asked our volunteers “How has Heartland Film impacted your life and what keeps you coming back?” We received so many wonderful responses, some of which you can read below! Huge thanks to all our amazing volunteers, we couldn’t do it without you!

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, email Mary Foreman, our Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator for more information!

“My favorite thing to do is see movies on the big screen and particularly learning and experiencing more of independent film (have even helped PA on a couple of racing documentaries) and thus why I love volunteering and also merchandising for Heartland!

What volunteering for Heartland has also done for me is give me a broader sense of community here in Indianapolis. I’m a transplant here to IN (being from NY/NJ and grown up in FL) and can’t say I ever thought about calling Indiana home. But as I continue to watch and experience our city thrive, as well as get to meet so many great people involved with organizations outside of racing, such as Heartland, I can say I have a desire to put down more roots here (at least in the non-winter months anyway.)

While it is certainly a legitimate sports town, I see Indy is fast becoming known as a tech corridor in the Midwest; but just as important to me is that we’ve also been growing in the Arts sector, which is definitely my cup of tea and it is my sincere desire to get more people on board with the Film Festival, as they just don’t know what they are missing and how really important these stories are! Reality TV will never hold a candle to the subject matter that these filmmakers so brilliantly tell.

And finally, what I love about the Heartland Int’l Film Festival, in particular, is that it is so easy to attend, the number of showings, the access to filmmakers, the low cost, etc. I had always loved attending but even in volunteering I am still able to enjoy both my personal viewing experiences, as well as hopefully enhancing the experience of others!”
– Linda Rosenberg

“We had heard great things about Heartland Film when we moved to Indy a few years ago. The first film we tried to see was sold out and we couldn’t get tickets. But that only helped to fuel our interest to see more. Plus all of the buzz with the tent and the lobby and the volunteers was just really cool. So the next year we made a point to get tickets earlier. We really enjoyed the atmosphere surrounding the festival. We didn’t love every movie we saw but loved seeing the different styles of film and subject matter. We heard someone talking about how many volunteers were needed to help run the festival each year, and we signed up. We really enjoyed working at the Indy Shorts last summer. We only wish we made more time to see more of them. They were great. Then I helped to work the tent at Carmel Fest and that was fun (hot, but fun). We had so many people come by the tent and tell us how much they loved the festival and wanted to know more about the films that year. But even better, were the people who hadn’t heard of Heartland Film and were surprised we had this, right here in Indy! As a (very) amateur filmmaker myself, I also love that Heartland Film gives aspiring filmmakers a place to share their creativity with a large audience.
– Geoff McCuen

“Having worked for 36 years in a very time and energy draining sales career (all good), I hadn’t taken much time, regretfully, to pursue some of the more uplifting community and cultural aspects that life in a dynamic city like Indianapolis has to offer. I was asked by a new friend if I had any interest not only in attending the HIFF but also in volunteering for this organization, both of which I did last year for the first time. Having seen 12 different films last year and volunteered for several, I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I have made.

Of the many film choices offered, I was very pleasantly surprised with the ones I actually viewed; invariably they ranged from thought-provoking documentaries that challenged my perspective on things (“Serengeti Rules”), or inspired me to re-read The Grapes of Wrath (“The Bikes of Wrath”), to a joy-filled narrative of a family facing health issues of an aging parent and the ways in which they were able to cope (“What They Had”), to a just purely artistic and musically entertaining documentary (“Fiddlin’”), to name just a few of the more memorable films.

Add to that the opportunity to give back to the community by volunteering to take tickets and organizational activities prior to a film viewing and interacting with other volunteers throughout the festival – I guess you could say I’m hooked and will look forward to continuing and possibly expanding my volunteer activities with Heartland Film for many years to come.”
– Greg Rambicure

“As a volunteer film screener, I watch over 75 documentaries each year. Each one has a story that enriches me in some way. Meeting filmmakers from all over the world while volunteering during the festival further opens my eyes to these stories and the passion of the filmmakers who bring to them to us. I suddenly have a connection to people and places in the news, giving events that impact their lives a deeper meaning. There are many different volunteer opportunities that I can fit around my schedule. The staff and other volunteers are fun to work with and share the love of film. I’m proud to be a part of a festival that is such an asset to our community.”
– Ann Cummings

“Heartland International Film Festival has given me tools as an educator to bring inspiring stories to the classroom that spur discussions of decisions and consequences. The roots of Heartland began as someone observed the impact of media on young minds. Though the way we interact with media has changed, the importance of a valuable and hopeful message has not. On a daily basis, I witness the effects of society on young minds and there is a lot that must be processed by these developing minds. Social issues, family issues, health issues, and academic issues all vie for attention and the power of film is an amazing tool. We can observe how others grapple with these topics and analyze their choices and the outcomes. We can use the story in a film as a sort of mirror into our own soul. We can imagine where a path may lead as we search into our future and potential choices we will make. Heartland exposes me, and therefore my students, to stories that may not rise above the cacophony of life or even pop up into the mainstream. I greatly appreciate that Heartland International Film Festival provides a unique focus to the films they screen and promote a focus of challenges, hopes, and dreams that emerge from the depths of humanity to inspire others.”
– Justin Stenger

“Heartland Film has definitely had a major impact on my life over the last 16 years or so to the point that I cannot imagine NOT volunteering and being a part of this festival. Through Heartland Film I have been transported to amazing locations that I most likely will never visit on my own. I get to hear first-hand how a filmmaker finds a story that needs to be told and how that story is developed over time. I am able to share the filmmakers’ passion for how he/she tells that story and the incredible work and time that it takes to ultimately get that story to the viewer (me!). I am able to step back in time to view a documentary story I previously knew nothing about and then watch a short film that in 8 minutes tells a complete story with an unexpected and brilliant ending. I have viewed films that really make me think, that make me shed a tear, that trouble me and others that make me laugh hilariously. Through Heartland Film I have been introduced (both literally and figuratively) to so many amazing and creative people – from all corners of the globe. The Festivals and the Heartland staff provide experiences and opportunities second to none.”
– Chip Kalleen


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