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Here, you're always a VIP

FM: Submissions


Heartland Film is a non-profit arts organization that hosts the Heartland International Film Festival for feature films and the Academy Award®-Qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival for short films (40 minutes or less). Our Festivals have earned international recognition, including making MovieMaker Magazine’s Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee list in 2021 and Best Short Film Festivals in the World list in 2022. 


The 32nd Heartland International Film Festival is running October 5-15, 2023, and the sixth annual Indy Shorts International Film Festival is set for July 18-23, 2023. In 2022, we gave over $90,000 in cash prizes, presented films on a secure virtual platform, and host 180 indoor and outdoor screenings! No matter what the festival looks like, you're going to have a fun and memorable experience!  

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We value your time! 

Artistic process, integrity, and quality are our top priorities so we guarantee that your film will be seen in its entirety by programming staff/interns, trained volunteers, and/or jury members.

We value your art! 

Since 1992, Heartland Film has bestowed more than $3.5 million to independent filmmakers – the largest total amount awarded by any film festival in North America.


We value your experience! 

When you attend HIFF or Indy Shorts, you truly are a VIP! Everyone from staff, volunteers, sponsors, attendees, and media want to welcome you to Indianapolis, Indiana. All of our events, from filmmaker Q&As, receptions, workshops, awards ceremonies and after-parties, revolve around you! In Indy, we call it Hoosier Hospitality, and it is our specialty.


We value our alumni! 

Year after year, we tell filmmakers that they’re now part of the Heartland Family! And like any good family member, we want you to stay in the family, so we give Alumuni a lifetime submission fee waiver to both festivals. 


Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find basic submissions information such as deadlines, categories, and eligibility requirements? Where do I submit?

For short films (films 40 minutes and under, including credits), click here

For feature films (films 41 minutes and longer, including credits), click here.

What types of films do you program? What kind of projects are you looking for? What stands out?

Heartland Film curates, promotes and celebrates thoughtful and engaging films from diverse perspectives and serves to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. We pride ourselves on featuring story-driven films that impact the viewer in some meaningful way. This impact can be present in many forms, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Incites dialogue, passion or action

  • Educates the audience on a new and important topic

  • Changes preconceived notions or shifts perspectives

  • Takes the viewer on a journey of self-reflection and discovery 

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FM: Praise


We consider a wide variety of genres, and ultimately, we look for a solid blend both message/story and artistic/technical quality.

“It came as a big, pleasant surprise that MTV Documentary Films acquired ‘76 Days’ during the Heartland International Film Festival. Even in our challenging time of COVID-19, film festivals are continuing to play a crucial role in supporting independent films and filmmakers. I’m extremely grateful to Artistic Director Greg Sorvig and the Heartland International Film Festival team for having made this acquisition possible.” 

-Hao Wu, “76 Days,” HIFF29 Grand Prize Winner: Documentary

"Being part of Indy Shorts International Film Festival was more than a dream come true for me. This is a fabulous, extraordinary, wonderfully organized festival, and I was able to know why this is the best festival in the world. This film festival is the best festival not only because of its quality, communication, networking, but most importantly because of the people who organized the festival with their true warm heart. They gave me, young filmmaker, a lesson that if I can dream it and work hard for it with my passion, I can actually achieve it. I cannot thank them enough for their support on my works, and I am more than honored to be part of it. I look forward to submitting my future works to this festival." -Hong Ejun, Director of “Mother” 


A fabulous,





"Brilliantly curated, organized, and staffed. The festival team clearly knows how to run a tight ship, and it shows: the theaters and projection are top-notch, the filmmakers lounge was an ideal meeting point, the special events and screenings were world-class, and the films were excellent across the board." -Melissa Jackson & Nikhil Melnechuk, "Don't Be Nice," HIFF28 Official Selection

FM: Alumni


Hello, HIFF & Indy Shorts alumni! We want to hear what you’re up to so we can better support your career. Fill out this form so we know what you have coming up and we can let our followers know your exciting news!

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FM: Visit

Visit Indianapolis

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