Heartland Film’s Indy Shorts International Film Festival announced a series of 150 short films from 25 countries for its upcoming annual event, which will return to in-person screenings but retains a virtual option.
The festival kicks off virtually July 19 before moving on to indoor screenings at Living Room Theaters and outdoor screenings at the Indianapolis Art Center and a mix of both at Newfields, which will also host the Oscar-qualified film festival’s awards ceremony on July 23.
Indy Shorts will feature 14 world premieres, 11 US premieres, 53 Midwest premieres and 50 Indiana premieres. Highlights include the Midwest premiere of Skin & Bone, a horror film starring and produced by Amanda Seyfried, and a world premiere of Thank You, Ms. Maravel from Rosie’s Theater Kids, an MTV documentary about a school she founded performing arts comedian Rosie O’Donnell.
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Tony-nominated actor Colman Domingo (“Fear the Walking Dead,” “Euphoria”) will also be honored personally with Heartland’s Pioneering Spirit Award.
Domingo also appears in two films showing at the festival: “New Moon,” a coming-of-age animated story that Domingo wrote, directed, produced, and stars with husband Raul Domingo, and “North Star,” a live-action narrative story of a rancher and his ailing husband, also starring Kevin Bacon.
Heartland Artistic Director Greg Sorvig said the Indy Shorts will “be back to as normal as we can be in this new normal,” with the full return to in-person showings. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitated an all-virtual festival in 2020, has provided some technological advantages that will be retained this year for added accessibility.
He added that short films offer a community the opportunity to accommodate many different types of content without the time commitment of a traditional festival.
“People examine and evaluate a feature much more closely, probably because you spend at least 90, 100 minutes on it,” Sorvig said. “We pack these short films into programs from 70 minutes to a maximum of two hours, and that gives you a lot of variety.”
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“Due to budgets, limited numbers of people involved and things like that, short filmmakers can also take a lot more risk,” he continued.
Each film will be no longer than 40 minutes. Indy Shorts is also an Oscar-qualifying event, meaning that films recognized by the festival’s jury meet an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requirement for the Academy Awards.
Indy Shorts has previously screened 29 films that ended up being nominated for an Oscar and eight winners.
Sorvig said many of the architects behind the films being screened will be present throughout the festival for post-screening question-and-answer sessions as well as after-hours events.
The films are grouped into 25 themed programs, including three programs consisting of 20 short films created by Hoosiers or filmed in Indiana.
A screening of local interest will be Stranger at the Gate, an extended version of a documentary first screened by Indy Shorts in 2018, which tells the story of a US Marine who planned to bomb a Muncie Mosque just to save the Completely reversing course when meeting its members.
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Another program on July 22 will show short films that have been either nominated or won an Oscar in the past two years.
Among those films will be If Anything Happens, I Love You, an Oscar-winning 2020 animated film depicting a couple’s grief after the death of their daughter in a school shooting.
Sorvig became emotional as he explained the circumstances behind the film’s inclusion in the programme.
“On the day Uvalde (Texas) was filmed, I emailed the director asking if we could show the film,” Sorvig said. “I sent the email, then the shooting happened, then he emailed me back. It was unbelievable that another tragedy happened right between the emails.”
An offshoot of Heartland’s signature fall film festival, the Short Film Festival is entering its fifth year.
Tickets can be purchased at indyshorts.org and cost $13 for an individual in-person or virtual screening, with a 20% discount for Heartland Film members. Personal and virtual passes valid for one ticket to all 150 films are $79 each. A five-pack of tickets, which can be redeemed in person or virtually, costs $59.
Virtual demonstrations each have a limited window in which to view them. Hybrid festival passes — one in-person and one virtual ticket for each film — are $95.
A full festival lineup and seasons are also available at indyshorts.org.
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Rory Appleton is a pop culture reporter for IndyStar. Contact him at 317-552-9044 and [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.