Movie Madness: CHS Film students excited for Oct. 16 Heartland Film Festival



To Michael Muldowney, IB film student and senior, film has been deeply intertwined in his life, sparking his passion for film production.  As a film enthusiast, Muldowney wrote and directed at least five short films, two of which have been accepted into multiple film festivals including Carmel High School’s very own CHS Film Fest founded by Jim Peterson, member of the Heartland Film Festival screening committee and IB Film teacher.

“I’ve always loved [film]. I’ve always loved the stories. I’ve always loved movies and I’ve always cared about movies ever since I was a kid,” Muldowney said.

Like any other admirer of the cinema, Muldowney attended the 23rd annual Heartland Film Festival, which is scheduled to open next Thursday and close on Oct. 25. A branch of this screening event, the fifth annual Heartland High School Film Competition, will screen all 13 documentary or narrative shorts submitted by students around the globe on Oct. 17 and 19.

“No one really thinks Indiana of being a hot spot for filmmaking, which is unfortunate because a lot of talented filmmaking going on in the area,” said Peterson. “As far as prestige goes, it has grown significantly—when it started, it started with an only small following of people. Now it’s eligible for filmmakers who send their content to the Heartland to qualify for an Academy Award, which is really great as far as prestige goes.”

From its humble beginnings in 1992 to the present, the Heartland Film Festival has provided independent filmmakers a creative platform to submit their work. However, Heartland stresses that all submissions have to be captivating enough to fit in the category of being a “truly moving picture.”

Greg Sorvig, Heartland Film Festival’s Director of Marketing and PR said, “Our main purpose at the Heartland is to provide entertaining films that do more than just entertain. We want to provide  films that might uplift, films that might shift your perspective on the world, and films of that nature.”

There will be over 275 film screenings showing over 130 movies in various theatres, which will be shown in the AMC’s Castleton Square 14, AMC’s Traders Point Showplace 12 and the Theatre at the Wheeler Arts Community, among other Indiana locations that will be accessible across the state, according to Sorvig.

“There’s more diversity than there’s been in the past. We’ve received a lot of submissions that relate to LGBT issues—such as ‘Queens & Cowboys: A Straight Year on the Gay Rodeo’— and we’ve also have a lot of features films that are directed by women as well,” Sorvig said.  “We’re also flying in new directors and actors this year so that audiences can interact with and ask questions.”

In hopes to expand the film community in Indiana and gaining legislative support for film tax credits, Heartland will now be introducing the Indiana Spotlight Program, originally founded by the Indiana Media Production Alliance, which will specifically showcase a feature and two short films that “originated from Indiana, but their themes and ideas are universal.”

The Heartland Film Festival has also implemented a new motto. In a previous year, its motto was “Truly Moving Pictures.” This year, “Shift Your Perspective” is the Heartland’s new objective.

Not all submitted films are accepted. Heartland undergoes an extensive submissions process. Each film is watched approximately 18 different times by groups of renowned critics in order to create a broader and more diverse collection of films that meets the festival’s film content requirements.  “Shift Your Perspective” is essentially Heartland’s new approach to change the outlook in life of their audience through their selection of movies, according to Sorvig.

Sorvig said, “We’re just really trying to explore what the word ‘inspire’ can mean.”