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Heartland Film’s Indy Shorts International Film Festival Designated as an Academy Award® Qualifier for the Animated Shorts

Heartland Film

Heartland Film’s Indy Shorts International Film Festival Designated as an Academy Award® Qualifier for the Animated Short Film Category for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards®


After completing a successful third annual edition of Indy Shorts International Film Festival presented by Heartland Film this past July, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has designated a third Academy Award®-qualifying category of Short Film (Animation) to the event, allowing the winner of Indy Shorts’ Grand Prize for Best Animated Short to qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the upcoming 93rd Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy® rules.


Heartland Film/Indy Shorts was previously designated an Academy Award® qualifier for Short Film (Live Action) in 2011 and Short Film (Documentary) in 2018. Last year, both Indy Shorts qualifying winners, “Brotherhood” and “St. Louis Superman,” were eventually nominated for Academy Awards®.


“We’re honored to be granted one more stepping stone to help filmmakers achieve their dreams of being considered for the Academy Awards®,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Greg Sorvig. “With a successful track record of seven Academy Award-winning short films and 23 nominated films since 2009, we have proven that Indianapolis is an important stop for filmmakers of short-form storytelling.”


Indy Shorts in Indianapolis, IN, expanded as its own separate event from the Heartland International Film Festival in the summer of 2018, and has established itself as one of the top shorts festivals in the United States. Filmmakers have lauded its high cash prizes, focus on filmmaker interactions and commitment toward gender equality. All of which were seen in the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival that ran July 21-26. Despite the pandemic, Indy Shorts:


  • Awarded more than $30,000 in cash prizes.
  • Hosted 18 virtual Q&A sessions with more than 180 filmmakers from around the world.
  • Achieved Heartland Film’s 5050X2020 Parity Pledge, with 50% of the shorts being directed or co-directed by women


“Nothing can slow down the momentum of Indy Shorts,” said Heartland Film President Craig Prater. “Even through a pandemic, we saw record numbers in Fest Pass sales, filmmaker participation and first-time attendees with our new virtual and drive-in festival format.”



Indy Shorts is one of 34 festivals worldwide to qualify across all three categories of live action, documentary, and animation. The 2020 Indy Shorts Grand Prize for Best Animated Short Film, “Traces,” by Directors Hugo Frassetto and Sophie Tavert Macian, is now qualified for Academy Award® consideration alongside the Grand Prize Winners for Best Narrative Short (Live Action), “Da Yie,” and Best Documentary Short, “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible.”


All of the winners from the 2020 Indy Shorts International Film Festival will have virtual encore screenings as a part of the 2020 Heartland International Film Festival running October 8-18. This festival will be a hybrid of 30 drive-in screenings and a virtual on-demand festival similar to Indy Shorts. The full film lineup for the 29th Heartland International Film Festival will be released on Thursday, September 17, but Fest Passes can be pre-purchased at


Call for entries for the 2021 Indy Shorts are now live exclusively on FilmFreeway:


About Heartland Film, Inc.

Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film. Heartland Film presents the annual Heartland International Film Festival, Academy Award®-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival, the Heartland Film Best of Fest, Heartland Film Marquee Series and bestows the Truly Moving Picture Award industry honor to major film releases throughout the year. In response to COVID, Heartland Film launched Heartland Film at Home as a safe option to watch the latest and best in independent cinema, including HIFF films from the past from your home. For more information, visit



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