26th Annual

Heartland Film Festival

October 12, 2017 to October 22, 2017


Narrative Short


Deadlines & Entry Fees

All fees will be charged in U.S. Dollar

Online Services Offered
Entry Form
Fee Payment
Press Kit
Submission Copy
Earlybird Deadline
April 1, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 30.00 *
Student Fee 20.00 *
Regular Deadline
May 13, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 45.00 40.00
Student Fee 35.00 30.00
Late Deadline
May 20, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 65.00 60.00
Student Fee 55.00 50.00
WAB Extended Deadline
May 27, 2017
Regular Discounted
Standard Fee 85.00 70.00
Student Fee 75.00 60.00

Discounted fees apply to projects with pre-purchased Discount Packs, on entry fees greater than 30.00.

Category Details

Approximately August 15, 2017

Shorts: From 1 minutes to 50 minutes

Projects completed after June 1, 2001

Projects may originate from anywhere in the world

No premiere requirement

Projects may have distribution


Submission & Exhibition Format Requirements

  Secure Online Screener

Subtitled Dubbed Dialog List

Media Files
  .MOV (Quicktime)

Subtitled Dubbed Dialog List

Press Kit Requirements

A press kit is requested but not required, including:

Prizes & Awards

This category is a competition.

Heartland Film Festival Finalist - Narrative Short
Five Narrative Shorts are selected as Heartland Film Festival Finalists, announced prior to the Festival. One of the five Finalists will receive the $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short, and the winner will be announced at the Awards Party during the Festival. Other Finalists will each receive a $500 cash prize. The Grand Prize winner in this category will qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules. Each Finalist will be offered a broadcast deal by Shorts International®, which includes iTunes and Amazon Prime listings, in addition to broadcast on the ShortsHD cable channel.
Cash Award Value: 500 U.S. Dollar

Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short
One of the five Narrative Short finalists will receive the $5,000 Grand Prize for Best Narrative Short. The winning filmmaker must be present during the Awards Party to receive the cash prize and award. The Grand Prize winner in this category will also qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run, provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules.
Cash Award Value: 5,000 U.S. Dollar

Audience Choice Award
This award is announced for each category (Narrative Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Animated Short, Indiana Spotlight) during the Festival at the Awards Party. Filmmaker need not be present to win.

Indiana Spotlight winner
Films in the Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature, Narrative Short, Documentary Short and Animated Short categories that qualify as Indiana films will compete for the $5,000 cash prize in the Indiana Spotlight category.
Cash Award Value: 5,000 U.S. Dollar
This prize is shared with other categories.

Category Rules

PLEASE NOTE: All films submitted in the Narrative Short category for the Heartland Film Festival are in competition to be Finalists at the time of submission, provided they meet eligibility requirements.

Each submitted film goes through an involved judging process, and is screened in its entirety by at least three members of the selection committee. Selected films have been seen 4-15 times by members of the screening committees, programming staff, and juries.

Films submitted to the Heartland Film Festival are judged on their overall artistic and technical quality. Additionally, each film must be engaging and entertaining, but do more than simply entertain. Selected films have a transformative power that impacts audiences by educating, inspiring, challenging or shifting perspectives.

Films are ultimately chosen as either Finalists, which remain in competition for the Grand Prizes, or Official Selections, which screen out of competition for the Grand Prizes (though they may remain eligible for Best Premiere or Indiana Spotlight prizes, as described below).

All submitted films that meet the below eligibility requirements are considered “in competition” to be selected as a Heartland Film Festival Finalist at the time of submission. In September 2017, Finalists are publicly announced. Only Finalists are eligible for the Grand Prize in each category. Grand Prize winners are announced at the Heartland Film Festival Awards Party on Saturday, October 21, 2017. Filmmakers must be present to win, as described below.

Films that are not honored as Finalists may be invited to screen as “Official Selections” and are eligible for the Audience Choice Awards. Official Selections are no longer “in competition” for the Grand Prizes: only Finalists will be eligible for Grand Prizes. Feature-length films having their U.S. or World Premiere at Heartland are eligible for Best Premiere Awards. Indiana films meeting eligibility requirements for the Indiana Spotlight competition are eligible for the award in that category.
Other films may be invited to screen at the Festival as a “Special Presentation” or in a “To Be Announced” time slot; these may be eligible for the Audience Choice Award depending on when the films are scheduled.

Films selected as Finalists will be programmed to screen up to eight times during the Festival. Official Selections will screen up to four times.

In past years, Heartland Film generally selected 25-30 Narrative Features, 25-30 Documentary Features, 55-65 short films (narrative, documentary, and animated combined) and 10-15 High School Film Competition submissions. In 2016, 138 films were selected from 2,535 submissions. This distribution of category selections is subject to change and expand.

To be eligible for the Heartland Film Festival, films must comply with the following:
- The film must have been completed on or after June 1, 2016.
- The film must be available for up to 8 screenings during the Festival, October 12-22, 2017.
- There must not be a screening fee attached to the film. Heartland will not pay a screening fee to any film featured
in the Festival; there are no exceptions.
- Heartland requires a digital file for every feature film. The file must be at least Apple ProRes 422 (or equivalent) and 1080p. The file may be delivered on hard drive (unencrypted) or we can extract the file from an HDCAM (no HDCAM SR). No Blu-rays, DCPs or 35mm prints will be screened at the Festival.
- Short films must be available in one of the following formats: HDCAM or Apple ProRes 422 (or equivalent) on a flash drive, hard drive or other digital media. All films must have a resolution of 1080p.
- Films that have had a theatrical release, a television broadcast within the United States or a release through an on-demand outlet such as Netflix, Amazon On-Demand or any other outlets that are available in Indiana prior to the Festival dates are not eligible to be named Finalists, but may be considered for “Special Presentation” screenings.
Films with a theatrical release, television broadcast or available on-demand outside of the USA are eligible to screen as “Official Selections” and are eligible to be named Finalists.
- The film cannot require dual projection (interlock) or separate soundtracks.
- Non-English films must be subtitled in English.

In addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, filmmakers must comply with the following submission rules to be considered as a Finalist in their respective category:
- The submitting filmmaker must be either the producer or director of the film.
- Entries are accepted through www.withoutabox.com.
- A completed official entry on Withoutabox.com must be digitally signed by the filmmaker.
- Payment of the non-refundable entry fee must accompany the submission.
- Payment can be made by credit card, check or money order payable in US dollars to Heartland Film, Inc. The filmmaker will be responsible for bank fees associated with any check returned to Heartland by the bank as unpaid.
- All items on the materials checklist (below) must be provided by the entry deadline.
- Link to a functional streaming video file (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) in high definition 720p or 1080p. If the link is password-protected, the password is mandatory.Links may be included in the Withoutabox cover letter or emailed to submissions@heartlandfilm.org.
- Multiple submissions must be provided as individual submissions.

A filmmaker (director or producer) MUST be present at the Heartland Film Festival Awards Ceremony in order to receive any cash prize.

Filmmakers from outside the United States must be advised that per U.S. tax code and tax treaties, Heartland Film Festival will withhold U.S. taxes from monetary prizes when applicable, totaling as much as 30 percent of the cash award, regardless of recipients' citizenship. Taxes withheld will be deposited with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Heartland Film Festival cannot assist filmmakers in filing for those funds from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.