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The 2021 Indy Shorts International Film Festival Winners

World Premiere “Homebird” Big Winner with Grand Prize & Audience Choice Awards
 The 2021 Indy Shorts International Film Festival, presented by Heartland Film (Indy Shorts), successfully concluded its six-day run on Sunday, July 25. The festival showed growth across many areas, including record numbers in attendance and nearly double the number of films programmed from previous years. Indy Shorts guests were treated to a Short Escape at indoor theater screenings, outdoor picnic-style screenings, and virtual on-demand screenings. With sold-out screenings, continuous festival streaming from around the world, and more than 160 filmmakers participating virtually and in-person, Indy Shorts continued to grow in spite of the ongoing pandemic. 
“Refreshing and rejuvenating! Indy Shorts was a breath of fresh air following the isolation of last year,” said Heartland Film President Craig Prater. “From lounging in gardens on picnic blankets to reclining in theaters with cocktails, our community and filmmakers were truly able to escape together into the world of short films.” 

Indy Shorts 20201 Recap Video 

This year’s festival received 3,300 short film submissions which were narrowed down to 201 shorts that included 23 World Premiere and 18 U.S. Premieres from 42 countries. On Friday, the 4th Annual Indy Shorts presented Academy Award®-Qualifications and $5,000 in cash prizes to three female filmmakers; Annie St-Pierre (“Like the Ones I Used to Know,” Canada), Güzin Kar (“Your Street,” Switzerland) and Ewa Smyk (“Homebird,” UK). Festival award winners received a combined $31,000 in cash prizes and a coveted Iggy Award (Indy Shorts mascot “short” gnome). Audience Choice Awards were just determined and Ewa Smyk’s “Homebird” is Indy Shorts’ big winner with both the Academy Award®-qualifying Grand Prize and Audience Choice Awards in the Animated category. World Premiere documentary “Street Reporter” from Laura Waters Hinson won the Overall Audience Choice Award, Narrative went to “Heartland” by Jahmil Eady, and Documentary went to “Learning to Drown” by Ben Knight. The full list of Audience Choice Awards is below.
 “Thank you to all the Indy Shorts filmmakers and moviegoers for your enthusiasm and support,” said Heartland Film Artistic Director Greg Sorvig. “With a record 201 films across 33 programs, I was exceptionally eager to see who the winners would be across our juried and audience choice award categories, and I’m impressed by the wide range of perspectives and stories honored. Special congratulations to Ewa Smyk and the National Film and Television School in the U.K., whose film “Homebird” won both the Oscar®-qualifying Grand Prize for Animated Short and Animated Audience Choice Awards. You can’t ask for a better start to a festival run! Thank you to all of our filmmakers, jury members, and attendees for crowning this year’s slate of awards!"
Heartland Film also hosts the Heartland International Film Festival which will be celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary October 7-17. More information about the Indy Shorts and Heartland International Film Festival can be found at The Full List of Indy Shorts award winners and the Academy Award®-Qualifying winner’s reaction videos can be found here: Link to Award Winners Press Release

Audience Choice Award Winners | $250 Cash Prize  

Overall Audience Choice Award Winner 
“Street Reporter” by Laura Waters Hinson (U.S.), World Premiere
Narrative Audience Choice Award Winner 
“Heartland” by Jahmil Eady (U.S.)
Documentary Audience Choice Award Winner 
“Learning to Drown” by Ben Knight (U.S.)
Animation Audience Choice Award Winner 
“Homebird” by Ewa Smyk (U.K.), World Premiere
Horror Audience Choice Award Winner 
"TIO" by Juan J. Medina (Mexico), U.S. Premiere
Comedy Audience Choice Award Winner 
“SWIPE” by Anthony Sneed (U.S.)
Indiana Spotlight Audience Choice Award Winner 
“Cutters” by Matt Dillman (U.S.)
High School Film Competition Audience Choice Award Winner 
“5 Years from Water” by Thao Nguyen (Blair Academy, Blairstown, NJ, U.S.)

Full List of 2021 Indy Shorts International Film Festival Award Winners:  

Academy Award® Qualification | Live Action Short  
Grand Prize for Narrative Short  
$5,000 Cash Prize  
“Like the Ones I Used to Know” by Annie St-Pierre (Canada)  
Academy Award® Qualification | Documentary Short   
Grand Prize for Documentary Short  
$5,000 Cash Prize  
“Your Street” by Güzin Kar (Switzerland)  
Academy Award® Qualification | Animated Short   
Grand Prize for Animated Short  
$5,000 Cash Prize  
“Homebird” by Ewa Smyk (U.K.)  
Indiana Spotlight Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“Cutters” by Matt Dillman (U.S.)  
Comedy Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“Close Ties to Home Country” by Akanksha Cruczynski (U.S.)  
Heartland Horror Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“The Thing That Ate the Birds” by Sophie Mair, Dan Gitsham (England)  
Jenni Berebitsky Legacy Award  
$1,800 Cash Prize  
“A Concerto is a Conversation” by Kris Bowers, Ben Proudfoot (U.S.)  
Summer White Lynch Memorial Award  
$2,000 Cash Prize  
“Sophie and Jacob” by Max Shoham (Etobicoke School of the Arts, Toronto, Canada)  
Directorial Debut Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“Bruiser” by Miles Warren (U.S.)  
Narrative Student Short Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“Plaisir” by Molly Gillis (New York University, New York, U.S.)  
Documentary Student Short Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“Seahorse” by Nele Dehnenkamp (The Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany)  
Animated Student Short Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“Love is Just a Death Away” by Bára Anna Stejskalová (FAMU, Czech Republic)  
Indiana Spotlight Student Short Award  
$1,000 Cash Prize  
“MTXE: Mental Toughness Xtra Effort” by Emmanuel Terrell (Taylor University, Upland, Indiana, U.S.)  
High School Film Competition Narrative Winner  
$500 Cash Prize  
“Beth” by Ava Bounds (St. Peter’s School, Yorkshire, U.K.)  
High School Film Competition Winner  
$500 Cash Prize   
“5 Years from Water” by Thao Nguyen (Blair Academy, Blairstown, New Jersey, U.S.)  
High School Film Competition Animated Winner  
$500 Cash Prize  
“Sophie and Jacob” by Max Shoham (Etobicoke School of the Arts, Toronto, Canada)  
High School Film Competition Indiana Winner  
$500 Cash Prize  
“No Human Being is Illegal” by Samuel Villagra-Stanton (John Adams High School, South Bend, Indiana, U.S.)  
About Heartland Film, Inc.  
Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization that runs the 11-day Heartland International Film Festival in October, the Academy Award®-qualifying Indy Shorts International Film Festival in July, the Truly Moving Picture Award and other year-round programs. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Heartland Film was founded in 1991 with the mission to curate, promote and celebrate thoughtful and engaging films from diverse perspectives. Over the years, Heartland Film has presented $3.5 million in cash prize – the largest total amount awarded by any film festival in North America – presented 200+ studio films with the Truly Moving Picture Award, and showcased more than 1,800 feature and short films, including seven Oscar®-winning titles. The 30th Anniversary of the Heartland International Film Festival is running October 7-17, 2021. For more information, visit  



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