Indy Shorts Tom Holland David Letterman

Tom Holland, Bella Ramsey and Indiana’s own David Letterman are among the famous faces appearing in films at the latest Indy Shorts International Film Festival, the short-film offshoot of the beloved Heart Film Festival.

The Academy Award-qualifying Indy Shorts — one of our 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee and one of our Best Short Film Film Festivals in the World — runs from July 18-23. Less than 4% of the more than 3,900 shorts this year (a new record) were accepted. They include 165 shorts from 21 countries, and 18 World Premieres, 19 US Premieres, 54 Midwest Premieres and 47 Indiana Premieres.

MovieMaker will be there too — we’re deeply honored to present the Kick-Off Party, held July 20 at High Alpha at 5:30 p.m. It’s free to those who RSVP at and includes drinks, appetizers and “campy surprised” that even we don’t know about yet. Come say hello.

Screenings will be hosted indoors at the Living Room Theaters, indoors and outdoors at Newfields and the Fort Ben Cultural Campus, as well as virtually. Roughly 100 filmmakers expected to attend for Q&As, and you can get tickets here

The festival is Academy Award-qualifying in all three short film categories — Live Action, Documentary and Animated — and is one of just 34 film festivals in the world to hold that distinction. Last year, an Indiana Spotlight film, “Stranger at the Gate” won the Grand Prize for Best Short Documentary and was nominated for an Academy Award.

“With last year’s Oscar track and this year’s record number of submissions, the enthusiasm behind the Indy Shorts International Film Festival is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said artistic director Greg Sorvig. “I can’t wait for Indianapolis to meet the filmmakers and explore the wide variety of stories showcased in the 29 themed programs.”

More than $30,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to filmmakers on Saturday, July 22. Selected award-winning films will be showcased at Newfields’ Amphitheater for the Summer Nights: Award Winners Program, where attendees will be offered free HotBox Pizza and camp-themed activities.

This year’s expected highlights include an appearance by Oscar-winning director, Ben Proudfoot, who is expected to bring his Oscar. His new documentary, “Forgiving Johnny,” will World Premiere as part of the Spotlight: Breakwater Studios Program, which will also includes two other shorts from Proudfoot.

Big Names at Indy Shorts

The Indiana Spotlight Program will include “Clear Reception with David Letterman,” which follows Letterman as he explores glassmaking in Muncie, Indiana.

Other films featuring well-known talents include “Shadow Brother Sunday,” with Alden Ehrenreich, “Last Call” with Tom Holland, “Villain” with Bella Ramsey, “To My Father” with CODA Oscar winner Troy Kotsur, “For people in trouble” with Emma D’Arcy, “Far Out There” with Lily Gladstone, “Photo of the Day” with Beck Bennett and “Pickled Herring” with Milana Vayntrub.

Among the free programs are the Indy Shorts International Film Festival. Spotlight: Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, showcasing unique stories about disabilities; the High School Film Competition, featuring the $2,500 Summer White Lynch Memorial Award; and The Hoosier Way, which will include a collection of 16mm clips from the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archives, covering historic moments like the first Indy 500, Crispus Attucks High School’s groundbreaking all-Black basketball team, and a look into the life if Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut.

Additional events include the July 18 PitchDox Panel Presented by Hoodox, where Indiana filmmakers are invited to submit their unfinished documentary projects for a chance to win $10,000 to support their films. And the ESPN Films Rooftop Part at the Cannonball Lounge of Hotel Indy will celebrate the new ESPN Films Shorts Program.

The full program is at

Main image: David Letterman in “Clear Reception With David Letterman.”