Heartland Film Names Craig Prater President

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Nonprofit organizer of the Heartland Film Festival taps international film festival executive to lead organization through its 25th anniversary.

Heartland Film President Craig Prater

Heartland Film President Craig Prater

Between the organization’s fantastic community support, strong reputation across the industry, and Indianapolis’ ever-growing arts landscape, Heartland Film is primed and ready to take that next big step.

Heartland Film has named San Diego-based Craig Prater as president after a seven-month national search conducted by Arts Consulting Group. Prater began his international film festival career as executive director of the Palm Springs International Film Festival (Palm Springs, California), where he co-founded the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films and the Film Noir Festival before being recruited by the Royal Thai government to lead their new Bangkok International Film Festival as executive director.

“The board of directors is thrilled to have someone of Craig Prater’s caliber take Heartland Film through this milestone year and beyond,” said Heartland Film Board Chair Gary D. Cohen. “The search committee has worked diligently to find the perfect candidate and it was clear that Craig possessed the experience, drive, and track record to take us to the next level, all while understanding and respecting the mission of Heartland Film, its values, and Midwestern heritage. Craig understands every facet of the film festival experience and will ensure that everyone — from patrons, donors, sponsors and filmmakers — will get the red carpet treatment as VIPs at the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival this October. On behalf of the board and staff, I would like to thank Frank Basile for his extraordinary service and commitment over the past seven months as interim president – his leadership has ensured a smooth transition for Craig to come in and hit the ground running.”

Prater also founded the Festival of Festivals, whose debut coincided with the opening of the Mary Pickford Theatre in Cathedral City, California, and served as the director/producer of the Latino Film Festivals for the National Hispanic American Educational Foundation in Indio, California and Tampa, Florida. Most recently, Prater served as executive VP, strategic partnerships for the San Diego International Film Festival and director of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival.

“I have spent the last couple decades working with domestic nonprofit boards and ministries of commerce, economic development, and tourism in foreign countries to produce, direct, and manage international film festivals to great results,” said Prater. “Between the organization’s fantastic community support, strong reputation across the industry, and Indianapolis’ ever-growing arts landscape, Heartland Film is primed and ready to take that next big step.”

Prater will start his role at Heartland Film as the organization makes final preparations for the 25th annual Heartland Film Festival, set for Oct. 20-30 across Indianapolis. Major events include an opening night screening and party at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Thursday, Oct. 20 and a 25th Anniversary Celebration signature event at the AMC Castleton Square 14 Premiere Pavilion on Friday, Oct. 21. The full film and special event lineup will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival Announcement Party at the Basile Theatre at the Historic Athenaeum.

Learn more about the 2016 Heartland Film Festival at heartlandfilmfestival.org.

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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 is a curator and supporter of purposeful filmmaking, honoring a wide variety of cinema and awarding storytellers from all over the world. The films Heartland Film selects and exhibits – whether they inspire and uplift, educate and inform, or have the ability to shift audiences’ perspectives on the world – all have one thing in common: they are entertaining films that do more than just entertain. Every October, the Heartland Film Festival gives its moviegoers access to more than 100 visiting independent filmmakers from all over the world, right in the heart of the Midwest. Heartland Film Festival (Oct. 20-30, 2016) showcases more than 130 independent films over 11 days of red carpet premieres and events, parties and hundreds of film screenings across Indianapolis. The Heartland Film Festival has earned the special designation of being a qualifying festival for the Annual Academy Awards® within the Short Films category. Each year, the Heartland Film Festival awards more than $125,000 in cash prizes and presents its Festival Awards to top-judged submissions. Heartland Film has awarded more than $3 million to support indie filmmakers over the last 24 years. Beyond the Heartland Film Festival, Heartland Film honors theatrically-released films that align with its mission via the Truly Moving Picture Award, inspires the next generation of filmmakers via the Heartland Film Institute, and exhibits films across Indiana all year long via the Heartland Film Roadshow. To learn more, visit heartlandfilm.org.

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Greg Sorvig
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