IBJNews

New Heartland prez wants to add staff, national sponsors

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Stuart Lowry joined Heartland Truly Moving Pictures in 2012 as chief operating officer. This month, he was elevated from supporting player for the not-for-profit to headliner, filling the role vacated by longtime Heartland President Jeffrey Sparks.

So, cue the "Coming Attractions" reel.

Stuart Lowry mugStuart Lowry

Lowry says Heartland soon will announce a series of multi-year sponsor partnerships, something that has proven difficult to land post-economic downturn. The 22-year-old arts organization also will grow its Heartland Roadshow initiative, where movies are screened outside of the confines of its annual Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis.

New hires also could be in the wings. This year, the group employed seven full-timers and one part-time employee. In 2014, it hopes to upgrade to 10 full-time positions.

“We’ve survived on a staff model that needs to be elevated,” Lowry told IBJ. “It’s a young, talented team that has accomplished a lot. But going forward, I want to increase the staff model while also cultivating more support from national sponsors.”

The focus of the group will remain the same—"to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film,” as the mission statement reads.

“We don’t have problems on our brand side,” Lowry said. “Our job is to make sure we message what we are doing to bring back cash sponsors. We’re very revenue-heavy during the festival. We have to figure out how to spread that out.”

The group takes a three-pronged approach to encouraging independent films with a positive and humane outlook. Founded by Sparks in 1991, the group hosted its first film fest a year later and today sorts through more than 1,000 submissions annually to arrive at the event’s 100-plus movie roster.

Heartland also awards a seal of approval—called the “Truly Moving Picture Award”—for theatrically released films that meet its standards for uplifting content and a transformative message. In addition, Heartland offers educational programs for aspiring filmmakers and actors.

Lowry, a Dartmouth College graduate with a long history of work for local not-for-profits—including White River State Park and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis—said that Heartland needs to apply the “Merlin effect” in order to continue to grow.

“We really have to keep the wisdom and history of the past, and we need to grow younger,” he said, referring to staff, audience and attitude. “ [But] we are still mission-driven. We’re very careful in our [film] selection. And we’ve seen record attendance and diversity in our audience.”

Attendance for screenings during ths year's 10-day Heartland festival in October hit about 24,000 viewers, which was a record. This year's event also attracted a record number of film submissions—1,521, an 18-percent increase over the previous record of 1,292 in 2012. The festival selected 134 films for screenings, a few notches above the record of 129 in 2011.

Sparks said the festival's success this year was a testament to the group's smooth transition to new leadership.

"Heartland is in good hands," said Sparks, who stepped down to president emeritus in August. "Stuart has been with Heartland for two festivals now, and I'm confident in his ability to embody Heartland's spirit, mission and legacy."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Summer program
    Great organization to have in Indianapolis! I hope, as a city, we do what it takes to make sure it is successful in the heartland. If you ever decide to expand and offer programming for children, such as a summer camps or internships, let me know. Latino kids in Indianapolis have been producing shorts for almost 5 years now.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT