Heartland Film taps Basile after president’s sudden departure

The organization that puts on the annual Heartland Film Festival has named Frank Basile interim president after the unexpected resignation of Stuart Lowry, the not-for-profit announced Wednesday.

Lowry, who became president of Heartland Film two years ago, stepped down for personal reasons, Heartland Film Board Chairman Gary D. Cohen said in a written statement.

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—joined Heartland Film in 2012 as chief operating officer.

A year later, he succeeded founder Jeffrey Sparks, who stepped down as president after 22 years with the organization.

“Stuart played an important and timely role in the evolution of our organization, and helped Heartland Film to secure a sound financial future,” Cohen said in the statement. “His work behind the scenes and in particular his very special presence on stage at our events helped to convey Heartland’s mission to the public and build our brand nationally.”  

Greg Sorvig, Heartland Film's director of marketing, declined to provide details about Lowry's departure, but called the reasons "deeply personal."

“Heartland Film is a distinctive organization and team to lead,” Lowry said in a written statement. "With a passionate and talented staff in place, this is the optimal time for me and the organization to make this transition."

Basile, a well-known local arts supporter, volunteer and philanthropist, was senior vice president of the Gene B. Glick Co. for 33 years before retiring in 2008. The professional speaker, author and columnist served as interim CEO and president of the Center for the Performing Arts in 2011-12.

Cohen and Lowry said they had "confidence in Basile’s leadership and ability to ensure Heartland’s continued success as the organization approaches the celebration of its 25th anniversary."

The 25th annual Heartland Film Festival is scheduled for Oct. 21-30 in venues across Indianapolis.

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