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Hoosier Connections at Indy Film Fest

The movies in this year’s Indy Film Fest that have Indiana connections are as diverse as the rest of the entries in the lineup: A love story about a girl and the search for just the right chair, Crush by Rebecca Pugh (co-directed with Jen West); a thriller about a home invasion gone wrong, Home Security from Kate Chaplin; and a road trip movie about old friends, Billi & Theodore by Ronald Short. These are just three of the films in the Hoosier Lens category in the festival’s ninth year.

You can meet all three directors be at the next screenings of their films this week: Crush is part of the “Love Notes” shorts program at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 27, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art; Home Security will be screened later that night as part of the “One Coin, Two Sides” shorts block at 6:30 p.m., which also includes Hoosier Lens films The Dark CompanionThe Dark One, and Slapstick Porno; and Short will be at Billi & Theodore's 7:30 p.m. screening on Thursday, July 26, at Earth House, a new venue for this year’s fest.

All three filmmakers submitted their films to the festival partly because of their local connections, but they also knew that they wouldn’t automatically be accepted. Pugh attended Ball State and now lives in Huntsville, Alabama; Chaplin calls Indianapolis home and makes movies here; and Short is originally from Indianapolis, now living in Austin, Texas. Billi & Theodore and Home Security were both filmed in Indiana.

“If I have a film ready, I always submit it to Indy Film Fest,” Chaplin says. “It’s a great festival that is very kind to filmmakers and offers amazing exposure. I submitted three films this year and was overjoyed that Home Security was accepted.”

Chaplin has attended the festival since 2006. She has spoken on a number of panels, also volunteering over the years. This year, she and Short spoke on panels about filmmaking that were open to all festival participants, not just the more established filmmakers. This isn’t Chaplin’s first film in the festival: Her movie First They Came For was in a block of other shorts with Indiana connections in 2009.

Like Chaplin, Short has attended the festival for many years, and says that it's one of his favorite events in the city.

“It offers a great selection of films that are high quality and work well together as a program,” he says. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it this year.” A presentation of his film early on during this year's festival was its world premiere.

“It was just surreal,” he says. “I know it sounds cliche, but that’s best word I can think of to describe the experience of watching my movie with a room of not only family and friends, but also strangers. I found myself watching the audience members to see their reactions, and it was great to see that they would laugh, but also gasp and even some were sniffling. All at just the right moments.”

The only thing he’d change about the festival would be to get more people to attend. “It seems like there have been more people attending this year, and I hope more people continue to check it out,” he says, adding that he always encourages his friends and family to go.

Pugh, who will be in town for the festival starting Thursday, says she is also excited to be a part of it, and to attend this festival for the first time.

“I am just honored that the festival programmed my film,” she says. “The great thing about film festivals is that, as a member of the audience, you can pick and choose what types of films you like. Festivals are a great way to see new things and always offer a huge variety of films.”

Her film has also been an official selection of deadCENTER Film Festival (Oklahoma City) and Sidewalk Film Festival (Birmingham, Alabama). Chaplin’s film has screened at Days of the Dead in Atlanta, Georgia, and with other Indiana films at the Irving Theater in Indy. Chaplin and Short have submitted their films to other festivals.

The festival continues through Sunday, July 29, when the audience award winners will be screened at Earth House. Check out IndyFilmFest.org for the full schedule of films at the IMA and Earth House, including these other Hoosier Lens selections:

+ Video Stop, Thursday, July 26, 5:15 p.m. at IMA
+ Late Summer screening with Rolling on the Floor Laughing, Thursday, July 26, 9 p.m. at IMA
+ The Kings of Yorktown (the producer is from Indiana), Thursday, July 26, 10 p.m. at Earth House
+ Sports in Indiana: Black Baseball in Indiana screening with Lucky Teter and His Hell Drivers, Saturday, July 28, 12:30 p.m. at IMA
+ MG Collective, a local animation group, will show animated short films on Saturday, July 28, at Earth House
 

>> MORE: See our Q&A with Lisa Trifone, managing director of Indy Film Fest.

>> ALSO: Rebecca Berfanger's list of film fest do's and don'ts here.