2012 marks the ninth annual Indianapolis International Film Festival or, as its friends call it, the Indy Film Fest. In just a few short years, the festival has quickly solidified itself as a pillar of the Indiana – and Midwest – filmscape.
The Indy Film Fest began as a three-day festival in March 2004. Centrally located at United Artists Theatres in downtown Indianapolis, the first festival featured several Midwestern premieres, including acclaimed writer/director Lars von Trier’s Dogville and A Slipping Down Life featuring Lily Taylor and Guy Pierce. Over all, 2,400 people saw 24 films on two screens; and with that, a festival was born. Still finding its land-legs, the festival moved from March to April in 2005, and from United Artists Theatres to Hollywood Bar & Filmworks, then Indianapolis’ best dinner-and-a-movie spot downtown. The festival added an additional day to the schedule as well as a third screen to accommodate the growing audiences. Films featured included the Oscar-nominated documentary, Murderball. In the first two years of the Indianapolis International Film Festival, more than 5,000 attendees saw a total of 77 films from 27 different countries.
With further growth as the goal for 2006, the Indy Film Fest expanded from one venue to three. As a result, attendance grew by an astounding 61% while film submissions expanded by 211%. Films screened grew by 108%, and the Indy Film Fest secured its best-known premiere to date with Dreamworks Animation’s Over the Hedge. In 2007, the Indy Film Fest presented its first Career Achievement Award to Albert & David Maysles — two time Academy Award Nominees — for their integral contributions to the world on non-fiction cinema. The growth continued in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 as the number of films submitted and screened continued to rise and the festival took on a reputation for bringing impressive independent filmmaking to Indianapolis.