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Get into this year’s Indy Shorts Fest by watching its past Oscar winners and nominees

From left to right: "Queen of Basketball" photo provided by Breakwater Studios; "Stranger at the Gate" photo by Karl Schroder provided by Smarty Pants; "An Irish Goodbye" photo provided by Floodlight Pictures

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indy Shorts International Film Festival, presented by Heartland Film, may not be as well-known as the Cannes and Sundance film festivals but it isn’t one to snub by any means.

The Academy Award-qualifying festival is set to showcase a diverse range of 165 films with a maximum duration of 40 minutes over six-days of cinematic art celebrations taking place from Tuesday-Sunday.

One of the events, Summer Nights: Oscar Shorts, showcases the caliber of cinematography Indy Shorts Fest brings each year by playing three of its films that have made their mark in the industry.

Take a look back on the three Academy Award-winning and nominated Indy Shorts Fest films ahead of the outdoor screening on Friday at The Amphitheater at Newfields.

The Queen of Basketball (Winner of the 2021 Oscar for Best Documentary Short)

While Lucy Harris may not be a household name, she stands as one of the greatest living legends in women’s basketball. With an impressive list of accolades, including three national trophies, her contributions to the sport are undeniable. In a historic moment at the ’76 Olympics, Lucy Harris made history by scoring the first basket in women’s Olympic basketball. Notably, she also achieved the extraordinary feat of being drafted to the NBA, showcasing her exceptional skills and breaking barriers for women in basketball. Although her name may be lesser known, Lucy Harris’s remarkable achievements and trailblazing career deserve recognition and celebration.

Stranger at the Gate (Nominee for the 2023 Oscar for Best Documentary Short)

In a thought-provoking story filmed in Muncie, Indiana, “Stranger at the Gate” follows the journey of U.S. Marine Mac McKinney, who returns home after 25 years of service, consumed by a deep and intense anger towards those he once fought against. Driven by a relentless desire to defend his country, McKinney devises a chilling plan to bomb the local mosque. However, as fate would have it, his path intersects with the very community he aims to harm—Afghan refugees and individuals of Muslim faith. This unexpected encounter forces McKinney to confront his prejudices and leads to a profound shift in his perspective. As the story unfolds, “Stranger at the Gate” explores themes of redemption, empathy, and the potential for transformative change in the face of human connection.

An Irish Goodbye (Winner of the 2023 Oscar for Best Live Action Short)

Set in the rural landscapes of Northern Ireland, this compelling story delves into the lives of two estranged brothers who are reluctantly brought together following the sudden and tragic passing of their mother. Amidst the grief and loss, the brothers find themselves navigating the complexities of their shared history and the emotional weight of their fractured relationship. As they confront their past and come to terms with their present circumstances, this poignant tale explores themes of family, reconciliation, and the transformative power of coming together in times of adversity.

Indy Shorts Fest pro tip: Before the screening, make sure to arrive early to indulge in complimentary HotBox Pizza and participate in exciting camp activities to enhance the experience. As an added bonus, present your Indy Shorts ticket at the Newfields Welcome Center to enjoy free same-day general admission to Newfields during museum hours, extending the artistic journey beyond the realm of film.

To learn more, watch “Life.Style.Live!” host Amber Hankins’ interview with Jessica Chapman, director of marketing for Indy Shorts Fest, online.