Roy W. Dean Grant Fall 2019 Finalists

Congratulations to the films selected to be Roy W. Dean Grant Fall 2019 Finalists.  

Since 1992, From the Heart Productions has supported filmmakers with cash and substantial professional discounts from our film industry partners, averaging an estimated $30,000 per filmmaker.  The Roy W. Dean grants program, with several annual deadlines, has grown into one of the most sought after competitions in the world.

The Roy W. Dean Grant funds unique films that make a contribution to society.  It gives filmmakers with great stories told with passion the funding to get their projects started or completed.

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2019 Fall Grant Finalists

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26 Seconds

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One child every “26 Seconds” is trafficked globally, the majority ending up in the sex trade. “26 Seconds” features the heartbreaking stories of children and women from vastly different cultures experiencing horrifically similar traumas. The documentary highlights the active efforts of survivors, other individuals and NGO’s to rescue victims, and raise awareness to those in power to affect change, and ultimately put a stop to this horrific, worldwide industry. “26 Seconds” follows children and women from each of the target countries:Thailand, Cambodia, India, Iraq, Mexico, East Africa and in our own backyards in the USA.

34 Seconds

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Set against the turbulent atmosphere of the U.S. - Mexico border, 34 Seconds is a feature-length documentary exploring the death of several children in association with U.S. immigration policy. Jose Rodriguez and Sergio Hernandez were both victims of cross border shootings carried out by US Border Patrol Agents standing on American soil. Jakelin Caal and Felipe Alonzo both died in migrant detention. Unfortunately, these cases are not unique nor isolated. Our film examines how militarization, foreign policy, and negligence all led to these children's tragic and untimely deaths.

An Elephant in the Room


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At Good Grief in New Jersey, groups of children meet to understand the passing of a parent or a sibling through play. They can give in to rage and frustrations in the volcano room, say goodbye to a dying teddy bear patient in the hospital room or bury a figurine in a miniature coffin in the indoor sandbox.
Over the course of a year, we follow the weekly meetings and get close to Kimmy, Nicky, Peter, Nora, Nolan and Mikayla and their close companion: grief. Grief is high and heavy as a mountain, but it helps you understand what has happened, and that death is irreversible.

ARTOPIA #Belfast

Short documentary

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Twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement that ended hostilities in Northern Ireland, an Israeli filmmaker meets with leading activist creatives in Belfast to learn about the struggles of a society still grappling with its bloody history, and about the importance of art in fostering peace and social cohesion.

Benny Golson: Looking Beyond The Horizon


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Benny Golson embarks upon a journey over time and space to chronicle his awe-inspiring life. “Looking Beyond the Horizon’’ will reacquaint some and introduce others to the legendary saxophonist, Benny Golson.

Breath of Yi


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When three families of the Yi ethnic minority in Southwest China tried to ride the wave of the economic boom, they were caught up in drug abuse and AIDS, losing husbands and fathers. Now these HIV-infected widows endeavor to get back on their feet and give their children a chance at an education.

Coming Home - Fight For A Legacy

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Five women fight to prove they have the right stuff to be the first female military pilots in WWII while unbeknownst to them political forces in congress try to destroy their efforts and erase them from History.

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A vulnerable little girl perceives her curly hair as ugly and believes that straight hair means beauty, must summon the courage to embrace her hair and accept her true self in order to be happy.

FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile: Thailand

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"FREELANCERS with Bill Gentile: Thailand" introduces viewers to freelance foreign correspondents, a new breed of journalist working with determination, creativity and the latest technology, to fill the void left by mainstream media outlets retreating from news coverage abroad. The freelancers based in and near Thailand search in some of the darkest corners of the region for the truth about critical issues that affect us all. The Thailand episode of this documentary series comes on the heels of the pilot episode, which was produced in Mexico. To see the Mexico trailer, go to:

Gone - The Road From 9/11

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In 'Gone - The Road From 9/11' stories of real people illustrate how to prevail and thrive in the aftermath of devastating loss.

Here is a link to the current trailer:

Harmful Protection


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What if thousands of young people are injured, but unaware of the cause? The HPV vaccine is the most reported for side effects; a Harvard study determined less than 1% of reactions are reported. Injuries range from seizures, migraine, fatigue, infertility, ovarian failure, paralysis, cancer, even death! Included is one woman’s story to help recover injured girls from Columbia. Class action lawsuits from multiple countries, as the world strives to revaluate the safety of this harmful vaccine. A Columbian journalist said, “it’s like an atomic bomb exploded there, but it was a biological bomb, one of the mother’s said, ‘they didn’t just make our daughter sick, they made the whole family sick.”

Home Is Where The War Is

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The cornerstone to the 1951 Refugee Convention is the concept of non-refoulement. This means that refugees cannot be forcibly returned to the country they are fleeing. But the scope of the situation has pushed funding to the limit.

Donor fatigue has resulted in reductions of aid for camps. Countries attempt to shirk responsibility by paying asylum seekers hard cash to withdraw their claims. Many are caught between living in a country without dignity versus returning to a country without security.

What does “voluntary” mean when none of your options are good? Is the present climate incentivising sending people back into harm’s way?

How to Have an American Baby

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There is a city in Southern California that is teeming with pregnant women from China. HOW TO HAVE AN AMERICAN BABY is a kaleidoscopic voyage, told through multiple perspectives, into the booming shadow economy of Chinese birth tourism that has taken over the Chinese enclaves of Los Angeles County.

Karaoke People

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Everyone karaokes. Every age. Every gender. Every religion. Karaoke isn't black or white. It isn't red state or blue state. We karaoke together side by side...and we are fantastic and terrible at it. But Karaoke People are different. They NEED karaoke in their lives. Sometimes it even saves their lives. Whether or not you love karaoke, it’s hard not to fall in love with Karaoke People.

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An old desert-grown vaquero in Baja California, has a new goal in life; so he gathers a herd of mules and donkeys, builds the saddles and traditional gear, and plans an historic reenactment of an old-time mule-pack-train (a Recua) that traveled through that rugged desert country over a century ago. Our charismatic cowboy, Dario Higuera has the skills, the knowledge, and not just a spark, but a wildfire of enthusiasm to share a legacy passed on to him from the stories he’d heard ‘round the campfires of his youth.

Documenting vignettes along every step of the way, Dario and his compañeros will herd those donkeys across 200 miles of spectacular desert and original El Camino Real, to La Paz.

Lady Madonna

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Lady Madonna is a documentary feature chronicling the humanitarian works of a small Nigerian hospital with a mission to serve anyone who comes through the doors. We follow Dr. Ogbono, the lead doctor at Madonna Hospital as he tries his best to serve the community of Umuahia. Limited by the resources of this Catholic mission hospital, he works to compete with the local government hospital in quality of patient care without the patient’s ability to pay up front. When a group of American doctors visit the hospital, a wave of new patients arrive seeking care. This is a boon to the hospital’s reputation, but brings with it old stereotypes and the remnants of centuries of colonialism.

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Kurdish refugees, a mother and her daughter, talk about their epic journey from Syrian to the US with their passion for cooking.

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What happens when you fall through a crack in the system? For Mateo, it means being stuck in a fully automated jail cell for a crime he didn't commit. He embarks on a Kafka-esque journey to reach a human being, battling the prison's infuriating customer service while struggling to keep his sanity.

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RAWSPACE is a feature-length, 2D animated action/adventure film. This science-fiction story follows a young hunter who betrays her oppressive alien Queen, and then must team up with a washed-up warrior to fight her way back to the kingdom and burn it to the ground. Although the fast-paced plot is reminiscent of the over-the-top action of the 80s & 90s, the story contains important themes of overcoming systemic oppression, bodily autonomy, and supporting a loved one struggling with addiction.

READy or Not?


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Through intimate footage, we see the resilience and strength of four American families as they fiercely advocate for free literacy programs for their children and communities. READy or Not? shows how educational technology can produce community-wide change in preparing young children at greatest risk for illiteracy. Despite significant barriers like poverty, racism, language, and learning disabilities, we see our families alongside their community leaders fighting tirelessly to provide our youngest generation with the most foundational indicator of life-long success: the ability to read.

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What happens when a nuclear weapons plant closes down in your neighborhood? ROCKY FLATS is a feature documentary about the massive amount of nuclear waste that still sits in the American landscape -- remnants of our nuclear weapons program. The film focuses in on the story through communities in Colorado that are currently facing off with the government over the toxic legacy of the Cold War in their backyards.

Sawdust: Rebuilding an existance

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Life-threatening violence forced Jacques Kabongo and family to flee his accommodated situation in conflict-stricken DRC to a refugee camp challenging his determination to rebuild his existence.

Sawdust is a short documentary film that confronts tragedy with hope. Its cinematic aesthetics and direction immerses you in a remote story that feels like a narrative film until you realize that it is a bold reality to millions. Jacques story proves that this reality can change for refugees through education.

Stronger for Life

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What does an internationally renowned fitness expert and entrepreneur do when faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer?
Stronger for Life follows Ilaria Montagnani’s remarkable journey for two years from diagnosis to treatment to recovery.
The story reveals how her philosophy of being strong in body and mind play a crucial role in her recovery and inspires her commitment to advocate early detection and breast cancer awareness.

With Malice: Duval v. County of Los Angeles


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When L.A. County's child welfare agency took Lina Duval’s son from her and accused her of starving him, they never imagined that Lina and her attorney, Shawn McMillan, would uncover the truth, turn the tables and put the agency and its social workers on trial. WITH MALICE is a character-driven social issue film with true-crime elements that provides a rare view into how the agency operates. The film will present seemingly indisputable evidence against Lina and then peel back the layers to expose a broken system which protects and even rewards incompetence and malfeasance by those entrusted to protect society’s most vulnerable children.



Previous Roy W. Dean Fall Grant Winners

2018 – Gina Surles for Triple Threat

2017 – Ryan Hetrick for Restoring Balance

2016 – Robyn Symon for Do No Harm

2015 – Sabine El Gemayel for Generation Zapped

2014 – Stephanie Seldin Howard for Not The Same: Families After War

2013 – Janice Engle for Raise Hell

2012 – Elizabeth Sher for Penny

2011 – Dulanie Ellis for Ground Operations

2010 – Donald Goldmacher for Heist

2009 – Maria Ramas, Michael Masucci & Kate Johnson for MIA, A Dancer’s Odyssey

2008 – Paula Ely, Producer and Stuart Harmon for The Money Stone

2007 – Colorblind or Blinded by Color?

2006 – Christie and Dennis Davis for Women at War: Forgotten Veterans of Desert Storm



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