Roy W. Dean Grant Fall 2021 Finalists

Congratulations to the films selected to be Roy W. Dean Grant Fall 2021 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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2021 Fall Grant Finalists

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United Against Hate

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A Muslim community responds to the London, Ontario terrorist attack which caused heinous murders of one of their own exemplary families. The surviving family overcome hate through their faith.

Generation Nerd Girl

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Recent data from LinkedIn users show women are entering STEM careers in record numbers. Generation Nerd Girl is a character-driven feature documentary exploring that change through the lens of one of it’s bold leaders – Dr. Karen Panetta, Dean of Graduate Engineering at Tufts University and a 2011 Winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring. Exceptional ambition, intellect, and mentorship acumen gave Dr. Panetta the tools to move the needle for women in STEM. Our film looks at the history of women in STEM, Dean Panetta’s career challenges and her 20+ years of work to change the opportunities for her mentees, and other factors contributing to this generational change.

Mom and Me


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An anxious filmmaker returns home to care for her aging but still vibrant South Asian mother, who struggles with depression that leaves her nearly bed ridden. The daughter takes desperate measures to help her mother recover her sense of joy and connection, bringing them closer than they’ve ever been.

The History of Women

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The History of Women feature documentary follows filmmaker, Deborah Romare on her journey to expose the myths about women from the beginning of time. Romare goes on to prove that all women, and especially black and brown women, have been treated differently than men in all aspects of life; the film reveals Romare’s struggles as a woman throughout her professional life and how her own pain and the lessons she learned intertwine with many other women's lives, including Joan of Arc, the suffragists, Gloria Steinem and more… all the way up through the #MeToo movement today.

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The Performing Arts introduce Science. The Celebrations of Light that have been held for millennia around the World have developed a rich mix of cultural heritage performances and styles. Presenting practical, applied science in the form of creating light as a part of the celebrations will make for an entertaining and informative experience. A simple, non-toxic fuel cell, made from readily available materials, will help to fill the need for the nearly 1 billion people worldwide lacking electricity. It will work where Solar can't, at a comparable cost. Balancing the need for access to power with minimal environmental impact will carry forth the mission of "The Gift of Light Equality".

Greatest Loss


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Based on a true story, Greatest Loss is a dramedy about a man on the verge of suicide during his daughter’s eighth birthday. The voices in his brain are having a field day urging him to live or die because funny enough his dad died by suicide on his eighth birthday.

Journey of a Thousand Miles

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When Zhu Shen’s husband Changyou dies of cancer, she throws herself into a six-year odyssey to produce their 12-year-old artistically gifted son Perry’s animated film Changyou’s Journey (a 2019 Oscar-qualifying animated short) in honor of his father, unleashing a mother-son tug of war. Zhu must learn to look inward to reconnect with her son, reclaim her own buried artistic prowess, and transform from a “Tiger Mom” to a “Zen Mom.”

After the Vote

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After women won the right to vote, they immediately use their vote to make change happen! They run for office, become behind the scenes power players, pass legislation and pave the way for the modern women's movement!

Finding Snow White

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“Finding Snow White” tells Ditta Oliker’s amazing journey from personal loss to purpose, psychology, and achieving potential. After the murder of her teenage son, Ditta breaks out of her despair to become a PhD psychotherapist and author, and practices over forty years to age 91. Her use of the Snow White fable in therapy helps her adult patients move past psychological constraints from childhood, to lead fuller lives. Her former patient, Kirby, a Broadway actor, reveals his personal mental health story of breaking free. The film conveys a strong message of hope: that healing is possible, and that self-renewal and finding life’s purpose is within reach.

The Science of Ink

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“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” wrote Oscar Wilde in 1889. This astonishing documentary reveals how the elements of art and tattoos — including the colors, shapes, symbols, quantity of art, and proximity to the art — dramatically affect our relationships, finances, mood, and health, resulting in unprecedented rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide among our children and adults.

Only in Theaters

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The Laemmle Theatres, a beloved 84-year-old art house cinema chain in Los Angeles, is facing seismic change. The family members behind this multigenerational business—whose sole mission has been to support the art of film—remain determined to see it survive, despite enormous challenges.

Piece of Mind

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The feature documentary PIECE OF MIND exposes systemic barriers to care for 8.3 million adults living with severe mental illness in the U. S, highlighted in three viewpoints: Japanese American sisters whose sister with schizoaffective disorder was shot by police and survived, a mother fearful for her son unaware of his schizophrenia, and a suicidal man with bipolar disorder has a positive encounter with police, interwoven are solutions to this stigmatized and neglected humanitarian crisis.

The Loom

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April 25, 1945, Berlin. Hanni shoots her four daughters, her mother and herself to save them from a fate worse than death, rape. Her husband, Albert refuses to speak of the tragedy, turning instead to art. Decades later his hand painted loom provokes the filmmaker to seek out his second family and uncover the truth in this intimate and personal documentary about the reverberating impact of war and the power of art to transform.



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When professional circus clown Lo (Maja Nilsson) rage-ends her relationship with her performing and romantic partner moments before they are supposed to perform for a packed audience, Lo is forced to improvise a solo act with a tennis racket and find faith in her ability to shine on her own.

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'Sangoma' is a short documentary that follows the indigenous spiritual practice reclamation journey of Canadian actress/singer/author Dayle McLeod as she embarks on a journey to South Africa to be initiated as a shaman in her ancestral Zulu lineage

Capturing America: The Carol Highsmith Story


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Go on the road with maverick photographer Carol Highsmith as she chases
her magnificent obsession: America. It’s going to be an unforgettable journey.

CAPTURING AMERICA: THE CAROL HIGHSMITH STORY is two-hour documentary on the life and work of maverick female photographer, 75-year old Carol Highsmith, as she tirelessly builds a project that has consumed her every waking moment over the last forty years: a mammoth, living collection of images—at 30,000 and growing every day—documenting the people, places and things of life in late 20th and early 21st century America, available now to anyone, anywhere on the Library of Congress’s web site.

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Life in a Kurdish village in Eastern Turkey is routine for Grandfather Hamit. Every day for the last 5 years he visits his wife’s grave. Political problems force Hamit and the other villagers to leave their village.

Ramona At Midlife

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RAMONA AT MIDLIFE is a dark comedy about a single mother and former Literary It Girl who discovers that
her unflattering current reality is the subject of a hot filmmaker’s newest project. As Ramona faces up to her
disappointments and wrecked friendships, she finds true creative power and is finally ready to become her best self.

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Despite all odds, a group of inmates in Michigan join a Bachelor's degree program, in order to change their lives –– and change the system.

The Girl In The Backroom

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When Senator Weinberg’s daughter Francine, takes a deep dive into her mother’s lifetime of political battles, she shows how her mom flipped New Jersey on its head and unearthed one of the craziest scandals in history, Bridgegate, which caused the fast and hard fall of Governor Chris Christie.



Previous Roy W. Dean Fall Grant Winners

2020 – Joe Castel for Nelly Queen & Trudi Angell for LaRecua

2019 – Leslie Tai for How to Have an American Baby

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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