Roy W. Dean Grant Summer 2021 Finalists

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

25 films were chosen as finalists.  On this page, we give each filmmaker the opportunity to tell the world about their film. They choose the pictures and loglines.  Some may choose not to reveal their projects on this page and we respect their wishes.   

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.

Grant Application Button Transparent

2021 Summer Grant Finalists

Search Listings


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

A police detective feels he is managing his life successfully, while trying to avoid the pain of a past trauma. Others in his life see that he is destroying himself from within. Now, with his health suffering, and his marriage at a breaking point, he is forced to finally confront the pain he hasn’t been able to release. One night, he comes across a teen in crises. His efforts to help the boy could provide hope for them both.

The Legend of Princess Ronkonkoma

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

Jamie’s wish to enjoy her last summer home at the lake with friends to celebrate her 18th birthday and graduation before heading to college is overshadowed by the one year anniversary of her brother’s drowning, her mother’s mental health issues, and unexplained supernatural occurrences that haunt the once happy Schultz family

Prodigal Daughter

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

This personal documentary follows filmmaker and immigrant artist Mabel Valdiviezo as she reunifies with her Peruvian family after a 16-year separation. She must confront past secrets that tore her apart from her parents and face an uncertain future after an unexpected health diagnosis. The clock ticking, Mabel must find a way to open her heart and heal her broken family ties before it's too late.

On Board


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

In the very middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Ocean Viking ship crew is rescuing refugees who are struggling to reach Europe on their frail crafts.
Once rescued, often in perilous conditions, they are welcomed on the ship where they receive first aid and are then accompanied to a safe port. Despite health and logistic issues, the moments they share all together are very intense and create singular and moving relationships.

Coming Home: Fight for a Legacy

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

Six daring women prove they have what it takes to join the US military’s first all female Air Force program to fight in WWII only to face a different kind of war: a decades long battle for recognition from those who defied their very existence.

With never-before-seen personal archival footage, and hundreds of hours of interviews with sixteen pilots and their families, Oscar-nominated director Matia Karrell brings us a raw, candid portrait of these 90 year old unsung WWII heroes.

Coming Home - Fight For A Legacy also shines a light on our early female aviators of all races in this inspiring story of adventure,
achievement, and one that must be told.

Watering the West: A Water Western

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

In Watering the West characters with varied roles, different stakes, and multiple viewpoints in the vast and complex world of Colorado water tell the little stories behind the big issue of the increasing scarcity and value of water in the headwaters state. The problems seem insurmountable. But a quiet peace bubbles in the form of solutions--some newly proven, some merely ideas, and some innovations that promise to change the landscape and conversation around water supplies in the American West. Because in the arid west where drought, exploding forest fires and populations, and water supplies that have been over-allocated for a century are the daily grind, failure is not an option.

Broken Toy

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

Logline: A child's toy robot, thrown away by an abusive parent, embarks on an odyssey to set things right.

'Broken Toy' follows the tale of the completely CGI protagonist, Mikkei, through a hostile adult world. The writer/director has worked within the VFX industry on numerous feature films and advertisements and now wants to make their foray into short films, telling stories that connect with audiences on a very human level.

A Family of Stories

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

A filmmaker’s life is transformed by her journey to investigate the mystery of her father’s 1983 vanishing while he was buying gold in the Venezuelan Amazon and the secrets she uncovers about him, her family, and herself.


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

The life and times of jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr., patriarch of the First Family of Jazz, who turned teaching music into a Civil Rights Act, mentored a generation of top musicians and drawing from his hometown of New Orleans, changed modern jazz.

The Bridge Ministry


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

For over 20 years the Bridge Ministry has been positively changing the lives of men dealing with life-threatening addiction issues by providing them with a residency in a camp in rural central Virginia where they are taught productive job skills and are also provided with psychological and spiritual mentoring to alter their downward paths heading towards incarceration. The film will follow their everyday life at the camp as strong relationships are developed in this particular community of residents. This film will present a portrait of this camp to inspire and advocate for replicating this transformative experience in communities across the country and beyond.

The Missing


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

ISIS’s genocidal campaign across Northern Iraq in 2014, left over 10,000 Yazidi men, women and children killed and enslaved. Now, three siblings, (Mediha, 16, Ghazwan, 14, Adnan, 11), victims of ISIS trafficking and slavery, film themselves with cell phones to lead a team of international investigators to serve justice to their ISIS captors, and find their missing brother and mother. Mediha, a 16-year-old girl and the eldest sibling, spearheads one of the only active investigations in Iraq prosecuting ISIS traffickers.

Not Soft


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

Fleeing a crucial exam, child genius Ashkay explores the idea of a life contrary to his family’s high expectations.

Impossible Town

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

When her father passes unexpectedly, Dr. Ayne Amjad is thrust to the helm of a decades-long struggle to aid a southern West Virginia town beset by cancer-causing chemicals. After formulating an audacious plan to relocate the town’s residents, Ayne must decide how much she is willing to sacrifice – and which of her allies she can count on – to fulfill her late father’s mandate to “help others” at all costs. IMPOSSIBLE TOWN is the story of Ayne’s unexpected rise to state leadership and the stalwart citizen activists who subvert so many of the stereotypes that exist about places like West Virginia.

Finding the Money

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

An underdog group of economists are on a mission to prove the national debt is the opposite of what you think it is: it's not our debt, it's our money. Will this controversial new paradigm dubbed “Modern Monetary Theory” or MMT make us rethink the very nature of money in time to understand what the US government can afford in the face of unparalleled challenges?

An Extraordinary Woman


Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

From 1917 to 1919, a group of suffragists tirelessly worked and struggled to secure American women the right to vote. But what became of these brave women after the vote was finally won? This is one woman’s fascinating story.

Surviving Sex Trafficking

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

Brave and resilient sex trafficking survivors around the world share their struggles to break free from their past and find hope for the future.

Simulating Religious Violence

Image: Please upload an image CROPPED TO 500px WIDE

After the Boston Marathon Bombing, a group of world-class experts in religion and computer science create cutting-edge simulations to predict and prevent religious radicalization and violence...but saving lives in the real world is harder than they thought.



Previous Roy W. Dean Summer Grant Winners

2020 – Kelly Galindo for 26 Seconds 

2019 – Heather Dune Macadam for 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

2018 – Allison Otto and Maria Clinton for The Love Bugs

2017 – Erika Cohn for Belly of the Beast

2016 – Rob Herring for The Need to Grow

2015 – Chelo Alvarez Stehle for Sands of Silence

2014 – Rachel Elizabeth Seed for A Photographic Memory

2013 – Jason Grant Smith for I Voted? – A Non-Partisan Documentary

2012 – Alicia Brauns for The Mosaic of Life

2011 – Leslie Neale for Unlikely Friends

2010 – Sara Maamouri & Jesse Deeter for Burned

2009 – Lori Miller for Shakespeare High

2008 – Karin Mak for Red Dust

2007 – Chelo Alavarez for Sold in America




We thank our Community Partners for their continued support!