Roy W. Dean Grant Summer 2022 Finalists
Congratulations to the films selected to be Roy W. Dean Grant Summer Finalists.
20 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.
2022 Summer Grant Finalist
Displaying 1 - 18 of 18
Blooming of Time: Dance with Jinzi
The life and work of GAO Yanjinzi, one of China's most acclaimed female modern dancers, as she faces unprecedented challenges. Her 26-year-old dance company is on the brink of disbandment since Covid-19 has brought China's entire performance industry to a stop, while she is also troubled by her severe ankle injury and her role as a mother. However, nothing would stop her from seeking the very reason why she chose to dance in the first place. The film will not only bear witness to the artist's own struggle, but also reflect upon why art still matters in the post-Covid world.
I'm Still Here
What's in a Name
WHAT'S IN A NAME follows three trans women, Tania Cordova, Eisha Love, and Reyna Ortiz, who are suing the state of Illinois to strike down a law that prohibits people with felony convictions from legally changing their names. They are also key activists involved in the effort to pass HB2542, a state bill that strikes down the same law.
A male name on their government ID exposes the women as trans, which opens them up to harassment and danger and the constant outing causes an enormous amount of stress. WHAT'S IN A NAME shares the personal journeys of three women who are fighting for the fundamental right to choose their own names.
Better Than They Found It
A daughter reconciles time lost to her father’s demanding football coaching career by uncovering the role he and his peers played in pushing a quintessential American institution to change. In the process, she discovers a silver lining to her family's sacrifice: doors open to women like her in sport and sports journalism.
A character-driven documentary feature, Better Than They Found It lifts the veil on one of the most enduring controversies in sport.
Thank You, Sister
Sister Gertrude Morgan was an artist, evangelist, poet, and musician; a black woman wielding her tambourine, paintbrush and fierce voice to spread her singular message on the streets of New Orleans from the French Quarter to the Lower 9th Ward. Little known in the greater culture, her artwork is in major institutions around the world and has inspired a number of contemporary artists. The film seeks to question through Sister’s story, and through the practicing artists impacted by her, the nature of truth, art, value, and identity.
when we three meet/creation fables
Today urgent challenges pit the rights of the individual vs. the common good, individual identity vs. social unity, commerce and consumerism vs. conservation of the environment. The media overwhelm us with a monolithic wash of information impossible to ignore and just as hard to filter. These two films propose to mitigate that onslaught by vivifying, exploring, and elucidating these challenges with whimsy and fantasy, letting us examine often harsh realities through fanciful aesthetic play. Stop-motion filmmaker Elizabeth Phelps and composer Robert Pound collaborate to create two films derived from and elaborating on two of Pound's musical works, "when we three meet" and "creation fables."
Going Fine Since 1889: The Magical Armstrongs
Going Fine Since 1889: The Magical Armstrongs is a feature length documentary about a family of African American magicians who traveled throughout the South during the confines of the Jim Crow era.
Much of the lore and history of the Armstrong’s is a mystery, and this is what we seek to explore. The Armstrong’s traveled extensively, performed to great crowds and were incredibly successful. Their determination and level of accomplishment is stunning, considering the times.
The film seeks to piece together the story of the Armstrong’s through movies, historical documentation, and most importantly, African American magicians who carry on this important, not yet fully explored, legacy.
Lord of Nature: Born To Re-Wild
A compelling documentary that follows Ireland’s Lord Randal Plunkett (39), the 21st Baron of Dunsany Castle, as he works to re-wild his 1700 acre estate (the country’s largest private rewilding project) to help fight climate change. Randal’s efforts are jeopardized, however, when the transportation department threatens to construct a railroad that would run directly through his property and destroy the land and legacy he’s worked so hard to save.
With Martin Sheen narrating and interviews with Irish actor/environmental activist Gabriel Byrne on the state of the climate crisis and why this particular forest is important to save not just for Ireland but for the world.
Sanctuary of Butterflies
For 25 years, Rafael Larraenza has risked his life along the US-Mexico border to rescue immigrants lost in the desert. But as the years catch up with him, he worries his next search-and-rescue mission could be his last.
Intimate and poetic, DESERT ANGEL is a character study of a man driven to save others and willing to risk anything to do so.
Janis Ian & The Art of Song (working title)
In the mid-60s, Janis Ian, a tiny teenage Jewish singer-songwriter from New Jersey scores a hit ("Society's Child," 1966) about an interracial relationship. The song launches her illustrious career but also ignites controversy, and she plunges into an emotional tailspin–only to emerge from the ashes with an even bigger hit ("At Seventeen," 1975) about body shaming. For the next six decades, Janis overcomes homophobia, record industry misogyny, and a life-threatening illness to produce an indelible body of work that continues to draw large audiences around the globe.
Trial by Media: The Michael Jackson Story
WZZQ: The The Rock of Jackson
Holding Back The Tide
Holding Back The Tide is a city symphony of urban and aquatic landscapes, following the precarious ebb and flow of oyster life cycles. The film's documentary scenes introduce us to an ensemble of farmers, chefs, scientists, and environmentalists, all working to close the ecological loop on oyster consumption. Scripted interludes inspired by oysters’ genderfluid reproductive biology and Greek myth depict characters as they traverse the city and the waterways in search of a queer and environmentally sustainable way of being. How can something as small as an oyster build toward the future in the face of looming climate disaster? How much are we willing to invest in our cities’ longevity?
Twenty-two year old Neuroscience student Wendy is transitioning from pre-med to performance when she is thrown into quarantine with her 17 year-old sister, April. Suddenly sharing a full-sized bed, the sisters struggle to make peace with their newfound living quarters. But, while editing April’s college essays, Wendy discovers her purpose–to help April find hers. Over fourteen days, the girls grow from acquaintances to artistic allies as they realize their unstoppable potential to pursue their passion.
Based on a true story, this film was shot in Houston with an entirely Texan cast & crew. Creator Abby Tozer donated $2500 to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell performing artist scholarship.
Mom & Me
Blooming of Time: Dance with Jinzi
The life and work of GAO Yanjinzi, one of China’s most acclaimed female modern dancers combining the west and the east through choreography, as she faces unprecedented challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. Her 26-year-old dance company is on the brink of disbandment since China’s entire performance industry has come to a stop, while she is also troubled by her severe ankle injury and her role as a mother. However, nothing would stop her from seeking the very reason why she danced in the first place—to help people find an exit for emotions through the liberation of body.