Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2023 Finalists

Congratulations to the films selected to be Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 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.

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2023 Spring Grant Finalists

26 Seconds - ISIS Sex Slaves


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One child every 26 seconds is trafficked globally


Web/TV Series

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Flip My Life is a 10-episode web series centered around the renovation of an abandoned house in Memphis, TN, for use as a transition home for men returning from prison. The show follows the renovation and profiles individuals who will be living in the house, as they learn construction skills while helping the show hosts renovate it. The hosts are 64-year old newlyweds who married exactly 50 years after meeting and retired to use their life experiences - one as a contractor turned bank robber - the other as a TV newscaster - to help others. The show is part renovation, part restorative justice and part romance: navigating renovation perils, funding challenges and married life in a camper.


Web/TV Series

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Logline: A British children's book character comes to life in the bathroom of a sleep-deprived new mom.

Max, a new mom, is trying to be the mom she always thought she'd be--the kind of mom who makes baby food from yams harvested in the Himalayas and orders toys carved from fair trade Sandalwood. While formerly excelling as a lawyer, she is fraying at the edges trying to uphold society's expectations of motherhood.

Enter, Dick Bunny, a rude, Beatrix Potter-esque, man-rabbit, who has escaped his storybook reality only to find himself in the middle of another Hellscape--LA mom culture. He finds the demands placed on moms to be utter Bullocks and ultimately teaches Max to be herself.

7 Deadly Sins

Web/TV Series

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In a world where Purgatory is a mansion with the incarnations of the 7 Deadly Sins, souls must resist a series of temptations in order to gain entrance to Heaven, or eternal Hellfire awaits.

The Green Flash

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In 1973, Steve Lamb was busted smuggling more than nine tons of marijuana into the sleepy fishing village of Steinhatchee, Florida. At the time, it was the biggest pot seizure in U.S. history. It changed Steve’s life and his hometown of St. Pete Beach, FL—giving rise to an industry of fishermen-turned-pot-smugglers and making him a local legend. 50 years later, he refuses to let that legend fade. As the sun sets on Steve Lamb, “The Green Flash” offers an intimate look at an aging pirate’s attempt to leave a worthwhile legacy behind.

Forward Thinking

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A Black man seeks the assistance of a trademarking agency to prepare for his inevitable encounter with the police.

'Forward Thinking' traverses the mental state of James, a young Black man who represents those like him who are trying to simply navigate through life in America. The surreal environment is a mirrored representation of the Black reality in America.

Singing for Justice

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SINGING FOR JUSTICE reveals the story of Faith Petric – a political radical, musical organizer, and joyous performer who united folk music and activism through almost a century of American social movements. All her life, Faith sang to change the world – and herself.

American Sons

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10 years after an explosion disabled him and another killed his best friend, a struggling Marine seeks healing through reconnection with the survivors left behind he's not the only one struggling to overcome mental and emotional suffering.


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An institutionalized woman claiming to be Blanche DuBois must unravel the tragic circumstances that brought her there. Drama, Mystery, LGBTQ+

The Peace Piano


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He is “the Prophet of the Piano” - a man born in a Ukrainian refugee camp who has completely revolutionised the world of the piano. On record as the world’s fastest pianist - playing 40 notes per second - 74 year old Lubomyr Melnyk is the world’s first, and possibly the last, ‘Continuous’ pianist.

THE PEACE PIANO is an immersive cinematic journey into Lubomyr Melnyk's life and a stunning visual exploration of his music. The episodic fusion of documentary and biographical drama echoes the kaleidoscopic, fractal structure of his work and invites audiences to experience the full power and potential of his sound.

Goodbye Baby

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Thirty years after killing her two baby daughters, Paula Sims is on a quest to bring awareness to postpartum psychosis and change the law in the United States.

The Black Brain

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The Black Brain is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the compelling journey of the award-winning duo, Director Zoë Alyce Salnave and Producer Lauren Lindberg, as they embark on a nation-wide quest to understand and bring awareness to the "invisible injury."

Through a wide range of highly-personal and engaging stories, the Black Brain captures an honest picture of the obstacles and hardships endured by survivors of brain injuries, shedding light on their often overlooked struggles. Yet, amidst these challenges, the film emphasizes the remarkable resilience of the human spirit, illustrating how, even in our darkest moments, we can find strength and support in one another.

Trial by Media: The Michael Jackson Story


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Exploring the complex intersection of pop culture, media, and race, this documentary delves into the
life and legacy of Michael Jackson, examining the societal forces that shaped his public image and
questioning the impact of today's evolving cultural standards on our perception of the enigmatic icon.

Bad Like Brooklyn Dancehall

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A celebration of the Jamaican dancehall music scene that reverberated across Brooklyn in the 90s and its ever-present influence on a younger generation. An entrancing cast of Jamaican and New York luminaries share their community story of building a cultural bridge between Jamaica and New York from the early pioneers to present day megastars Shaggy and Sean Paul, BAD LIKE BROOKLYN DANCEHALL creates a coherent account of dancehall as a New York immigrant evolution of shared Jamaican identity and cultural pride. Executive produced by Shaggy.



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An undocumented immigrant achieves his dream of opening a piano factory in Yonkers, NY, but unforeseen circumstances threaten to take away his livelihood and potentially separate his family.

Minding Shadows

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A 13-year-old boy survives the 1994 Rwandan genocide and prepares himself to take revenge by learning the deadliest forms of karate. Instead, he finds a profound experience of peace and discipline that changes him forever.

Big Boys

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Big Boys is a coming-of-age comedy about the turning point in a queer person’s life, before they come out to the world, when they come out to themselves. Jamie is a chubby, gay fourteen year-old confused about his sexuality and uncomfortable in his own body, but all that changes when his cousin brings her new boyfriend, Dan, on a family camping trip. Dan is a beefy, charming “bear” of a man who ignites feelings in Jamie that he had previously repressed and proves to him that big men can be sexy too. Although Dan is straight and twice his age, that doesn’t stop lovestruck Jamie from doing whatever it takes to get closer to him in this funny, tender film about the power of a first crush.

Barbara Hammer Project


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An exclusive look at the iconic life, work, & legacy of pioneering lesbian experimental filmmaker, Barbara Hammer, tracing her prolific canon alongside never-before-seen documentations of her life and body. Interweaving Hammer’s archives with contemporary footage of Barbara’s friends, lovers, collaborators & archivists, BARBARA HAMMER PROJECT reveals Hammer’s unconventional attempts to live on forever.



Roy W. Dean Spring Previous Grant Winners

2022 Sheila Ganz for Piece of Mind (Documentary)

2021 – Michael Camoin for Scared to Debt (Documentary)

2020 – Michael Culyba for Keeper of Time (Documentary)

2019 – Justin Lerner & Mauricio Escobar for El Cadejo Blanco (Narrative Feature)

2018Rémi Kessler, Robert Mc Falls, and Linda Othenin-Girard for The Advocate

2017 – Erika Cohn for Belly of the Beast

2016 – Malina Fagan and Lynn Pelletier for The Coverup

2015 – Karen Day for Girl From God’s Country

2014 – Jen Senko for The Brainwashing of My Dad

2013 – Helen Hall for Pictures of Infinity

2012 – Suzanne Mitchell for Running Wild

2011 – Beth Harrington for The Winding Stream

2010 – Cathryne Czubek for A Girl & A Gun

2009 – Chad A. Stevens for Coal War

2008 – Melissa Montero for Our Women Our Struggle

2007 – Shawn Batey for The Changing Face of Harlem

2006 – Alice Hurwitz & Jeff Morgan for Lilly & Leander, A Legacy of Violence

2005 – Eric Gottlieb for Wakefield Convicted, Sentenced to Die

2004 – Muriel Stockdale for NYC Spirit

2003 – Rebecca Dreyfus for Stolen



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