Roy W. Dean Grant Spring 2024 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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2024 Spring Grant Finalists

Displaying 1 – 14 of 14

26 Seconds – USA Docu Series


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Every 26 seconds a child is trafficked globally. The 26 Seconds USA docuseries highlights the heartbreaking stories of children and women who were sex trafficked, who have all experienced horrifically similar traumas. The story is told from the survivors’ point of view and the horrors of their captivity. This poignant and unapologetic docuseries will deliver a compelling and emotional journey, raise awareness of this urgent issue, and challenge each of us to stand up for innocent women and children right here in our own backyard in USA.

ᏗᏂᏠᎯ ᎤᏪᏯ (Meet Me at the Creek)

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Cherokee elders, like Rebecca Jim, believe that what happens to the water happens to us. Without it, we cannot move culture forward and we cannot exist here. ᏗᏂᏠᎯ ᎤᏪᏯ (Meet Me at the Creek) tells a story of interconnectedness and Cherokee values through the lifelong fight of Rebecca Jim, a Cherokee Nation citizen and Waterkeeper Warrior, as she leads the effort to restore Tar Creek located in Miami, Oklahoma. U.S. government officials have designated Tar Creek as “irreversibly damaged,” but Rebecca refuses to accept that.

I Love You More Than My Life


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Indira returns home to Illinois, to care for her aging mother, who struggles with depression. As she reflects on her mother’s vibrant past, as an award-winning social worker who immigrated by herself from India, Indira struggles to balance her roles as caregiver and daughter, while protecting her own mental health.

Marked by Grace: Compassion Prevails on the WWII Battlefield

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During the horrendous cruelties of WWII, Germans and Americans share three, compelling true stories of compassion between enemies on the battlefield, proving that humanity perseveres in the most unlikely of places.

Rare instances of courageous compassion toward the enemy provide glimpses deep into the hearts of men as they grappled with “kill or be killed” and “thou shalt not kill.”

Peter Coyote, accomplished actor and double-Emmy award winning narrator of Ken Burns’ documentaries, provides voice over. Filmed in five U.S. states, Germany and England, this documentary features compassion experts and military expert Lt. Col. David Grossman, author of On Combat and On Killing.

The History of Women

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The History of Women is a documentary that follows filmmaker, Deborah Romare on her journey to discover both the myths and truths about women from the beginning of time.

The Pickleball Project (temporary title)

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An eighty-year old brings pickleball mania to the City of Angels, a gentleman with Parkinson’s gets his grounding, and a paralyzed immigrant finds the place to share their natural athleticism and joy. This short documentary film explores the magic of what brings us to the courts and bonds us forever.


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Timetracker follows the reentry journey of Jack Powers, a 63-year-old artist living in a rehabbed RV, as he navigates an unfamiliar new world. After release from 22 years in extreme solitary confinement, Jack pursues a variety of increasingly extreme creative projects in an attempt to reckon with his turbulent past and the loss of his son.

Heroic Episodes

Web/TV Series

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When an army veteran traumatized by the ravages of war meets a teenager struggling to survive on the streets against a deadly gang leader, their lives change forever.

Carry My Voice

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Love and separation


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In 1919, a titan was unleashed. Thus began the Golden Age of Horseracing as Man o’ War captivated America like no thoroughbred ever had. Supernatural speed, a colossal stride and unwavering endurance at any distance stamped him a mythic figure. In a two-year career Man o’ War won 20 of 21 starts, raced at odds-on without exception, set two world records and five American records. Sports Illustrated, Associated Press and ESPN proclaimed him the greatest racing thoroughbred of the 20th century. Sam Riddle paid $5,000 for this colt with aims to run him over jumps, we document how Riddle’s plan went so thrillingly awry.

Connie – The powers and possibilities of community engagement


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Connie – the powers and possibilities of community engagement is a 30-minute documentary about the life and work of 91-year-old activist, women’s advocate and inspirational leader Constance Bowles Eve. Her most important accomplishment was the creation of Women for Human Rights and Dignity, Inc. (WHRD) an initiative which helped incarcerated women by offering alternatives to incarceration, mentoring, job training, housing, and more. The film seeks to inspire with Connie’s can-do-spirit and deeply lived belief in collective action.
In the summer of 2023, at age 90, she was crowned the Queen of Juneteenth, leading the Juneteenth parade and saluting the cheering crowd, including Governor Kathy

Il Mio Posto a Tavola (My Place at the Table)

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Rescued as a baby from an orphanage and adopted by his Italian-American parents, the filmmaker returns to Aosta, Italy, a lifetime later to reconcile the feelings that have stopped him from finding his seat at the table.

Structured around a family meal and seen through the heart of the filmmaker, Dr. Santo D. Marabella, this documentary film examines the emotional complexities of adoption, the universal need to have a place where you belong, and what it means to be a part of a family. His has been fulfilling life in many ways. But, now with his parents gone, and the recent passing of his cherished dog, Santo returns to his Aosta, to find his place at the table.


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Award-winning filmmaker Lorenzo DeStefano turns his keen eye and investigatory skills towards unravelling the mysterious life and work of the infamous Boston eccentric, Arthur Crew Inman (1895-1963), author of the 17 million word/155 volume “INMAN DIARY”, published by Harvard University Press. In collaboration with award-winning Producer/Film Editor Lisa Palattella, “FROM A DARKENED ROOM” is an epic of collective memory chronicling the bizarre true story of Inman’s 60-year quest for literary immortality and his 40-year marriage to his long-suffering wife and collaborator EVELYN YATES INMAN.

Man o' War: Unleashed

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Horse racing captivated the nation then, and Man o’ War enlivened the masses as no runner ever had. Raw speed, a voracious stride and steely endurance at any distance stamped him a mythic figure. Join us as we track the life and times of this supernatural phenomenon, his unrelenting nature, his unlikely rise to stardom, his enduring fame even after he retired as racing’s foremost purse-winner.



Roy W. Dean Spring Previous Grant Winners

2023 – Jenn Lindsay for Minding Shadows (Documentary)

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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