Stuart Harmon Wins Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling

Documentary “Hangtown” Examines the Problematic History of California Gold Rush Through the Eyes of Three Women Fighting for Their Identities and Communities

Carole Joyce Award

Still from “Hangtown”

From the Heart Productions, a top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping independent filmmakers fund their projects, is pleased to announce that Director Stuart Harmon has won the second Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling for his documentary “Hangtown”. 

The Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling is awarded to a film submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant and selected as a finalist.  The filmmaker will receive $2,500 to help him continue work on this film.

“Stuart’s film is timely and powerful,” commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “He has done a fabulous job of weaving these stories together from a divided community.”

About the Film

“Hangtown,” a documentary film in production, asks some of the most pressing questions around white supremacy in America today, revealing the challenges small towns must face when grappling with a contentious past.

For generations, the noose scrawled on the city seal and swaying effigy in Placerville, CA was a symbol of pride by locals and a kitschy tourist landmark for those headed to Lake Tahoe. Legend has it that the mostly white, former gold mining town’s moniker “Hangtown” came after three outlaws were hung during the Gold Rush for robbing a saloon in 1849 – the first “official” execution in California’s history – and the community’s ethos has been wrapped around the notion of frontier justice ever since.

Drive down main street and you’ll find scores of businesses named “Hangtown.” Hanging contests used to be a favored pastime at summer festivals and nooses adorned the school basketball gym. The area has staked its entire identity on the noose.

But that’s all changed in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Lizzie Dubose, a 26 year-old struggling college student and one of the few Black residents of the town, has mobilized a team of activists to target the iconography in the fight for racial justice. To her the noose represents more than mining lore – it’s a symbol of white supremacy and perpetuates a false narrative about “law and order” in the American west.

The activists liken their battle to the removal of Confederate monuments across the South and have led weekly protests, the likes of which have never happened in the bucolic town. Their efforts also spark a deeper look into the problematic history of African Americans during the Gold Rush by descendants of the original pioneers.

About the Filmmaker

Carole Joyce AwardStuart Harmon is an award-winning director and producer. He’s produced a wide range of documentary and television projects for PBS, A&E, VICE, New York Times, Fusion, CNN, MTV, and several other networks and outlets. His short film for the NY Times titled “Guns to Gloves” is one of their top viewed documentaries, garnering over 10 million views across several platforms.

He also shot a harrowing TV documentary about the female FARC guerillas of Columbia for the Emmy-nominated VICELAND series “Woman.” His first feature documentary film THE MONEY STONE won the Roy W. Dean Film Grant.  It premiered on BBC Africa, won Best Documentary at the Black Star International Film Festival and was given glowing reviews by the BBC and The Boston Globe. Most recently he was nominated for a Deadline Club award for his work with The Intercept and received a fellowship with the Logan Nonfiction Program.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Emmy winner and Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, as well as the acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

Previous winner of the Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling was Alexandra Hildago for A Family of Stories.

About From the Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through its fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Final 2021 Britt Penrod Award Won by Fiction Feature “Separation”

Kurdish Filmmaker Receives Award for a Film That is Unique and That Makes an Exceptional Contribution to Society

From the Heart Productions , the top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping indie filmmakers get their films funded, has selected Producer/Director/Writer Hasan Demirtas as winner of Britt Penrod Award for his feature “Separation”.

The award goes to a project was submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Fall of 2021 and selected as a finalist.  Hassan will receive a $750 prize that will help support his effort in completing this film.

Britt Penrod Award

“This is a great filmmaker who is tremendously dedicated to finishing this touching story,” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. 

“Separation,” tells the story of Grandfather Hamit who lives in Eastern Turkey in a village in the Kurdish region.  Grandfather Hamit is a venerable person for the villagers because of his knowledge about health treatments. Hamit’s wife died years ago, but he still daily visits her grave. Grandfather Hamit’s son Mehmet and his family, live with Hamit.

The political situation goes bad in Eastern Turkey because a group of Kurdish people rebel against the Turkish government. The government’s rules get worse and the Kurdish language and culture is banned. The government gives two choices to villagers.  Join the Turkish army or leave their villages.

For Hamit, that would mean leaving his wife’s grave that he has visited every day for 5 years.

About the Filmmaker

Britt Penrod AwardHasan Demirtas received his BA from Marmara University in Istanbul. His short films won awards from film festivals and participated in international Film Festivals including the Cannes Film Festival and Oscar Academy Award Qualifying Film Festival, 42nd Atlanta Film Festival, Atlanta, USA. 

Demirtas graduated from Northwestern University with a Documentary Media MFA.  His first documentary You Name It participated in many Film Festivals including Treasure Coast Film Festival in the USA, the International TV Broadcasters and Independent Producers Festival SIMFEST in Romania, and Thessaloniki Documentary Festival Marketing.  You Name It received Best Documentary Feature film from Collected Voices Film Festival in the USA.

About the Britt Penrod Award

The award is presented to a finalist for the 2021 Roy W. Dean Grants.  It goes to a film is unique and makes an exceptional contribution to society.  The Britt Penrod Award was made possible by a donation from longtime friend of 501(c)3 non-profit From the Heart Productions and the Roy W. Dean Grants, Britt Penrod.  Results of the award have no bearing on the eventual winner of any of the Roy W. Dean Grants.

Winners for 2021 include the documentary 26 Seconds,  the short film The Fog Catcher, and The Bridge Ministry.

Britt is president of Giant Entertainment & Management Inc. (G.E.M.) is a Los Angeles based Film & Television Studio design and development company with in depth experience in the United States, Europe and Asia.

G.E.M. delivers knowledgeable business foundations to Studio development projects that include; Market Analysis, Site Planning, Operating Financial Evaluation, Construction, MEP & Value Engineering, Start-up of Operations and ongoing Management Services for stage-based entertainment properties.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and that make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include new Emmy Winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, as well as acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From the Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

 

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

“Generation Nerd Girl” Wins Roy W. Dean Film Grant

Character-Driven Feature Documentary Explores Why Record Number of Young Women are Entering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Its Impact

Awarded to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society, the final Roy W. Dean Film Grant of 2021 goes to the documentary Generation Nerd Girl.  Presented four times each year by From the Heart Productions, the top-rated non-profit dedicatedGeneration Nerd Girl to helping indie filmmakers get their films funded and completed, the Roy W. Dean Film Grant provides the winner with cash and production services.  Producer/Director Karen Johnson and Producer/Writer Bobette Buster will use the grant to help them continue production on their project.

“Karen and Bobette have been researching this film for years.  They are passionate and determined to empower women with information on how to get into these fields.” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “This is just what women need, encouragement and guidance to break through in these high paying jobs.”

In addition to the $3,000 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $15,000.00 in original music written by well-known composer David Raiklen, $6,000.00 in animation from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield, $700 one week DSLR camera package rental from Birns & Sawyer , and more from heart-felt film industry companies and individuals.

About the Film

Generation Nerd Girl is a character-driven feature documentary exploring the exciting generational change taking place for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) through the lens of one of its bold leaders – Dr. Karen Panetta, Dean of Graduate Education for the School of Engineering at Tufts University and a 2011 Winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in STEM Mentoring.

The film looks at the history of women in STEM, Dean Panetta’s exceptional vision and mentoring, handling many career challenges in her 20+ years of work to change the opportunities for her mentees, along with other factors contributing to this generational change.

Though recent data from LinkedIn’s millions of platform members shows women are now entering STEM careers in record numbers, Dr. Panetta is focused on the deeper systemic changes that still need to take place to generate lasting change.  She has been a bridge to the change, having taught and mentored hundreds of young women from all over the world, encouraging them to pursue and persist in undergraduate and graduate STEM studies and careers.  

The importance of this shift towards STEM careers can’t be overstated for the difference it makes in the lives of these women and our greater world. Women in STEM have earnings 105 percentage points higher than women in non-STEM.  Many key industries are still nowhere near parity in opportunities for women and BIPOC men.  It could take far more generations, if focus is not kept on systemic changes and keep the momentum and awareness going forward now.

A diverse STEM workforce promotes new innovations and solutions that might never come forth, but for the unique lived experiences of women and other underrepresented groups. Dean Panetta is most proud of the outstanding accomplishments of her many mentees working in a wide range of STEM careers, as well as forging new roles as entrepreneurs, environmental evangelists, and technology futurists. 

Generation Nerd Girl will show the challenges and perseverance it took for Dean Panetta to break through endemic sexism and will explore the teaching and mentoring insights she specifically developed to help open the path to STEM success for young women and girls.  In the process, she also extended the same techniques and opportunities to BIPOC men who have experienced many of the same challenges as women in STEM.  Interviews and archival material will introduce some of Dean Panetta’s mentees and highlight the impact of their career choices on their lives and the lives of others.

Producer/Director Karen Johnson has been drawn to the subject of women in STEM for many years after wondering why she never considered becoming a scientist or engineer as a young girl in spite of demonstrating a natural aptitude. What she discovered is that years of research indicates girls have historically lacked both role models to promote awareness of STEM opportunities and the encouragement to pursue them.

Even though great breakthroughs have been made, the STEM professions, and especially engineering, remain white male dominated. A greater bench of cultural support and broader understanding of how to encourage and mentor young women must be maintained to keep up the progress.

About the Filmmakers

Generation Nerd GirlKaren Johnson’s mission as a Producer for 20+ years has been to elevate women’s stories and women storytellers, specifically challenging the stereotypes of women and girls via the entertainment media. Generation Nerd Girl will be her directing debut.

With Co-Producer Bobette Buster and Director Midge Costin, they created the feature documentary Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound, which premiered at Cannes and Tribeca Film Festivals and is in distribution around the world.

Karen produced two films that have been awarded the Roy W. Dean Film Grant.  She produced director Heather Lenz’s 2018 Sundance documentary feature Kusama: Infinity about the avant-garde Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, distributed domestically by Magnolia Pictures and worldwide by Dogwoof, Ltd. She also produced director Amanda Micheli’s multi-award-winning documentary feature Double Dare about Hollywood stuntwomen, an official selection of the Toronto International Film Festival, distributed worldwide by NBC/Universal.

 

 

Generation Nerd GirlBobette Buster is the Special Projects Adj. Professor at Tufts University, teaching “Finding Your Voice in Science Communication.” She is  the Writer/Producer of the feature documentary, Making Waves:  The Art of Cinematic Sound, with Karen Johnson and Midge Costin (Director) – 2019 premiers at Cannes, Tribeca, the BFI London Film Festival, and international festivals, earning many nominations and awards. 

She is the author of DO STORY: How to Tell Your Story So the World Listens (Do Book Co.UK, 2013; Chronicle Books (US), now in its 13th printing (translated into five languages), and DO LISTEN: Understand What’s Really Being Said, Find A New Way Forwards, Do Book Co (UK) 2018; (translated in French, 2nd printing). lecture.  Her TEDx Lecture, The Radical Act of Storytelling, has 250K+ views.  

 

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

From it’s inception in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Winners of the grant include recent Emmy Winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs, the award winning narrative feature Cadejo Blanco,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, the acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

Roy W. Dean Film Grant Finalists Announced for Fall 2021 Grant

Winner to Receive Cash and Donated Production Services Including Music and Animation

From the Heart Productions, the 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping independent filmmakers get their films funded, is proud announce the finalists for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Fall 2021.  Twenty-three films are still in running for final grant in what was the grant’s 30th year.  The grant is awarded to a unique film that makes a contribution to society.

 

Roy W. Dean Film Grant finalists

 

“We’ve been very blessed over the last 30 years to have been able to view such great films before they are completed by their incredibly talented filmmakers.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “This year is no exception. The judges will have a tough time selecting a winner from this group of amazing finalists.”

The grant winner will receive $3,000 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions and donations of film services and products from film industry professionals and companies.  These include $15,000.00 theme music and score written by well-known composer David Raiklen, $6,000.00 in animation from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield, $750 in Grant Writing Services from Karen Everett of New Doc Editing, and more from many heartfelt film industry donors. 

The grant is open to documentaries, narrative features, short films, and web series. Filmmakers from around the globe can submit their projects to the grant.  Entries were received from Spain, Australia, the Netherlands and Nepal.   Winner is expected to be announced in March 2022.

Finalists for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Fall 2021 are:

 

Title Type Filmmaker
Radical Landscapes Documentary Feature Elettra Fiumi
Journey of a Thousand Miles Documentary Feature Zhu Shen
After the Vote Documentary Feature Dawn Scibilia
Second Chances Documentary Feature Nathan Roels
The History of Women Documentary Feature Deborah Romare
They Dream Documentary Feature William Caballero
Racket Fiction Short Zoe Eisenberg
The Loom Documentary Feature Helene Kvale
The Girl in the Backroom Documentary Feature Francine Graff
Finding Snow White Documentary Shot Fiona McDougall
Ramona At Midlife Fiction Feature Brooke Berman
The Water Cell Documentary Short Sterling Buell
Hangtown Documentary Feature Stuart Harmon
Sangoma Documentary Short Dayle McLeod
Separation Documentary Short Hasan Demitras
Piece of Mind Documentary Feature Sheila Ganz
United Against Hate Documentary Feature Shehr Haroon
“Untitled” Documentary Feature Karen Johnson
Greatest Loss Fiction Short Marshall McCabe
Capturing America Documentary Feature Kristen Akers Gozdecki
Only in Theaters Documentary Feature Raphael Sbarge
The Science of Ink Documentary Feature Cary Weldy
Mom & Me Documentary Short Indira Somani

 

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Since 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  Having recently expanded to four grants each year, it has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include 2021 Emmy winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs ,  as well as Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through their fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Hot Films in the Making – Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Fall 2021

42 Films That Will Impress You with Their Creativity and Brilliant Filmmakers

What are Hot Films in the Making?  For each of our 4 Roy W. Dean Film Grants each year, there are many projects submitted, with excellent concepts and talented filmmakers, that just miss making our group of finalists.  We call them Hot Films in the Making.

The Roy W. Grant for Fall 2021 was no exception with 42 films qualifying for that honor.  From the Heart Productions, the sponsor of the grant, feels they deserve a chance for people to take notice of them.  We expect these films should be in the finals in the future.

“The creativity and passion behind these projects can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “We are honored to be exposed to all these works-in-progress and know we’ll be seeing great things from these filmmakers in the future.”

From the Heart Productions believes that by highlighting these films, that will not only expand the audience, but find those who will help them on their journey to completion. 

The films chosen for Hot Films in the Making include documentary, narrative features, short films and web series.  They represent projects from around the world including films from India, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S.

The Hot Films in the Making for the Roy W. Dean Grant for Fall 2021 are:

Title Type Filmmaker
1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted A Culture Documentary Feature Sharon Roggio
Rising Son Fiction Feature Kevin Osoo
Sathu – Year of the Rabbit Fiction Feature Joshua Trigg
Bleu Dream Fiction Feature Jared Bratt
Trusted Sources Documentary Feature Don Colacino
The Maltese Collection Documentary Feature Kendrick Simmons
Once Upon a Time in Italy Documentary Feature Alessandro Pezza
Self Care Fiction Short Cassidy Civiero
Mother of Color Fiction Feature Dawn Jones Redstone
Our Sins Fiction Short Anjini Azhar
Las Abogadas Documentary Feature Victoria Bruce
Bienvenidos a Los Angeles Fiction Short Lolia Etomi
“Charlie’s Story, Tuskegee and More” Documentary Short Molly Smollett
Thank You for Thinking of Me Documentary Feature Akram Shibly
Kinsley Vs. Web Series Courtney Romano
The Black Man’s Voice Web Series Evaugh High
The Row Documentary Feature Sarah Anthony
Untitled Farmer Documentary Documentary Feature Jacqueline Romano
Marrow of the Mountain Documentary Feature Roo Vandegrift
Dear Luke, Love, Me Fiction Feature Mallie McCown
Woman Of God Fiction Feature Angel  Moreira
The Forgotten Angels Documentary Short Kevin Knight
Prison Park Documentary Feature Juliet  Belmas
Infinity Mission Earth- South Web Series Clemens Oestreich
YURT (Dormitory) Fiction Feature Nehir Tuna
The Last Drop Documentary Short Adam Joel
Who Cares About DC? Documentary Feature Stephen Kolb
Ellos Gritan Libertad (They Scream Freedom) Documentary Feature Melinda Raebyne
Desmond’s Not Here Anymore Fiction Short Lindiwe Suttle Müller-Westernhagen
Just Bake Cookies Fiction Short Quinn Early
Smoke Eater Fiction Short Gloria Mercer
Food Synergy Documentary Feature Vivian Davidson-Castro
The Apocalyptic is the Mother of All Christian Theology Documentary Feature Jim Finn
Fast Fiction Short Rachel  Johnson
Z Chronicles Fiction Short Steven Thompson
An Insignia of a Forced Winter Documentary Feature Ajimesh Saha
Beauty (or the Curious Case of Ugliness) Fiction Short Michael Muthee
Death Target Web Series Daniel Solis
American Sons Documentary Feature Andrew Gonzales
Reduction (working title) Documentary Feature Kelley Bruggere
Human Shield Documentary Feature Erin Persley
Weird Fishes Fiction Short Zenzele Ojore

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website

Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include 2021 Emmy winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs ,  as well as Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through their fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

“The Bridge Ministry” Captures Third Britt Penrod Award for 2021

Award Goes to Film Submitted to a Roy W. Dean Film Grant That is Unique and That Makes an Exceptional Contribution to Society

Top-rated non-profit From the Heart Productions has announced producer/director Christopher Farina has been named as winner of Britt Penrod Award for his documentary-in-progress “The Bridge Ministry”.  Submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer, the $500 prize goes to a project applying for the grant that is unique and that makes an exceptional contribution to society.  The award will help support Chris continue move toward his goal in getting his film completed.

Britt Penrod Award

“A heart-felt decision.  Humanizing individuals otherwise painted with a broad brush, absent mercy, would seem especially poignant these days,” commented Britt Penrod on the winning film. “I would very much like to see the doc get made and widely distributed.” 

For over 20 years the Bridge Ministry has been transforming the lives of men dealing with life-threatening addiction issues by providing them with a residency in a camp where they are both taught productive job skills and are also provided with psychological and spiritual mentoring to alter their paths heading to incarceration. This film will present a portrait of this class to inspire and advocate for replicating this experience in communities across the country and beyond.

Interwoven throughout this film will be the inspiring story of the life of William Washington, founder of the Bridge Ministry. Having suffered serious trauma as a child, this led to him becoming a homeless teenager on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia as both a user and seller of deadly drugs. He was incarcerated more than once, and while eventually facing a long-term prison sentence, he was given a chance by Judge Jay Swett to enter a program which positively altered his life.

Uplifted by this experience, he dedicated his own life to helping others who faced the same troubled path that he had been on. This led to his creation of the Bridge Ministry along with the support of others including Judge Swett.

About the Filmmaker

Britt Penrod AwardChris Farina has produced various award-winning independent documentary films. One of his most successful films was World Peace and other 4th-Grade Achievements, which premiered at SXSW in 2010 and has played at film festivals around the world and received wide exposure on U.S. public television, as well as on international television through distribution by American Public Television (APT) between 2012-2014.

His most recently completed film, Seats at the Table, about a University of Virginia class which connects college students with residents of a juvenile prison through the study of Russian literature, has also been presented by APT for a two-year run which began on June 1, 2020. Both of those films were also finalists for NHK’s Educational Media Japan Prize.

About the Britt Penrod Award

The Britt Penrod Award was made possible by a donation from longtime friend of 501(c)3 non-profit From the Heart Productions and the Roy W. Dean Grants, Britt Penrod.  The $500 award will be presented to a finalist for the upcoming 2021 Roy W. Dean Grants whose film is unique and makes an exceptional contribution to society.  Results of the award have no bearing on the eventual winner of any of the Roy W. Dean Grants.

Winners this year have included the documentary 26 Seconds for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Spring and the short film The Fog Catcher which won for the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant

Britt is president of Giant Entertainment & Management Inc. (G.E.M.) is a Los Angeles based Film & Television Studio design and development company with in depth experience in the United States, Europe and Asia.

G.E.M. delivers knowledgeable business foundations to Studio development projects that include; Market Analysis, Site Planning, Operating Financial Evaluation, Construction, MEP & Value Engineering, Start-up of Operations and ongoing Management Services for stage-based entertainment properties.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and that make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include new Emmy Winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, as well as acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From the Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 

“Impossible Town” Captures Roy W. Dean Grant for Summer 2021

Documentary Receives Cash and Donated Production Services to Complete Project

From the Heart Productions, the top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping indie filmmakers get their films funded and completed, awards the 2nd Roy W. Dean Grant of 2021 to the feature-length documentary Impossible Town. Now in it’s 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 4 times each year to a unique film that makes a contribution to society.   Co-Directed by Meg Griffiths and Scott Farris, the grant will provide the project with $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services.

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2021

“This film is inspiring.” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It has some wonderful characters and a brilliant story.”

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.

Rural Appalachia is a poorly understood region of the country with a long history of industrial exploitation and a political identity that continues to frustrate coastal pundits. Though the region’s coal industry and labor movements defined a crucial chapter in American history, modern Americans struggle to appreciate the intelligence, resilience, and diversity of Appalachian people.

Impossible Town shows us tireless social and environmental struggle through the eyes of a cast of characters that complicate common rural Appalachian stereotypes. Dr. Ayne Amjad alone is a study in interesting contradictions: a devout Republican with a strong activist bent, a daughter of immigrants who is a pillar of her largely white community, and a wealthy physician-turned-public-servant who spends her time advocating for her disenfranchised and low-income neighbors. With Ayne and the rest of the cast, nothing is as it seems.

In addition to adding to the breadth of stories about how environmental catastrophes disproportionately affect the poor, the documentary has much to say about our complex relationships with home – the connections we form with the places we’re from, and the difficulty we have in letting go of those places, even when they’re killing us. Through the ambitions of Ayne and other Minden activists, the film explores the persistent modern American fantasy that complex issues are best solved through miracle solutions rather than the decidedly grittier work of slow and patient social, political, and legal exercises.

Most poignantly, Impossible Town is an ode to the way we commune with our parents long after they’ve left this plane, their aspirations and legacies lighting our paths to unanticipated destinations, their absence leaving a painful void in our lives that never fully heals.

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $1295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, applicable to Online or live Professional Membership sessions, $429.00 OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock hard drive from OWC , a major discount on sound mix from Jeff Alan of Alan Audio Works, and more from film industry companies and individuals

About the Filmmakers

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2021Meg Griffiths, Co-Founder, Universe Creative: Meg is Impossible Town’s co-director and producer. She is the co-founder of Universe Creative, a video production company focused on creating documentaries and short content for conscientious brands. Meg began her career as the Houston Chronicle’s first video journalist, and then she held a leadership role at Teach For America where she built the nonprofit’s first video studio. Later, Meg oversaw content development at Redbird, a Los Angeles-based creative agency, as their Vice President of Strategy. Meg’s work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and she’s also been awarded EPPY, NPPA, CMA, and various film festival accolades. She holds a MA in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner for Summer 2021Scott Faris, Co-Founder, Universe Creative: : Scott is Impossible Town’s co-director, director of photography, and editor, as well as the co-founder of Universe Creative. Scott has roots in film, education, and advertising. He grew up in West Virginia and graduated with a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After teaching 5th grade on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota, he joined Teach For America’s award-winning marketing team as a video producer. He continued to pursue the intersection of education and video storytelling at Redbird, a marketing firm in Los Angeles. Scott’s work has been recognized by the Webbys, EPPY, CMA, and film festivals across the country.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

From it’s inception in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include new Emmy Winners Belly of the Beast and The Love Bugs,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, as well as acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 

Alexandra Hidalgo Wins Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Documentary Storytelling

Filmmaker Will Receive $2,500 to Help Complete Work on Project

From the Heart Productions, a 29 year old top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping independent filmmakers fund their projects, is pleased to announce that Alexandra Hidalgo has won the inaugural Carole Joyce Award for her documentary A Family of Stories.  The prize is bestowed on a project submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant that exhibits excellence in documentary storytelling.  She will receive $2,500 to help her continue work on this film.

Carole Joyce Award

A Family of Stories

“Alexandra’s film is incredible and very deserving of this first-time award,” commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “Told from the heart, it is touching and captivating.  We look forward to seeing it completed.”

A personal, true story, A Family of Stories celebrates family bonds even when they are at their most complicated.  It’s a story about facing our familial demons with love and emerging stronger from the experience.

In 1983, Miguel Hidalgo, a Venezuelan writer and inventor, disappeared in the Amazon, leaving behind his six-year-old daughter. Now a filmmaker, her life is transformed as she untangles the mystery of his absence and figures out why her MIT-educated father with a genius IQ ended up buying gold in the Amazon.

As she uncovers secrets about him, her family, and herself she must come to terms with the fact that she based her identity on a mirage created by her ancestors. Having completed her quest, she starts over, aware of how her past shaped her but ready to move beyond the wounds she has carried since childhood.

A Family of Stories is written and directed by Alexandra Hidalgo and produced by Hidalgo and Natalia Machado.  The film is co-produced by the US-based company Sabana Grande Productions and La Pandilla Producciones, a Venezuelan production company.  

They’ve completed the film’s fine cut and the filmmakers are seeking finishing funds and European co-productions.  You can learn more about A Family of Stories on its website: https://afamilyofstories.com/.

About the Filmmaker

Alexandra Hidalgo is an award-winning Venezuelan filmmaker, memoirist, film and TV critic, and editor whose documentaries have been official selections for film festivals in 15 countries and been screened at universities around the United States. A Family of Stories is her second feature as director and producer. Her short documentary Teta has been selected for 30 film festivals and won 8 awards, including best short documentary at three festivals.

Her videos and writing have been featured on The Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, NPR, The Criterion Collection, and Women and Hollywood. She has a PhD in English from Purdue University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and is associate professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and co-director of the Doc Lab at Michigan State University.

Her video book Cámara Retórica: A Feminist Filmmaking Methodology for Rhetoric and Composition received the 2018 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. Her academic video essays have been published in Enculturation, Kairos, Present Tense, and Peitho, among others. She is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the digital publication agnès films: supporting women and feminist filmmakers.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy-winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Emmy winner and Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, as well as the acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through its fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Roy. W. Dean Film Grant Names Finalists for 2021 Summer Grant

Twenty Films in Running for Second Roy W. Dean Film Grant for 2021

Twenty fantastic finalists were chosen for the 2021 Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer 2021.  Offered by the non-profit From The Heart Productions , the grant is awarded to a unique film and the makes a contribution to society.  The winner will receive $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services from film industry professionals and companies.

Roy W. Dean Film Grant Finalists Summer 2021

“These films are all excellent and deserve to be completed and shown to the public.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It is a great pleasure and honor to be able to be exposed to all this incredible work for very talented filmmakers.”

The Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer is the penultimate Roy W. Dean Film Grant for 2021.  Now in its 30th year, the grant seeks to help filmmakers get their films completed.  All applicants to the grant are offered a free consultation on their project. They can discuss their proposals, search for funding, distribution, or whatever they feel is needed to move their film forward.  

Winner of the grant is expected to be named at end of October.

The finalists are:

Title Type Submitting Filmmaker
Ellis Documentary Feature Sascha Just
The Bridge Ministry (wt) Documentary Feature Christopher Farina
I Was Born This Way Documentary Short Daniel Junge
An Extraordinary Woman Documentary Short Tara Price
Mujeres Gobernando Documentary Feature Timothy Moran
Discharge Short Fiction Ken Schwartz
Finding the Money Documentary Feature Maren Poitras
Broken Toy Short Fiction Oliver Woodward
The Legend of Princess Ronkonkoma Feature Fiction Maria Capp
Impossible Town Documentary Feature Meg Griffiths
Simulating Religious Violence Documentary Feature Jenn Lindsay
Hangtown Documentary Feature Stuart Harmon
On Board Documentary Feature Muriel Cravatte
The Missing Documentary Feature Fahrinisa Oswald
Stopping Traffic 2 Documentary Feature Siddhali Shree
Not Soft Short Fiction Robert Macfarlane
The Portrait Feature Fiction Vinicius de La Rocha
Prodigal Daughter Documentary Feature Mabel Valdiviezo
Afghan Dreamers Documentary Feature Beth Murphy
The Science of Ink Documentary Feature Cary Weldy
Watering the West Web Series Shari Due
Coming Home: Fight for a Legacy Documentary Feature Matia Karrell
A Family of Stories Documentary Feature Alexandra Hidalgo

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $1295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, applicable to Online or live Professional Membership sessions, $429.00 OWC Mercury Elite Pro Dock hard drive from OWC , a major discount on sound mix from Jeff Alan of Alan Audio Works, and more from film industry companies and individuals.

Roy W. Dean Grant for Fall 2021 Now Accepting Applications

The final Roy W. Dean Grant of the year is open for submissions until Oct 31st.  Winner will receive $3,000 and thousands more in donated services including a film score, animation, camera rental, and more to help them complete their film.

For more information and to apply, go to: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/roy-w-dean-film-grants-and-awards/

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through its fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.

Hot Films in the Making – Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer 2021

26 Films from Talented Filmmakers That You Will Be Hearing from in Future

With each of the four Roy W. Dean Film Grants offered by From the Heart Productions, there is a select group of films and filmmakers that, while not making the finals, deserve recognition.  These are the Hot Films in the Making.  These are films that chosen by the grant judges that have excellent concepts and brilliant filmmakers.  They should be in the finals for Roy W. Dean Grant in coming years.

“Separation” – Feature from Hasan Demirtas

“These films deserve to be noticed and be supported.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “It is exciting to see, in the throes of creation, so many touching, heartfelt stories being tackled by exceptional filmmakers.”

The Roy W. Dean Grant seeks films that are unique and that make a contribution to society.  It is the hope of From the Heart Productions that, by shining a light on these films, it will not only expand their audience, but help them find those who will help the films on their journey to completion. 

The films chosen for Hot Films in the Making include documentary, narrative features, short films and web series.  Projects were submitted to the grant from filmmakers in Asia, Europe, the United States and Canada.

The Hot Films in the Making for the Roy W. Dean Grant for Summer 2021 are:

Title Type Filmmaker
Underdogs Documentary Feature Ashia Lance
The Door Short Fiction Pablo Lopez
Saving Amy Feature Fiction Jessie Kahnweiler
Fish House Documentary Feature Kristin Adair
Woman in the Mirror Documentary Feature Tatyana Bronstein
The Better Part Feature Fiction Mollie Mulvey
American Sons Documentary Feature Andrew Gonzales
The Haunting of Molly Pickett Feature Fiction Michael K. Johnson
Why Are You You? TV,Web or New Media Lindsay LaPointe
For a Daughter Feature Fiction Daniel Pouesi
My Piece Documentary Short Bervick J. Decullus II
The Gathering Society Documentary Feature Barb Benton
Broken Strings Series Catherine Dudley-Rose
I’m So OCD Documentary Feature Charles Frank
Separation Feature Fiction Hasan Demirtas
Motherland Short Fiction Grace Merriman
There is No Sushi Chef Documentary Feature Vinicius de La Rocha
Plant Moms Short Fiction Liv Amundsen
Oaklead Documentary Feature Alex Bledsoe
Rediscovering John Bergman Documentary Feature Kelly Lamphear-Dash
Saving Walden’s World Documentary Feature James Merkel
Caddisfly Documentary Short Liv Johnson
The New York Love Songs Documentary Feature Darah Golub
Just Bake Cookies Short Fiction Quinn Early
Unmuted Series Milena Warns
City of Heroes Documentary Feature Fiona Lloyd-Davis

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

Roy W. Dean Grant for Fall 2021 Now Accepting Applications

The final Roy W. Dean Grant of the year is open for submissions until Oct 31st.  Winner will receive $3,000 and thousands more in donated services including a film score, animation, camera rental, and more to help them complete their film.

For more information and to apply, go to: https://fromtheheartproductions.com/roy-w-dean-film-grants-and-awards/

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now celebrating its 30th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films. The grant is awarded to films budgeted under $500,000 that are unique and make a contribution to society.  It has been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that help to get their projects started or finished.  Without assistance from the grant, many excellent and important films may never have been made. 

Past winners of the grant include the Emmy winning Mia: A Dancer’s Journey,  2019 Sundance Film Festival selection Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins, Peabody Award nominee Belly of the Beast, and acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer film fiscal sponsorship to filmmakers.  This allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $30 million through it’s fiscal sponsorship program.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts and the new online class “How to Fund Your Film”.