Feature Film “El Cadejo Blanco” Wins First Roy W. Dean Grant of 2019

Spring 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Winner to Receive $30,000 in Cash and Film Production Services

From the Heart Productions, the nonprofit that awards the Roy W. Dean Grant has selected, for the first time in the grant’s 27 year history, a narrative feature film as a grant winner.  “El Cadejo Blanco”, a female-driven crime thriller set in the dangerous world of “clicas” (youth-gangs) in Guatemala, is the recipient of the Spring 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant.  Awarded 3 times each year, the Roy W. Dean Grant goes to an independent film that is unique and makes a contribution to society.  The winning film will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and production services to aid in it’s completion.

Spring 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant

“El Cadejo Blanco”

“We are very thrilled to be able to support this film exposing the harsh realities of life for some in Latin American.” said Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “It is very exciting for us to assist this film through our grant on its journey to completion and to reach an audience.” 

“El Cadejo Blanco” is a narrative/documentary hybrid feature film about a young, working-class girl from Guatemala City (Sarita) who, when her younger sister goes missing, travels to the small town of Puerto Barrios to track down her sister’s dangerous ex-boyfriend, Andrés. Through great peril and life-threatening tasks, Sarita lies about who she is and joins Andrés’ teen-gang, slowly growing closer to him and to the truth about what happened to her sister.  

The script was written by director Justin Lerner with the help of real teenage gang members who shared with him their stories of living in Puerto Barrios and who will play versions of themselves in the film. They will act alongside a handful of Guatemala’s most famous, award winning film actors.

Lerner is a professor of film at the Cinema School at University of Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City and this project has partnered with the NGO “Movimientos De Esperanza” to use some of the film’s budget to give financial, psychological, and emotional aid to the children of Puerto Barrios, before, during and after the film is finished, to give them opportunities to earn a living that does not involve violence, outside of the gangs.

In addition to the $3,500 cash prize, the Spring 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Winner will receive, expendable, lighting and grip equipment from Filmtools, a Glyph StudioRaid 6tb hard drive from Glyph Production Technologies, 40% deduction on color, editing, and sound & all production services from ProMedia NYC,  and more from many other heartfelt film industry donors.

About the Filmmaker

Justin Lerner – Writer/Director  After graduating “cum laude” from Cornell University, Justin moved to Spain to teach, before getting an MFA in Film Production at UCLA.  His thesis film “The Replacement Child” was awarded with two College Television Awards (Student Emmys) and premiered at Telluride Film Festival.

One year after receiving an MFA from UCLA, his first feature film “Girlfriend” premiered at Toronto Film Festival and won the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award. It went on to screen in 14 countries. His second feature film “The Automatic Hate” premiered at SXSW Film Festival and and was named by IndieWIRE as one of the 10 Best Films at SXSW.  It was distributed by Film Movement.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 27th 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 needing help to continue working on their film and to get it completed.  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, and the acclaimed documentary Kusama-Infinity which is now in distribution showing in theaters around the US and world.

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 films fiscal sponsorship which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has helped independent filmmakers raise over $10 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

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman




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