Documentary Exposes International Underworld of Sex Trafficking

Oxnard, CA Oct 30th, 2015 – The Summer Roy W. Dean Grant has been awarded to director Chelo Alvarez-Stehle for her feature length documentary “Sands of Silence”. Overseen by the non-profit From the Heart Productions, the film grant is the second of three awarded each year to a filmmaker with a unique project that contributes to society.

Sands of Silence 2“Chelo’s dedication to the production of her film, ‘Sands of Silence’ is exemplary” said Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions.  “This film will change lives, open conversations and raise the consciousness on many hidden issues.  We are honored to support Chelo in getting this film made”.

The Roy W. Dean Grant is open to all types of film projects including documentaries, short films, features, and web series in any stage of production.  Submissions were received from from across U.S. as well as internationally from United Kingdom, Australia, and Nigeria.  Winner receives cash and donated film services to help complete their film.

In “Sands of Silence”, Chelo records a 15-year quest to expose the underworld of sex trafficking from Asia to the Americas back to the windswept beach where her childhood ended and family secrets began. Documenting the transformation of young women in Mexico and Nepal from powerless victims” to resilient survivors and passionate advocates, the filmmaker undertakes a parallel journey toward personal healing and family reconciliation.

“I still remember the thought-provoking Documentary Trailblazer course I took with Carole Dean over 10 years ago.” said director Alvarez-Stehle upon learning she had won the grant.  “The course spanned over 12 weeks and it was a stepping stone in my path towards documentary filmmaking.”

From the Heart Productions has also served as a fiscal sponsor for the grant winning documentary.

“Carole was there for me through good and bad times and has always been a beacon and an inspiration. So now that my film is finally about to see the light after all these years, receiving the Roy W Dean Grant feels like coming around full circle, a feeling of completion, as if the positive energy that she encouraged me to pour in my film, had manifested. I could not be more grateful”.

Director Chelo Alvarez-Stehle

Director Chelo Alvarez-Stehle

Journalist, documentary and new media producer Chelo Alvarez-Stehle has worked for over 15 years exposing stories of human trafficking through her creative and outreach work. She worked on documentaries for NHK and became Spain’s El Mundo daily correspondent first in Tokyo, then in Los Angeles. Canal+ Spain turned one of her print reportages on trafficking in the Himalayas into TIN GIRLS feature documentary film.

As producer/director she did her first short documentaries WISDOM IN SMOKE and THE POWER OF 2 distributed to 30 countries, in Cuba.  She then directed and co-produced the SOLD IN AMERICA: A Modern-Day Tale of Sex-Slavery (Montreal Human Rights Film Festival.)  She is currently producing/directing a transmedia project that encompasses the feature-length documentary SANDS OF SILENCE: Journey into Trafficking, the SOS_SLAVES social impact videogame and a micro-documentary series on sexual exploitation. She has just produced the short documentary THROUGH THE WALL, about a family divided by the US/Mexico border.

In addition to $3,500 cash given by From The Heart Productions, the winner receives goods, services, and discounts including hard drives from G-Technology, tape stock from Media Distributors (now Filmtools), post production consultation from colorist Sam Dlugach, music post production from Audiokut,  a full scholarship to The Writer’s Boot Camp, and much more from many heart-felt donors.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant has awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to films that without its help may never have been made.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in fostering award winning films.  Past winners of the grant that have been completed include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream”, emmy winning “Mia: A Dancer’s Journey” and “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family” which is now showing in film festivals around North America.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $1.9 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.

Life and Work of Pioneer Independent Filmmaker Nell Shipman is Focus of Winning Documentary

Oxnard, CA Sept. 9th, 2015 – From The Heart Productions, the 501(c)3 non-profit that oversees the Roy W. Dean Grant, has awarded the first Roy W. Dean Grant of 2015 to director Karen Day for her feature length documentary “Girl from God’s Country” about silent film director Nell Shipman.   Karen will receive nearly $30,000 in a combination of film services and cash to help her with her project.

 “Applause and recognition,” Nell Shipman once wrote, “are the handmaidens of creativity.”

“Applause and recognition,” Nell Shipman once wrote, “are the handmaidens of creativity.”

Virtually unknown today,  Nell Shipman wrote, produced, and starred in over 70 silent films.  In 1915, at the age of 21, she directed and was featured in “God’s Country and the Woman”.   She was one of the first directors to shoot a film almost entirely on location.   Nell was known for creating films about strong adventurous women.  The sequel, “Back to God’s Country” was an international hit and the most successful silent film in Canadian history.  It also included one of cinema’s first nude scenes.

“With the increased focus on the struggle women filmmakers still face in getting jobs and getting recognized,  it’s time Nell’s story was told.”  said Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions.  “She was an amazing women who was not afraid to take risks for her art.   There is even a scene in one of her films where she embraces a bear!”

The Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society.  Over 300 filmmakers applied to the grant.  Submissions were received from Canada, Iran, Mexico, Sweden, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Honduras.

Narrated by actress Geena Davis, the documentary “focuses on the unorthodox genius and gutsy “sourdough” spirit that fueled Nell’s creativity and infused her work with unmistakable passion” states Karen and the producers about their project.   The documentary will help define the major contributions made by Nell as well as highlight “an ignored chapter in our cultural history—how and why a generation of women, once a powerful force in all aspects of the silent film industry, were silenced to this day by monopolistic major studios”.

Filmmaker Karen Day

Filmmaker Karen Day

Director Karen Day is a filmmaker, writer, and journalist.  She has reported on Afghanistan, Cuba, Iraq, for Newsweek , ELLE, and the Los Angeles Times.  She has hosted and produced more than 50 feature stories and has appeared on NBC Nightly News, BBC, and CNN.  Her PLUM TV series “Women earned the 2009 Idaho Press Club Award for Best Independent Environmental Series and an EMMY for Best Independent Television Series.

Her documentaries focus on humanitarian issues and include the award-winning, “Conversations for Peace with the Dalai Lama: Ethics for the New Millenium” and “Learning to Be Different”, about the extraordinary work of the Lee Pesky Learning Center, empowering children with learning disabilities.

In addition to $3,500 cash given by From The Heart Productions, the winner receives a 4TB G-Raid from G-Technology, sound mixing session from Silver Sound, 30% discount in equipment rental from AbelCine Tech, Inc. NYC , 25% discount on publicity services by David Magdael & Associates, Inc, legal services from Robert Seigel, 25% discount on Artbeat’s royalty-free stock footage, and much more from many heart-felt donors.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in fostering award winning films.  Past winners  include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” and “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family” which is now showing in film festivals around North America.

The Fall Roy W. Dean Grant is accepting applications.  Deadline is Sept 30th.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects funded.  In addition to the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $1.8 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.

For More Information, please contact

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 
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Record Number of Applications Received

From The Heart Productions, the non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get funding, has announced the 20 finalists for the Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant .  The winner of the grant will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and donated services from film industry professionals and companies which support independent filmmakers.

Last year's winner "The Brainwashing of My Dad" was recently shown at Traverse Film Festival

Last year’s winner “The Brainwashing of My Dad” was recently shown at the Traverse Film Festival

A record 300 documentary, feature, and short films were submitted from the United States and around the world.   Filmmakers from Canada, Iran, Mexico, Sweden, England, Australia, and Honduras were among those that applied for the grant.  One of the finalists for the grant, “A Flickering Truth” is from a filmmaker in New Zealand.

“The Roy W. Dean Grant supports filmmakers with unique stories that contribute to society” said From the Heart President Carole Dean “that without our help might otherwise never get made.  The number of entries speaks to how very many of these incredible stories are out there that need to be told.”

Included in the $30,000 grant awarded to the winner is $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions and donations of film services and products from film industry professionals and companies.  Some of which included a 4TB G-Raid from G-Technology, a 30% discount in equipment rental from AbelCine Tech, Inc. NYC, a 25% discount on Artbeat’s royalty-free stock footage, and much more from those who care about helping independent filmmakers.

The filmmakers and their films chosen as Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists are:

A Flickering Truth – Pietra Brettkelly

Abundant Land: Soil, Seeds, and Swales – Natasha Florentino

Belly of the Beast – Erika Cohn

Bold Mother Hubbard – Karen Everett

Girl From God’s Country – Karen Day

Bloody Harvest-Death on Demand – Xiaomu Qiao

Happy Humans – Christopher Limon

High Fructose Suicide Booth – Alex Lukens

Holden On – Tamlin Hall

Hunting Season – Tomas Leach

Lobster Fra Diavolo – Jane Barbara

Mr. Fish:Cartooning From The Deep End – Pablo Bryant

Nuclear Insecurity – Helen Young

Rachel Flowers-Hearing Is Believing – Lorenzo DeStefano

Stumped – Robin Berghaus

The Mason Jar – James Russell Lingerfelt

The Rukus – Andrew Ackerman

Tuesday Lunch – Diane Stark

Yesterday Last Year – Adam Bradley

Your Mother and I – Anna Maguire

Hot Films in the Making

Also announced is a list of “Hot Films in the Making”.   These are projects that impressed the board of From the Heart Productions with the quality of their work and the passion behind the projects.  They just missed making the list of finalists, but which the board feels deserve to be supported and noticed.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year.   There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Fall Grant is now accepting entries and closes September 30th.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in helping talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant include the award winning Heist: Who Stole the American DreamThe Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family, and Mia: A Dancer’s Journey which just one an Emmy award.

About From The Heart Productions

The 501(c)3 non-profit was founded by Carole Dean when she saw how many filmmakers with important, new, and often controversial stories were having trouble getting financing for their films.    From The Heart is a fiscal sponsor for films which allows donors to get a tax deduction for their donations.  Their Intentional Filmmaking Class which teaches filmmakers the tactics on how to get funded is now open for enrollment.  Classes start September 30th.

 
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Documentary explores family members and loved ones who care for our wounded upon their return to civilian life

Oxnard, CA Feb 12, 2015 From The Heart Productions, the film funding non-profit that oversees the Roy W. Dean Film Grant, has awarded the final Film Grant of 2014 to director Stephanie Howard for her documentary “Not The Same: Families After War”.  Stephanie will receive nearly $30,000 in film services and cash to help fund her project and get it completed.

Soldier and Child

“Not The Same: Families After War” addresses the emotional challenges faced by those who care for their loved ones wounded in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is about military men and women who must now rely on their families to heal and to function.

The goal of this documentary is to create awareness of what it is like to care for our wounded, illuminate their “new normal” and celebrate the unsung heroes of war

“Stephanie is a passionate and very talented filmmaker who cares deeply about the subject of her documentary” commented Carole Dean, president of From The Heart Productions.  “It is wonderful to honor her work and assist her in getting this important project to the screen”

The Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded to films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  The grant offers cash as well as discounted production services and goods to help filmmakers get their projects started or completed.  Over 200 filmmakers applied for the Roy W. Dean Fall Film Grant.  The yearly deadline for submissions was September 30th, 2014.  Projects submitted included documentaries, narrative features, and short films.

In addition to $2,500 cash given by From The Heart Productions, the winner will receive a hard drive from G-Technology, tape stock from Comtel/Edgewise Media, major discounts on post production services from Solvent Dreams, full theme music and score from composer David Raiklen,  and much more from many heart-felt donors.

“Carole Dean and From the Heart Productions have been my fiscal sponsor for my documentary.  In that time, Carole has gone above and beyond to guide me through the documentary process and has always been there for advice… and some great “cheerleading.” said winner Stephanie Howard.

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2015 Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant.   Cash value for the grant has been increased to $3,500.

About the Filmmaker

Stephanie is a co-producer of the award-winning documentary “Refusenik”.  She is a television news producer and writer based in Los Angeles and has worked at local television stations as well as the L.A. bureaus of Fox News Channel, CNN, NBC News and Reuters.  Stephanie is winner of a commemorative Los Angeles Area Emmy for her work as associate producer of the news magazine program “L.A. Roundtable”.  She has also been nominated for Emmy awards as a segment producer at KTTV News and KNBC-TV.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant awards filmmakers with great stories, told with passion, the funding to get their projects started or completed.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in making sure that talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream”, “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family” which was featured at film festivals in , and “Mia: A Dancer’s Journey” which just premiered in New York this February.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $1.6 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.

Winners of Summer and Fall Grant to receive 40% discount on editing for trailers

From The Heart Productions welcomes video editor Aaron Garcia as a donor for the Roy W. Dean Grant for Summer and Fall.  Aaron brings 15 years of experience as a video editor to the grant.   The winner of those grants will receive a 40% discount off his services for editing their trailers.

Aaron-Garcia 2Aaron has worked with companies such as Apple Computers, Comcast, HGTV, and The Recording Academy.  He is comfortable in Avid, Final Cut Pro 7 and X, Premiere, Motion, After Effects, and Photoshop.   Besides trailers, Aaron also edits narrative, reality, documentary, and corporate videos.

Currently, Aaron is the director, editor, writer, and cinematographer of the web series “We are Angels”. It’s a web based fantasy series with a unique blend of storytelling, surreal imagery, and dramatic performance.  It offers a new modern take on the world of Angels and Demons.  The series was an official selection Marseille Web Festival 2012 and winner of best cinematography at Hollyweb Festival in 2014.

You can view samples of his work at Aaron Garcia’s YouTube Page.  You can contact Aaron at  aptajg@yahoo.com  or by calling 310-351-3534.

You can check out all the donors at the Roy W. Dean Grant Donor Page.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

For over 23 years, the Roy W. Dean Grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  Submissions for the Summer and Fall Roy W. Dean Grant begin May 1st, 2015.  Submissions are now being accepted for the Roy W. Dean Spring Grant.  Deadline is April 30th, 2015.

The Roy W. Dean Spring Grant in 2015 includes $3,500 in cash to the winner.  You can enter by completing the Roy W. Dean Grant Application.

For more information on the Roy W. Dean Grant, please contact

info@fromtheheartproductions.com

or call 805-984-0098

Winning documentary explores director’s search for the mother she never knew through their shared love of photography.

From The Heart Productions, the film funding non-profit that oversees the Roy W. Dean Film Grant, has awarded the 2014 Summer Film Grant to director Rachel Seed for her documentary “A Photographic Memory”.   Rachel will receive nearly $30,000 in film services and cash to help her complete her project.

Contact Sheet by Sheila Turner-Seed

Contact Sheet by Sheila Turner-Seed

Thirty years after the death of her mother, Sheila Turner-Seed, photographer Rachel Elizabeth Seed discovers her work—interviews with some of the greatest photographers of the 20th Century, including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Lisette Model and W. Eugene Smith—in her father’s garage.  When she threads the audio reels and presses play, she hears her mother’s voice for the first time since she was a baby. Rachel finds it familiar and comforting, and is transformed by the experience.

Wanting to know more about her mother and to revitalize and honor her work, Rachel revisits the photographers, as well as her mother’s friends and family, to learn who she was while also looking at how photography can help preserve memory and reconnect us with those we have lost.

Rachel Seed and Mother

Rachel Seed and Mother

Through this process, Rachel reconnects to her mother by discovering how much they have in common: their looks, ambition, career paths, and desire to settle down and have a family.  However, in order to move on with her own life, Rachel comes to realize she must set herself apart from Sheila, and to do that must find out if she has the same genetic predisposition to early death that took her mother’s life. Rachel’s ability to forge her own path hinges on these medical results.our country.

“In A Photographic Memory, I go on a journey to learn – through our shared profession – about the mother I never knew but whom I so desperately need to know.” Rachel explained on her Kickstarter campaign page for her film.

“I am blending my mother’s 1970s interviews with my own footage, creating a posthumous mother-daughter collaboration that connects me to my mother while re-examining the course of the careers of some of the most influential photographers in the history of the medium.”

In addition to $2,500 cash given by From The Heart Productions, the winner receives goods, services, and discounts including hard drives from G-Technology, tape stock from Comtel/Edgewise Media, marketing consultation and services from Smart Girls Productions,  audio post production from AudioKut, a full scholarship to The Writer’s Boot Camp,  lighting from Paskal Lighting, and much more from many heart-felt donors.

About the Filmmaker

Rachel Seed

Rachel Seed

Growing up surrounded by photography, Rachel Seed became a photographer nearly 20 years ago and has run a successful freelance business for the past few years, while also earning an MFA from Indiana University (in progress since 2009).  Since 2006, she has conducted 35 video interviews internationally of women and men whose mothers died when they were young, also photographing them.

This work has been supported by several grants including the Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Yarka Vendrinska Memorial Award at the Maine Media Workshops, and a World Affairs Council Association grant for international travel, and exhibited in Russia and the United States. She was also named a Top 25 Artist at 3rd Ward Brooklyn’s annual contest in 2010.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, 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.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has been integral in making sure that talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant that have been completed include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” and “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family” which is now showing in film festivals around North America.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $1.5 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.

 

The 2015 Roy W. Dean Spring Grant is now accepting submissions.  Cash value has increased this year to $3,500.  If you’d like to submit your project, please go to the Roy W. Dean Grant Application Page and follow instructions.  The deadline for submissions is April 30th 2015. 

Roy W. Dean 2015 Spring Grants are now being accepted!  Deadline: April 30th

Grant Application Button Transparent

Spring Grant Finalists

SPRING GRANT 2014 winner!

The Brainwashing of My Dad
JEN SENKO, DIRECTOR
The Brainwashing of my DadAs filmmaker, Jen Senko, tries to understand the transformation of her father from a non political, life-long Democrat to an angry, Right-Wing fanatic, she uncovers the forces behind the media that changed him completely: a plan by Roger Ailes under Nixon for a media takeover by the GOP, The Powell Memo urging business leaders to influence institutions of public opinion, especially the universities, the media and the courts, and under Reagan, the dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine. As her journey continues, we discover that her father is part of a much broader demographic, and that the story is one that affects us all. Through interviews with media luminaries, cognitive linguists, grassroots activist groups such as:  such as Noam Chomsky, Steve Rendall, Jeff Cohen, Eric Boehlert, George Lakoff, STOP RUSH, HearYourselfThink and others, “Brainwashing” unravels the plan to shift the country to the Right over the last 30 years, largely through media manipulation. The result has lead to fewer voices, less diversity of opinion, massive intentional misinformation and greater division of our country. This documentary will shine a light on how it happened (and is still happening) and lead to questions about who owns the airwaves, what rights we have as listeners/watchers and what responsibility does our government have to keep the airwaves truly fair, accurate and accountable to the truth.

www.thebrainwashingofmydad.com

2014 Top 5

 

Roy W. Dean Spring Film Grant Finalists

From The Heart Productions announced the finalists for the its final Roy W. Dean Film Grant of 2014.  22 films will compete for $30k in film production services, cash, and production assistance that the grant offers.

2008 Fall Grant Winner "Red Dust" documented dangers faced by China factory workers to Red Cadium Dust

2008 Fall Grant Winner “Red Dust” documented dangers faced by China factory workers to Red Cadium Dust

The Roy W. Dean Grant funds films that are unique and make a contribution to society.   Films submitted are in various stages of production that range from just a proposal to those needing help to complete post-production.  All have provocative, affecting stories that without the grant’s help may never be told.

The grant consists of $2,500 in cash contributed by From The Heart Productions as well as free and discounted services and film products from heartfelt donors.  These donations include a film score, animation, legal fees, photography and more that will aid the winner in getting their film finished.  A complete list of donors can be found at https://fromtheheartproductions.com/donors/

Finalists for the 2014 Roy W. Dean Film Grant include short films, documentaries, and features.   They cover a wide range of subjects and tone.   Out of these 22 projects, a top group of 5 will be selected by From The Heart.  These 5 will be sent to the final judges.  The winner will be announced in December.  A complete list of finalists, their projects, as well as contact information can be found at https://fromtheheartproductions.com/finalist-fall-grant/

“We’ve got short films that make you laugh and documentaries that will make you think and break your heart” said Carole Dean, President of From The Heart Productions which oversees the grant. “The exceptional quality of the work and variety makes the judges task all that more difficult.”

Jury Prize

For some finalists, this is their second or third attempt to win the Grant.  Those that have applied 3 times have the opportunity to be considered for the Jury Prize.  The Jury Prize is a $500 cash prize awarded for courageous filmmaking by filmmakers with great heart who, through their devotion and dedication, are staying the course creating a unique film that contributes to society.

Britt Penrod Audience Award

All finalists are also eligible to compete for the Britt Penrod Audience Award.  Finalists for each grant can post trailers or clips from their films on the Britt Penrod Audience Award Facebook Contest Page to compete for a $250 prize.  Anyone can vote on the films posted.  The contest runs from November 10th to November 30th.

Special Mention

So impressive was the quality of work and the passion for so many of the projects over the years, that a new “Special Mention” category was created in 2014.  It honors exceptional work that may not be quite ready for the finals…but not by much.   A list of those projects receiving special mention can be viewed at https://fromtheheartproductions.com/roy-w-dean-grant-special-mention/

By a margin of just 31 votes out of more than 1,200 votes cast, director Ping-Wen Wang’s short film “Christmas Dance” has won the 2nd Britt Penrod Audience Award for 2014.   7 indie film finalists for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Summer competed for the award with voting taking place on Facebook from Sept 12th to Oct 12th.  The winner’s prize of $250 will help her complete production of her project.

Christmas Dance- Promotion Animation from Ping-Wen Wang on Vimeo.

The Britt Penrod Audience Award is open to finalists for the Roy W. Dean Grant.  Seven out of the 22 finalists for the Summer Grant competed by posting trailers for their films on Britt Penrod Audience Award App on the Roy W. Dean Grant Facebook page.  Registered users of Facebook including film fans and followers of the artist and grant can then view and vote on their favorite.

“It feels great,” Ping-Wen said upon learning she had won, “and the award is truly for my Taiwanese and LMU family and friends. With their support we are able to continue and building upon our dream.”

What does she plan on doing with her prize money?

This is the first money we’ve raised for the film. We plan on pooling it with the rest of the funds we raise to help pay our crew who will, for the most part, be working for credit and meals.”

Projects that were up for the award included short films, documentaries, and features. As with all submissions to the grant, the projects are all works in various states of production.  They all adhere to the goal of the grant which is to fund unique films that make a contribution to society.

“It is a great opportunity for the talented artists applying for the grant to have their works in progress exposed to a wide audience”, commented Carole Dean president of From The Heart Productions which oversees the Roy W. Dean Grant.  “These are important projects that need to be seen and supported.”

About Christmas Dance

Christmas Dance is a 15-minute short fiction film about a lonely old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s who enters a dream world and meets her long lost family and friends on Christmas Eve. She must relive her most important memories with her daughter and let go of all her regrets before she forgets everything. The 15-min short film, currently in pre-production, is a PingWen’s graduate thesis project for Loyola Marymount University.

Christmas Dance is a personal journey inside an Alzheimer’s patient’s mind. Because the disease causes her to no longer remember who she is, her mind fights tirelessly to hold on to her memories. She enters a dream world where she can be herself and share one final dance with her daughter.

By telling a touching story between a mother and daughter, Wang attempts to draw public attention to the disease as well as comfort and honor Alzheimer’s patients and their families. While most films about Alzheimer’s tend to show the sadness and the cruel nature of the disease, Wang wants to bring hope to those involved. As Ella Chen, granddaughter to an Alzheimer’s patient, states in The Long Goodbye, “I don’t know how much my grandmother can remember, but I think they’re all the happiest memories”.

Now, crowdfunding on indiegogo, you can check out the campaign for the film and contribute at  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/christmas-dance

You can also learn more about the film on their Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/christmasdancefilm or on the film’s website at  http://christmasdancefilm.com/

About Director Ping-Wen Wang

A female director hailing from Taiwan, Ping-Wen Wang is dedicated to telling LGBT and PingWenwomen’s stories through the power of cinema.  Wang’s first short “The Clown” won the Jury Award in the International Student Film Festival Hollywood, was nominated at Film Outside the Frame (FOF), and screened on Public TV in Taiwan. Her latest work “Between Us” is an official selection of the Palm Springs International ShortFest, Boston LGBT Film Festival, Barcelona International Gay&Lesbian Film Festival, Hong Kong International Gay&Lesbian Film Festival, Taiwan International Queer Film Festival and won the Special Prize of Excellence at the Screwdriver International Short Film Contest in Taiwan.

About the Britt Penrod Audience Award

Founded this year, the Britt Penrod Audience Award is a $250 prize awarded to a finalist of the Roy W. Dean Grant with the best trailer.  It is only open to finalists for the Roy W. Dean Grant.   Results of the award have no bearing on the grant, but give the contestants an opportunity to increase awareness of their project.

The award’s namesake, Britt Penrod, has been a good friend and longtime supporter of the Roy W. Dean Grant.  When Britt made a very generous, sizable personal donation to Grant, it was put it to use in the creation of the award.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Now in its 23rd year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year to films that are unique and make a contribution to society that, without its help, might otherwise never get made.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries or features from early stages of pre-production to those needing help in post.

The grant has given out over $2 million in a combination of cash, goods, and production service discounts from industry donors to date.  It has been integral in making sure that talented artists with great stories get their films produced.  Recent past winners of the grant that have been completed include the award winning “Heist: Who Stole the American Dream” and “The Winding Stream: An Oral History of the Carter and Cash Family” which is now showing in film festivals around North America.

About From The Heart Productions

From The Heart Productions, which oversees the Roy W. Dean Grant and the Britt Penrod Award, is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to helping filmmakers get their projects made.  Besides providing funding through the grant, they are also a fiscal sponsor which allows donations made to films they sponsor to be tax deductible.  From The Heart has raised over $1.3 million for crowdfunding films as a partner with Indiegogo.  President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.