“Piece of Mind” Wins Final Roy W. Dean Grant for 2022

Through Intimate Stories, Documentary Reveals the Challenges of Those Suffering from Severe Mental Illness and the Impact on Their Families

Closing out the 2022 Roy W. Dean Grant cycle, From the Heart Productions, the top-rated 501(c)3 non-profit supporter of indie filmmakers, has awarded its Fall 2022 Roy W. Dean Grant to the documentary Piece of Mind.  The grant goes to a film that is unique and that makes a contribution to society.  It provides a combination of cash and donated production services which Producer/Director/Editor Sheila Ganz will utilize in completing her project.

“Piece of Mind”

“In all her films, as in this one, Sheila shines a light on those with problems who are neglected and outcast by society,” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “The stories she exposes touch the hearts and minds of audiences, prodding them to contribute solutions.”

In addition to the $3,000 cash prize, the grant winner will 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, $500 in grip, lighting or expendables from Filmtools, a 4tb OWC Gemini Raid Hard Drive from Other World Computing (OWC), and more from heart-felt film industry companies and individuals.

About the Film

There are 8.8 million adults living with severe mental illness in the U.S. today. Family members are their primary caregivers.

The documentary-in-progress Piece of Mind amplifies the voices of families as they advocate for equity in health care for their loved ones with brain disorders. This private story is told through the eyes of a mother fearful for her son unaware of his schizophrenia, two Japanese American sisters with a sister diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder who was shot by police seven times and survived, and a suicidal man with bipolar disorder who has a positive encounter with police. 

Their experiences reveal complicated family dynamics, conflicts with law enforcement and the impact of a broken mental health care system. Combining intimate interviews, archival footage and animation, the film highlights the urgent need for humane solutions for treatment before tragedy and a comprehensive continuum of care for individuals with brain disorders to give them a chance at a better life.

About the Filmmaker

Sheila Ganz – Producer/Director/Editor – She is deeply committed to giving voice to the lives of misunderstood and marginalized women, men and children.  She directed, produced and edited the Emmy-nominated documentary ON LIFE’S TERMS: MOTHERS IN RECOVERY, Certificate of Recognition, California State Legislature and Certificate of Honor, City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. 

Ganz first documentary UNLOCKING THE HEART OF ADOPTION , Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Angels in Adoption Award.  Both films continue to screen in educational institutions, adoption agencies and substance use treatment programs. 

Ganz has been a volunteer of the warm helpline for Bay Area Birth Mother’s Assoc., since 2010.  She taught filmmaking at Film Arts Foundation and guest lectured at City College of San Francisco and Academy of Art University.  Ganz wrote and directed two stage plays PRETEND IT DIDN’T HAPPEN about relinquishing her daughter for adoption, and LEAVING JOE about domestic violence. 

Before becoming a documentary filmmaker, Ganz was a painter and sculptor.  Her work has been exhibited in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Boston Area.  Ganz is a Black Belt in Karate.  

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

From its 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 which is now in theaters around the world,  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 that helps filmmakers get their projects funded and made.  They have been chosen a top non-profit for eight years in a row by greatnonprofits.org. Besides providing funding through the grant, they offer a unique film sponsorship which has helped filmmakers raise over $30 million for their projects.  The program offers personal consultations and guidance on finding funding their project. 

President Carole Dean, is a published writer, a producer, and instructor for two essential classes for indie filmmakers. She wrote the best-selling The Art of Film Funding: 2nd Edition, Alternative Financing Concepts.   Her Intentional Filmmaking Class teaches film funding and her new class, How to Produce Films, starts Spring 2023.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman



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