Documentary “999” Named Winner of 2nd Roy W. Dean Grant of 2019

Filmmaker to Receive $30,000 in Cash and Film Production Services to Help Complete Film

The documentary “999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Transport from Auschwitz” has been chosen by From the Heart Productions as winner of their Summer 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.  With the grant, first time filmmaker Heather Dune Macadam will continue her work to bring this important film to the public.

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner

“We need to reminded of the holocaust and it’s terrible toll with great films such as this.” said Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “It is an amazing, untold story that we are proud to help document.” 

In addition to the $3,500 cash prize, the Roy W. Dean Grant Winner will receive $500 expendable, lighting and grip equipment from Filmtools, $1,295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, 2TB ArmorATD hard drive from G-Technology, and more from many other heartfelt film industry donors.

About the Film

On March 26, 1942, a train took 999 unmarried, young Jewish women for government service–they thought they were going to a shoe factory to work. They ended up in Auschwitz. “999 – The Extraordinary Yound Women of the First Official  Transport to Auschwitz” reveals the hidden story about how the Slovak government paid the Nazis to take their unmarried young Jewish women for slave labor, where they were supposed to be worked to death.

Who were these young women? Why were they chosen? How did a handful survive over three years in the death camps? Multiple narratives have been collected from survivors and families over the years that retrace that fateful transport and frame the girls’ stories with 94-year-old Edith Grosman—#1970—to discover the truth of this largely unreported and completely ignored women’s history about the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz.

What started as a documentary is now also a book being published by Kensington Citadel Press in the US. Heather’s goal is to have the documentary released with the book.  The book is already creating a bit of a buzz on BookBuzz where it was picked  as one of the top 10 nonfiction books for Fall/Winter 2019.  Being translated into 12 languages to date, it will be released in the UK as The Nine Hundred by Hodder and Stoughton (February 2020).

About the Filmmaker

Roy W. Dean Grant WinnerHeather Dune Macadam – Heather began her career as a performance artist and dancer with the Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company. After an accident prematurely ended her performing career, she began writing.  Her first book, was the memoir Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz,  which she co-wrote with the 716th woman in Auschwitz.  In 2012, the Digital Edition went viral and became an instant best seller, topping Holocaust and Memoir lists on Amazon.

She has been published by The New York Times, National Geographic, The Guardian UK, The Daily Mail, Marie Claire, Newsweek among other national and international publications, and was a semi-regular commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Ms. Macadam holds a Masters in Creative Writing and has received a Presidential Grant for Research from Savannah College of Art and Design and a PEN American stipend.  She is the director and president of the Rena’s Promise Foundation and ran the Rena’s Promise Intl. Creative Writing Camp 4 Teens for 5 years, reaching out to children at risk and helping them discover their creative voices.

Her Roy W. Dean Grant Winning Film is her first film.

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 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, 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 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 $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

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

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

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 

How to Mine Your Audience for Gold

by Carole Dean

 

“Who is your audience?”

It’s a common question that we ask of independent filmmakers submitting their documentary, feature, or short film to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant.  We find that 80% of our applications do not answer this important question.

Who is Your Audience

Do you know your audience?

Some say my audience is “everyone” which I encourage you not to do.  Judges will drop your proposal like a hot potato!

Some say “men and women from 18 to 48.”  That’s too broad.  We want to know everything possible about this audience.  If you had a description for your typical audience member like a “soccer mom in Indiana”, we would love it.

Why should you get so up-close-and-personal with your audience?  Your money for your film is now in their hands.  You will need to get dollars from them for research, for production, and again for post.  Plus, they will pay to download your film and probably help you put people in seats for theatrical on demand.

Ok, Carole, then how do I find my audience for my upcoming project?  Start by knowing more about your present audience.  These are fans of your other projects (hopefully you’ve got their names and emails or kept in touch with them on social media)

On a recent episode of my podcast The Art of Film Funding, Erica Anderson of Seed & Spark suggested to “get the names of 10 or more of your current fans and ask them questions.”  Mine your audience.

You want people in your database from different walks of life, who are not filmmakers, and who love the subject of your upcoming film.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What social media platforms do you hang-out on?
  • Where do you engage with people online?
  • What kind of news do you pay attention to?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • What blogs you follow?
  • What organizations do you belong to?
  • How do you spend your free time?
  • When you watch movies, how do you watch them?
  • Do you go to the theatre?
  • Do you primarily stream movies to your TV from some device?
  • Do you watch movies only on your laptop or your mobile phone?

With the answers to these questions, you begin to understand where you will reach others for your new audience.

Now you know where they hang-out online, how to speak to them based on what news they read and what blogs they pay attention to. You get a sense of how they pay attention to things.

Erica said “a headline from New York Times for instance is very different than a headline from BuzzFeed.” Now you have a better way to communicate with your potential audience.

Knowing what organizations they belong to gives you an idea of what organizations you can join.  You can begin to chat about your film because the content of this organization should be concerned about the same issues.

This same info can give you names of nonprofits to contact for strategic alliances if you are making a documentary and possibly for a feature.

Erica also says that “The last piece really is where does your audience see their movies? If it’s primarily on their laptop, that could change the way you are going to shoot the film, that could change the camera you choose, and how big your production value needs to be.  So, it can ultimately change the budget of your film.”

This mining effort can pay off with valuable information, donations, or investments.  Now you know what to put under audience on your grants and now you know what to do for marketing your film, tweeting it and how to write your posts on social media.

You are talking to your audience, so give them a name. I want you to know them like a character in a film.

 

Carole Dean is the president and founder of From the Heart Productions and author of The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  Her Intentional Filmmaking Class teaches filmmakers how to get their films funded.  New classes begin in September.  Discount for early enrollment.  

 

Preferred Pricing Program for E & O Insurance

From the Heart Productions Associated Filmmakers Can Take Advantage of This Special program

Non-profit From The Heart Productions in partnership with Front Row Insurance offers the Prefered Pricing Program for E & O Insurance for their members.  

Those who are eligible include:

Front Row Insurance is a Leader in Film Production Insurance

Front Row Insurance is a Leader in Film Production Insurance

The Preferred Pricing Program for E&O insurance offers exceptional rates and service from of the leading providers of insurance in the entertainment industry.  

E&O, Errors and Omissions, insurance covers legal liability and defense for the production company against lawsuits alleging unauthorized use of titles, formats, ideas, characters, plots, plagiarism, unfair competition or privacy, breach of contract.  

It also protects against alleged libel, slander, defamation of character or invasion of privacy.  This coverage will usually be required by a distributor, broadcaster or financier prior to the release of any theatrical or television production. Production financing will usually not flow until E&O coverage is in force.

“Getting this program has been a dream of mine for some time.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions, “With tight budgets, independent filmmakers a need a break on the cost of essential insurance.”

“Thanks to Kent Hamilton of Front Row Insurance and the tremendous work he put in to make this program a reality.  It shows his dedication to these filmmakers and to helping them out however possible.”

To get more information on preferred pricing and to get a quote, qualified filmmakers need to email Carole Dean of From The Heart Productions at caroleedean@att.net.

About Front Row Insurance

Front Row is an Entertainment Insurance Broker specializing in: The Film industry, The Music Industry, Fairs and Festivals with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles.  Front Row negotiates to obtain the best coverage at the lowest premium from the insurance companies.  They are a top choice for: filmmakers, musicians, photographers and festival organizers.

About Kent Hamilton

As Executive Vice President of the Truman Van Dyke Company for over 25 years, Kent Hamilton insured thousands of films, commercials and television productions. Joining Front Row Insurance Brokers LLC as President, Kent helps producers solve problems and obtain the proper insurance coverage for the best price.

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.   President Carole Dean is the best-selling author of “The Art of Film Funding” which is now in its second edition.

 

What’s Your Hook? Brilliant Strategies for Developing An Audience That Follows You, Not Just Your Film

By Elizabeth England

Carole Dean’s The Art of Film Funding on Blogtalkradio interview of Sheri Candler is another nugget of solid gold for independent filmmakers seeking to crowdfund or distribute their films.  Sheri is on the emerging edge of marketing independent features and documentaries in the internet era.  A digital marketing strategist, Sheri consults with filmmakers to develop an identifiable brand and audience that follows them from project to project.

As Director of Digital Marketing for The Film Collaborative,  she helps filmmakers find strategies for retaining the rights to their work, and much more.  She has co-authored two books on film marketing and distribution: Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul reveals strategies for US distribution of Indies; Selling your Film Outside the US tells the compelling stories of two case studies of film distribution in Europe.

Sheri CandlerSheri’s Message to Filmmakers:  

  • If your only way you to connect to an audience is through the filter of the funder, you are in a weak position and dependent on someone else’s audience to see your work.
  • The way of the past was to make a name for yourself and then you would be ‘picked’ to do more work for a studio (or a producer.)  It’s time to use new strategies to create your own audience and retain the rights to your products.
  • The studio/producer model is always subjective in its choice of projects – there is always a hot new thing to draw their interest!   A mindset change is required for filmmakers to achieve success now, not just for a film but for their creative work to be recognized and generate sustainable career options.
  • You don’t have to measure your success by the mainstream box office.  Most filmmakers want to express their passion, change the world or connect with an audience that loves their work.
  • You can build an audience around you, as an artist, and make the films you want because you have developed a fan base for your work.  You can make what you want as long as you are reconciled to this and can be happy with niche success rather than mass success.

Finding an Audience

Rick Dean Crop

A “name” attached to your film doesn’t need to be mainstream star. It could be a YouTube celebrity or a blogger with a large following.

How you will find your audience is key to getting your film seen, distributed and profitable.  Indy dramas will attract marketing dollars and distribution offers when they have big names attached unless the content is edgy enough to attract a major film festival or distribution offers. Or you can develop your own audience during the project that supports successful release and distribution.

A big name has a big following, but don’t limit yourself to the mainstream entertainment world. What about YouTube celebrities or blogger with a million followers? Or a film tied into an iconic figure with millions of fans.

These have an audience that wants to see their work and it’s likely you won’t have to pay top dollar for their name. A big name in mainstream entertainment may attract the marketing dollars needed to find the audience, but a huge audience isn’t required to make a film a success. Check out the case studies for examples of that.

What’s Your Hook?

Without a big name or festival, having a hook to connect with a target audience creates an audience that will show up to see the film.  When the big name and marketing dollars aren’t there to attract the audience, Sheri’s two European case studies prove that focused effort finds the target audience by getting the word out to them through social media, community, and news channels. In each case, the filmmaker developed warm, substantive relationships with their target audience and surprising success followed.

Each had one or more ‘hooks’ to defined audiences they developed with great success—one over years and the other rapidly (in the year after the film was completed!)  Both films were dramas with defined target audiences: a UK-based filmmaker with an ethnic, low budget, coming of age drama; and an India-based filmmaker with a drama released in a regional Indian dialog, with lots of interest from Europe, especially the UK.

So what’s your hook and how are you connecting with the community that will care about your story?  Does the community trust you and know your work? If they do, they will want to help when you make your ask for funds or support during release!

Connecting with this audience from the start of your project and asking your audience to be part of the process engages and invests them in buying and sharing the final release.  Sheri gives some great examples on how to engage your audience during the process.  YouTube is a way to connect with your audience but she warns that people understand social media for relationship building and usually find it a turnoff when used for marketing so use it wisely.  It is valuable for some topics…like sharing about a project on an iconic star or engaging fans for their feedback on the direction you’re taking in your story or soundtrack.

Don’t Worry About Distribution If You Have Your Audience

With all the digital distribution platforms now available, distribution is no longer a challenge.  But who’s going to watch it?  Marketing to your audience must be your focus from the start. Filmmakers can plan audience development and marketing at the beginning of the film.

With the speed of change on the internet, distribution agents simply aren’t able to keep up with the new digital distribution strategies. Online film review publications are now incentivized (The Guardian, The Times of India) using strategies like Distrify to earn royalties on the film reviews that result in click-throughs to view a film.

When you have a hook and plan audience development into your project, magic happens.  In one case study, the audience was so invested during the process that, when the filmmaker offered an affiliate program at release, 130 affiliates signed up immediately to help market the film and earn royalties on distribution.

He used Distrify to offer and host the film for streaming, providing affiliates with unique affiliate embed codes. Affiliates ‘prebought’ the film at buyin levels that increased their royalty with higher prebuy values – even up to 75% royalty.  WOW.  Affiliates made thousands and so did he.

There are Hundreds of Digital Platforms for European DistributionSelling_Your_Film_Outside_the_US

European distribution requirements are similar to US – they are looking for celebrity names (that are known in Europe), or films shown in a large festival, or films that have a record of large domestic distribution. Some genres attract distribution regardless of names or festivals because they have large demand, i.e. horror, thematic, sci-fi and family films. Straight drama and comedy don’t always travel well to foreign markets.

The sheer number of Video on Demand services in Europe is staggering – 447 – so many more than in the US.  That means that with some acclaim, your film can reach many viewers.  However, these revenue streams are paying less for a title so you’ll have several deals for distribution in Europe rather than one big deal as in the US market. European catalogs are looking at buying slates so these may only pay a license fee, not a transactional fee.  Collaborating with other producers to present a slate increases your film’s chance of being sold in bulk this way.

US Distribution

The Film Collaborative has a great program for US distribution.  TFC is an ‘aggregator’ for premium platforms like Amazon and ITunes.  For a flat fee, your film will be encoded and uploaded to premium platforms and you’ll receive royalties directly from TFC as a direct pass-through – no transactional fees are charged.  This is a great way to get your film into domestic digital distribution.

Be sure to listen to this great show 5 Creative Ways to Sell Your Film and check out the links below.