“Hart of the Wild Bunch” Wins Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Storytelling

Filmmakers Will Receive $2,000 to Use for Post-Production to Complete Their Film

From the Heart Productions, a top-rated non-profit dedicated to helping independentCarole Joyce Award filmmakers fund their projects, has announced “Hart of the Wild Bunch” has won the Carole Joyce Award for Excellence in Storytelling for the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant.

Prize is awarded to a film submitted to a Roy W. Dean Film Grant and selected as a finalist.

The short film is co-directed by Sophia Arguelles and Grace Caroline Currey.  The project will use the $2,000 award to help wrap production and begin submitting to festivals.

“What a fun and fresh take on the classic western,” commented Carole Dean, president of From the Heart Productions. “They’ve done an outstanding job of creating a compelling story in this genre from the female perspective.”

About the Film

“In “Hart of the Wild Bunch”, a wild west gang of runaway women find themselves destitute after a chain of unsuccessful heists. Benevolent leader Cassidy Hart must leverage her authority when one of her rebel followers rallies the group around a very dangerous scheme.

About the Co-Directors

Carole Joyce AwardSophia Arguelles – Sophia has been an actress and ballet dancer her whole life, but she can now additionally say she is a filmmaker and screenwriter. In the process of making her first short, HART OF THE WILD BUNCH, she has won herself a literary agent, theatrical manager, and soon will be working with a new literary manager for her two new screenplays that she has written during the post production of HOTWB.

Sophia always had a strong desire to write screenplays and direct films, but due to financial instability throughout her life, she knew college or film school would be out of the question. It was only in December 2020, when a professional screenwriter saw her potential and drive after reading her first written screenplay (with absolutely no structure she will soon learn), was her dream of becoming a screenwriter a truly possible reality.

Sophia has been under private education and mentorship under this professional screenwriter and has four production companies already looking out for her written and directorial debut work in HOTWB. Sophia hopes after the short comes out to start directing and writing music videos and commercials while her features work in pre production. Her dream is to tell the stories that dance in her head daily, knowing that the stories she dreams of can help others and leave an impact on people for the better.

Carole Joyce AwardGrace Fulton – Grace is known for her starring roles in the DC Comics movies Shazam!, as a child Grace trained as a ballerina, including a summer training at the Royal Ballet School in London. Before focusing full time on acting, she pursued both ballet and acting, including a session in the Summer Intensive program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2014.

Credits include: Shazam! 2: Fury of the Gods, Shazam!, Annabelle: Creation, Jag, Bones, Ghost Whisperer, Revenge, and coming to theaters this summer: Fall.

As Grace continues her love for dancing and acting, she is adding on the additional exploration of the art of directing. With HART OF THE WILD BUNCH as the frontier, Grace will further her directorial feat by co-directing a feature film with her father, Damian Fulton, late this summer. Though she is a superhero in big blockbuster films, at her core she is truly a detail oriented artist who strives to capture beautiful visual storytelling.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Since its inception in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grants have awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to independent films.  The Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant is now in its 2nd year and is awarded to fiction films under forty minutes in length. 

There are four Roy W. Dean Grants awarded each year.  They have 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”.

2022 Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant Awarded to “Love Taps”

Dramatic Short Fiction Film from MFA candidate at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Wins $3,000 Cash and Thousands More in Donated Production Services

From the Heart Productions, the 30-year-old non-profit dedicated to helping indieRoy W. Dean Short Film Grant filmmakers fund their films, is proud to announce that the 2022 Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant goes to “Love Taps” from director Derrick Woodyard.  The grant is awarded to a live action or animated short fiction film.  It must unique and that makes a contribution to society.  

An NYU Tisch School of the Arts MFA candidate, Derrick will receive $3,000 and thousands more in production services to continue help him continue his work on the project.  

“We are very thrilled to have Derrick be our first student filmmaker to win a Roy W. Dean Grant,” remarked Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “The quality of his work we’ve seen is exceptional.  We expect to see many great films from him in the future.”

In addition to the $3,000 cash prize, the winner will receive $3,000.00 in music and audio services from well-known composer David Raiklen, $6,000.00 in animation from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield, $1,400 value (4 hours of sound mix session) from Silver Sound, and more from many heartfelt donors that love and support indie filmmakers.

About “Love Taps”

Love Taps is a dramatic short film that follows the experience of a young boy who decides to conceal his father’s affair with another man in order to get his family back together.

This is Derrick Woodyard’s film project in the NYU Graduate Film Program and continues his exploration of family themed narratives from a child’s perspective. The project is the recipient of Spike Lee’s 2021 Thesis Production fund and will also be executive produced by Lee.  

About the Filmmaker

Roy W. Dean Short Film GrantWriter/Director/Cinematographer Derrick Woodyard currently is an MFA candidate at NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a focus in Directing and Writing. His commitment to finding truth in his narratives leads him to explore the nuances of his characters through their desires, inner conflicts, and personal relationships. This search for truth is influenced by his lived experiences from which he takes inspiration. His films have investigated stories of internal moral struggles, trials of multiracial familial bonds, and the traumas of parental absence all from the lens of Black characters.

His latest project, “Love Taps” will be executive produced by veteran Director and Academy Award winner Spike Lee for which Lee has granted funding towards. This follows his last short film, “Wali & Zuri” which played at a number of film festivals around the country, for which he also received close advisement from Lee during pre- and post-production.

Derrick is a selected participant in the Facebook SEEN Black Filmmakers Program in partnership with the Blackhouse organization. He is also a recipient of the Peter D. Gould Scholarship, the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Scholarship, and is the 2020 recipient of the Martin Scorsese Young Filmmakers Scholarship and is the 2020 BAFTA NY HBO Scholar.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

The Roy W. Dean Grant for Short Films is the most recent addition to the Roy W. Dean Grants for independent filmmakers.  The first Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant was awarded in 2021 to Lorenzo DeStefano and his film “Stairway to the Stars.

The grants are awarded to unique films that make a contribution to society.  From it’s inception in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grants have awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services.  Three other Roy W. Dean Grants are awarded times each year to films budgeted under $500,000.

The grants have been an important lifeline for independent filmmakers that need 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”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

Fiction Short “Lunchbox” Wins First Britt Penrod Award of 2022

Timely Story That Examines Anti-Asian Racism 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 named Director/Writer/Editor and Actor Anne Hu as winner of the Britt Penrod Award for her short film “Lunchbox”.   This award goes to a project that was submitted to the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for Spring and selected as a finalist.  Anne will receive a $500 prize that will help support her effort in completing this film.

Britt Penrod Award

Still from the Making of “Lunchbox”

“Anne has done a brilliant job handling multiple jobs to bring this very personal and touching film to completion,” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. 

Currently in post-production, “Lunchbox” is a dramatic, three-part, coming-of-age short film about regret, healing, and honoring the people we love.  When a Taiwanese American woman prepares lunches from her childhood, she struggles to forgive herself for pushing away her immigrant mother. 

Based on a true story, this retelling examines the personal cost of fitting in as well as the recovery from cultural and familial loss.

About the Filmmaker

Britt Penrod AwardAnne Hu – Director, Writer, Editor, Lead Actor (Adult Shirley & Teen Shirley) Anne is a Taiwanese American, award-winning director, writer, editor, and actress. Her directing focus is in narrative film, TV, and commercials.

As seen in The Hollywood Reporter, Hu made the 2020 Alice List for Emerging Female Filmmakers Who Have Not Yet Directed a Feature.  She was selected to participate in Netflix’s Original Series Directors Development Program from 2020 to 2022.  She shadowed director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) on Netflix’s The Society.  Hu is also a fellow of the 2019 Space on Ryder Farm FilmLab.

She has directed, written, and starred in award-winning short films.  Her short CAKE was accepted into 38 festivals, earned 9 awards, and was featured in The Washington Post. As an actor, she has trained at T. Schreiber Studio, The Barrow Group, and The Freeman Studio. In CAKE, she and the cast were nominated for Best Ensemble.

Hu hopes to provide catharsis for audiences and inspire them to regard marginalized voices with their whole humanity.

About the Britt Penrod Award

The award will be presented to a finalist for Roy W. Dean Grant whose 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 for the Roy W. Dean Film Grant for the Spring Grant, The Bridge Ministry which won for the Summer Grant, and Separation which won for the Fall Grant. The Fog Catcher 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

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

“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

 

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”.

First Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant Won by “Stairway to the Stars”

Short Fiction Film to Receive Cash and Donated Services to Complete Film

Non-profit From the Heart Productions is pleased to announce that “Stairway to the Stars” has captured the inaugural Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant for 2021.  TheRoy W. Dean Short Film Grant grant is awarded to a live action or animated short fiction film that is unique and that makes a contribution to society.

Writer/Director Lorenzo DeStefano (“Talmage Farlow”, “Los Zafiros-Music From The Edge of Time”, “Hearing is Believing”, “Shipment Day”, “The Diarist”), was chosen to receive this prestigious award that comes with a $3,000 cash prize and access to significant in-kind and discounted goods and services from film industry donors.

“We are very excited to have this excellent project as our first recipient of the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant. ” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “Lorenzo faced tough competition from many wonderful projects from other very talented filmmakers.  We look forward to seeing his project completed.”

In addition to the $3,000 cash prize, filmmaker DeStefano will receive $3,000.00 in music and audio services from well-known composer David Raiklen, $6,000.00 in animation from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield, $1,400 value (4 hours of sound mix session) from Silver Sound, and more from many heartfelt donors that love and support indie filmmakers.

About “Stairway to the Stars”

“Stairway to the Stars’ is based on a real incident witnessed by DeStefano when he first moved to Hollywood from Honolulu and later produced as a One-Act play.  The film explores the complex relationship between friends who are enemies and enemies who are friends. Lorenzo’s film is a tribute to Nathanael West’s “Day of the Locust”, the plays of Samuel Beckett, and to the countless two-reel comedies shot in these very hills over 100 years ago.

Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant

Sean Young

Starring as the lead character Lavergne, a has-been thespian in her 70’s, is the celebrated actress, Sean Young (“Stripes”, “Blade Runner”, “Dune”, “No Way Out”, “Wall Street”, “Fatal Instinct”, “A Kiss Before Dying”, and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”).  “Sean is the ideal choice to bring this complex character to life.” added director DeStefano.  On the verge of physical and mental collapse, Lavergne’s love hate relationship with Tony, a young gay man of blind ambition & ample proportions who has vowed to save her life, is the central theme of the film.

One hot, smoggy afternoon, Lavergne and Tony attempt to climb an absurdly steep flight of outdoor steps in the Hollywood Hills. Lavergne wishes she were back in her Hollywood apartment watching “The Match Game” and eating Cheetos. Tony refuses to give up on her, goads her up the stairs with a mixture of brutality and real tenderness. Humorous, tragic, and deeply touching, Lavergne & Tony’s story reveals itself between the bottom of the stairs and the top, mined by the filmmakers for its maximum serio-comic potential.

Fundraising Campaign Underway for Final Funding

With half of the production budget raised, a crowdfunding campaign is running through October 7, 2021 on WeDid.it (https://stairwaytothestars.wedid.it/campaigns/9578-please-support-stairway-to-the-stars). With fiscal sponsorship provided by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the goal is to raise an additional $30,000 in tax-deductible contributions by October 7th.  Westshire Films plans to shoot the film on L.A. locations in early-to-mid October, 2021. 

DeStefano and his filmmaking team are very pleased to be returning to production after so many months of uncertainty.  Their efforts and those of other committed filmmakers all over the world strive to get us back in the business of telling great stories and bringing people together in the dark, where stories that shed light on the human condition can be shared and appreciated. 

Narrative short films are undergoing a real renaissance. Recognized and celebrated by numerous international film festivals and award-giving entities, this genre has evolved into a powerful and audience-friendly genre. Opportunities for international streaming & broadcast distribution have also improved exponentially in the past few years, reflecting a growing appetite and demand for high-quality, compelling short stories. 

With its strong cast, unique characters, high-profile locations, and compelling narrative, “Stairway to the Stars” is aiming for a 2022 film festival & awards release and will be marketed internationally to all available sales, distribution, exhibition, and social media platforms.

More information on the film can be found at www.stairwaytothestarsfilm.comwww.facebook.com/pg/Stairway-to-the-Stars-586330618549435/about/?ref=page_internal, and at the filmmaker’s IMDb page – https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0221805/.

About the Filmmaker

Roy W. Dean Short Film GrantBorn and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Lorenzo DeStefano is a playwright, screenwriter, producer, director, and photographer.  A member of the Directors Guild of America and past member of the Motion Picture’s Editors Guild, DeStefano has worked in the U.S. and U.K. theater.   He has written fiction & non-fiction, original screenplays and adaptations, as well as producing and directed narrative and documentary films.

He is producer/director of the 2018 Humanitas Prize-nominated documentary “Hearing is Believing” about the astonishingly  talented young musician and composer, Rachel Flowers.  DeStefano produced and directed “Los Zafiros-Music From The Edge of Time” an award winning film about the Beatles of 1960’s Cuba.  He also produced, directed, and edited the acclaimed public television documentary “Talmage Farlow”, a portrait of the great American jazz guitarist.

His current narrative feature project as producer/writer/director is “Shipment Day”, a filmed adaptation of his prize-winning play. He is writer/producer on “The Diarist”, a 5-Part Limited Series that tells the true story of Boston eccentric Arthur Crew Inman and his 17 million word “Inman Diary”, published by Harvard University Press.  DeStefano is also writer/producer of the fact-based urban thriller “House Boy”, set in London and South India and adapted from his novel.  More at www.lorenzodestefano.com.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

The Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant is the most recent addition to the Roy W. Dean Grants for independent filmmakers.  From it’s inception in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grants have awarded over $2,000,000 in cash and donated film services to unique films that make a contribution to society.  

In addition to the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant, the other grants are awarded times each year 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”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

 

“The Fog Catcher” Wins Britt Penrod Award for Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant

Award Goes to Film That is Unique and That Makes an Exceptional Contribution to Society

From the Heart Productions has announced writer/director Avi Kabir and his film “TheBritt Penrod Award Fog Catcher” as the recipient of the Britt Penrod Award for the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant.  Made possible by a generous donation by the award namesake, the $500 prize goes to a project submitted to each Roy W. Dean Grant that is unique and that makes an exceptional contribution to society.  The award will help support Avi in getting his film completed.

“For many years I have been reading about the scarcity of water and the very real consequences (socially and geopolitically),” commented Britt Penrod on the winning film. “I felt this was an important topic to bring to the fore – one that requires action from all of us.  In addition, I thought Avi Kabir’s visual storytelling was absolutely wonderful.” 

The short film revolves around Jagah (14), from a rural drought-hit village in the state of Maharashtra (India), who is good at building and fixing things. The shortage of water in his village, a condition worsened by a monopoly over the scarce resource, sets into motion various pressing circumstances, at the heart of which is the need to comfort his younger sister Jugnu (9) by finding water for the plant where their mother’s ashes have been laid.

About the Filmmaker

Britt Penrod AwardAvi Kabir is currently an MFA candidate at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, pursuing a degree in directing and writing. Avi studied psychology, history and political science before completing a post-graduate degree in Mass Communication. He then went on to work in the villages of India, producing educational and training documentaries.

These films were made with marginalized women farmers and workers, and continue to be used today to address taboo issues such as sexual health and women’s rights regarding pre-natal care, sustainable agriculture and income accounting.

Avi has also written and directed short films in New Delhi and New York. He is the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Short Film Production Award for his script “The Fog Catcher” (2019). When Avi is not filming, he can be found by his piano or in a music studio, scoring to picture or producing electronic music

About the Britt Penrod Award

The Britt Penrod Award was made possible by a donation from longtime friend of 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.

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 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 $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

“Scared to Debt” Wins Roy W. Dean Grant for Spring 2021

Investigative Documentary Dives into the $1.8 Trillion Student Loan Debt Crisis

Now celebrating its 30th year of helping indie filmmakers realize their dreams, the first Roy W. Dean Grant of 2021 goes to the documentary Scared to Debt.  The non-profit From the Heart Productions awards the grant 4 times a year to a unique film that make a contribution to society.  Director Mike Camoin and his team will receive $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services and products to help them complete the multi-chapter documentary.

“Sallie Mae Not” – First Chapter in Scared to Debt Six Part Series

“College graduates face a tremendous burden throughout life from their student loans ” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “The film does an excellent job examining the roots of the crisis and showing the damage it has done to young people.  Hopefully, it will finally spur politicians to take action to remedy the situation.”

A feature documentary shown in six chapters currently in post-production and seeking finishing funds, Scared to Debt reveals the student loan crisis to have grown wider and deeper over the years placing in excess of 45 million Americans who collectively owe $1.8 Trillion in debt.  All of whom are under unprecedented financial hardship and chronic economic stress. 

Most Americans wonder why college costs have outpaced the rate of inflation. Many still believe student debt is a case of the “Bad Borrower.” Scared to Debt reveals how the federal government, financial institutions, and universities are responsible and carry most of this blame.

In Scared to Debt, you’ll meet key insiders and hear credible voices expose an inept, corrupt Department of Education, leading to anguish experienced by student and parent borrowers across all demographics. Anyone aspiring to or working for higher education will benefit from the solutions shared in the film to restore America’s confidence in the opportunities afforded by higher education.

Sallie Mae Not, Chapter One is completed and premiered virtually at the Whistleblower Summit + Film Festival on July 26, 2021.

In addition to the $3,500 cash prize, Michael Camoin will receive $1,600 value sound mix session from Silver Sound, 40% deduction on color, editing, and sound & all production services from ProMedia NYC, 30% discount in equipment rental from AbelCine Tech, Inc. NYC,  and more from many other heartfelt film industry donors.

About the Filmmaker

Mike Camoin is best known for his documentary series on Adirondack culture: Inside the Blue Line, How to Make an Adirondack Packbasket which has screened in northeastern U.S. and Canadian television markets.  From the Mountaintop: The History of Adirondack Fire Towers is now in development will complete the trilogy.  On a cinematic mission, Camoin is releasing Sallie Mae Not: Chapter One in the documentary, Scared To Debt

Mike founded the 501(c)3 non-profit Capital  Cinema Cultural Exchange, Inc. which hosts the annual Northeast Filmmakers Lab in upstate New York.  Camoin works closely with consultants and board members to establish strategic plans.  He is also host of the new series Check the Gate:  One On One with the Northeast Filmmakers Lab.

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 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”.

For More Information and interview requests, please contact:

Richard Kaufman

richard@fromtheheartproductions.com

www.fromtheheartproductions.com

Tips on Winning Grants from a Grantor!

Our Roy W. Dean Grants are now in their 30th year.  I’ve reviewed thousands of submissions and know what peaks a grantors interest and what turns them off

by Carole Dean

From the Heart Productions has been awarding grants since 1993 when we created our Roy W Dean Grants for unique films that make a contribution to society ( and I’ve been awarding them since 1992 before I founded From the Heart!).  Since then, 72 very different and excellent films have won our grants.  We are proud of the work that our filmmakers have done to achieve their goals and get their film funded, distributed, and seen by millions.

Winning Grants

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner Leslie Neale for Her Documentary “Unlikely Friends” with Carole Dean

Grants are a wonderful way to fund your films as well build an audience.  For filmmakers, there are more opportunities than ever before (we now offer 4 grants each year with the recent addition of our grant exclusively for short films).  Winning a grant will give you film instant credibility with audiences, donors, and distributors.   You can use it to publicize your film in press releases and on social media.

From the Heart Productions wants to help you in winning grants by sharing important suggestions on applying for grants. Everything here applies to our Roy W. Dean Grant. I feel that you will find it also applies to the majority of grants available.

First and foremost, put some passion in your proposal

I want to get as excited about your film as you are. Let the passion for your film jump off the page.

Please, at the beginning of your grant application, put the grantors criteria of the grant in a sentence with why your film fits it… I like to see that because it means to me that you carefully read the web site.  And I want you to realize judges are usually reading a lot of grants at once so, remind them at the beginning exactly how your film fits the grantors criteria.

Use your creativity.  Make it interesting and intelligent.  Get out of the paragraph format if you can. Perhaps use bullet points, use color, use photos, use graphs, use pie charts.  Use anything to break up the monotonous written page.  Show me how artistic you are.  Do this for anyone who will allow it.  A picture is truly worth 1,000 words.

Share your outline for funding

Who else have you contacted for funding? Make a list of all grants you’ve applied for and those you intend to go after. I don’t care how long it is, the longer the better.  Include this to show that you are focused on grants and you know which ones are best for you. 

How much have you raised?  How much do you need?  Where will you get it?

List how you intend to get the money to make your film and include this information in the grant application.

If it is a $200K budget, give us an outline of where the funds will come from.

Example:

$50K from 2 crowdfunding campaigns

$100K from individuals

$50K from strategic partners.  Add how you will get them attached and how they will share our info with their mailing list.  Explain all of this.

Then we know you know you can get the funds.

If this is for a feature, tell me how you will meet the HNI (high-net-worth individuals). Where will you go to find them?

Are you offering a 5% referral fee? I would not tell other people, but I would put those people in a special list as friends of friends who have money. Put a dollar mark you think you can collect that way.

Things we want to know:

List every way you will raise money for your feature film.

Now, tell me how you will get this film sold.

Where do you think it will play?   Theatres or online? International?  What countries? Online VOD? Drive-ins?  Don’t discount this, they are very popular now.

Who do you think will buy it? How much money do you think they’ll pay you? If it is for distribution, what do you expect to get in return?

Does your film have international appeal? Have you found good international distribution? If so, you might want to mention this.

Are you going to the AFM (American Film Market)? Are you out meeting and entertaining HNI?

All of this we really need to know especially if you’re going after a grant from us for a feature. Many people think features are a risky investment and we need some security. That must come from you in how you are raising your funding.

Crow about your crew members with confidence!

One of the things we look for in grants is your crew members. How experienced are they? What have they worked on? This is a major part of decision-making. Be sure to include any awards your crew has.

We want to know in a feature or webisode that that you are fully supported. Especially if you are an emerging filmmaker or have very little experience yourself, we look to see that you are supporting yourself with highly skilled technicians.

Tons of money has been given to people who never finished films. The number one consideration we have and number one question we ask ourselves is will he or she finish this film? The experience and track record of the crew gives us some indication as to whether they can complete a film (as well as how it will turn out).  What is the number between one and 10, 10 being absolutely sure and one being not sure they will get funded?  We often asked judges to give us this number value as it is important.

People who give us proposals and letters that use a qualifier about raising funds like “hope too” or about getting the film made say “I have always wanted to make a film” or “I really would like to make a film” are the ones who go to the “absolutely no” pile.

We want to hear your confidence in your paperwork, I’m making this film with or without you. If you want to join me terrific but if not, I’ll see you at the Oscars. I want you to be that positive.

Tell us why you are making this film

One of the most important things that people often leave out is the answer to the most important question, why are you making this film? What is your connection to this film? Are you making a cancer film because your mother or loved one died of cancer?  If so, tell us, because that means to us that you are totally committed and your chances of finishing the film are high because you are personally connected to it.

If you are making this film to get into the film industry because that’s where you belong, bravo!  Tell us. We want to know and that’s a great valid reason to make a film.  We love and respect your tenacity and your dedication.

Are you making this film to send a message?   We like that too.  If that is reason, why are you so passionate about this information?  How has this information touched your own life and why do you want to devote five years to making the film?

Remember, we know that on average, documentaries take six years to make and two years to distribute. Think then of what the judges will say when you send us your proposal and you haven’t raised a penny.  Or you are not forthcoming with how you will raise the money or that you even know how to raise the money.  This proposal would not get far up the ladder for a grant.

Show your commitment and connection to material

Grants are highly competitive today. Remember people giving grants are mostly not filmmakers.  We highly respect you and we want to support you and we think you are the most creative people on earth. So, recognize the fact that we want to give you money.  It’s up to you to give us the right information in the strongest most self-confident assured way possible so that we can give you the grant.

Most grants have filmmakers for judges.  We do as well, but there are many people who read your material before it reaches the final judges.  Those people need to be totally impressed with your dedication, commitment, and your connection to the material.  This is a key for us.  What is your connection to the material?

I know this is a lot of information but judging grants is a very hard job. And I want to cover everything we are thinking and using to judge your film, so you know what’s it is like from the judge’s perspective.

Who is your audience?

My grant has marketing and I put a large percentage of decision-making on the marketing you state in the application. I want to know if you know who your audience is and to tell me succinctly.

Please, don’t say everyone, that’s ridiculous. Give me a composite of your audience. I want to know who they are, where they get their news, where they hang out online, what they want to see in your film and why. When I know that you know your audience, then you go to the top of the pile.

Use www.FromTheHeartProductions.com as a source of education on funding.

More resources for finding and winning grants

In my online class “How to Fund Your Film”, I explain how to find your audience, create a believable budget, and to to find as well as capture those High Net Worth investors or donors. 

My book,The Art of Film Funding, 2nd edition: Alternative Financing Concepts” was written for documentaries, shorts, and feature producers for funding via grants, individual investments/donations, online crowdfunding, and distribution through streaming video.

We’ve got lots of free information on our website. See the resource tab that’s a good place to start for information, look under the resource tab and research each of those links below as they are full of funding advice.  

Under the Resource tab, you will find a comprehensive list of film grants

Under my blogs you will tips on “How to Find Strategic Partners for Your Films”

And on our page “How to Apply for the Roy W. Dean Grant”, you will even find of video of me with advice on creating grant submissions for our grant

Guardian Angel Program

I find that the people that hire me to mentor them through my Guardian Angel Program and work with me on a weekly basis are the ones who have a clear concept of what they want to achieve and are most successful.

Normally at the beginning of the mentoring, we pick one thing that they want to achieve.  That could be a film or that could be a book or that could be becoming the chair of the film Department or whatever you want to achieve.  

We then create a plan on how to get there, we list what you need to do and create a to do list.  You then make a commitment for what you want to achieve over that coming week, and we meet again and keep moving forward.  If you don’t have the funds to pay someone to do this, do you have a friend who might do this for you?  Working with a mentor weekly will pay off for you.

 

Carole Dean is president and founder of From the Heart Productions; a 501(c)3 non-The Art of Film Funding Podcastprofit that offers the Roy W. Dean Film Grants and fiscal sponsorship for independent filmmakers. She hosts the weekly podcastThe Art of Film Fundinginterviewing those involved in all aspects of indie film productionHer new class “How to Fund Your Film” is available on Vimeo on Demand.  She is also the author of  The Art of Film Funding, 2nd Edition: Alternative Financing Concepts.  See IMDB for producing credits.