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” and ebook, 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.

“Keeper of Time” Wins First Roy W. Dean Grant for 2020

Winner to Receive $30,000 Cash and Production Services to Complete Project

From the Heart Productions has announced that the winner of their Spring 2020 Roy W. Dean Grant is the documentary “Keeper of Time”.   Awarded 3 times each year by the non-profit organization, the grant goes to a unique film that makes a contribution to society.  Director Michael Culyba and his team will receive $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services and products to help them complete post-production.

 

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner

 

“This is such a beautiful and thoughtful film” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions which sponsors the grant. “All of us at From the Heart Productions are very excited that we are able to help this film get completed.”

“Keeper of Time” is a feature length documentary film that explores the history of horology, mechanical watchmaking and the very concept of time. With interviews from top horological experts and the finest watchmakers in the world, it delves into the world of timekeeping by examining the planets and stars above, the astonishing engineering of mechanical watches, the sophisticated atomic clocks that keep our modern world running and much more.

All the while, “Keeper of Time” contemplates the theoretical and physiological notions of time, aging, and human mortality with interviews from cutting-edge scholars in the fields of theoretical physics, quantum mechanics and philosophy.

In addition to the $3,500 cash prize, Michael Culyba will receive an G-tech ArmorATD drive from G-Technology,  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

Michael Culyba – Director/Producer/Editor – Michael has been editing documentary films in New York City for over seventeen years.

Some of his credits include Dixie Chicks: Shut Up & Sing (Toronto International Film Festival 2006), Gary Hustwit’s Urbanized (Toronto International Film Festival 2011), Running from Crazy (Sundance Film Festival 2013) and My Own Man, produced by Edward Norton (TriBeCa Film Festival 2014).

Most recently he edited two-time Oscar winning director Barbara Kopple’s film This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.  Keeper of Time is his directorial debut.

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, 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

“How to Have an American Baby” Wins Roy W. Dean Grant

Winner to Receive $30,000 Cash and Production Services to Complete Post-Production

Awarded to an independent film that is unique and makes a contribution to society, From the Heart Productions announced that the 3rd and last Roy W. Dean Grant in the 2019 cycle goes to the documentary “How to Have an American Baby”

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner Fall 2019

Directed by Leslie Tai, “How to Have an American Baby” is a kaleidoscopic voyage behind the closed doors of the Chinese birth tourism industry—a booming shadow economy catering to Chinese tourists who travel to Southern California on “birthing vacations” in order to obtain U.S. citizenship for their babies.

Through a network of stories, the film traces the human supply chain from Beijing and Shanghai to Los Angeles—chronicling the fortunes and tragedies that befall the ordinary people caught in the web of its influence.

“We are very honored to support a this very talented filmmaker and help her to complete this moving, powerful film” commented Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions which sponsors the grant. “It provides a fascinating look into how those from other countries view American society.”

In addition to the $3,000 cash prize, Leslie and producer Jillian Schultz will receive  $6,000 in animation services from Emmy winner Charlie Canfield, $500 expendable, lighting and grip equipment from Filmtools, one week DSLR camera package rental from Birns & Sawyer, and more from many other heartfelt film industry donors

About the Filmmaker

Roy W. Dean Grant Winner Fall 2019

Leslie Tai – Her work chronicles the dreams, anxieties, and consumer desire of China’s rising middle class and the Chinese diaspora from a distinctly female perspective.

A Chinese-American filmmaker hailing from San Francisco, Leslie moved to China in 2006  on a U.S. Fulbright Scholarship after graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in Design|Media Arts. There, she earned her filmmaking chops in the underground Chinese documentary world as a student of Wu Wenguang, a founding figure of the New Chinese Documentary Movement. From 2007-2011, she made and exhibited films as an artist of Wu’s Beijing-based studio, Caochangdi Workstation.

Tai is recipient of a 2019 Creative Capital Award and a graduate of the MFA Program in Documentary Film and Video at Stanford University. Her short films have premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, Visions du Réel (Nyon), International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and broadcast on The New York Times.

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, 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

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

 

Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists Named

26 Films Selected as Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists.  Winner to Receive Grant Valued at $30K in Cash and Production Services

From The Heart Productions , the nonprofit dedicated to helping of independent filmmakers fund their films, announced Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant finalists. The second of 3 film grants awarded yearly, the Roy W. Dean Grant is given to a film that is unique and makes a contribution to society.  The winner will receive $3,500 cash and thousands more in donated production services from film industry professionals and companies.

Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists

“The quality of work and commitment to it from all these filmmakers is wonderful.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “All of the projects chosen to compete for the grant have the opportunity to become exceptional films in the future.”

Now in its 27th year, the Roy W. Dean Grant is open to documentary films, feature films, web series, and short films or a combination.  It is open to filmmakers around the world.  Applications were received not just from U.S., but from filmmakers in Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Lebanon, and the Ukraine.

All filmmakers who entered the grant are given the opportunity for a free consultation on their project.  Winner of the grant is expected to be announced in November.

The Summer 2019 Roy W. Dean Grant finalists are:

Title

Film Type

Submitting Filmmaker

Where Love is Illegal TV, Web or New Media Nick Fitzhugh
In Justice TV, Web or New Media Nikki Hevesy
Help Is On The Way Documentary William Nolan
One List One Life TV, Web or New Media Dillon Hill
The History Of This Documentary Leyla Rouhi
Beyond The Duplex Planet Documentary Beth Harrington
26 Seconds Documentary Kelly Galindo
The Vintage Voyageur TV, Web or New Media Allison Maldonado
An Elephant In The Room Documentary Katrine Sahistrom
El Cadejo Blanco Feature Justin Lerner
999 The Extraordinary Young Women Documentary Heather Dune Macadam
Swanson on Sunset Documentary Jeffrey Schwarz
Ready Or Not? Documentary Jenny Mackenzie
Acid Test Feature Jenny Waldo
Conscience Short Brandon Kelly
Sacrifice Zones: The 48217 Feature Ben Corona
Wali & Zuri Short Derrick Woodyard
Quantum Qi TV, Web or New Media Sharron Rose
Radical Landscapes Documentary Elettra Fiumi
Dawn Dusk Documentary Jason & Blue Gerber
Mermaids Against Plastics Documentary Sylvia Johnson
Crossing Market Short Brandon Kajewski
The Other Tribe Documentary Lydia Mangeni Stewart
40 Days & 40 Nights Documentary Taira Akbar
Busted Feature Rebecca Hamm
La Recua Documentary Trudi Angell

 

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  You can view an image from the film, filmmaker info, and loglines.  If they have available, filmmakers can include a link to their film’s website, Facebook page, or relevant social media connection. 

In addition to the  $3,500 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions the winner will also receive $500 in expendables, lighting or grip equipment from Filmtools,  a G-Technology ArmorATD hard drive with case, $1,295.00 Scholarship to Writers Boot Camp, and more from heartfelt film industry donors that support independent filmmaking.

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Founded in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society that, without it’s help, might otherwise not get made.  There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Fall 2019 Grant has extended its previous deadline and is accepting entries until Oct 31st.  

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 U.S. 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 Productions has helped independent filmmakers raise over $10 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

 

Finalists Selected for Final Roy W. Dean Grant of 2018

21 Filmmakers in Running for Grant That Includes Film Score and Animation

Roy W. Dean Grant Finalists

Roy W. Dean Grant Fall Finalist “Constant Fleeting”

Awarded to a unique film that contributes to society, 21 independent film projects have been chosen as finalists for the Fall 2018 Roy W. Dean Grant

The grant is offered by the non-profit From The Heart Productions. The winner will receive $30,000 in a combination of cash and donated production services from film industry professionals and companies which support independent filmmakers. 

“It is truly inspiring to see the personal, societal, and environmental challenges we face in the world today being addressed so passionately by so many talented filmmakers.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions.

Finalists include documentary, feature, short films, and a web series.  Films will now go to the judges to determine winner which will be announced in early February.

Roy W. Dean Grant Fall 2018 Finalists

View overview of project summaries and filmmakers for the 21 Roy W. Dean Grant finalists for the Fall 2018 which include:

26 Seconds (Documentary)        

La Leyenda Negra (Feature)

999 – The Extraordinary Story of the First Girls and First Jewish Transport to Auschwitz (Documentary)

Children of Concrete and Steel (Short)

America’s Other Irish (Documentary)

Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (Documentary)

Triple Threat (Web/TV Series)

Becoming Music (Documentary)

Constant Fleeting (Documentary)

Days Of His Life, Days Of Our Lives (Documentary)

Ghost Empire: The Forgotten Story Of Harvey Comics (Documentary)

Ginger (Feature)

Grey Gold (Documentary)

It’s Not Who I Am (Documentary)

Out of My Comfort Zone (Feature)

Power of 7 (Documentary)

Strong (Short)

The Future of Food (Documentary)

The MicroCosmic Cartoon Show (Feature)

Transmission – Roots to Branches (Documentary)

Wax Paul Now (Short)

The grant winner will receive $3,000 in cash provided by From the Heart Productions and donations of film services and products from film industry professionals and companies.  These include $15,000.00 theme music and score written by well-known composer David Raiklen, $6,000.00 in animation from Emmy award winner Charlie Canfield, $500 in expendables from Filmtools, a G-Drive from G-Technology, and more from many heartfelt film industry donors.  

About the Roy W. Dean Grant

Founded in 1992, the Roy W. Dean Grant is awarded 3 times each year.  Grant seeks films that are unique and make a contribution to society.  There is a Spring, Summer and Fall Grant.  The Spring 2019 Grant is now accepting entries.  Films submitted to the grant can be short films, documentaries, features, and web series 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 Dream”, “Kusama-Infinity”, and Emmy winner “Mia: A Dancer’s Journey”.  

About From the Heart Productions

The 501(c)3 non-profit was founded by Carole Dean in 1993.  She was prompted to act when saw how many filmmakers with important and often controversial stories were having trouble getting financing for their films.  The mission of From the Heart Productions is to educate and assist filmmakers in getting funding.  From the Heart offers fiscal sponsorship for films which allows donors to get a tax deduction for their donations.  Their Intentional Filmmaking Classes which teaches filmmakers the tactics on how to get funded is now open for enrollment.  Classes start in February.