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

Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant Finalists Announced

22 Films Selected for to Compete for Grant Valued at $15K

Established in January 2021, 22 finalists were selected for the inaugural Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant.   The grant, which is offered by the non-profit From The Heart Productions , is awarded to a fiction short film that is unique and the 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.

Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant Finalists

“We founded the Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant in response to the explosion we saw of all the excellent short films being produced.” said Carole Dean, President of From the Heart Productions. “The submissions we received are bursting with originality from talented filmmakers all over the world anxious to show what they can create.  We thank them for allowing us to be exposed to their work.”

Projects were submitted by filmmakers around the world.  Grant applications were received from not only the United States, but from filmmakers in England, Italy, Philippines, Israel, and China. 

The Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant joins the other 3 Roy W. Dean Film Grants offered by From the Heart Productions.  As with the other grants, all applicants to the short film grant are offered a free consultation on their project. They can discuss their proposals, search for funding, distribution, or whatever they feel is needed to move their film forward.  

Winner of the grant is expected to be announced in September.

The Roy W. Dean Short Film Grant Finalists Are:

Title Submitting Filmmaker 
Stairway to the Stars Lorenzo DeStefano
Fat Lip Donovan  Tolledo
90 BPM Elizabeth Conway
Last Run Blaine Gray
Lies and Imitations Evan Murray
Small Miracles Toni Crey
Dream Big Georgina French
Reverberation Day Yasmine Alice
The Fog Catcher Avi Kabir
Proxy Lauren Hines Gill
Elephant Chinwe Okorie
How Not To Be A Junkie Andrea Metz
Mandy’s Voice Roxanna Lewis
A Treatise on Catfishery Maxime Beauchamp
Fragmented Jiming Lindal
I Was Always Coming Back Christian Jones
Claudia Erin Ramirez
Zenaida San-San Onglatco
The Perfect Lamb Omar Al Dakheel
Yesterday I was the Moon Yihan Lin
Bienvenidos A Los Angeles Lolia Etomi
Charlie’s Freedom Georgina French

 

Each finalist is given the opportunity to post information on their contending film on the From the Heart Productions website.  Filmmakers can include 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 $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, $600.00 for your Free Closed Captioning by NetCaptioning, and more from film industry companies and individuals.

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, 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”.