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On The Sly: In Search of the Family Stone A Project of Documentaries

"You Can Make It If You Try" - Sly Stone

ON THE SLY: IN SEARCH OF THE FAMILY STONE started as a simple idea: "Why don't I rent a camera and see if I can find my musical hero, Sly Stone?" I heard he lived in L.A –- so I thought "I'll just go and find him!" Easy, right? Hardly. I found out pretty fast that I had picked possibly the most difficult subject in the music industry. And I didn't know anything about making a film. I just knew that there was a story that needed to be told. Little did I know - it was not only Sly's story - it was also my own.

ON THE SLY was my film school. It took over 12 years to complete. It is a labor of love. It is independent filmmaking at its core. It has incredible music, suspense, drama, drugs, a rich history, and cinematic poetry. I hope that this film shines a deserved light and new appreciation on the genius of Sly Stone and his music. I also hope that it sends a message to every young filmmaker that if you believe in something enough -- you can make it, if you try.

We were shocked and humbled to get into Slamdance, one of the most competitive and prestigious festivals in the country for first-time filmmakers. Our film was one of eight feature documentaries chosen out of thousands of submissions and we held two completely sold-out screenings and received incredible support and feedback from audiences.

We've made it through 12 years of film production without the need for investors or traditional fundraising. Support from friends and family helped us get to Slamdance, but we need your support in order to cross the finish line and bring this film to a wider audience. Your investment will help ensure that this story will be told.

Thanks in advance for your support!


Michael Rubenstone - Writer, Director, Producer

Patrick Sheehan– Producer

Todd Shotz– Executive Producer

Dan Shotz & Salamo Levin – Executive Producers

Max Smerling & Sarah Anthony – Co-Producers

The Synopsis:
Michael Rubenstone, a first-time filmmaker, and a Sly and the Family Stone super - fan, sets out to find the band's leader, the reclusive funk legend, Sly Stone. In doing so, he manages to make the most comprehensive documentary on the band to date, while also bringing Sly out of hiding for the first time since his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1993. Part road movie, part rock doc, "On the Sly" follows Michael over the course of 12 years, across the country as he unearths the true story of the band and chronicles how a musical icon fell from grace. But will he ever get the chance to meet his hero? Is Sly still the man he set out to find in the first place? Hit the road and join the search!

The Festivals:
Slamdance Film Festival was an incredible success! We have a more screenings coming up this spring in Philadelphia (Cinedelphia Film Fest), Detroit (Freep Film Festival), Chattanooga (Chattanooga Film Festival) and Los Angeles and Chicago (Slamdance Presents at the ArcLight Hollywood & Chicago). We hope to announce more soon!

The Band:
Sly and the Family Stone has a loyal fan base all over the world. The band's notable hits include "Everyday People," "Dance to the Music," and "I Wanna Take You Higher." Sly Stone is a well-known recluse who has largely been out of the public eye since the 90s. 2017 is a big year for Sly and the Family Stone. In addition to being the 50th anniversary of their first album, their song "Thank You" will be inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, as will Sly Stone into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Sly Stone is being awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Recording Academy. The timing of this film's release couldn't be more perfect! There is a growing base that is hungry to see this story. Through early press and social media targeting, we have already aligned ourselves with some of the loudest voices among Sly and the Family Stone super-fans, and believe that this film will be well received within that community and by music fans worldwide.

The Team:

Michael was joined over 10 years ago by old friends and producers Patrick Sheehan (producer), Todd Shotz (Executive Producer) and Max Smerling (Co-Producer) who have been along this long and crazy ride with him. Later, friends Dan Shotz (Executive Producer), Salamo Levin (Executive Producer) and Sarah Anthony (Co-Producer) joined the team, too. All have been instrumental in bringing the film to where it is today. We are thrilled about our upcoming world premiere at Slamdance Film Festival!

Early Press:
"Slamdance Film Festival Unveils Competition Lineup" –

"New Sly Stone Documentary Premiering in January 2017" –

"On the Sly at Slamdance, One Man's Search for a Rock Icon" - Salt Lake Tribune

"Freep Film Festival documentary seeks out elusive music star Sly Stone" - Detroit Free Press

"One Everyday Person Looking for Sly Stone" - The Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia

Become an ON THE SLY Angel:
We hope that you will join us and become a part of this adventure by becoming an ON THE SLY Angel. Your tax-deductible gift will help ensure that we cross the finish line and that this story gets told.

As an Angel and early supporter, we'll keep you posted as we have exciting news and updates to share, including future festival appearances, distribution deals and more. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our film or how to support at

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support!

If you prefer to give by check, please make checks out to From The Heart Productions, Inc. and write "On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone" in the memo section. Send checks to From the Heart Productions @ 1455 Mandalay Beach Rd., Oxnard, CA 93035

$26,778 Raised
53% towards $50,000 Goal

Supported by 68 Donations:

  • James R.
    Can't wait!
  • Silhouette
    Thank you!
  • Silhouette
  • Silhouette
  • Kevin C.
    To support the project in honor of Betsy and our longstanding relationship with the Rubenstone family. With love, Kevin, Allison, and Cross Medical
  • Sara W.
    I Gave $500
    you go Michael!
  • Nancy U.
    Michael-This is very exciting! So happy for you and family! Nancy & Bill Uffner
  • Mia P.
    I Gave $75
    Congratulations Michael! So excited this is all finally coming to fruition for you! Can't wait to see the documentary!
  • Elizabeth G.
    I Gave $50
    Epic undertaking! Psyched to see it. Yes, EVERYBODY IS A STAR!
  • Lauren B.
    Michael- we're wishing you great success with your labor of love. Its pretty cool. Happy to support. Lauren & Bill Gaar
  • Anson S.
    I Gave $100
    Round on me at Slamdance. Good luck!
  • Julie and Richard  J.
    I Gave $100
    Julie and Richard Jaffe are excited for you and your movie!!!
    I Gave $50
  • Anonymous
    I Gave $9,000
  • Silhouette
    Congratulations! We can't wait to see it in theaters! - Jon & Rick
  • Brian G.
    I Gave $36
    Brian Gralnick
  • Phyllis M.
    Very exciting, Michael -- you're almost there!
  • Andrew  L.
    I Gave $500
    It's a Family Affair, yo! Go get it, son.
  • Wendy J.
    I Gave $25
  • Silhouette
  • Mark G.
    I Gave $500
    You can make it if you try
  • Elisha L.
    I Gave $20
    Yay! I can't wait to see it all these years later!
  • Stephen B.
    The LA Brunos!
  • Simon P.
    I Gave $50
    Simon Petrie
  • Gary U.
    I Gave $100
    Best of luck! Gary & Kathy Urquhart
  • Caralyn S.
  • Tara A.
    Best of luck Mike! You are awesome for seeing this all the way through! Can't wait to see it.
  • Steve C.
    I Gave $20
    Rock on!
  • Dean C.
    Can't wait to see it!
  • Debbie W.
    I Gave $500
    Best Wishes Michael! Debi and Stan Wilson