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Shine Global Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit media company that was founded in 2005 by Susan MacLaury, a licensed social worker and former health professor at Kean University, and her husband, Albie Hecht, an entertainment executive and founder of Worldwide Biggies and current head of HLN (TV channel). Shine Global has produced or helped produce 7 films including War/Dance, a 2008 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary and Inocente the Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2013.
Shine Global Inc. was founded in 2005 by husband and wife Albie Hecht and Susan MacLaury after learning about the plight faced by thousands of children in the war zone of northern Uganda. Shine Global’s mission is to give voice to children by telling stories of their resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. Shine produces inspiring films and compelling content about at-risk children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, they aim to connect with audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on capitol hill as part of their engagement campaigns to encourage social change. Since its founding, Shine Global has taken action on child labor, child abuse, and child soldiering, shared moving stories about the effects of war, parental incarceration, undocumented immigration, and homelessness on children, highlighted the power of music, dance, and sports to overcome intolerance. In all its films, Shine Global celebrates children’s resilience.
Shine Global’s first film War/Dance tells the story of three northern Ugandan children who grew up in the war zone. It debuted at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival where it won the Documentary Directing Award and went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 2008.
War/Dance Returns is the 15-minute follow-up documentary to War/Dance. It depicts the journey back to the Patongo camp by the director of War/Dance, Sean Fine, Shine Global’s Executive Director, Susan Maclaury, and the original War/Dance film crew in the summer of 2008. Approximately 7-10 thousand people came to see the film in the Patongo camp making a lasting impression on the entire crew as well as Rose, Nancy, and Dominic. War/Dance Returns premiered on the Sundance Channel in May 2009.
The Harvest (La Cosecha)
Shine Global's second feature-length documentary, The Harvest, directed by U. Roberto Romano, revisits Edward R. Murrow’s Harvest of Shame, filmed 40 years ago, and reveals that little has changed over the past 4 decades in the lives of migrant farm workers in America. Zulema, Perla and Victor labor as migrant farm workers, sacrificing their own childhoods to help their families survive. The Harvest (La Cosecha) profiles these three as they journey from the scorching heat of Texas’ onion fields to the winter snows of the Michigan apple orchards and back south to the humidity of Florida’s tomato fields to follow the harvest. In 2009, Eva Longoria signed on as an Executive Producer of the project. The Harvest premiered at the IDFA festival in Amsterdam in November 2010 and had its theatrical run in NY and LA in August 2011.
Inocente is a 2012 short documentary film directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix. The film received the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). The film is a coming-of-age story of a 15-year old girl in California. It was partially financed by the crowd funding website Kickstarter and was the first crowd funded film to win an Oscar. Inocente was broadcast on MTV in August 2012 and released along with all the other 15 Oscar-nominated short films in theaters by ShortsHD. The film is also available for communities and schools along with companion arts workshops developed by Shine Global and partners.
1 Way Up in 3D
1 Way Up is a 2014 documentary film directed by first time director Amy Mathieson. Filmed in 3D, it follows Quillan Isidore and Tre Whyte, two teen boys on the road to the UCI BMX World Championships. The film features a soundtrack of spoken-word and rap vignettes from musicians including the single "1 Way Up" from UK rap artist Phreeda Sharp.
Dancing in Jaffa
Dancing in Jaffa is a 2014 documentary film directed by Hilla Medalia and produced in association with Shine Global. The film follows renowned ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine as he returns home to Jaffa, Israel to teach Jewish and Palestinian-Israeli children to ballroom dance with each other. It won numerous festival awards and screened theatrically in the US in 2014.
Waiting for Mamu
Produced in association with Shine Global, directed by Thomas Morgan, and with Executive Producers Susan Sarandon and Morgan Spurlock, Waiting for Mamu profiles 28-year-old Pushpa Basnet as she struggles to provide a typical childhood for the more than 150 children she has rescued from the floors of Nepal’s prisons. She is surprised by worldwide recognition as the 2012 CNN Hero of the year. The film premiered theatrically in NYC in 2014 and was released digitally later that year with all the filmmaker's proceeds being donated to Pushpa's organization.
Outreach and Engagement
Shine Global creates US standards-based curricula for most of its films that are free for teachers to download from their website.
Shine Global has also partnered with other non-profits to create companion arts workshops for youth that can accompany screenings of Inocente and 1 Way Up.
Since their founding in 2005, Shine Global has partnered with several organizations on outreach and engagement for their films. Shine Global partnered with AMREF during the production of War/Dance to aid the people of Uganda on the ground. Shine Global also partnered with The Harvest of Hope Foundation, a migrant farm workers organization based out of Florida that works to support migrant farm workers all over the country.
- The Independent: Inocente makes history as first crowd-funded Oscar-winner
- "Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013". The New York Times. 2013.
- "Inocente". The New York Times. 2013.