Notes from Susan: Separating Children From Their Parents

Notes from Susan: Separating Children From Their Parents

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Notes from Susan: Separating Children From Their Parents


By Susan MacLaury

I don’t usually blog at 1am but sleep is elusive tonight. I’ve spent a good part of today thinking about the immigrant children and parents being forcibly separated at our borders. I keep imagining my young granddaughters being taken from their parents and I honestly can’t bear the thought.

Who among us as a child didn’t lose a parent in a public place and experience terror at feeling abandoned? Is the pain of a parent who’s lost sight of his or her child any less? What would we feel in the place of these adults who’ve risked everything to get to this country in the hope of a better life for themselves and their children only to lose the very loved ones they’ve risked everything for?

Before co-founding Shine Global I worked with teens as a social worker. Many of the kids in programs I ran had either lost or never known a parent and every one of them was impacted by this negatively.

I saw this clinically but also understood it viscerally having lost my own father at the age of 5 when he was killed in the Korean War. I was lucky in the sense that I had a strong and loving mother and eventually a caring stepfather, but like any other child who has experienced this loss my life was affected forever.

Shine has worked on many films in the past 13 years and has told the stories of children who’ve also lost parents yet manage to go on with grace and courage. Our two most recent films – Tre Maison Dasan (currently in festivals) and the juvenile justice documentary currently in production– are cases in point. In one, 3 young boys struggle with the incarceration of their parents. In the other, 3 older boys who’ve lost their parents founder and are ultimately incarcerated. The loss of all 6 is palpable.

Today we are collectively bearing witness to a crisis in process and we face a choice: Do we voice our outrage at this inhumanity, knowing that it may very well damage innocent children’s lives forever, or do we allow this administration to “double down” and stonewall until – God forbid – this travesty becomes normalized as school shootings apparently have.

As of today, 12 hours after initially writing this piece, President Trump has announced that he “will be signing something in a little while” that will keep families together in detention. This doesn’t address those children already forcibly separated, some of whom have apparently been flown to shelters on the east coast.

Immigration is a complicated issue and I don’t pretend to know how best to address it, but trying to leverage children to gain political advantage is unconscionable. This is not a political issue. This is not a Democrat vs. Republican issue. This is a humanitarian issue and the lives of thousands of adults and children are at stake.

Please take the time to voice your dissent and keep the pressure on this administration to protect these families. Contact your legislators and implore them to step up and do the right thing. Let us help to reunite these families.

FURTHER RESOURCES

An Overview of the facts and situation from NPR:
https://www.npr.org/2018/06/19/621065383/what-we-know-family-separation-and-zero-tolerance-at-the-border

Join an event near you on June 30th (also download posters, social media graphics, sign a petition)
https://www.familiesbelongtogether.org/

Sign a petition:
https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/end-the-incarceration-of-migrant-children-now

Liyana Swaziland Premiere and Festival Updates

Liyana Swaziland Premiere and Festival Updates

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Liyana Swaziland Premiere and Festival Updates

Liyana‘s Swaziland premiere was a fabulous success! It was a very special weekend in May kicked off by a reception and screening at Movie Zone generously hosted by the U.S. Embassy Swaziland. The film team and all the kids from the farm enjoyed a night on the red carpet.

The next night was a magical public premiere at the gorgeous House on Fire venue, presented by MTN BUSHFIRE. It was a sold out and super enthusiastic screening, with all proceeds going to the LIYANA Education Fund.

Check out the amazing photos:

Upcoming Festival Screenings

Prescott Film Festival – Arizona
Saturday, June 16th – 4:00pm – Yavapai College Performing Arts Center – TICKETS

Roxbury International Film Festival – Boston
Opening Night Film / Massachusetts Premiere
Thursday, June 21st – 7:00pm
Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium – Museum of Fine Arts Boston – TICKETS
*Producer, Sakheni Dlamini, in attendance

Interested in hosting a screening? Please contact the filmmakers!

For updates on more 2018 Film Festival Annoucnement – stay tuned on the film’s website: http://www.liyanathemovie.com/screenings/ and social media accounts.

Tre Maison Dasan Festival Update

Tre Maison Dasan Festival Update

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Tre Maison Dasan Festival Update


Tre Maison Dasan will be screening on June 14th and 17th at AFI DOCS
AFI DOCS Official Selection

Thursday, June 14th @6pm
AFI Silver Theater
8633 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Sunday, June 17th @4:45pm
Landmark E Street Cinema
555 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

PURCHASE TICKETS

  • The film, edited by Carlos Rojas, also won the Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing at IFF Boston
  • Tre Maison Dasan also screened at the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey – where Dasan, Alivia and Tre joined the filmmakers to answer questions
  • The film had its world premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April.

Shine Global to Receive Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for Film On Juvenile Justice

Shine Global to Receive Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for Film On Juvenile Justice

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Shine Global to Receive Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for Film On Juvenile Justice


The National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved an Art Works grant of $20,000 to Shine Global for post-production of our current documentary directed by André Robert Lee focusing on juvenile justice and alternatives to incarceration in Richmond, VA. Produced by Susan MacLaury and Alexandra Blaney, the film follows the story of three young teens in detention who are working with artists to make art that will help train local police.

We believe this project has the potential to reach beyond the traditional documentary audiences and really engage on a critical issue facing our country with those who are in a position to affect real change in our juvenile justice system. With the support and example of the Richmond Police Department, we hope to host screenings and trainings with police departments across the country.

The NEA Art Works category supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

“The variety and quality of these projects speaks to the wealth of creativity and diversity in our country,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Through the work of organizations such as Shine Global, NEA funding invests in local communities, helping people celebrate the arts wherever they are.”

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

Shine Global is an award-winning non-profit media company that gives voice to children and their families by sharing their stories of resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about at-risk children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on capitol hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.

Free Companion Discussion Guide For The Election Effect Series

Free Companion Discussion Guide For The Election Effect Series

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Free Companion Discussion Guide For The Election Effect Series

The Election Effect

Shine Global is pleased to offer this free companion discussion guide to “The Election Effect” digital series for teachers, educators, parents, and student leaders to download.

Download The Election Effect Discussion Guide

“The Election Effect” series, produced by Oscar-winning production house Shine Global and Paramount Network, looks at seven students from an array of backgrounds and political beliefs across the nation — and documents the effect of political rhetoric on each of them. Shine Global will share a new documentary on its Facebook page each week starting April 26, 2018 — the week after of the recent ‘March for Our Lives’ and school walk-outs.

A study published in October, 2017 by the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access revealed heightened levels of student stress and anxiety, concerns for their wellbeing, hostile environments for minorities, and increased reliance on unreliable information. The study concluded that these stresses are impacting students’ learning. The more than 1500 teachers participating in the study requested help in supporting civil discussion among students in an attempt to promote greater understanding and acceptance of differences.

“The Election Effect” is a series of five short, digital episodes by award-winning filmmakers. They describe conflicts arising out of the election that were met with courage, innovation, and activism. Each episode highlights one or two students, from different backgrounds and political perspectives, who are working to understand what is happening in their communities and to stand up for increased communication, empathy, and respect between groups with different views and ways of life.

“You can respect people’s right to disagree . . . people’s right to hold opinions and to exist . . . and it starts by just talking to people,” states one student.

With “The Election Effect” and the accompanying Discussion Guides, Shine Global hopes to provide teachers, parents, and community leaders with the skills to promote civil discourse among students. These include listening respectfully to other opinions and trying to understand different points of view — crucial skills to function effectively in a democracy.

Download The Election Effect Discussion Guide

*You can download free curricula for Shine’s other films here.

Shine Global is an award-winning non-profit media company that gives voice to children and their families by sharing their stories of resilience to raise awareness, promote action, and inspire change. We produce inspiring films and compelling content about at-risk children. Through tailored distribution and outreach, we connect with our audiences in communities, classrooms, museums, and on capitol hill as part of a powerful engagement campaign to encourage social change.

Notes from Susan: Teens Affected by Gun Violence

Notes from Susan: Teens Affected by Gun Violence

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Teens Affected by Gun Violence

Art created by incarcerated teens Shine is following in our next film

By Susan MacLaury
March 26, 2018

Watching the dailies shot last summer for our newest film about juvenile justice, I see one our three incarcerated teen subjects first experience a virtual reality simulation. His headset on, holding two controllers, he’s immersed in a shootout with aliens. Suddenly his head snaps back. “I’ve been shot in the face,” he says.

Eight months later life imitates art. The film’s director, André Robert Lee, emails us to say that this teen actually was shot in the face and hand and that he and a friend were fighting for their lives.

We didn’t know if they would survive. The crew and the arts community that had nurtured him these past 8 months were devastated. They’d watched this charismatic, natural leader gain confidence and become enthusiastic while learning collaging, spray paint art, poetry, art installation, silk-screening, and helping to create a virtual jail cell.

He’s continued in the fellowship created by ART180, a local arts collective that provides training, job internships and overall support for incarcerated Richmond teen males. He has also taken a part-time job with a landscaper, and is taking online college courses. This is a kid you root for.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and the other teen shot, but then the inevitable question arises: What could possibly compel one person to kill another? What could leave someone feeling so hopeless that killing is an acceptable behavior? We tell kids that if they only work hard, anything is possible, that the American dream is accessible to all, but we know this isn’t always true.

I am privileged to be a documentary producer telling stories about kids struggling against odds that sometimes seem insurmountable. But efforts such as Shine Global’s are only a beginning step in truly helping those who, through no fault of their own, must cope with the consequences of gross social inequity.

These past weeks, life has imitated art again in the example of the Parkland students, who’ve refused to be labeled as victims and instead stand strong against a legislature bought and sold by the NRA. We’re watching soon-to-be-voters in real time stand strong against a legal system that has left them unprotected, showing as much resilience and generating as much hope as any subject of our films.

We are awed by their determination.