Shine Board Member Profile: Adrienne Lopez

Shine Board Member Profile: Adrienne Lopez



Shine Board Member Profile: Adrienne Lopez

As part of an ongoing series, we want to introduce you to the Shine Global family and especially our outstanding and hard working board members who help move Shine forward.

Adrienne LopezName: Adrienne Lopez
Joined Shine Board of Directors: 2011 (previously on Advisory Board)
Title: Senior VP, Smith Entertainment
Current Role at Shine: Member of the Board of Directors, Member of the Content Committee

Adrienne is a veteran television producer and talent executive with credits on talk shows that include Phil Donahue, and Joan Lunden and she previously served as a television executive at Nickelodeon, BET, and HLN. She is currently Senior VP of Kenny Smiths Production Company in partnership with ITV America as well as a documentary film producer on two Nickelodeon docs, Little Ballers 1 and 2. Adrienne also produced one of the segments on Shine’s upcoming digital project. As a mother and now a grandmother, kids and their well being are important to her.

Why did you join Shine’s board and why have you stayed on for several years?

I joined Shine because I believe in what Albie and Sue believe in. I’ve been blown away by the work and like contributing to a very necessary cause – films about children in peril.

What’s a favorite Shine moment for you?

Waiting for the Oscar to be called for Inocente. I felt I was there and we all went up and accepted it, virtually.

How do you use your specific skill set in your work as a Shine board member?

I am very proud to say I’ve produced a short segment for Shine about a topic I feel strongly about. I think that knowledge of film and the love of film drive me to continue to support and give my time to continuing to build this organization.

What is a Shine challenge that you feel supporters should know about?

I want to win the lotto so I can get on the board of Governors and allow Shine to make whatever films we want and like!  I also want to identify some large donors who can help us realize our dream of having a library of films dedicated to the cause of helping children.

Anything else you want to say?

It would be great if I could work with Shine full-time. I love this organization and the people who are on the board and the supporters. It’s meaningful to me to be able to use my resources which include, directors, producers, and talent to contribute to this cause.

See the full list of Shine’s Board of Directors Members and Board of Governors Members here and read the profiles of board members Dario Spina here, Keith Brown here, Kay Sarlin Wright here, Marilyn DeLuca here, Al Cattabiani here, Bill MacArthur here, Don Melnick here, Robert Baker here, and Anne Prost here.

Meet our 2018 Spring Interns

Meet our 2018 Spring Interns


Meet our 2018 Spring Interns!

Meet our 2018 Spring Interns: Yasmeen Alkooheji, Medina Bakayeva, and Demi Moore. Shine is lucky to have them bringing their passion and working with us this semester.

Yasmeen Alkooheji, a senior at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, is elated to be interning at Shine Global for a second consecutive semester. She is majoring in Screenwriting and minoring in Spanish and in her free time, enjoys photography and soccer. She was drawn to Shine’s mission of creating social change through film and helping empower at-risk youth on a global scale. After graduating, she hopes to write rom-coms, mystery dramas and the untold stories of the underserved and misrepresented communities around the world.


Medina Bakayeva is a Junior studying Global Liberal Studies, Philosophy, and French at NYU. She was born in Kazakhstan, immigrated to London at a young age and spent many childhood summers in Israel. Growing up with a variety of cultural influences such as Russian, Central Asian and Israeli she is fascinated by what defines a culture, how people interact and how different customs and shared values shape our perception of the world. She is interested in journalism, documentary film, non-profit and philosophy of ethics. Medina was first introduced to Shine Global through The Eagle Huntress and, as the film documents a central aspect of Kazakh custom, was enamored by the way the protagonist, a young girl, partook in ancient traditions and crossed boundaries. She was captured by Shine Global’s mission and believes in the capacity of stories to shape our hearts and minds and is passionate about presenting empowering narratives. 

Demi Alexis Moore is a Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College Junior exploring the nexus of Political Science, Creative Writing, and Human Rights on the Pre-Law track. With high hopes to use a J.D. with a specialization in Critical Race Theory, Demi plans to redesign a national engagement model that empowers Black (natives and immigrant) youth to lead socially salient movements in politics through effective representation. Demi is a founding member of the Macaulay Crew: Hip Hop Dance Team as its Creative Director, a Student Senator in the Hunter College Senate, and is responsible for leading and organizing the largest TEDxUniversity event in the country (TEDxCUNY), representing over 530,000 of CUNY’s students. To Demi, being an active citizen requires building community across disciplines, across platforms, and across bias. She is happy to be interning with Shine to understand how a child’s perception of space and place can help craft a social message that encourages change at all levels of civil society.

Liyana Upcoming Festival Screenings

Liyana Upcoming Festival Screenings


Liyana Upcoming Festival Screenings

Liyana has screened to great audience and critical acclaim at festivals around the world and directors Aaron and Amanda Kopp have been in attendance at many of the festivals.  2018 continues their festival streak with them or animation artist Shofela Coker attending several screenings.

The Independent Critic named Liyana in their “Best of 2017 Awards” as on ot the top 5 documentaries and top 15 films overall:

“If you ever wonder about the importance of film festivals, Liyana should be Exhibit #1 as to their importance in bringing to the forefront some of the most unique and important cinema. I first watched Liyana at Indy’s Heartland Film Festival. I still haven’t stopped thinking about this innovative and vital documentary about an original African tale created by orphaned children in Swaziland. Executive produced by Thandie Newton, Liyana could have gone wrong in so many ways. Instead, it is one of 2017’s most impressive cinematic achievements. I want to watch Liyana again. Right now.”
– Richard Propes, The Independent Critic

List up to date as of January 26, 2018

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Saturday, January 20th – 1:00pm – Frölunda Cultural Center – TICKETS

Sunday, January 21st – 3:30pm – Dragon – TICKETS

Wednesday, January 31st – 6:00pm – Biopalatset 1 – TICKETS

*Directors in attendance

Thursday, February 1st – 10:00am – Roy – TICKETS

*Directors in attendance

Friday, February 2nd – 1:00pm – Haga 1 – TICKETS



Wednesday, January 31st – 7:15pm -Trapiche

Friday, February 2nd – 9:00pm – Playa

*Animation artist in attendance



Saturday, February 3rd – 3:00pm – Bama Theatre

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Friday, February 9th – 3:00pm – Oxford Conference Center – TICKETS

*Directors in attendance

Sunday, February 11th – 10:00am – Malco Screen 4 – TICKETS



*Directors in attendance for entire tour


Wed., February 7th – 7:30pm – Williams Hall Auditorium, Oxford College of Emory University


Thurs., February 8th – 6:00pm – Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University


Sun., February 11th – 4:00pm – Winder Cultural Arts Center


Mon., February 12th – 7:00pm – Martha Street Culp Auditorium, East Tennessee State University


Tues., February 13th – 7:00pm – University Center Theater, Western Carolina University


Wed., February 14th – 7:00pm – Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall, Clayton Center for the Arts


Thurs., February 15th – 7:00pm – Neville Hall, Presbyterian College



Saturday, February 10th – 2:05pm – TICKETS

Saturday, February 17th – 1:15pm – TICKETS

*Animation artist in attendance

Monday, February 19th – 11:05pm – TICKETS




Saturday, February 17th – 1:00pm – MoMA – TICKETS

*Directors & Producer in attendance




Monday, February 19th, 7:00pm – Carlton Cinema – TICKETS



Monday, February 19th – 4:15pm – Gilder Center for the Arts – TICKETS

Saturday, February 24th – 12:30pm – RISD Auditorium Building – TICKETS




Friday, March 2nd – 12:30pm – Movies @ Dundrum – TICKETS



You can check the Liyana website for a list of screenings that is up to date and follow the film on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram to get the latest updates on screenings and the film!

2017 Top 10

2017 Top 10


2017 Top 10

From The Eagle Huntress poster in the French metro to the Liyana festival premiere where the kids flew on an airplane for the first time – 2017 has been quite a year for Shine!  We’re proud to have brought The Wrong Light to US audiences, shining a light on the topic of misrepresentation in the charity industry; joined the film Tre, Maison, Dasan about parental incarceration; and began a new documentary in which teens’ work is used to train police officers. And we couldn’t have done it without our supporters!


#GivingTuesday and Responsible Giving

#GivingTuesday and Responsible Giving


#GivingTuesday and Responsible Giving

By Alexandra Blaney

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States, November 28th, is #GivingTuesday – the designated day to give to charities. Since its founding by the New York-based 92Y in 2012, along with the United Nations Foundation, #GivingTuesday has grown into a global phenomenon with similar campaigns extended in many other countries.  You probably have been inundated with emails from charities asking you to give on #GivingTuesday and have seen the social media posts.  But before you give, you should do your due diligence and make sure you are giving responsibly.

The issue of responsible giving is something that was really brought home to us in the making of our latest film The Wrong Light.  Mickey Choothesa had founded an organization in Thailand called COSA with an “upstream” prevention approach to trafficking. He promoted COSA as a sanctuary providing educational opportunities for young girls and his work drew international donors, a steady stream of western visitors, and global press attention. However, conversations with both the girls and their families contradicted Mickey’s version of their stories, and we unexpectedly uncovered both financial and marketing fraud.  As a filmmaking organization, we were already sensitive to issues of representation (and recently wrote about our thoughts on media literacy), but this experience led us to believe that narrative transparency is just as important as financial transparency for non-profits and donors.

A new survey done by the BBB (Better Business Bureau) found that millennial parents are more likely than Gen X, boomer, or Silent generation parents to research charities before making a donation and to discuss giving with their children.[i]  We should follow millenials’ lead and all do this.  To help you, we’ve developed this checklist of what you should be looking for before you give.

    1. Verify Your Charity is actually a charity. Just because they are asking for donations does not mean they are actually a registered charity. There are a number of websites that provide information on charities, including whether or not they are a 501(c)(3) public charity registered with the IRS (in the US). org,, and are a couple recommendations.
    2. Check for Financial Transparency. Transparent organizations should have their financials publicly available for you to view.  You can read over the 990 tax returns but also check to see if they have annual reports that may present financials in an easier to understand format (along with impact information).
    3. Check for narrative transparency. The choices that organizations make in their use of images and messaging reflects the organization’s values and has an impact on the people they are trying to help.
      1. Does the organization have a published Images and Media Policy or is it a signatory to an existing code?
      2. If not, when you look at the organizations images and messaging, do they appear to be presenting people with dignity and respect and providing context for the images.  You can read a comprehensive images and message code of conduct developed by Dóchas here.
    4.  Follow Through. After you’ve given, does the charity follow through?
      1. You should receive a receipt for your donation, at least for tax purposes
      2. The organization should also report on their work and how they used donations to further their mission.
    5. This is just a starting point on giving responsibly and respectfully.  You are giving because you want to help make the world a better place for all people, so take steps to ensure your money is actually contributing to long-term, sustainable impact that will transform people’s lives.


Media Literacy Week 2017 & The Wrong Light

Media Literacy Week 2017 & The Wrong Light


Media Literacy Week 2017 & The Wrong Light

By Alexandra Blaney

With #FakeNews trending and the current investigations into Russian propaganda revealing that an estimated third of Americans saw Russian ads during the 2016 election, media literacy has become an essential skill.

Think back to the last interesting thing you read on social media.  Do you remember the source of that post?  Did you click through to read the actual article or did you only look at it in your news feed (perhaps click share) and then move on?  With the amount of time we all spend consuming a cornucopia of media via words, images, and sounds carefully composed and targeted based on data – we need to expand our literacy skills to be able to think critically about the messages we receive – and also that we create and share. If we can develop into informed and reflective media consumers, we will be able to be better donors and activists and wiser voters.

For us, we came face to face with the issue of how media and storytelling is used to play to our own biases and interests in the making of The Wrong Light (2016).  We decided to make that film because we were drawn to (an ultimately false) story of the sex trade in Thailand and how desperate parents had to consider selling their children while one heroic activist worked to stop them.  It had all the elements of a great narrative arc and we had incredible access to the story through the purported activist Mickey Choothesa.  But as our directors Josie Swantek Heitz and Dave Adams uncovered over the course of filming, his story was completely fabricated.  He had been relying on people’s attraction to these types of stories to raise funds and gain media attention – it didn’t matter that these stories were made up by him and didn’t represent the lives of the girls at the COSA shelter at all.  It is what people wanted to hear and what they responded to and so that’s what he used.

And we were not the only ones attracted to this story: VICE published a glowing portrait of Mickey; PRI used him as one of their main sources in a multi-part piece on sex-trafficking; donors and volunteers around the world gave money and time to his organization.  This widespread support of a fraudulent organization made us reexamine our own role in creating narratives as filmmakers and also our role as donors and activists. We felt that we all – creators and activists alike – needed to be more aware of the ethics of humanitarian storytelling and how representations of other people, especially the most disenfranchised, can affect their everyday lives.  We hoped that audiences would see our film The Wrong Light and be inspired to consider the public’s desire for exaggerated and/or untrue narratives and move towards a greater demand for transparency, informed consent from subjects of stories, and due diligence in storytelling.  We faced the obstacle of trying to convince people that representation and narrative transparency actually mattered and had real world consequences. And then the 2016 presidential election happened and the topic of media transparency and media literacy has been at center stage.

A recent Stanford study showed that students at almost every grade level cannot distinguish fake news from real news and while they consume media for as many as 10-11 hours a day, they do not have the critical media literacy skills they need to judge it. To develop future citizens, future activists, future media consumers and creators, we need to ensure they have the critical media literacy skills they’ll need to navigate a minefield of content coming at them from every side.

We’ve compiled a list of resources teachers and parents can use:

[4] Rideout, Victoria J., et al. “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds.” Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2010.