Susan MacLaury to be honored at Women in Media-Newark Annual International Film Festival

Susan MacLauryShine Global’s Executive Director and Co-Founder Susan MacLaury will be honored at the Women in Media-Newark’s sixth annual International Film Festival  in celebration of Women’s History Month.  Several other accomplished women also will be celebrated during the Festival. Those honored are: Dr. Diane Hill, Assistant Chancellor at Rutgers University-Newark; Gwen Moten, Executive Director, The Mayor’s Office of Arts, Cultural Development and Tourism for Newark; Ousseina Alidou, Ph.D., internationally renowned author, public speaker and former director, Center for African Studies, Rutgers; Donna Walker-Kuhne, Vice President , Community Engagement, New Jersey Performing Arts Center; and New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Tracey Thompson, Esq., who specializes in human trafficking.

This year, the festival theme is And Still I Rise, dedicated to the vision of the late arts activists Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou, and the focus will be on “disappeared” women.  The festival opens with a screening of the 1971 classic film Janie’s Janie. Other highlights include a screening of Cuban director Gloria Rolando’s film Reembarque/Reshipment with Emmy Award winning artist Wyclef Jean and his wife Claudinette participating in the discussion following the screening; a jazz concert featuring pianist Geri Allen’s Trio and the Mimi Jones Fantastic Four with special guest Tia Fuller; a screening of The Art of Ama Ata Aidoo, which chronicles the life of the famed Ghanian writer; a panel discussion on human featuring NJ Asst. Attorney General Tracey Thompson, Essex County Asst. Prosecutor Kelly Sandler, FBI Victim Specialist Keyla Munoz, and Zonta International’s United Nations representative specializing in human trafficking Pat Latona; a screening of the Israeli film Where is Elle-Kari and What Happened to Noriko-san? director, Dvorit Sharkal to be in attendance; and screenings of Mercedes Gaspar’s Escapes/Huidas (Spain) and Sophia Turkiewicz’s Once My Mother (Poland/Australia), in conjunction with the inaugural exhibition of the Dana Library’s Holocaust Digital Print Collection by the late Carol Rosen, and hosting by the Newark Women’s Conference on March 26th.

Other Festival activities will include interviews with filmmakers, panel discussions, vendors and a Silent Auction. In addition, Fertile Soil, an art exhibit curated by Gladys Barker Grauer that features the works of four local women artists at Paul Robeson Student Center at Rutgers University-Newark has been scheduled to coincide with the eight-day Film Festival.

Women In Media – Newark is an organization that advocates for and educates the public about issues affecting the lives of women using film, video, and new media as their platform. Merging culture and academia, they rally behind women who courageously struggle to assume leadership roles in the film industry with their conscious effort to present a balanced image of women, dispelling the stereotypes and changing public perception of their sisters worldwide. The film festival runs from March 24 – April 1 and  is free and open to the public.  More information can be found at

Shine’s Latest Doc a Finalist for Prestigious San Francisco Film Society Grant

Selling Our Daughters - temp still of FonShine Global’s upcoming documentary Selling Our Daughters is one of the 11 finalists for the 2015 SFFS Documentary Film Fund awards.  The fund, totaling more than $75,000 for 2015, was created to support singular nonfiction film work that is distinguished by compelling stories, intriguing characters and an innovative visual approach. Finalists were selected from more than 300 applications, and winners will be announced in early April.

Selling Our Daughters explores the dark side of child advocacy. It unfolds as a mystery as the film follows three Thai girls whose parents have allegedly sold them into sex work, only to discover that this story is a lie fabricated by the advocate who supposedly rescued them.  Produced by Shine’s Executive Director Susan MacLaury, Selling Our Daughters is directed by Josie Swantek (who was a co-producer of Shine’s Oscar®-nominated War/Dance) and Dave Adams who is also the cinematographer.

The SFFS Documentary Film Fund has an excellent track record for championing compelling films that have gone on to earn great acclaim. Previous DFF winners include Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer, which won Sundance’s Directing Award for documentary, was distributed theatrically by RADiUS-TWC and was nominated for the 2014 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature; Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson’s American Promise, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and won the festival’s Special Jury Prize in the documentary category; and Shaul Schwarz’s Narco Cultura, which premiered to strong reviews at Sundance the same year.

“The quality of the work we saw in this round of applicants for the Documentary Film Fund is inspiring, and it was extremely difficult narrowing the field to 11 considering that so many of the projects we reviewed are absolutely deserving of funding,” said Michele-Turnure Salleo, director of Filmmaker360. “The diversity of subjects in this group of finalists, and the creativity displayed in their approaches to visual storytelling, reflects the impressive strength of the work that was submitted this year. Not only do these projects tackle extremely relevant contemporary topics, but they also employ innovative aesthetic styles and remarkable cinematic approaches that caught the attention of the reviewers. We simply can’t wait to see these finished films, and we look forward to their premieres in the months to come.”

To read more and see the full list of finalists, click here.