Sundance Film Festival – an inspiring start to 2020


Alex, Sean, Susan at Sundance 2020

We look forward to going to Sundance every January – even the years when it snows so much it takes twice as long to get anywhere! The Shine Global team meets with others working in the film for impact space, funders, distributors, and most especially amazing filmmakers – all working to make the world a better place through the power of film. The week is both exhausting and exhilarating and we bring that inspiration back with us to our work at Shine Global.

One of the best parts of Sundance is of course the HBO Docs party – just kidding! It’s the movies! We get to hear and see many new voices for the first time and we wanted to share some of our favorites so you can be on the lookout for them when they are playing in your community or are released in theaters/online. (listed In no particular order)

The Truffle HuntersThe Truffle Hunters
Deep in the forests of Northern Italy resides the prized white Alba truffle. Desired by the wealthiest patrons in the world, it remains a pungent but rarified mystery. It cannot be cultivated or found, even by the most resourceful of modern excavators. The only souls on Earth who know how to dig it up are a tiny circle of canines and their silver-haired human companions—Italian elders with walking sticks and devilish senses of humor—who only scour for the truffle at night so as not to leave any clues for others.
Sony Pictures Classics snapped up this film – so it will be coming to theaters across the US.

The doc, which is the first Kenyan-produced movie to premiere at Sundance, will air as part of the POV’s 33rd season, which kicks off on PBS in June.
The doc follows political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, who decides to run for office after years of fighting injustice in Kenya. While campaigning, Mwangi begins to realize the difficulty of combating his corrupt opponents with idealism alone, and soon finds that challenging the country’s entrenched political dynasties is putting his family at risk. The daring and audacious activist is then forced to decide if country really comes before family, as he’s always believed.

The Reason I JumpThe Reason I Jump
This Audience Award winning Documentary is an immersive cinematic experience of nonspeaking autistic people across the world, The Reason I Jump is based on a book written by Naoki Higashida when he was just 13. The film follows a young Japanese boy on a journey through an epic landscape. As a maelstrom of thoughts, feelings, impulses, and memories affects his every action, he gradually discovers what his autism means to him, how his perception of the world differs from others’, and why he acts the way he does—the reason he jumps.


Acasa My HomeAcasa, My Home
won the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematography
For two decades, the Enache family—nine kids and their parents—lived in a shack in the wilderness of Bucharest Delta: an abandoned water reservoir, one of the biggest urban natural reservations in the world, with lakes and hundreds of species of animals and rare plants. When the authorities decide to claim back this rare urban ecosystem, the Enache family is evicted and told to resettle in the city—a reality they know nothing about.


This fiction film was a breakout at the festival and was purchased by Amazon. It tells the story of Sandra, an Irish single mother of two young girls, who faces a dire situation. An attack by her abusive ex-husband and a housing crisis in Dublin leave her living in fear and unable to find a new home. Temporarily living with her two daughters in a cramped hotel room and battling a system that refuses to help her, Sandra is determined to create some stability and security for the three of them. Seeing no other options, she decides to build her own house, literally and metaphorically pouring the foundation of her own future.

Winner of both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic and Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic this charming fiction film stars Steven Yeun.
It’s the 1980s, and David, a seven-year-old Korean American boy, is faced with new surroundings and a different way of life when his father, Jacob, moves their family from the West Coast to rural Arkansas. His mother, Monica, is aghast that they live in a mobile home in the middle of nowhere, and naughty little David and his sister are bored and aimless. When his equally mischievous grandmother arrives from Korea to live with them, her unfamiliar ways arouse David’s curiosity. Meanwhile, Jacob, hell-bent on creating a farm on untapped soil, throws their finances, his marriage, and the stability of the family into jeopardy.

On The RecordOn The Record
This documentary presents the haunting story of music executive Drew Dixon, whose career and personal life have been deeply affected by the abuse she faced from the men she admired in the industry she loves. Directed by the Academy Award–nominated filmmaking duo Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (The Invisible War, 2012 Sundance Film Festival), the film follows Dixon (producer of hit records by 2Pac, Method Man, and Mary J. Blige) as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of color to come forward as part of the #MeToo movement.
It will be on HBOMax.

TimeTime won the Directing Award for U.S. Documentary and was just purchased by Amazon.
Fox Rich is an entrepreneur, author, and mother of six who has spent the last 21 years fighting for the release of her husband, Rob, who is serving a 60-year sentence for an offense they both committed. She is assured and committed to sharing their story. When their sons speak to growing up without their father, they do so with a softer vulnerability than Fox can concede to. But home-video diaries she records for Rob offer unfettered glimpses into years of longing, pain, and hopeful anticipation of reuniting.