COVID-19 has had a profound and unprecedented impact on all of our daily lives. Life can change in a heartbeat as we all have seen. Social distancing, unemployment, sudden loss, are all drastic changes that can bring, what feels like, unbearable stress and anxiety into anyone’s life.
Shining Through is addressing how to cope during pandemics now and in the future. The need for mental health is more important than ever.
Help Change The Story About Mental Health In America
The non-profit, community based, documentary series “Shining Through” seeks to expose the unspoken truths surrounding mental illness and it’s spread in America today. Our relational style of filmmaking addresses this epidemic head-on by intertwining celebrity reenactments with real-life interviews, and actionable insights from experts speaking about the warning signs, intervention, and treatment options for those in need.
We dissect this escalating problem, documenting “on film” the dismal failure of American society, and our government, to acknowledge and aid our brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors, American hero’s and more, who so desperately are crying out for our help.
By delving into the complex issues of mental health diseases including anxiety, depression, PTSD, homelessness, alcoholism and suicide, our documentaries support and promote the many people and organizations that are actively making a difference in the cure of this disease by catching the problem early on. It is our hope that this quest for answers will ultimately help save lives by promoting actionable activities, tools and pathways of hope for those in need. Please help us make these films a reality.
“As family members we always say … I didnt know … I didn’t see any signs. Though Shining Through, with this project, it is our goal to help you see that sign, to note those warnings, and then to even go further to give you health practices that will help you know what to do, how to do … step-by-step.” —Tonea Stewart, Actress, Mental Health Advocate
Nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental health disorder (46.6 million in 2017). Only 44 percent of them receive treatment. —National Institute of Mental Health
“We, as a culture, have not fully acknowledged how much help is needed. The only real shame is on us for not being willing to speak openly. For continuing to deny that mental health is related to our overall health. We need to start talking, and we need to start now.” —Oprah Winfrey, Oprah.com
“Sadly, too often, the stigma around mental health prevents people who need help from seeking it. We don’t consider taking medication for an ear infection something to be ashamed of. We shouldn’t treat mental health conditions any differently. Instead, we should make it clear that getting help isn’t a sign of weakness—it’s a sign of strength—and we should ensure that people can get the treatment they need.” —Michelle Obama
“Deaths of Despair” The first documentary film on suicide prevention.
The Story Behind the “Shining Through” Film Series:
Our recent work on a short legacy video project in recognition of the late Barry Foster titled Broken Halo, made very clear to our team the need for deeper exploration into the difficult and often ignored subject of mental illness.
Barry’s story was of a man from a broken upbringing, with seemingly little opportunity or connections, who had many of the same questions and doubts we each face; however, in pursuing a better life, courage would not allow his dreams to remain uncharted. He accomplished and lived more life in a span of 15 years than most could do in a lifetime, if ever. Barry always said, “you can sleep when your dead”. It is Barry’s tragic end that has left many painful questions unanswered and is the inspiration for the Shining Through documenary series.
It is our teams mission to spread the word and expose the truths surrounding mental illnesses, while providing direction for those cloaked by it’s dark shadow. We hope the documentary film series Shining Through can help change lives for the better through the stories we tell and the hope and tools we offer through involving professionals who can guide us all in ways we can help those in need.
Our first film in the Shining Through documentary series is titled “Deaths of Despair”. It explores the inner turmoil and mental illness that leads to the rising epidemic of suicide we are experiencing across this country.
Kim Foster (wife of Barry Foster) said:
“In today’s society, there are so many broken. Making people aware, because I was “unaware” that PTSD doesn’t just stem from war, but harsh traumatic experiences. Barry’s started in childhood and the loss of his mentor; good friend triggered a chain of events that only got worse as time went on. Depression, alcoholism, nightmares, and some prescription drug use. I think those may have triggered other physiological things leading to something we hoped would never happen. Yet he could hide it on the surface from most people, but his family dealt with the sides others never saw. Through his pain though, he always wanted to be everyone’s hero still.”
Shining Through Director Kris Harrison is a serious filmmaker since 1986 and is very excited about making this film. Currently in production on the “Broken Halo” legacy film (mentioned above). His arsenal of equipment include the Netflix approved Panasonic Vericam rig as well as all the high-end production gear that is needed to capture 6K raw footage, edit and deliver professional quality film output! These industry leading film assets provide an advantage to our production budget and freedom and flexibility to film as needed on a moments notice.
The money we raise together here will go towards helping educate friends, family and those who may need help. Donations of any size are welcomed and sincerely appreciated.
We have all been touched by mental illness and the tragedy of suicide at some point in our lives.
We would also appreciate if you share this page with friends and family to draw light to the issue of suicide and what it leaves in its wake. Everyone’s life has value and purpose, even if it may not feel that way. Speak up, speak out, and raise up those that are in need. There is always hope.
Tonea Stewart – Producer (IMBD)
A professional actress, play director, national museum exhibit director, tenured Professor and the Dean of the College of Visual & Performing Arts at Alabama State University. Youth and adults from the Montgomery area and across the nation have been touched by Tonea’s artistry through T.A.P.S. (Theater Artists Performance School), Camp 3T (Teaching Through Theatre), TTI (Technical Theatre Initiative), ARPAC (Adult Repertory Performing Arts Camp) and Camp Gifted for persons with disabilities; all are summer performance and enrichment programs. After receiving a B.S. degree in Speech and Theater from Jackson State University and an M.A. in Theater Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Tonea completed her Ph.D. in Theatre Arts at Florida State University (FSU), in 1989. She earned an NAACP Image Award nomination for her role in the film adaptation of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill and a New York World Festival Gold Medal Award for the narration of Public Radio International’s series “Remembering Slavery.”
Kris and Tonea have worked together creating compelling films.
Palmer Williams Jr, Actor, Producer (IMBD)
Palmer Williams Jr. is a Professional Actor and Producer, known for Out of Anger (2020), Soul Damage (2017) and Fractures (2020).
Palmer is an accomplished entertainer, comedian, director, writer and actor best known for portraying the character Floyd Jackson on Tyler Perry’s TV shows House of Payne (TBS Network) and Love Thy Neighbor (Oprah Winfrey Network). He can also be seen and heard on national Television and Radio commercials.
His movie career includes Tyler Perry’s The Haves and The Have Not’s, Madea’s Big Happy Family; Laugh to Keep from Crying and Robert Townsend’s Play House 22 – to name a few. Having recently completed his part in an upcoming film shot in Jackson, Mississippi, he is currently filming his new movie in Atlanta.
Palmer has an extensive stage career – performing in several of Tyler Perry’s national touring productions including I Don’t Want To Do Wrong, Madea’s Big Happy Family, The Marriage Counselor and Laugh to Keep from Crying. His career as an actor was recognized during his performance in the stage play A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Afterwards, he further showcased his talents by directing and co-writing the stage play, Where Have All the Good Men Gone, followed by directing, writing, and starring in Can A Woman Make A Man Lose His Mind and What A Man Wants, What A Woman Needs! His new stage play will tour nationally starting in the first quarter 2018. Known to be hilarious, Palmer is a highly sought Host and Master of Ceremonies for major events, live performances, charity benefits, telethons, faith-based events, film-festivals and trade shows. In addition, he is the host of the Palmer Williams Jr Comedy Show – a live, touring comedy show featuring a variety of rising and veteran stand-up comedians.
His vocal credits include touring as a background singer for R&B sensations Keith Sweat, LSG, and Grammy award winner, Monica. Palmer has also written and released his own album called Neo-Saved and is currently in the process of recording his next project. The Palmer Williams Jr Band routinely tours the country with stops at the House of Blues New Orleans and Riverdale City Center. It features his tribute to “Prince”. Palmer is married and the proud father of four children. He is a native of Camden, Alabama and a graduate of Knoxville College with a B.S. in Health and Hospital Administration. He is an entrepreneur with ownership in several diverse businesses including landscaping and transportation.
Mollie E Isaacson, CSW, MSW – Producer, Project Psychiatric Counselor
Mollie E. Isaacson, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker, Reiki Master, certified hypnotherapist, and yoga instructor. She is currently completing Chapter 5 of her PhD dissertation in psychology and art therapy on the measureable effectiveness of art therapy in substance abuse treatment.
Mollie was raised in Brooklyn, New York where she attended PS 197 (same elementary school as Sen. Bernie Sanders), the High School of Music and Art, and won a Regents Scholarship to Brooklyn College where she earned a degree in education.
Mollie has practiced social work for over thirty years. She followed her husband during his Air Force career, working in mental health, child and spouse abuse, neurological disorders including traumatic brain injury and high spectrum autism, and substance abuse and other addictions. She has worked as a provider and in supervisory capacity.
Mollie was a psychotherapist affiliated with Montgomery Psychiatry and Associates. Her clinical specialties were serving clients with trauma-based dissociative disorders, attachment disorders, chronic self-destructive impulses, and chronic depressive mood and thought disorders, She has led groups in Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, creative-visualization, and mindfulness meditation, Recently, she has added yoga movements, art therapy, and Ericksonian hypnotherapy techniques to her practice. Mollie currently practices at Mind & Body Holistic Spa in Old Cloverdale, Montgomery, AL.
Mollie has presented at workshops around the country. After completing her PhD, she hopes to publish her research results, which are promising, and is planning to write a book on the role of creativity in addiction recovery.
Sherry Pettis – Licensed Ordained Minister, Production Manager, Producer, Funding
Recently a Producer on Strange Red Water Short Film. Personal Assistant for Kris Harrison on various film projects.
Sherry has worked in marketing and promotion in the entertainment industry. She is a high energy, creative producer who enjoys taking on new challenges, producing Christian short films and documentaries. No production too ambitious, she is inspired by films that tell great stories which engage and entertain an audience.
Clara Wilkerson – Producer
Clara Wilkerson is a U.S. Treasury Small Business Woman of the Year Award winner, Emmy and international FREDDIE award-winning film producer. Ms. Wilkerson has written and produced 25 films held in over 300 libraries worldwide. Some of the networks and television groups broadcasting her documentaries and productions included; PBS, Discovery Channel, Harpo Productions, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates. She has over 25 years of experience in broadcasting and digital media.
Major national publications such as Prevention Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, the Saturday Evening Post, AARP Magazine and more have also promoted and distributed her work. In 2016, Ms. Wilkerson began production on a documentary about the history of the Freedman’s Bank in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Treasury, where she received a national award. Ms. Wilkerson recently completed work on a one-hour PBS documentary about the life of legendary businessman John W. Barfield entitled “Starting From Scratch.” Award-winning actor Jeff Daniels narrates the documentary. She also produced a series of one-hour medical films on cancer that aired on PBS including “Breath of Hope” hosted by Emmy Award winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, “Surviving Eye to Eye” produced in collaboration with the famed Doheny Eye Institute and “Breast Cancer Surviving and Winning Parts I & II”, hosted by Dr. Bernadine Healy, former director of the American Red Cross and National Institutes of Health.
Ms. Wilkerson has been a speechwriter for former President Bill Clinton and produced videos and live events featuring numerous celebrities such as billionaire TV mogul Oprah Winfrey, nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, DNC Chair Governor Howard Dean, Grammy Award winning singer Patty Austin and the geneticist who was the first to sequence the human genome, biochemist Dr. Craig Venter. Global public relations firms and Fortune 500 companies consistently utilize Ms. Wilkerson’s PR and marketing skills. Some of her clients include American Cancer Society, Astra Zeneca, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Edelman PR, Eastman Chemical Company, Eli Lilly, GSK, Kodak, Mayo Clinic, NewYork Presbyterian Hospital, Procter and Gamble, Novartis, Siemens, Thompson Reuters, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the YWCA USA.
Martha Hawkins – Producer
An Accomplished Best Selling Author, “Finding Martha’s Place” She Has Been The Guest On The CBN/700 Club Network With Pat Robinson, Recipient Of The 2004 Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award, Also the Eli Lilly Award (Welcome Back From Clinical Depression) Her cooking, restaurant, life story, and inspirational words have been featured in many national publications including The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, Southern Living,
She’s the Owner The Largest Soul Food Southern Cooking Restaurant In Montgomery Alabama, That Caters To Everyday People, To High-profile politicians, professional athletes, artists, musicians, and actors. She still volunteers to reach out to people in prison, holds Bible studies for low income children. Today her restaurant “Martha’s Place” is a Nationally-known stop for anyone who visits the Deep South and is a culinary fixture of life for Montgomery residents
Trudee Lee – Producer
Trudee is one of the charter members for the Feds Employee Resource Network (ERN) for Mental Health Alliance (MHA).
Trudee has also been on-air talent and host of classic rock and classic country shows, entertainment and feature writer for Record and Freelance. She also has extensive experience as a talent agent with East West Theatrical Company, TLC Productions, MPLS, Artist Manager Development and many more.
Kris Harrison – Director, Cinematographer
Producing, Directing high-end film and video since 1986. Thousands of successful projects from concept to completion. Currently Producing and Directing Films. Also, producing many records in my recording studio.
Specialties: Film, Video, TV, audio production.
Brian Hetzman – Producer/Electronic Graphics Director/Digital Marketing
Brian Hetzman’s expertise in marketing, video and the internet has been forged over 25 years, beginning with work in broadcast television serving as electronics art director at WPBF-TV, the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida. He created the station’s on-air look producing graphics, animation design and the station’s virtual news sets. His creations earned ADDY and national TELLY awards for the station.
Brian founded an interactive development company that teamed with Motorola to create full-motion touchscreen video kiosks at Motorola’s “Innoventions” exhibit at Disney’s EPCOT Center. The company’s major corporate accounts included Blockbuster Video, American Media, the parent company of the National Enquirer and other publications, Kiplinger Personal Finance, the National Medical Association and Siemens Information and Communication Networks (ICN), where he served as Senior Webmaster for the Global eBusiness Development Team headquartered in Munich, Germany.
Possessing an entrepreneurial spirit, Brian forged a partnership with one of the largest automotive advertising agencies in the southeast to build and staff a video production facility, Florida Video Post. The company was created to serve the video and new media needs of the automotive industry. Brian worked with Toyota, GM, Ford and others, producing their cross-media ad campaigns for the internet, social media, broadcast TV and mobile.
If you are interested in becoming a part of ShiningThrough or becoming a sponsor, please feel free to reach out to us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or feel free to contact Brittney Brackett, Publicist, b dynamic! Productions (864) 350-1807.