Help Change The Story About Mental Health In America

The non-profit documentary series “Shining Through” seeks to reveal the unspoken truths surrounding mental illness and it’s treatment in American society today.

We explore this escalating problem head on by documenting “on film” the continued 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

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,

“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

Actress Tonea Stewart (IMBD)  discusses “Shining Through” Documentary Series

“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.

Production Team:

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.

Sherry Pettis – Licensed Ordained Minister, Production Manager, Producer

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.

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.

Our Trusted Partners

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