‘Shining’ light on homeless

Posted: October 6th, 2017 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Film, Special Events | No Comments

SD Int’l Film Fest comes to town with films from 68 countries and one from East Village

By Dave Schwab

An animated film without words being used to promote Father Joe’s Village and highlighting the plight – and potential – of San Diego’s growing homeless population will leave you speechless.

“Shine” takes place in a world of minerals and gems. It portrays a lump of coal, Nicoal, left alone in the cold and rain. Just when all hope seems lost, compassionate neighbors from Father Joe’s Villages welcome and embrace Nicoal, compressing her with respect and kindness.

A still from “Shine,” a short animated film that attempts to raise awareness to plight of homeless (Courtesy SDIFF)

With this support from Father Joe’s Villages, Nicoal transforms into her true self — a brilliant diamond.

The homeless services provider teamed with i.d.e.a, a San Diego-based integrated marketing agency, to conceptualize and produce “Shine,” a moving story about homelessness and hope.

On Oct. 6-7, “Shine” will play for audiences at the San Diego International Film Festival (SDIFF).

“In just three minutes, this heartwarming film demonstrates the power of compassion to transform a life,” said Tonya Mantooth, executive and artistic director of the SDIFF. “SDIFF always seeks out stories that move people —and we chose ‘Shine’ because it inspires empathy to shift viewers’ perspectives of our homelessness crisis.”

After considering more than 2,000 submissions from 68 countries, the four-day festival will feature 117 films at ArcLight Cinemas La Jolla at UTC and Regal Cinemas Gaslamp in Horton Plaza.

Filmmakers on the red carpet (Courtesy SDIFF)

“Shine” earned one of six spots in the Global Consciousness category for short films.

i.d.e.a. conceptualized and coordinated the production of “Shine” with the creative geniuses at Dallas-based animation studio Reel FX, whose projects include Golden Globe-nominated “The Book of Life,” and other short films, immersive rides and commercials for the “Despicable Me” and “Ice Age” films, to name a few.

“I wanted to direct the short story because it’s so meaningful,” said Barrett Lewis, creative director at Reel FX. “I think all creative people hope that their work can contribute to something that makes a difference in the world and crafting a unique and heartfelt narrative about how Father Joe’s Villages helps solve homelessness was that project for me.”

Why was “Shine” created?

“San Diego is in the midst of a homelessness crisis, and to many in our community, it appears that the end of homelessness is out of reach,” said Deacon Jim Vargas, president/CEO of Father Joe’s Villages. “It’s our hope that viewers will see what we see every day; that a bright future is possible for everyone given the right services and support.”

A still from “Selling Isobel,” a film about human trafficking (Courtesy SDIFF)

An award-winning integrated marketing company and Certified B (benefit) corporation, i.d.e.a. moves clients through its nine core disciplines, which include strategy, creative, design, reputation, social media, digital, brand management, media and brand purpose.

The firm has sought out “courageous” clients who trust in its ability to deliver exceptional results.

i.d.e.a. founder Jon Bailey and art director Austin Bousley said taking on the challenge of producing the promotional spot for Father Joe’s was a joy.

“We help companies find their courage — and their platform,” Bailey said. “I was really moved by their passion. It was very inspiring to be part of something [battling homelessness] we feel is so important, not only to our city, but just in terms of humanity.”

Bousley talked about the creative process that went into producing “Shine.”

“We wanted to attract a younger donor base, millennials,” Bousley said. “We wanted to get younger people to feel something and get involved.”

Bousely said i.d.e.a.’s goal in producing the short animated film was to “create something on a more visceral level that would make them feel something” and then tie the project back to the cause.

“We knew we could hit people emotionally, make them feel something,” he said. “So we landed on our little character, a lump of coal, which we tell a little story about her transforming into a diamond.”

To learn more about Father Joe’s Villages, visit

The San Diego International Film Festival runs through Sunday. Two festival village hubs include film screenings at the ArcLight Cinemas La Jolla at UTC and Regal Cinemas UA Horton Plaza. The new Pendry Hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter will act as the festival’s headquarters, and host various film industry panels and other special events.

Tickets are available for single films, and passes are available for day, weekend and VIP. For more information, visit

—Dave Schwab can be reached at

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