SHINE is an upcoming independent film that released in 600 theaters across the United States on Friday, October 5th through distributor, Forgiven Films. The film won best feature at the 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival and is ready to share its story of community, family, culture and standing up to shine a light for what is right.
The film focuses on two brothers, who have been estranged, but have been brought together by a pressing issue: gentrification. The only problem? They are on separate side of the issue. The movie asks one important question – what are you willing to do to protect your community?
The two brothers, both of Puerto Rican descent, Ralphi Matas (Jorge Burgos) and Junior (Gilbert Saldivar) are from New York’s Spanish Harlem and are also the street’s best salsa dancers. As their father states in the trailer, “our music and dancing connect us.” So, what better way to try to save their community than salsa dancing? As one character states “this aint no Step Up.” And that’s right, this movie is about more than slick dance moves, it is about the heart of a community, the importance of culture, and the strength of family.
The film was written and directed by Anthony Nardolillo via his 13 Paces Productions, and produced with Sandra Varona of Varona Productions, in partnership with Sugar Studios LA and The Exchange, and features a proudly latinx cast. That includes world-renowned dancers Gilbert Saldivar and Jorge ‘Ataca’ Burgos as the two lead brothers. The film also boasts other talent in David Zayas (of Dexter fame), Kimberli Flores, and Alysia Reiner (Orange is the New Black). Nardolillo has already attracted attention for his directing skills and has been chosen to direct TV episodes for the network CBS. SHINE is bound to be a reverberating success not only in the latinx community, but for any body who has faced challenges and worked through them with their family and friends.
The issue of gentrification is a real problem, and if this film can do one thing, it can shine a light on the issues of gentrification that are affecting neighborhoods across the country. This film is a beautiful tribute to Puerto Rican culture, in a moment in time where their community is still hurting from natural disaster (and government abandonment in my opinion). Support this film! If SHINE is playing in a theatre near you today don’t miss the chance to experience the music.