Melissa Jacobs, front and centre, directs dancers in Soul Studio on the set of Desiree, the film produced by Jacobs and her non-profit, Inspired Kindness Productions. The film will be premiered Dec. 22 at the Vernon Towne Cinema at 5:30 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. (Contributed)

Vernon teacher inspires kindness through film

Inspire Kindness Productions to premiere film Dec. 22 to help families

Desiree is the brainchild of Coldstream teacher Melissa Jacobs, but it’s more than just a movie.

The film — which was written, directed and produced by Jacobs — is one of the many ways she looks to give back to her community through her organization Inspire Kindness Productions (IKP).

After losing her husband in 2015, Jacobs and her two children were lifted up by the outpouring of generosity and compassion from the community.

Now, through IKP, Jacobs pays that kindness and compassion forward to families and individuals experiencing hard times.

“They gave us so much kindness,” Jacobs recalled.

“We were actually overwhelmed with kindness and it wasn’t until the fall of 2017 that I realized it was that kindness that lifted us up out of that grief.”

She started IKP the following year.

Desiree, which runs less than 10 minutes, is a transformative story about a kleptomaniac played by local Sarah Podollan — or as she is known in Hollywood, Sarah Christine Smith.

The actor, who has credits in Austin Powers, Not Another Teen Movie, CSI and That ’70s Show, stars in the film as the lead character, Desiree.

The short film not only bolsters local talent but it puts the spotlight on local businesses including Soul Studio and Envy Apparel.

The film’s Dec. 22 premiere at Vernon Towne Cinema, 5:30 p.m., is not a typical night at the movies, either. All proceeds from ticket sales will help six families that have been nominated by the community through Inspire Kindness Productions.

“There are so many impactful stories in this community,” Jacobs said.

“And honestly, whenever I hear these stories, it makes me want to do more.”

Each of the six families nominated has or are currently experiencing hardships.

For instance, one family lost their six-year-old son, while another family said goodbye to their father, and another is dealing with their child’s medical problems and have to frequent the children’s hospital regularly.

IKP is looking to sell out the theatre for the night, which will screen Desiree, the Grinch (1966) and a documentary called Kindness Is Contagious, in order to raise funds for Inspire Kindness Bags.

These bags, Jacobs said, will be fully loaded with gift cards for groceries, gas and other necessities, to help carry these affected families through their struggles.

“I actually tell people that when you step outside of your own story and look at others, you do realize that it’s okay,” she said. “Life is okay.”

“I think that, also, you can’t help what happens to you, but it’s what you do every day after that point.”

Tickets are available for purchase at inspirekindnessproductions.com for the Sunday, Dec. 22 event. Doors open at 5 p.m.

READ MORE: Vernon multi-sport athlete cracks Team BC roster, wins major award

READ MORE: Coldstream surf shop welcomes winter with paddle


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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