Owning Our Future-Haitian Perspectives in Film; Maîtres de Notre Futur: Points de Vue du Cinema Haitien

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Building Local Capacity – Amplifying Local Voices


The films below were made during a 5 week intensive training in documentary filmmaking provided by CSFilm. Storyteller’s with backgrounds in a diversity of storytelling mediums, including print, radio, photo or TV journalism, theater, poetry etc., produced engaging stories about important social and economic development issues in their communities.

Their 10 short films provide a unique opportunity to experience Haiti as it is lived by street vendors, business women, artists, farmers and more. These stories nourish an understanding of the world that counteracts the relentless focus of western media on battlefronts, crises and disasters. For many of the trainees, this is their first experience with filmmaking.

Owning Our Future-Haitian Perspectives in Film

Screen&Discuss Themes for Consideration:

Owned and Occupied (Chèmèt, Chèmètrès) – Original 08:27 (Excerpt: 01:03) 

Director & Videographer: Bichara Villarson
Sound: Muselène Carilus, Editor: Evens Louis

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Bichara0448CroppedSmallAfter the 2010 earthquake a farmer’s organization helps its members rebuild their homes. Rather than spend money and time on temporary shelters they work with the farmers and the “Konbit,” a Haitian-shared labor system, to rebuild permanent homes at a fraction of the cost that international organizations are spending on their three-phase system of “relief, relieve and rebuild.”

Bichara Villarson has been involved with media since 1995, when he began his career as a community radio journalist and host. He was the founding member of the Haitian Creole Troupe, and also worked as a press attaché with the Apotheoses School of Dance. Bichara lives in Les Cayes working as a radio and video journalist.


Brave the World, (Bouske Lavi) – Original: 06:36 (Excerpt 00:50)

Director & Videographer: Marie Jessy Kernizan,
Sound: Jean Wilson Therrier, Editor: Mysuel Thimotee

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Dieula Marie Denise Souffrant breaks out of the shadows, where most Haitians keep their disabled family members, and not only makes a life for herself but leads the way for others.

Marie Jessy Kernizan is trained in theater and dance performance. She has worked on both national and international productions, including in Switzerland and with the renowned Haitian Palto Vanyan company. Palto Vanyan performed educational and political comedy skits in the camps after the 2010 earthquake.


Out of the Rubble, (Soti nan Dekonm) – Original: 06:39 (Excerpt: 01:16)

Director & Videographer: Robenson Sanon
Sound & Production Assist: Junior Casséus, Luxon Dorcéus, Editing: Yrvelt Lamour

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Artists use the trash that fills roads and rivers after rain storms, as well as pickings from the earthquake rubble that still remains in huge sections of the city, to comment on the hopes and challenges facing their ghetto and country.

Robenson Sanon holds a certificate in natural disaster and HIV/AIDS response from the University of San Diego. He earned a degree in Spanish and taught for a few years before starting to work as a journalist for a number of news agencies. Currently he is a reporter and host at Radio/TV Magik 9.


Shifting Gears, (Chanje Vitès) – Original: 05:33 (Excerpt: 00:45) 

Director & Videographer: Muselène Carilus
Sound & Production Assist: Bichara Villarson, Editor: Jude Stanley Roy

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In an industry dominated by men, a mother and wife excels in auto repair, breaking common perceptions of the role of women in Haitian society.

Muselène Carilus graduated with a degree in social communications and continues to learn through seminars and trainings.  She has served as a cultural commentator, host and reporter at a number of radio stations.  Currently Muselène works as the Head of Communication for Plate-forme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains (POHDH), a leading Haitian human rights group.


Milking Local Capacity, (Pwodiksyon Lèt pou yon Kominote Djanm)  – Original 05:59 (Excerpt: 00:58)

Director & Videographer: Jéthro-Claudel Pierre Jeanty
Sound: Christien Sylvaince, Steeve Colin, Production Assist: Robenson Sanon, Editor: Mysuel Thimothée

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JethroHaitian farmers are fighting the government’s allowance of cheap imported food by collaborating to rebuild their production capacity and, thereby, their country’s food security and sovereignty.

Jéthro-Claudel Pierre Jeanty lives in Ouanaminthe and has worked as a teacher of Creole and social sciences, and as a director and reporter for two radio stations.  Since taking the CSFilm training he is working as a regional reporter for Groupe Mèdialternatif concentrating on border issues.  Jethro is also pursuing a degree in law.


Crafting the Next Generation, (Fòme Jenerasyon k ap Vini an)  – Original: 07:23 (Excerpt: 01:13) 

Director & Videographer: Christien Sylvaince
Sound: Sylvestre Fils Dorcilus, Production Assist: Robenson Sanon, Editor: Mysuel Thimotee

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A skilled craftsman passes down a local art-form by teaching low-income youth the traditional techniques of sculpting recycled metal in Croix-des-Bouquets, the center of the Haitian metalwork movement.

Christien Sylvaince began his career as a student of computer science, but turned his focus to explore radio and photography before settling on film. He trained as a commercial and fiction-film cinematographer at Ciné Institute, but has taken a particular interest in documentary filmmaking.  Christien works as a filmmaker in Jacmel.


Banking on My Child, (Envesti nan Timoun) – Original 08:38 (Excerpt: 00:59)

Director and Videographer: Jean Wilson Therrier
Sound and Production Assistants: Steeve Colin and Marie Jessy Kernizan, Editor: Jude Stanley Roy

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The proliferation of street sellers is one indicator of the dire straits of the formal economy and employment opportunities in Haiti.  As millions are left without access to basic government or banking services, they come up with all kinds of survival techniques.  To combat their exploitation by loan sharks they created the “Sol”, a uniquely Haitian revolving loan scheme.  It allows some to reach for something beyond subsistence, but for most it simply helps them to pay the loan sharks and avoid injury.

Jean Wilson Therrier has a degree in social work and has taken a particular interest in land rights which has led him to hold a number of leadership positions in land collectives. He has also worked for the Red Cross’s department of disaster management.


Threading the Needle, (File Zegwi) – Original: 06:01 (Excerpt: 01:04)

Director and Sound: Sylvestre Fils Dorcilus
Videographer: Christien Sylvaince, Editor: Evens Louis

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An entrepreneurial Haitian woman, damaged physically, psychologically and economically by the 2010 earthquake, restores her family and her pride by starting her own interior decorating business.

Sylvestre Fils Dorcilus worked as a print journalist for Groupe Medialternatif. He currently works for a marketing company.


Importing Disaster, (Dezas Pèpè a) – Original: 05:11 (Excerpt: 00:36)

Director and Videographer: Jenipher W. Charles
Sound: Bichara Villarson, Interviewer: Jessy Kernizan, Editor: Evens Louis

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A multi-generational cobbler’s livelihood is put at risk when donated and imported shoes flood the market after the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent lifting of trade barriers

Jenipher Charles is passionate about photography and videography and takes pride in being one of the few camerawomen in Haiti. She worked as a multimedia director at a local organization and now serves as a reporter at Groupe Mèdialternatif. She has produced several reports on women’s rights.


Ghetto Green, Ghetto Clean, (Geto pwòp, Geto vèt) – Original: 07:57 (Excerpt: 01:00) 

Director and Videographer: Steeve Colin
Additional Videography: Ralph Thomassaint Joseph, Sound: Wilson Therrier,
Production Assist: Jude Stanley Roy and Evens Louis, Editor: Yrvelt Lamour

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Urban activists bring the rural Haitian tradition of the Konbit, shared labor, to the country’s most notorious ghetto. Neighborhoods and young people, divided by gangs and extreme neglect, create urban gardens and clean up the slum through a locally-led initiative.

Steeve Colin’s passion is participatory community development. In the Cite Soleil ghetto he works as a social engineer, specializing in project development, implementation and communications. He uses photography, and now filmmaking, to document the positive and negative impact of development projects in his community.

Presented & Produced by
Community Supported Film
Groupe Medialternatif
© 2015 Community Supported Film and Groupe Medialternatif