In remembrance of all who were lost and who responded to the earthquake that struck Haiti six years ago this month, CSFilm encourages you to watch, learn from and share a Haitian-made film. The ten short films in Owning Our Future provide an opportunity to understand Haiti from a uniquely local perspective. Take a short five to ten minutes each day for the next ten to watch and reflect on one film.
We begin with the film in the collection that visualizes Haitians rebuilding post-earthquake. This film is unique in that it is one of only three in the collection that directly address the earthquake. While Haiti and the earthquake are remembered at this time of year, Haitians resist being defined by the earthquake. The journalists and artists who participated in the training and filmmaking where adamant that the collection not focus solely on the earthquake. The stories that they selected emphasize that there are many pressing issues that have nothing to do with an earthquake.
Owned and Occupied (Chèmèt, Chèmètrès) – 8:27
Director & Videographer: Bichara Villarson
Sound: Muselène Carilus, Editor: Evens Louis
After 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.
In relation to the importance of locally-directed and implemented aid highlighted in this film, have a read of this brief commentary by Catherine Parrill, Founder, Creative Exchanges Initiative: Getting Rid of Helping that Hurts
Owning Our Future – Endorsements:
“Community Supported Film’s innovative work and creative storytelling allows Haitians to reveal their own reality.” Serge JC Pierre-Louis, President, DuSable Heritage Association, Chicago
“At the heart of it, artists can only really talk from their own experience, so if you want a story about sumthin’ that sumthin’ has got to tell the story itself. And, that’s just what these Haitian storytellers have done – beautifully and powerfully.” Dawn Kramer and Stephen Buck, Artists
“Through these films, Community Supported Film is facilitating a powerful way for citizens – who are not necessarily professional journalists or filmmakers – to use film to narrate their lives in ways that Western media rarely shares.” Lisa Ulrich, Regional Director, Let’s Get Ready
“The sensitivity of the filmmakers and the courage and determination of the Haitians came through very strongly.” Jack Cole, Co-Founder and former Executive Director, LEAP