Category Archives: On the ground

Rain interupts fourth screening, Hedgehog in the Rain

March 20, 2010

Our fourth screening was at a camp on Route Delmar 33… 3000 people living in incredibly tightly packed tents on a football pitch.

Early arrivals

Early arrivals

The third short film of the screening was “Hedgehog in the Fog” made in 1974 by Yuri Norstein (the Tarkovsky of children’s animation!). Have a look – you won’t be disappointed. As the end credits rolled the rain came down, hard, the crowd of about 150 ran for cover, and we had to abandon the screening, and save the equipment.

Projector taking shelter

Projector taking shelter

Screen in the rain

Screen in the rain

Football pitch turning into a lake

Football pitch turning into a lake

This camp is one of the most organised we’ve seen but after half an hour many of the tents were flooded. Everybody we meet here is talking about the coming Rainy Season and what it will mean. No one seems to be building proper drainage ditches or latrines. When the real rains come sewage will overflow, disease will follow and life in the tent cities and camps which is already hard will become unbearable. I asked Joseph Hillel a Haitian/ French Canadian volunteer (see previous entry)  why no one is preparing for the rainy season? Because people want to believe the camps are temporary.  The owner of an athletic club, for example, doesn’t want drainage ditches and latrines dug into his football pitch. How can people think the camps are temporary? Because  huge new re-settlement camps with facilities are being built on the outskirts of the city. We drove past one near the airport which is supposed to re-house people from the central Champs Des Mars area. But why aren’t people moving out there? Because people who have lived all their lives in a certain neighbourhood don’t want to be moved to a piece of wasteland outside the city.

Tomorrow we’re going to go shopping for some kind of shelter for the projector and soundsystem.


March 19, 2010

This morning after looking at potential venues in a camp in the Delmar neighborhood of Port au Prince, I went with Joseph Hillel a Haitian/ French Canadian volunteer with CECI to Ranches de Jeunesse. The Ranch used to be Ranch Duvalier – property of father and son dictators Papa and Baby Doc Duvlier, but now its become a  centre for youth projects. In his normal life Joseph is a documentary film maker, and he was doing an interview with Daniel Prudent a Haitian architect and educator who specialises in using sustainable materials. Under his supervision young people were doing the preparation for a monument to the children that died in the earthquake – which will
be constructed out of recycled plastic bottles filled with compacted earth.

Last week Eric of Sinema Anba Letwal, showed us where the hardware shops are to buy ropes and a 2kg hammer for the Kino. The conversation turned to a meeting Eric had just attended where some Canadians were proposing to import huge quantities of plastic panels for the reconstruction of basic housing. Eric was deeply angry about this – the idea of building plastic houses when there are huge amounts of local materials that can be used…”We might be poor in Haiti, but we’re not stupid, OK?”

Screening in Cabaret, Des Hommes Et Des Dieux

March 15, 2010

Last night we took the Kino with Laurence and her crew to the funeral of Denis in the country town of Cabaret. Denis was one of the incredible interviewees in Laurence Magloire and Anne Lescont’s 2006 documentary Hommes Et Des Dieux which looks at the place gay men in the voudou religion. Being gay is not easy in Haitian society, but because vodou is a non- hierarchical religion there is a place for gay people to practice and celebrate within it. We projected the documentary to about 80 of Denis’s friends, family and neighbours in a tiny packed yard, and a lot of the participants in the documentary were in the audience. It’s rare for Kreol speaking Haitians to see themselves represented on screen, let alone to see the gay community represented on screen – so being in involved in this screening was an amazing and moving evening…

Marko and Dave have been projecting to audiences ranging from 300-500 people each evening

Amidst heat, humidity, dust and mosquitoes, Marko and Dave have been projecting to audiences ranging from 300-500 people each evening. There’s more demand than we can supply and so the HAITI KIDS KINO PROJECT is being welcomed with open arms.French language films are going down great — Ballon d’Or from Guinea, The Red Balloon and Kirikou Et La Sorciere. Slapstick and comedy work very well too… our very first screening was in a small camp in Cite de Soleil in Port au Prince; the programme was – La Belle Fille et Le Sorciere (short – France) Shaun the Sheep – Kite (short – UK) Hedgehog In the Fog (short – Russia) Ballon D’Or (feature – Guinea).. and the crowd loved it! One of the highlights was the whole audience singing and clapping along to Vic Reeves singing the theme to Shaun the Sheep. We’re hoping to continue this great work after Marko and Dave’s return and rainy season passes. Please get in touch if you’d like to be involved in any way.

photos – Ian Rosenberger/Dave

Sinema anba zetwal/(Cinema under the stars)

March 11, 2010

We’ve been staying with Sinema Anba Zetwal , and have mentioned them a lot in the blog, here’s some information about them written by Laurence – FastForward HAITI and MWÈM Foundation have been alive and active in the Haitian community since 2002 Through “Sinema anba Zetwal” Cinema Under the Stars, FastForward HAITI and the MWEM Foundation have created a setting where local Haitian communities can come together and share the experience of viewing and learning from documentaries and films produced (mostly) by-Haitians for-Haitians; all this, in a conscious effort to give viewers an important opportunity to look at themselves, their culture, and their patrimony objectively. The Haiti Kids Kino project is now collaborating with sinema anba zetwa (check out this link to see some of their work).

From Haiti… Screen test

We had so much kit on the plane , we couldn’t carry a frame for the screen, and had to trust in our luck that we’d be able to improvise out here…
Luckily for us Eric, the Sinema Anba Zetw (Cinema under the Stars) tech guy got on the case , designing a simple lightweight rig for us that consists of two 14 ft poles which pin into the ground and can collapse down for transport. His big concern from many years projecting outside in Haiti is that really strong winds can come up in the space of ten minutes and rip a screen away… potentially very dangerous …Eric’s design means that if winds do blow up we can pull the screen off to one side – like a shower curtain…Eric’s friend Pellej took the design off and in the afternoon cut and welded the parts
screen kit
This evening we tried it out in Laurence’s garden. Not enough room to tension the screen properly… but its looking good. merci eric et pellej!
testing the screen

Arrival in Haiti

March 10, 2010

Street market – view from the bus coming into Port au Prince Tent city

Street market – view from the bus coming into Port au Prince Tent city in back left of the photo (click on the picture to make it bigger)

We’re here… both totally exhausted. Staying with the Sinema Anba Zetwal (Cinema Under the Stars) guys in Petionville, a suburb of Port au Prince. They took us around a tent city tonight …  one of the largest. We were both taken aback by how calm and well organised it was   –  35,000 people living on what was a golf course. On the bus ride in earlier we saw many many collapsed buildings, and tents in almost every spare space…  but we havent seen the worst of the damage yet. Eric the Cinema Under the Stars tech guy is going to help us make a rig for the screen… basically two 12 foot poles that break down into 4 pieces for easy transportation. As soon as they’re made, we’ll do a screening in Laurence’s neighborhood, and then the tent city. Feeling very tired, but feeling like we’re on our way.

Petionville Club – a tent city with 35,000 inhabitants

Petionville Club – a tent city with 35,000 inhabitants

one of the shopping streets at night in the same tent city

one of the shopping streets at night in the same tent city

dave and marko looking blurry after the journey from the dominican republic

dave and marko looking blurry after the journey from the dominican republic

Last night in Santo Domingo… tomorrow Haiti!

March 8, 2010

Tonight’s our last night in Santo Domingo – tomorrow morning we’re off to Haiti to stay with Laurence Magloire of Sinema Anba Zetwal (cinema under the stars) in Port au Prince…. Its been a long week… circumventing  language barriers, adapting to heat and rain, buying gear, setting up mobile phones, battling obstructive customs who wanted to impound our generator (thanks to a huge effort from  esther and kari, and dave refusing to leave the customs office for five hours), making new contacts in haiti,  finally finding some good cheap eating places, and doing some long hikes through the suburbs to find the coach station. The carnival started today!  … it’s jaw dropping …  there will probably be stragglers on the streets when we get up to go to the bus tomoro. we managed to get down to the parade for a couple of hours before packing tonight.  (see the photos) we’re off for one rum and coke before bed.
and then tomorrow, haiti and a different world… Marko and Dave

this guy wanted a photo taken of him with his sister and nieces after he hit me on the head with a pillow

teenagers dancing before the carnival... looking scary without being scary

teenagers dancing before the carnival… looking scary without being scary

Dominican Republic flag face paint…

Dominican Republic flag face paint…

troupe waiting to join the parade

the last troupe waiting to join the parade…

Hi from the Dominican Republic

March 2, 2010

We're in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic... the journey went surprisingly smoothly (so far!) and we got to our
hotel with all the bags and kit intact late last night...
Today we had a long conversation with  an american guy, Chris from you NYC, who had come to Haiti on his own to 
volunteer and was there for the last five weeks, now on his way home
We got lots of useful advice and info from him and a couple of very good contacts - Love a Child children's hospital 
just west of the border town Jimani , and Lesley Pinard a Haitian guy  with DR diplomatic clearance who is based in a 
wharehouse in port au prince and is  travelling around 7 tent cities with spanish doctors doing mobile medical clinics.
Chris  says the UN and amercan army is barely visible where he was working  in Port au Prince , you only ever see them 
in cars. .. . the only outsiders doing anything useful are volunteer organisations.
While conditions are very seriously bad over there , he said the Haitian people are very friendly and welcoming and he 
had no experience of violence . but he did stess the importance of hooking up with other organisations for transport, 
accomodation and food
His main concern was the coming rains (which will get seriously bad in May) because of the lack of working sewage system.
He was also very positive about our project - and instantly got it .... for morale raising and he also pointed out the 
importance to parents and carers to have a break as kids watch films...
so we're feeling optimistic and energised!
will be here for a few days preparing (and going back to Punta Cana airport to  pick up the generator on Thursday)
Marko and David