Haiti Optimiste: An Evening Celebrating New Cinema From Haiti!

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“There is Hollywood in America, Bollywood in India, Nollywood in Nigeria… Let’s bring Jollywood to Jacmel, Haiti!”

Cine Institute, Haiti’s only film school teamed with French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) this past Thursday, January 24, 2013 to screen “Haiti Optimiste”: a series of short films made by Haitian film students to portray their potential and the beautiful culture of Haiti. With the help of sponsors and fundraising events, Cine Institute provides its students full scholarships and the tools necessary to learn the abilities of filmmaking. David Belle, founder of Cine Institute reminded us that one of the many ways to help an impoverished country like Haiti is through education and teaching its people skills that will later on help them secure jobs. One great example and success story was that two of their former students were able to afford plane tickets to attend the event that night because they were working, skilled individuals.

The daunting and unpleasant weather did not prevent supporters and lovers of Haitian art from attending this magical evening. It was a night to remember- celebrating Haitian cinema, dancing with Emeline Michel, enjoying the photographs of celebrity photographer, Marc Bapstiste, and tasting the delightful treats of Bravo’s Top Chef, Ron Duprat.

Jonathan Demme, Ben Stiller, and Michele Montas led a captivating discussion about Haitian cinema after the screening. Mona Scott Young, Dayanne Danier, and Regine Roumain were also part of the hosting committee that helped support this beautiful evening.

I was able to attend the event with the beautiful Ania, and it’s only obvious that I had a fabulous time. I met some very determined and talented young Haitians. I was able to speak with Cine Institute’s director, Paula Hippolyte, who is beyond inspiring. I drank some Prestige (of course), and made some new friends.

I was able to attend the event with the beautiful Ania, and it’s only obvious that I had a fabulous time. I met some very determined and talented young Haitians. I was able to speak with Cine Institute’s director, Paula Hippolyte, who is beyond inspiring. I drank some Prestige (of course), and made some new friends.

That night when I got home, I felt more ready than ever before to take some new steps that I’ve been meaning to take. As CNN’s reporter, Soledad O’brien mentioned: Haiti has a lot of what we call, “The starfish story”. The story with the little boy while walking by a beach notices all of the starfish washed up on the shore. One by one, he starts to pick them up to throw them back in the water. When finally a man asks, “What are you doing? Don’t you know there are too many of them? And no matter what you do, it will make no difference?” The little boy picks one up, tosses it back in the water, and responds, “it makes a difference to this one.” Sometimes, we know that we can’t help everyone and every issue, but if we make an effort, we can help one or even some, and that does make a difference.

I’m excited for Cine Institute’s future projects. I hope you get to check out their work very soon.

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2 Comments on Haiti Optimiste: An Evening Celebrating New Cinema From Haiti!

  1. maimusings
    January 31, 2013 at 7:54 pm (1 year ago)

    Oh awesome event. I think I’ve heard of Cine Institute but I didn’t know that they were based in my hometown. That’s awesome! It looked like such a great event & Ms. Emeline Michel is as gorgeous as ever.

    Reply
    • findingpaola
      February 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm (1 year ago)

      I swear she looks more beautiful and more beautiful every time I see her!

      Reply

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