Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Rediscovering Art, Culture, and Heritage: Stanley Delva, Communications Intern

10.11.17

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My interest in joining the Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX) team began with my first trip to Haiti during the Spring of 2017. As a Haitian American, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, the prospect of finally getting to visit my “Motherland” was exciting. Despite being there only four days, I was able to immerse myself in the culture and history of Haiti in a way much better than reading content online or out of a book. I was able to touch and see the colorful buildings my relatives lived in, to smell the poultry being cooked with fresh vegetables on the road and through the windows of homes, and to hear, first hand, the language, music, and movement of my people. Being in Haiti completely changed my understanding of the culture.

On my return home to Brooklyn, I was looking for ways to reengage with the energy I felt while in Haiti and also rediscover my appreciation for art. Whether it be through drawing, writing, or filmmaking, I searched for ways to continue being influenced and inspired by Haitian art while home in NYC. My search led me to find HCX, whose focus on the cultural appreciation of Haitian art and artists of the diaspora fell right in line with my interest. Being in the presence of individuals who strive to preserve and promote Haitian art improves my relationship with the culture and my heritage. Joining the team gives me the opportunity to further immerse myself in the arts while being inspired by my culture and learning how to interact with the community in impactful ways.

With my graduation from Brooklyn College approaching this fall, I would like to be able to take what I learn here and apply it to my future in a meaningful way. I hope the programs and initiatives by HCX can inspire me to use my English degree creatively in diverse spaces. The programs implemented by HCX help to bring together people in the diaspora by spreading their stories and positively impacting communities in ways they may not have been able to do on their own. I am excited to see how these artists use their mediums to shape their own creative voices and create a dialogue around Haitian culture. In joining the HCX team , I look forward to pushing both the organization and myself to grow in ways that will continue to benefit the community.

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From Dance to Community Practice: Veroneque Ignace, Programs Coordinator

10.10.17

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A public health practitioner, Haitian feminist theorist, participatory arts researcher, and alum of SUNY Downstate School of Public Health, I use dance and writing to merge my passion for public heath, global health, and community organizing. My launching pad is built upon the notion that health issues and disparities are not simply a result of poor health management, but also a result of the lack of an integrative perspective of what health improvement actually is. With my movement, I hope to complicate methods of social change and health equity by connecting spiritual balance and self-understanding to modes of recovery and restoration.

My studies with Sandra L. Burton in Williams College’s Kusika Dance Company as well as Nia Love, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, and others, have contributed to a dance practice built around discussion of individual and community wellbeing. In 2016, I founded Kriyol Dance! Collective (KDC) to incite the unapologetic voices of Black arts, and Haitian culture in particular, through collaborative and unified work and intervention. As members of KDC, artists create original work focused on the preservation of Black diasporic culture and Haitian culture, and on the promotion of Haitian life through artistic work that involves community voices, community issues, and the Haitian state of affairs. Artist-leaders work to develop innovative, multi-pronged approaches to using art as a tool for commentary as opposed to simply entertainment. Importantly, KDC hopes to make normative discussions of Haitian culture that do more than harp on the Haiti’s richness. We aim to continuously place the focus on discussion of Haitian lives both in-country and abroad.

Dance is an essential tool for how I develop, advance, and uplift communities across varying cultural backgrounds and belief systems. It is what connects me to HCX as a Haitian creative, critical thinker, advocate, scholar, former Lakou NOU resident, and now as the new Programs Coordinator. Working on the HCX team, I bring all this with me, applying my skills, vision, and practice to an organization dedicated to cross-cultural, cross-sectoral, and interdisciplinary exchange and to the preservation of Haiti’s cultural heritage in Brooklyn, my hometown.

  • Contact Veroneque:
  • veroneque@haiticulturalx.org
  • Instagram: @_kriyoldance_
  • Twitter: @lampressvero

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Haiti Film Fest 2017 Recap!

06.08.17

Haiti Film Fest 2017

By Destiny Jackson – Communications & Outreach Coordinator

Through over 25 shorts, documentaries and narrative features in just four days, Haiti Film Fest 2017 was an epic cinematic adventure! It was wonderful to see so many members of the HCX community, and new faces as well, at the festival’s screenings, panels and networking receptions. A special thank you the filmmakers as well as our funders, Advisory Committee Members, Opening Night Host Committee and Media partners, panel moderators, and volunteers. This biennial festival would not be possible without your generous support. Take a look below for a full recap of the 2017 festival and click here to view the full film fest schedule.

Opening Night Fundraiser

 

18518287_10155090410561830_1735844618251375886_oWe kicked off the festival on Thursday, May 11th with our Opening Night Fundraiser at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The event was hosted by Midwin Charles, founder of the law firm Midwin Charles & Associates LLC and a Contributor at Essence Magazine. Doors opened at 7PM and as guests entered the venue they posed for our photographers Claire J. Saintil and Liz Gauthier, and were treated to a Haiti Film Fest tote bag, complimentary cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres.

The event started off with The Last Haiti: The Moving Portraits by Steven Baboun and a sneak peek of Tezen by Shirley Bruno. Both films are phenomenal representations of Haitian cinema and set the stage for the many screenings that would follow in the days to come. Next, we awarded the honorees of the night: Rachelle Salnave, Jimmy Jean-Louis, and Arnold Antonin. While accepting their awards, Salnave spoke passionately about the importance of creating content that exposes the beauty of Haiti and Antonin expressed the difficulties of creating films in the Haitian context and thanked HCX for its support in the dissemination of Haitian films. Unfortunately, Jean-Louis was unable to be in attendance due to an unforseen contractual obligation, but photographer Marc Baptiste accepted the honor on his behalf, and thanks to technology Jean-Louis was able to share a few words via video chat. During his speech, he emphasized the importance of finding ways to support young Haitian artists and their dreams because he would not be where he is today without the support of others.

The event ended with a few words from Paul Beaubrun, a Haitian musician who emphasized the importance of organizations such as HCX whose support of artists allows opportunities such as his touring with Ms. Lauryn Hill. He stated that the local support he received from HCX is what has allowed him to take his musical career to a global level – and encouraged attendees to donate to HCX in order to support organizations artists of Haiti and the Diaspora. Following the event, the afterparty took place at the Alamo’s House of Wax where guests mingled and celebrated the kickoff to Haiti Film Fest 2017 until the wee hours of the morning!

Evening of Shorts  

 

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Five Myles Gallery was packed for our Friday night Evening of Shorts, a night dedicated to supporting young and emerging filmmakers. The event was filled with enchanting short films that delivered big messages. From the excitement of young love to the pain of family separation – each film showcased universal human themes that were infused with the unique spirit of Haitian culture.

The night started off with Christie Koralane Augustin’s Carpe Diem, a lighthearted romantic comedy about a young man named Andre who has a crush on a lovely librarian named Sasha. The film scored many laughs with the audience and stirred up nostalgic feelings of being young and in love. Next, was the art film, The Last Haiti: The Moving Portraits by Steven Baboun, the film showcased beautiful and emotion filled “moving portraits” of Haitians and Haiti. Following that were the docu-shorts, Toussaint Louverture: Miroie d’une Societe by Pierre Lucson Bellegarde and Haiti is A Nation of Artists by Jacquil Constant, the first provided the audience with a quick, in-depth glimpse into the world of the famous Haitian leader and the latter exposed the beauty and culture of Haiti through the eyes of artists.  After that was, Elegy for Stivenson Magloire by Edouard Eloi & Shalom Gorewitz, this short focused on the paintings and life contours of the Haitian artist, Stivenson Magloire. Up next was Rosario Lacroix’s Valiz La, a lighthearted modern silent short that takes us on fun adventure through the streets of Haiti, as we follow the travels of a magical bag. Trailing that was, Taking Chance by Jerry Lamothe and Haitian Son by Marc-Eddy Loriston, both films explored themes related to the difficulty of living in an urban area and having to make life altering decisions for survival. And then there was the film, Baldwin’s Prophecy by Richard Louissaint, narrated by James Baldwin this short gave the audience a dance interpretation of the mental impressions that happen when interacting with police enforcement. After that, the audience was taken on an emotional rollercoaster with the short, Les Pleureurs by Michelle Marrion; the short focuses on a hired crier who has trouble emoting due to her traumatic past. And rounding out the evening was Minutes to Say Hi by Easmanie Michel and See(ah) by André M. Zachary – Michel’s film showed the point-of-view of a child having to adjust to a new life in Brooklyn after leaving Haiti and Zachary’s film captures the beauty of the Crown Heights and conflicted feelings around so-called progress in the community through the lens of a seer woman.

We ended the evening with a networking reception at Franklin Park, where guests were able to network with the creators of the films.

Documentary Filmmaking in Haiti 

 

18556470_10155090366131830_6451666615784655001_oSaturday, May 13th was dedicated to Documentary Filmmaking in Haiti! Although there was a rainstorm, that did not stop many from coming to enjoy the diverse documentaries we had lined up that day at St. Francis College. The first half of the day was filled with the following four New York premieres whose film topics ranged from the importance of taking care of the environment to the power of music to transform lives:

La Déchirure by Feguenson Hermogène

El Violinista by Richard Sénéchal

De Kiskeya a Haiti : Mais Où Sont Passés Nos Arbres by Mario L. Delatour

La Dérive Douce D’un Enfant de Petit Goave by Pedro Ruiz

Following that, we had a keynote discussion featuring Arnold Antonin, a prolific Haitian film director, who is known for his social, political and cultural commitment to Haiti. The panel was hosted by digital content creator, Frtiz Archer and also included filmmakers Rachèle Magloire and Jacquil Constant. After the panel discussion held a special tribute to Arnold Anotonin’s films, including Faiseur de Fanaux, Courage de Femme; Benita et Merina, Herby, le Jazz et la Musique Haïtienne and the New York premiere of Rene Depestre On Ne Rate Pas Une Vie Eternelle.

Haiti Film Fest Closing Day

 

IMG_3256We ended the Haiti Film Fest 2017 with a bang! For the Closing Day, we screened six films and had two filmmaker panel discussions. The first filmmaker panel discussion was moderated by multimedia journalist, Manolia Charlotin and included three powerhouse women in cinema: Guetty Felin, Shirley Bruno and Christy McGill. The second filmmaker panel discussion focused on the experiences of immigration across the Haitian diaspora and its portrayal in cinema, the panel was moderated by Alice Backer and included Jean Jean, Rachèle Magloire, Tyler Johnson and Papa Jah. Below is a list of the films that screened for the festival’s Closing Day:

Serenade for Haiti by Owsley Brown

Tezin by Shirley Bruno

Ayiti Mon Amour by Guetty Felin

My Father’s Land by Miquel Galofre & Tyler Johnson

Si Bondye Vle, Yuli by Jean Jean

The Empty Box by Claudia Santa-Luce

Thank you to everyone who came out and showed support – none of this would be possible without you.

Click here to take a look through the Haiti Film Fest 2017 photos.

The 4th Biennial Haiti Film Fest took place May 11-14, 2017.

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HCX Collaborations | Haïti en Folie

10.25.16

By Nathalie Jolivert, HCX Communications and Outreach Coordinator

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This past Sunday, October 23, 2016, Haiti Cultural Exchange collaborated with Festival Haiti en Folie and hosted a conference and book signing for authors Michel Soukar and Rodney Saint-Eloi at Brooklyn College. Fabienne Colas, founder of Haiti en Folie and Carèl Pèdre, radio host of Chokarella in Haiti gave a warm welcome to the attendees after which, the writer and poet Michèle Marcelin Voltaire moderated the conversation between the two guest speakers.

Michel Soukar, historian and journalist based in Port-au-Prince spoke about his career and how his exile from Haiti allowed him to take a step back, as an activist, to focus on the history of the country. Learning about the complex history of Haiti encouraged him to communicate political and societal change in compelling storytelling. Soukar’s bibliography includes “Cora Geffrard, which recounts the life and death of president Fabre Geffrard’s daughter who was killed at a young age and “La Prison des Jours, which follows his main character, Antoine Pierre Paul’s insurgence against the US army during the American occupation of Haiti. In December, Soukar will be part of a conference in Haiti highlighting this military occupation, as a difficult period with an ongoing impact.

Rodney Saint-Eloi, writer and editor based in Montreal spoke about the importance of memory for the Haitian people. In the presentation of his newly published novel “Passion Haiti”, he mentions that memory is important to preserve for it is by knowing our past that we can move forward with lessons learned. As an example, he mentioned that his recent novel gave hope to a reader who felt hopeless for the Southern cities of Haiti post-hurricane Matthew. By reading about the author’s native city of Cavaillon, the reader understood that this city would prevail, for there was a lot of history that could not be erased by a hurricane.

As editors and great promoters of Haitian literature, Michel Soukar and Rodney Saint-Eloi also took the time to pay homage to classic Haitian writers like René Dépestre, Marie-Vieux Chauvet and Jacques Roumain. They also highlighted the works of a growing number of women writers, as well as that of poets who publish in Creole.

The attendance was multi-generational and the questions covered many aspects of the literary scene of Haiti from budding writers trying to make a mark through their participation in fairs and literary events, to scholars who are concerned about the future of literature in Haiti and the access to published work by a wider Haitian audience, via education. The event ended with a long line of guests eager to have their questions answered as they got their newly purchased books signed by the authors.

Haiti Cultural Exchange was pleased to partner with Fabienne Colas and Haiti En Folie and look forward to continuing to partner with likeminded organizations to bring Haitian culture to the forefront of New York’s rich cultural landscape.

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