It was 2 years ago that the Cannes Film Festival hosted a fund-raising event for Haiti, for which actor Sean Penn and his J/P HRO (which does ongoing humanitarian work in Haiti) was present.
As I’m sure most know, since the devastating 2010 earthquake, Penn has been quite present and vocal in his support for the relief effort in Haiti – an effort that he documented in a feature documentary titled "Haiti Untold," which looks at the attempts to rebuild the island nation (not only his organization’s efforts, but also those of other non-governmental agencies) after the earthquake.
In addition to Penn, others featured in the film include Joey Adler, CEO of Canadian NGO OnexOne Foundation, fashion designer Donna Karan and former NHL star George Laraque.
The feature-length doc, handled by ID Communications at the Marche du Film last year, is said to be intended as a correction to the “first world bias” seen in mainstream media’s reporting on the disaster and its aftermath – this according to ID Communications.
"Though the earthquake happened now more than three years ago, the film brings much needed positive attention to a country still very much re-building… It is quite stark the contrast between the way the country in all its challenges is portrayed in the mainstream media and what you see on the ground,” said Dan Shannon, who co-directed Haiti Untold with Isabelle DePelteau.
I have yet to see the film, so I can’t offer any useful commentary here, whether in support or criticism of the above claims. But I was just informed that it’s now streaming on Netflix, meaning, those with Netflix streaming accounts, can check it out for themselves, if curious.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Hatian filmmaker Raoul Peck’s last work, the feature documentary titled "Assistance Mortelle" (or "Fatal Assistance" in English), which was covered quite a bit on this blog. No word yet on an official USA release of that film, although it did travel the international film festival circuit, for much of 2013.
And as an exposé, culled from a total of over 500 hours of footage, shot over 2 years, starting soon after the January 2010 earthquake, through 2012, offering the world a look at the international community’s response and reaction to the devastating 2010 earthquake Haiti suffered, through the eyes of Haitians in Haiti, Peck’s film (which I have seen) is significant and seemingly differentiates it from Penn’s film (which I haven’t seen, but will, now that it’s on a platform I have access to), which, if only based on the synopsis and below trailer, features the POVs of, shall we say, *outsiders*. If you have seen it, share your thoughts please.
Trailer for "Haiti Untold" follows below: