Documentary on Haiti earthquake to premiere

A year after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, a newspaper documentary about the nation’s plight premieres

Sneak peek at 'Nou Bouke'
'Nou Bouke,' a documentary about the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, is a testament to the harsh reality for many in the Western Hemisphere's most desperate nation. A free public screening of the film will be held Jan. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Little Haiti Cultural Center.
El Nuevo Herald Staff

Screenings

What: ‘Nou Bouke: Haiti’s Past, Present and Future’

Where: Little Haiti Cultural Center, 212-260 NE 59th Ter., Miami (behind the Iron Market)

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Cost: Free

F.Y.I.: The documentary also will be shown at 9 p.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. Thursday on WPBT2.

Earthquake vigil

What: Night of Remembrance

Where: Manno Sanon Stadium, 6301 NE Second Ave., Miami

When: 8 p.m. to midnight Tuesday

 cveiga@MiamiHerald.com

Graffiti scrawled across a crumbled white wall in Port-au-Prince sums up how many Haitians feel: “Nou Bouke.” We’re tired.

A year after a cataclysmic earthquake rocked Haiti, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, in collaboration with independent filmmaker Joe Cardona and WPBT2, chronicle the weariness many Haitians say they feel in a documentary, Nou Bouke: Haiti’s Past, Present and Future, that premieres Tuesday.

The film is the first of its kind by a major U.S. newspaper.

“One of the challenges with journalism is you read it today, and it’s off the page tomorrow,” said Nancy San Martin, the film’s executive producer and The Miami Herald’s interactive editor. “A documentary allows you to reflect. Reflect and react.”

Narrated by award-winning Haitian author

Edwidge Danticat, the hour-long film will be shown for the first time Tuesday night, the eve of the earthquake’s first anniversary, in Miami’s Little Haiti Cultural Center. It also will air at 9 p.m. Tuesday and 8 p.m. Thursday on Channel 2 and on public television stations nationwide

The free community screening will be followed by a vigil and prayers for earthquake victims from 8 p.m. to midnight Tuesday at nearby Manno Sanon Stadium, 6301 NE Second Ave.

Throughout its history, Haiti has endured political malfeasance, desperate poverty and natural disasters. Then, the earth shook.

On Jan. 12, 2010, the most devastating earthquake to strike the Western Hemisphere in more than a century reduced the capital city, Port-au-Prince, to rubble. The magnitude 7 earthquake toppled the national palace, caused up to $13 billion in damage and claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.

It also crushed many Haitians’ dreams.

“Everybody talks about the resilience of the Haitian people — and they are resilient people,” said Cardona, the film’s producer and director.

“But guess what? They’re tired…And they’re not happy with the way things have turned out. They want better.”

In a chilling scene, silent video from the moment the earthquake struck shows a man hugging the wall of a building and then fleeing as dust and rubble rise, enveloping everything.

The film casts the earthquake as only the latest episode in a long story of oppression, violence and disaster.

“The documentary uses the earthquake as a new chapter in Haiti’s history,” said San Martin. “It really looks back and shows that this is not the first tragedy. Haiti has long struggled to be a country metaphorically trying to dig itself out.”

The film introduces a volunteer who takes it upon himself to direct traffic in Port-au-Prince’s chaotic streets as traffic lights and roadways lie in disarray. It features Emmanuelle Lundy, who lost a foot in the rubble but still enjoys dancing, even with a prosthetic limb. Journalist Roberson Alphonse explains why he stays in the country and questions the existence of a God who would allow tragedy of this magnitude to plague the Haitian people.

The goal was to let the people tell their own stories, filmmakers said.

“You really don’t often see Haitians talking about their plight, their circumstances,” said Jose Iglesias, the film’s director of photography and a videographer for El Nuevo Herald. “So we immediately ruled out all these so-called experts, and we wanted to concentrate on talking to Haitians about Haiti.”

Footage was captured with a single, hand-held camera. It’s raw, emotional and impromptu. It’s meant to get Americans thinking about their downtrodden neighbor, a country that can’t seem to catch a break.

“It’s about beyond January 12th,” said Cardona. “I don’t think people understand the gravity. I don’t think people understand the condition Haiti was in prior to the earthquake.

“I hope people reflect a little bit about their fortunes, and how they can help others.”

Correction: In Sunday's Miami Herald, the incorrect link for Microsoft Tags ran. The correct link for getting the free mobile app for your phone is http://gettag.mobi.

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