Acclaimed Trinidadian filmmaker Yao Ramesar’s latest feature Haiti Bride, filmed in Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, premieres at the 4th Ghetto Biennale, a cross-cultural arts festival taking place December 10-20 in Lakou Cheri and Ghetto Leanne in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This year’s Biennale theme is “KREYÒL, VODOU and the LAKOU – Forms of Resistance.”
Here are excerpts from Caribbeing Media:
“I see this as the most important premiere for the film… finally I get to see how it plays with Haitian audiences. In recent years I have been directing dialogue driven features in other countries and languages – Shade in South Africa, The Last Dance of the Karaoke King in India, a Chinese co-production, Stranger in Paradise and of course Haiti Bride. This presents a new challenge of satisfying audiences with films made in their countries by an outsider”, Ramesar explains.
The Ghetto Biennale issues an international call for artists to come and make work, over a period of three weeks, and exhibit alongside work made by Haitian artists. “I’m looking forward to mingling with fellow artists from Haiti and beyond. This year features visiting artists from Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy, Jamaica, Martinique, Mongolia, Oman, Poland, Peru, Russia Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad, United States.”
Haiti Bride’s African premiere took place earlier this year in the main feature film competition at The Pan African Film & Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) – the oldest and largest film festival, the biggest cultural event on the continent and dubbed “Africa’s Oscars”. In an historic first for African, diaspora and Caribbean cinema, the African diaspora film, Haiti Bride was in the festival’s main competition and vied for the Etalon de Yennenga – Africa’s major film award.
In 2010 Yao Ramesar became the first filmmaker to begin direction of a narrative feature,Haiti Bride, in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, the first narrative feature from the Anglophone Caribbean made in Haiti.
Completed by a two-person crew under harsh conditions, on a shoestring budget and featuring a cast of first-timers, Haiti Bride follows the plight of three young Haitians in love, including Marie Thérèse whose family (the Benoîts) fled after the removal of President Aristide in 2004, Paul who travelled to the US where he meets her and they fall in love and Natasha his Haitian sweetheart who he knew before he met Marie Thérèse.
Marie Thérèse wants to marry him and re-settle in Haiti, though he wants to re-settle in the US. A compromise is struck and the wedding is set for Haiti, with the couple promising to return to the US after their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the wedding date is set for the afternoon of January 12th 2010 – the day & time of the earthquake.
See more on Yao Ramesar at https://sta.uwi.edu/fhe/film/staff.asp