Film Industry Booming in Haiti

Haitians are rabid movie-goers. Their frequent forays to attend movies has enabled the Haitian film industry to keep producing topical films on pressing social concerns as well as lighter fare. Because Haitians are going to see film in droves, it has allowed the Haitian film industry to steadily increase the amount of product they make, currently a dozen full-length films annually.


Haiti ties with Cuba as the Caribbean regions' most prolific film making country. This is possible because of inexpensive hand-held video cameras, capable of producing quality screen pictures. The cost of an average full-length film costs approximately $40,000.

For a small and poor island, it makes possible a thriving film industry that continually develops, despite the country's political volatility. Within a few years, the production of Haitian films has increased 300%. Even more impressive is the exponential growth of new films going directly to DVD. Most of these DVDs are films that have been made in U.S. Diaspora milieus.

Haitian filmmakers are serious artists, interested in capturing for the screen Haitian culture's social concerns, unique to itself. For example, the first time Créole was spoken on film occurred in "Anita", which explored restavek, a form of bondage. Young children who can't be cared for are sent to well-off households to act as servants for their board and keep.

The most famous Haitian film export made was on Toussaint Louverture, Haiti's liberator. It received wide exposure overseas and praise for its actor, Jimmy-Jean Louis, in the title role.

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