Film from 2011 trip

I managed to get round to putting a short film about our 2011 trip together – starring Myself, Marko, Alex and a cast of  a 1000 Haitians.  A year in the making, but worth the wait!

 

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Back to Leogane

We’ve returned to Leogane after two weekends of carnival madness in Jakmel and several screenings.

We did two screenings at a new camp on wednesday and thursday. Called OIM camp it was a longer walk than Belval and Camp Chatulet Marche but nevertheless we endevoured to stick to our use of barrow guys to haul the load.

The camp asked us to set up in the middle of their homes. Most of the structures and some infrastructure are Korean and Japanese with the occasional Chinese Red Cross house.

 

Yesterday we did something different. We visited an area, a valley, south east of Leogane and in the foothills of the mountains, that is receiving long term aid from an NGO. We met a women in Leogane before we went to Jakmel who works for the project and she suggested doing something in their community.

At first it was difficult because maybe there was some confusion as to what we did and we had minor issues finding a suitable piece of ground. However as soon as we found the footbal pitch and set up the screen and PA it soon attracted loads of attention and we had a large crowd (perhaps our biggest?) jeering, shouting and laughing to the Red Baloon and Kirikou. As we were setting up a load of kids were screaming and hysterically jumping around something on the floor. We went over to investigate and saw them tormeting a large spider, a Tarantula, as big as my hand!

Heres a house on Rue la Libertie where we live that I really like. However apparently it is possessed by a malign spirit which anyone who has slept there feels and which drives them away. I might make an offer tomorrow…..

Weve discovered the UN cafeteria and went there on tuesday to have a meal, drink coffee and use their internet.

Its an impressive setup with big satelite dishes, IT cabins, offices, armed guards, a water supply, a gym (that no one can use), a cafe, living accomodation etc. Although it has to said their internet was terrible.

Theres something about the yankee trucks you get everywhere here. Big loud dusty Macks. Maybe its the fact that the cabin and engine seem too big for the load.

The sea was nice this morning.

 

 

 

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DJ Ciccone and the zombies

19th of feb Carnival night here again
Ciccone calls us and proposes the idea of playing a DJ set from our balcony which is situated on the main Karnival drag.  He wants to pump out some UK hardcore electro dub-core to the Jacmel revelers and see how it goes down…we say yes. Inbetween the Ra-Ra bands, Ciccone blasts out his delirious set to the audience below, on the street Jessica dances Poi and a circle of onlookers gather around her, the contrast between the Carnival Horn Ra-Ra bands and the electro insanity of his passion will be remembered. We dance to a twisted version of ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ and share a moment for Whitney Huston.

Had a really good conversation with Arraon who runs the arts center here, he’s very interetsed in what we’re doing and if the project continues wants to work with us on it, great news for any furture work here.

Later on I follow a most surreal and compelling Voodoo zombie procession, one of the kids from camp Poi sees me in the crowd and takes me by the hand together we follow the spectacle, of the likes I’ve never seen.

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17th feb Camp Paccchiant Poi workshop with Jessica tea Faerie

On the 17th of feb, for the final kids screening at camp Pacchiant we joined forces with a theatre crew, bringing to the camp a Poi making workshop and performance. This idea came out of a chance street meeting with Jessica Tea Faerie an expert in the art of Poi.

Jessia arrived, bringing the rest of her motley theatre crew, a US group of Rainbow Gathering veterans.  We met Aaron who’s been living here for 2 years and runs an independent arts space in the centre of Jacmel, Ciccone a DJ who’s trying to bring UK hardcore electro dub-core to the people of Haiti and Marissa who’s making a film of their escapades.

The workshop was frantic, brilliant and exciting with the kids making poi sets out of recylced materils and then trying them out with Jessica giving playful demonstrations of all the ways to swing them. It looks like camp Pac Caif houses some Poi naturals…. Later we showed the Poi films and Jessica preformed a fire poi dance to an enthralled audience, the evening was capped with cheers for Kiriku !

Jessica really loved the experience and talked about returning to the camp to carry on what we started, thinking about new connections developing through our work here is comforting and inspiring thought.

….on the way home we ran into our first glimpse of the weeks epic and wayward karnaval extravaganza.

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Fireflys at Camp Bois Beouf

Heres some pictures of our screenings at the Bois Beouf camp.

The children where really pleased to see a return of HKKP.

Using the little flip cams they made some films tours of the camp, we also shot more slow-motion jumps and footie,  they all loved watching the results, lots of laughs.
Later we settled down under the Mango tree to watch the feature film, I watched fire flies, weaving in and out of the trees branches as the darkness descended.

The camp housing is very unusual in design, it reminds me of Buckminster Fuller architecture. Most of the people here are earthquake refugees from Port-au-Prince, a friendly woman tells us, next year they’ll move out of the camp, the camp seems peaceful and quite, a complete contrast to the hectic hustle and bustle of Port-au-Prince.

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Camp Chatulet Marche

Camp Chatulet Marche 9th feb.

After test setting up the new frame in the morning we returned to Camp Chatulet, next to the local market in Leogan and visible from the roof of our apartment. The camp felt more exposed than Bel Vel, which was situated in a shady mango grove, with its own stream and bar showing football matches.

Chatulet is in a large field, with views of distant mountains and a few pigs and cattle wandering about. The camp had been full after the earthquake and is now quieter, people have moved on to more permanent accommodation. The extra space created room for the kids and older you to play football, with our screen looking like an oversize set of goal posts. Seemed like a fitting location to screen Balon d’Or, after kicking off with Shawn the Sheep. It was great to see the English countryside, albeit in plasticine! We got the frame up and kept fingers crossed hoping against rain, it worked for a while, soon as we go back home it started to kick it down. A desk from our apartment provided a solid surface to project from, and handy storage space, all very civilised!

Having loaded most of the kit onto a wheel barrow we were able to walk through the town to the camp. Arriving on foot enabled us to the chat to people en route and kept costs down, something not possible from a vehicle. We returned for a second night at Chatulet to an excited welcome from the kids. Some hugely talented young singers and rappers kept everybody entertained before the films, watch out!

Our guide Berlyne with her husband Guido, sister and baby Moonie aged 25 days!

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KANAVAL !!!

We are at the famous Jakmel Kanaval. Yesterday before we left Leogane I saw this guy marching down the street in his best suit.

Jakmel is crazy. The whole town is in the throng of Carnival. They make big papier mache heads and torsos some of which are very elaborate and sculptural and take upto 4 months to build. There are also mad demonic characters who scare people, death mask figures who walk very slowly in a line, almost tip-toeing, humming bird princesses, tall King and Queen puppets and dancing soldier-men parodies with big teeth and military attire.

Ive performed in many carnivals mostly on stilts with Kevin and Im finding it weird to be a spectator. Kind of wished Kev was here so we could both tear up the crowds with some Moko Jumby action, the crowds are really responsive to mischeif from the Masqueraders.

The Mardis Gras have broken up for lunch/rest now and the parade is later, which I think is the big floats with massive bands onboard.

Jakmel couldnt be more different from Leogane. Lots of big buildings here whereas in Leogane almost every single concrete structure was destroyed.

 

 

 

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Things to do, people to do them

We had a big delay with the Genny not starting.
Waldo is a good mechanic who has done some work
for a Canadian NGO out here. So we were confident
when he started stripping the machine down, part
by part. He eventually fixed it (after several
sessions over a few days) and it was great compared
to the noisy and beefy 110v once which rattled so much
that the mains cord fell out.

Kenton made some new cinema screen poles. Here is a photo
of his workshop which is basically in the middle of
the street. We will be trying them out for the first time
tonight.

Here are some goats taking shade in the only place available
in the street here, under a big lorry.

Here is another truck. It looked liked it tipped its load and
then the engine and the whole gearbox and diff’ fell out.
Mind you I saw some guys scuttling around underneath the other
day. They fix everything here. Machines like trucks, cars, vans
and motorbikes get a serious thrashing.

Heres out local family internet shop although today we’re off
to the UN building to see if we can use their wi-fi.

Alright, its not all hard work. Heres some kids we met at the
beach with their dug out canoe. They let us have a go. And here
also is the full moon from the 7th after we’d done a screening
at Belval camp. Its really bright here and you notice its
absence when it gets hidden by clouds. Theres no street
lighting and everyone lives and moves in shadows at night.

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Camp Caboulosse

During the early evening of the 7th we made our third and final screening at the Belval, Caboulosse camp. Over the course of the three days we’d been playing skipping, football and chasing games. I filmed the games using the slow motion setting on the camera, we then played the films back to the children on the big cinema screen the kids and all absolutely loved it!!!! Thanks Mr Hopkison for the inspiration! We screened some of skipping and football films using the music of Zun Zun Egui as sound track, we also set up a Mic and children spontaneously joined in doing running commentaries and singing alongside, making the experience a rich and creative mix.

Hogge came up with the idea of doing a slap stick, throwing water sketch, so we staged the seen, Berlyene our wonderful translator and guide threw water over Hogge whilst i filmed it in slow-mo we then played it back on the big screen to a stunned silence, quickly followed by the children also wanting to do it, so we made a few water slap stick sketches and played them back to a laughing crowed. Next was time for the talent show, during our three times here the children have staged some wonderful singing and rapping performances, coming across as totally confident and in their element.

Once the talent show was finished we all settled down to watch a short Haitian animation followed by the red balloon, which went down really well, everyone laughing, gasping and cheering in all the right places, it was lovely to be amongst such an animated fun audience, of mixed ages.

 

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Our First Screening

After delays with the generator which would not start and various technical problems with the 110v genny and transformers we finally did our first screening on Sunday. We visited the camp by Belval Plaza the day before and watched a big group of people, young and older practicing their march/dance for Haiti Flag Day in may.

The next evening we used a barrow guy to transport our stuff to the camp.  The kids were amazing in the talent show before just as Alex, Gary and Marko (the previous HKKP team) had told us.

The kids were very playful, welcoming, a real pleasure to be with. Everyone was pleased to see the return of HKKP. The camp has reduced since the last trip which is good as many people have been housed and have moved on.

The Kirikou film went down very well with everyone, from really young to adults. The petrol ran out right at the the end but we got the show back up in 2 minutes just in time for the last scenes and credits.

Today the genny got fixed by waldo a mechanic friend of Berlynes. We plan to do another screening there tonight and Tuesday.

We are settling in to Leogane. Finding the good food stalls, the good shops, the market. Its very hot, dusty and busy but beautiful, vibrant and exciting.

 

 

 

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