The 5th Haiti Film Fest, presented by Haiti Cultural Exchange (HCX), a New York based Nonprofit organization, is set to kick off on June 23 and will continue for four days through June 26.

Founded in 2009, Haiti Cultural Exchange celebrates Haiti and Blackness as wellsprings of creativity and dynamic action.

This year, as with every year, HCX provides a dynamic platform to showcase the world of Haitian cinema through the lens of the most talented Haitian filmmakers today

“The festival comes at a critical juncture for Haitians as our community faces numerous social, economic and political challenges, HCX programming remains rooted in our shared humanity and sheds light on life in the Diaspora as well as Haiti” says Régine M. Roumain, executive director of Haiti Cultural Exchange.

“We are particularly pleased to have many of the filmmakers present during our four-day festival, which provides an opportunity for the community to engage in dialogue around the issues presented.” 

Festival locations include Nitehawk Cinema Prospect Film in Brooklyn, located at 188 Prospect Park West; and The Flea Theatre (The Sam), located at 20 Thomas St, in Tribeca, Manhattan.  

Haiti Film Fest Opening event will take place at Nitehawk on June 23 at 7pm with showing of “Freda” written and directed by Gessica Généus. The film was was selected and screened at “Un Certain Regard’ section at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. In this heartfelt film, Freda displays her everyday life in Port-au-Prince. They make ends meet thanks to their small street shop. Faced with precarious living conditions and the rise of violence in Haiti, each of them wonders whether they should stay or leave.  

Généus’s was first recognized for her documentary film “Douvan Jou Ka Leve” (The Day Will Dawn) which won several awards and continues to screen worldwide. Prior to this film, between 2014 and 2016 she directed “Vizaj Nou”, a series of short portraits of major figures from contemporary Haitian society.   

Over the past four years, Haiti Film Fest has attracted thousands of attendees and continues to grow each year.  In years past, the festival has presented screenings that showcase vibrant storytelling via narratives, feature length films, and documentaries that depict the dynamic energy of Haitian cinema.  By illuminating Haitian cinema to broader audiences, HCX has been able to continue its commitment to supporting Haitian arts and education in the New York City Community and beyond.  

A still from the film, “Stateless”

Another spotlight of this year’s festival is a compelling film screening at 6pm on Sun, June 26, at The Flea: “Stateless” written and directed by Michèle Stephenson, a three-time Emmy Award nominee and winner of Tribeca and Sundance Festival Jury Prize and Guggenheim Fellow.

In this film, in 1937, tens of thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were exterminated by the Dominican army on the basis of anti-black racism.  Fast-forward to 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court stripped the citizenship of anyone with Haitian parents, retroactive to 1929, rendering more than 200,000 people stateless.     

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