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Raoul Peck's 'Fatal Assistance' (Exposé On Haiti's Post-Earthquake Billions) To Debut At Berlin

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act January 30, 2013 at 5:57PM

Raoul Peck's 'Fatal Assistance' (Exposé On Haiti's Post-Earthquake Billions) To Debut At Berlin
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Still Image From 'Assistance Mortelle'
Still Image From 'Assistance Mortelle'

Glad to announce that Hatian filmmaker Raoul Peck's follow-up to Moloch Tropical, a feature documentary titled Assistance Mortelle (or Deadly Assistance in English), will make its World Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival next month.

What promises to be an exposé that will offer the world a look at the international community's response and reaction to the devastating 2010 earthquake Haiti suffered, through the eyes of Haitians in Haiti, the 100-minute fim (culled from a total of over 500 hours of footage) was shot over 2 years, starting soon after the January 2010 earthquake, through last year.

Here's an official synopsis:

12 January, 2010. A devastating earthquake shakes Haiti’s capital. In an instant 250,000 people are killed and 1.2 million left homeless. NGOs from all over the world send experts for critical relief efforts. At first, everyone has high hopes: at an international donors’ conference billions of dollars are pledged and the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), co-chaired by Bill Clinton, is created to oversee worldwide solidarity efforts. But, two-and-a-half years later, you only have to set foot in Port-au-Prince to see the international community has failed. Hundreds of thousands are still living in tents; the IHRC is as good as dead and only a fraction of the funds pledged have arrived in Haiti. Filmed over two years, Haitian born filmmaker Raoul Peck’s documentary tries to find out how, in spite the international community’s promises, the needs of ten million people in the Caribbean came to be met in such a paltry fashion. He questions political decision-makers, private contractors and engineers – and of course ordinary Haitian people, who have begun a painstaking reconstruction of their own.

IMDBPro lists the film with the English title Haiti's Billions, which speaks to the reported billions of dollars in foreign aid that were said to have poured into Haiti relief after the earthquake, although it's not entirely clear where all that money went, since many are still living in squalor.

As THIS report, posted 2 years after the devastation occured, states:

Money was wasted, prices of food and basic supplies for local people soared, sanitation deteriorated, there was less safe water to drink and well-meaning interventions made matters infinitely worse. Haiti’s prime minister has pointed out that 40 per cent of aid money supports the foreigners handing it out.

A private preview screening of the film was held last in November, in Petion-Ville Club, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and was well-received. 

It'll now step onto the world cinema stage when it bows as a special screening at the Berlinale, screening on February 9 and 10.

And even though I won't be at Berlin this year, there will be S&A coverage of the festival, thanks to 2 writers in Berlin who'll be attending and submitting reviews.

No trailer yet for Assistance Mortelle.

This article is related to: Raoul Peck


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