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Sean Penn Puts Post-Earthquake Haiti In Focus In New Feature Doc 'Haiti Untold'

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 14, 2013 10:33 AM
1 Comment
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It was a year ago that the Cannes Film Festival hosted a fund-raising event for Haiti, for which actor Sean Penn and his J/P HRO (which does ongoing humanitarian work in Haiti) was present.

As I'm sure most know, since the devastating 2010 earthquake, Penn has been quite present and vocal in his support for the relief effort in Haiti - an effort that he's documented in a new feature documentary titled Haiti Untold, which looks at the efforts to rebuild the island nation (not only his organization's efforts, but also those of other non-governmental agencies) after the  earthquake, and which will have its world premiere at the Cannes market tomorrow, Wednesday.

In addition to Penn, others featured in the film include Joey Adler, CEO of Canadian NGO OnexOne Foundation, fashion designer Donna Karan and former NHL star George Laraque.

The feature-length doc will screen for international buyers at the Marche du Film, handled by ID Communications. The company said Haiti Untold is intended as a correction to the “first world bias” seen in mainstream media's reporting on the disaster and its aftermath.

"Though the earthquake happened now more than three years ago, the film brings much needed positive attention to a country still very much re-building... It is quite stark the contrast between the way the country in all its challenges is portrayed in the mainstream media and what you see on the ground,” said Dan Shannon, who co-directed Haiti Untold with Isabelle DePelteau.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Hatian filmmaker Raoul Peck's latest work, a feature documentary titled Assistance Mortelle (or Fatal Assistance in English), which is currently traveling the international film festival circuit, since it's Berlin debut in February.

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 (which is significant and seemingly differentiates it from Penn's film), the 100-minute doc (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.

We haven't seen either yet, so stay tuned...

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1 Comment

  • Belle | May 14, 2013 11:21 PMReply

    "Haiti Untold" you've got to be kidding me... Thank you for mentioning Pecks Fatal Assistance. What about Guetty Felin's award-winning Broken Stones which speaks of self recovery 18 months after the quake... the film has been touring the festival circuit for the last year and will air on PBS this summer? Haitian stories, told by Haitian people, made by Haitian people, that's what you should be looking for to highlight.

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