Haiti’s film industry is small and rather lackluster. There aren’t many films or shows shot in the country. Quite often when a show or movie wants to depict Haiti, they’ll do their filming in another Latin American rather than Haiti itself.
Why is this the case? Well, there aren’t many standards or legislation for the film industry in Haiti, which is undesirable for many producers looking for a filming location. When it comes to hiring local people to work on a film or show, there are very few individuals with film experience to be found. There simply aren’t the resources in Haiti to train locals with the necessary technical skills to support the industry. So, if a film or television producer does decide to shoot in Haiti, they often bring in their own workforce, which further increases the cost of filming in the country.
If you want to watch a movie or show that was actually filmed in Haiti, not just set in Haiti and filmed elsewhere, your options are pretty limited. However, here are five movies and shows to look for.
This b-list horror film is about an anthropologist who goes to Haiti after he hears about black magic doctors using a drug to turn people into zombies. Directed by Wes Craven, the film came out in the 1980s and follows Dr. Dennis Alan, a Harvard doctor who is sent to Haiti by a pharmaceutical company to investigate the black magic drug for potential commercialization. Unfortunately, Alan gets more than he bargained for when he meets torturers and witch doctors. The film deals heavily into voodoo legends and practices.
This 2006 drama is about a young Haitian girl who lives in Port-au-Prince, where the movie was filmed. After the main character Jessica’s father dies, she is sent to live with her friend, who takes on a variety of lovers to ensure the two’s survival. Jessica falls into similar troubles and the film looks at the desperate measures young women have to take in order to ensure survival in a politically unstable country.
On a much lighter note, this Haitian-filmed movie was partially shot in Haiti, partially in Ottawa. The award-winning movie is a political satire and comedy about a young Haitian who moves to Canada to intern for a Member of Parliament while living in Quebec.
Also a comedy, Ego Trip came out in 2015 and is about a talk show host who travels to Haiti as part of his job. While he finds himself in the middle of many life-altering decisions, he manages to sort out his priorities while in the country through an array of hapless events.
This film has picked up awards all over the place, including the Boston International Film Festival, CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, Charlotte Black Film Festival, ECU European Independent Film Festival and more. It’s a comedy-drama that follows two main characters and their mission to deliver a package.
To learn more about Haitian culture, watch these five films and stay tuned to the Restavek Freedom blog.