By Tadia Toussaint
Choked up on her tears, Haitian-born filmmaker Guetty Felin doesn’t deny that her latest independent film, Ayiti Mon Amour, was a handful. She oversaw the production, advertisement and funding of the project.
“Making this film is ten times harder because I’m wearing all of the negative hats,” Felin said. “I am a woman. I am black. I am Haitian.”
Her patriotism for her home country is evident in Ayiti Mon Amour, AQ – after-quake – which was filmed in Kabic, outside of Jacmel. The film debuts in time for the 5th anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake. Felin craved for something refreshing in the aftermath of the quake. She visited Haiti many times after the earthquake and became intrigued with the many survival stories.
“I didn’t like the images I saw of my country, and I wanted to do something about that,” she said.
The film follows three “enchanting” fictional stories that “intertwine and collide,” where the subjects are haunted by the great disaster but manage to get on with their lives.
“It takes a village to make a film that is prominent,” she said. “We had to rely heavily on personal investment and the support of locals, collaborators and online crowd funding.” Felin’s husband and son’s girlfriend were all taken on board the production team. Her son is also casted in one of the leading roles.
“It really is a wonderful project, it evokes romanticism and the belief that magic exists,” New Zealand-born producer Jasmine Funnell said. The film “journeys into the real Haiti and will have the ability to excite the world film community into seeing the real beauty that the nation holds, the rebuilding of a country and a people that are stronger than one could ever imagine after such catastrophic circumstances.”
Although the character’s stories would carry the message of hope and resilience to many, financial backing was still a problematic factor that could bring the project to a halt.
Many industry investors were hesitant to support a film that casted amateur local creole speaking actors, Felin said. But, “this is the beauty of this project. These stories matter and I want to prove that we can make A-class material without conventional funding.”
Felin has managed to secure 60 percent of her $10,000 goal.
“There is this love/hate relationship with my country, and the period after the earthquake should be about building a Haiti that we can all love, which is where the film’s title stems from.”
Felin attended Queens College in New York and entered an exchange program where she studied in Paris majoring in Political Science and Communications and minoring in Film. She co-founded BelleMoon Productions and Distribution and has had some of her most successful work shown at the embassy.
“It has become a calling, there’s always a story to tell,” Felin expressed.
Felin hopes to have the film renowned on an international scale and says that like her other projects, she wants it in festivals, recognized as a notable independent film.