By Bianca Silva
When Discover Humanity founders Denea Buckingham and Manos Mitikas met two and a half years ago, they instantly connected on traveling and filming their surroundings. The duo first set out on their journey about eight months ago to capture a variety of individuals living life and came to the conclusion to begin in Haiti due to its rich culture and its seemingly single narrative that’s often presented to the world.
Their ten-minute short film, Discover Haiti, highlights the everyday life of the Haitian people with the goal of debunking the negative stereotypes of the country. The film was shot in just 12 days where they traveled all over in hopes of finding subjects willing to tell their story.
“We believe that a lot of the prejudice and bias that people have for foreign cultures comes from a lack of information or misinformation so you only get a single story that comes through the media, the news, etc,” Buckingham says. “Our idea is through film and photography to capture the reality of each country and give the space for some local people to share a message directly to the rest of the world.”
In order to get to the content and imagery they wanted, Mitikas explains that they were open to interview people from different backgrounds and filming in places not typically shown to a wide audience.
“We are trying to capture the urban life, the rural life. We visited the capital, we visited big cities, more isolated villages that are not touristy,” he says.
Buckingham, who had previously visited Haiti twice prior to filming with Mitikas, mentions that she was received by the people with kindness and was impressed by the humanity displayed in her visits and was inspired to capture that as authentically as possible.
“The spirit that Haiti exudes is incredible and I hope that we were able to capture some of that.” she says. “I think that many people around this world could learn from that and could take on a bit of that to their personality.”
For Mitikas, the most important aspect regarding filming Discover Haiti and for any Discover Humanity project is to provide a platform for anyone to tell their story and their truth.
“For us, everybody deserves a voice no matter the social level. We have to hear everybody. Everybody has something to say,” he says.