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Entertainment, South Florida

Haitian American Edson Jean to be Oolite Arts’ Newest Cinematic Arts Residents


Edson Jean Photo credit: Luke Fontana

Edson Jean is one of two award-winning Miami indie filmmakers who will be Oolite Arts’ newest Cinematic Arts residents. The Haitian-American filmmaker will receive $50,000 to support the creation of a short film based on his mother’s first few years in Miami.

Andrew Hevia, producer of the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” and Kareem Tabsch, filmmaker and co-founder of O Cinema, who both helped conceptualize this initiative, will work with the residents in this program, which is led by Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts Manager Jason Fitzroy Jeffers.

Jean, whose work has appeared on HBO and Complex Networks, will tell a story, inspired by his mother’s first years in Miami, that centers on an underpaid nursing assistant’s efforts to send money home to her family in Haiti while navigating Miami’s problematic, private caretaking world.

“Not only are these filmmakers products of our city, their stories are rooted in our community, and will bring to the screen narratives audiences are hungry for,” said Dennis Scholl, President and CEO of Oolite Arts. “We hope this Cinematic Arts Residency can be the step these filmmakers need to significantly advance their careers.”

In this unique initiative created in the ethos of the farm-to-table movement, Humes , a fellow recipient, and Jean will receive the support they need to shoot, produce and screen their projects from start to finish in Miami. Through the program, Oolite Arts hopes to elevate the city’s internationally-renowned short film community, by helping these filmmakers take the important step of making a micro budget feature that can display their talent and prepare them for large-scale projects.

Jean directed eight, 23-minute episodes of the comedy “Grown” for Complex Networks, which centered on the misadventures of two Haitian-American cousins forced to live together in Miami.  He also wrote, directed and starred in “The Adventures of Edson Jean,” which aired on HBO and HBOGO.

“I aim for my work to be of service to stories specific to the Caribbean and Latin experiences in Miami,” Jean said. “Telling these stories, I am able to reach out to those who experience them and let them know that they are not alone.”

He currently is touring his first documentary short on the festival circuit and has won top awards in Puerto Rico’s two largest festivals. On the screen, he was most recently seen in “Moonlight,” “War Dogs,” HBO’s “Ballers” and Netflix’s “Bloodline.”

Rachele Viard

Rachele Viard

Managing Editor at Haitian Times
Born into a Haitian family in Stone Mountain GA. , Rachele visited Haiti several times in her youth and connected to the country and the culture. She moved to Haiti in 2009, where she put her English degree to use as a writer, using her voice and pen to promote tourism in the country and highlight the richness of the Haitian culture and people.
Rachele Viard
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Dec. 17, 2019

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