By Onz Chery

Haitian-American filmmaker Jean-René Rinvil. Photo credit: Cassandra Rinvil

Jean-René Rinvil was walking around his Cité Soleil movie set, looking through a camera’s lenses and checking the lighting and sound for another day of shooting a mental illness documentary. From a distance, the sound of a gunshot reached the set. Then another. 

The documentary film’s interviewer, John Wesley Placide, quickly looked over at Rinvil for a reaction. But Rinvil’s attention wasn’t on the known Haiti, the dangerous one. Instead, his eyes were trained on a narrative not seen in the Haiti story: mental illness. 

Now Rinvil’s film, “Twoub Mantal: Healing a Nation,” is sharing that story around the world. Since its June 2020 release, the film has won two awards: the Ciudad International Film Festival’s best documentary in Mexico and Bergen International Film Festival’s best documentary in New Jersey. It has also been selected to be in the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and the Black Star International Film Festival in Ghana.


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Onz Chery

Onz Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local soccer leagues in New York. After...