On November 20, Boston will host the first annual Haiti Movie Awards. This celebration is organized by the Motion Picture Association of Haiti (MPAH), which is run by movie enthusiast, Hans Patrick Domercant. Boston-based MPAH works to help further develop and bring structure to the burgeoning Haitian movie industry.
More recently, the movie industry has been slow to recover after the Jan. 2010 earthquake. According to MPAH, very few movies have been produced in the last two years and morale has been generally low. Domercant hopes to change that with this year’s Haiti Movie Awards.
“We wanted to give a boost to the industry. Many producers were discouraged after the earthquake and we want to help change that,” said Domercant. “This is also an opportunity to honor the pioneers and we are very excited about that.”
The impressive list of accomplished actors, filmmakers and producers to be recognized includes Reginald Lubin, Jacques Roc, Jean Gardy Bien Aime, and famed comedian Jean Claude Joseph – better known in the community Papa Pyè.
“To have pioneers like Papa Pyè join us for this special event is truly an honor,” said Fabienne Eliacin, the program coordinator for the awards show. “We need to celebrate and honor these pioneers so that our youth can know and appreciate them before they leave us.”
Among the list of confirmed guests is Arnold Antonin, who will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. Antonin is a critically acclaimed writer and filmmaker, whose movies and documentaries include Haiti, the Way to Freedom, Does the President Have Aids and Women of Courage. He’s received numerous accolades for his body of work, including the Djibril Diop Mambety award at the Cannes international film festival and the Paul Robeson African Diaspora best film award at Africa’s largest regular cultural event, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou.
The Haiti Movie Awards is expected to draw attendees and journalists from Haiti, Canada, France and across the US.
“It’s the first time this type of show is done like this in the community,” said Domercant. “We have people, artists coming from all over. It’s an opportunity for families to come out and support the actors they love.”
Voting for the ten categories of nominees closed on October 31. The categories are: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best DP, Best Script, Best Website, Best Comedian, Best Director and Best Picture.
MPAH will also honor Governor Deval Patrick and State Representative Linda Forry with humanitarian awards for their leadership in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Proceeds from the ceremony will go towards the Haiti-based Youth Filmmaking Learning Center in Mirebalais, Domercant’s hometown. MPAH opened the film school this October with a focus on training the next generation of the Haitian cinematographers.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing, because in Haiti, schools like this are lacking,” said Betty Lemite, co-host of the Haiti Movie Awards and local media personality best known for her memorable run on Team Venus. “Many students don’t have access to this kind of training and it’s a great opportunity for them to learn and grow in cinematography.”
“I’m very excited to be a part of this event. And we’re honoring people who should have been honored a long time ago. I think this will bring awareness to where Haitian cinema can go and spike interest in the community to support Haitian cinema.”
The Haiti Movie Awards will take place in the UMass Boston campus center ballroom.
For more information, contact 617-980-6673 or visit haitimovieaward.com