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#5270: Documentary about restavek children (fwd)

From: Kramerkar@aol.com

As many of you know, for the past 3 years, I have been making a documentary 
film about the restavek situation in Haiti.  In 1997, my Haitian friend and I 
spent about a month in Port-au-Prince following several restaveks as they 
worked throughout the day.  We filmed the children as they went through their 
daily chores - the non-stop cooking, washing, sweeping, mopping, cleaning, 
going to the market for food, making the long trek to the river to fetch 
water, etc.  We started filming them as they woke up at 5 a.m. and stayed 
with them until they finished their chores late at night.  We were also able 
to interview the children a bit, as well as their "aunts" (caretakers).  
Although it had been expected that no one would speak openly on camera, 
surprisingly the "aunts" spoke very openly (and proudly) about all the work 
their restavek was able to do for them  The children were also interviewed 
and they spoke fairly openly (and shyly) about their lives and their 
Six months later I returned to Haiti, and this time we went into the 
countryside to film the rural context where most of these children come from. 
 We traveled throughout the country - up north to the area of Jean-Rabel, 
south to Cayes and Jacmel and Miroagane, up mountains, and down rutted back 
roads.  (For those of you who know Haiti, I'm sure you can imagine what that 
entailed!) We filmed scenes of rural life and interviewed peasants about what 
life is like in the countryside, why they would need to give away one (or 
several) of their children, etc.
Two years later (last January) I returned again to Haiti to do a follow-up on 
several of the restaveks we'd filmed to see if their lives had changed since 
we started filming them.  We were able to follow and interview 2 of them whom 
we had filmed years earlier.  In addition to filming the restaveks, their 
lives, the interviews with their "caretakers", and their rural backgrounds, 
we also filmed interviews with people who have worked with the restaveks in 
an effort to help and understand their lives.  These include human rights 
workers, psychologists, progressive priests and social workers.  The film 
will not only document the plight of these children - but also offer 
solutions - both long-range and short-term - which can alleviate the problem. 
To date, all of the footage has been shot, translated (from Creole to Eng), 
and logged for editing and we hope to begin editing as soon as we can receive 
some completion funds. The fact that this is an independently produced film 
and not a sponsored one gives our situation both advantages and 
disadvantages.  The good part is that because of the time we were able to 
spend filming this situation, we were able to get footage that could never be 
gotten by a television crew which can only spend a week or two on the 
subject. The disadvantage of course is that, unlike a television crew we 
don't have a budget and must constantly scramble for funding. When the film 
is completed we plan to go around the country and show it, as well as offer 
it to Haitian television.  Many venues in the US have asked to use it as 
well.  For more information, please contact me at kramerkar@aol.com
Karen Kramer