Eavesdropping on Souls: La Peinture Haitienne is a documentary inspired by the misrepresentation of Haiti in the mainstream media. Toronto school teacher Jacqueline Jean-Baptiste was disappointed of seeing the same, tired images of Haitians. Often, when journalists televise or write about Haiti, it’s only to highlight poverty and corruption within the country.
The film maker, who is originally from Haiti, points out that Haitian children might feel ashamed to admit that they are from Haiti if the media continues to represent them negatively.
Eavesdropping on Souls: La Peinture Haitienne seeks to depart from this negative representation. The film maker elegantly writes that: “Haiti is a country of beauty, creativity and ingenuity; a magical land where art is part of everyday life and is on every street corner.”
Hence, the movie will focus on key Haitian artists in places like Toronto, Montreal, Miami. The film makers write that these well-rounded artists will show how Haitian art is “unique and uplifting.”
It’s evident that Jean-Baptiste is passionate about this project. Not only does she have a connection to the film’s message, but she also invested her own personal savings into the movie. The film’s Indiegogo campaign has a goal of $25,000 — but according to their page, it will cost $28,000 just to dub the film in French. To some, it may seem ridiculous to spend that much money on translation. However, if the film is dubbed in French, it will be accessible to French-speaking audiences in Haiti and abroad.
As with most Indiegogo campaigns, there are perks to being a financial supporter of the project. The team is asking for a $5 minimum donation, up to $650. Larger donations will be reciprocated with beautiful pieces of artwork. Some of the pieces include Minnie Mouse, a figurine of the Disney character made of recycled metal. Other paintings portray women at the marketplace and a girl who wears a Haitian flag as a headwrap. As of now, three of the artworks are already sold out.
Even if the film makers do not reach their fundraising goal, it’s still uplifting to see that people support this kind of project. In my opinion, it’s important to challenge the images that we are inundated with. It’s even more important to respond to those images with what we know and feel is the truth. It’s telling that the “reward” for supporting Eavesdropping on Souls: La Peinture Haitienne is a piece of Haitian art. Rather than shipping off signed posters, Jean-Baptiste is continuing the cycle of promoting Haitian art through every venue possible.
To check out Eavesdropping on Souls: La Peinture Haitienne or support the project, visit their Indiegogo campaign page. The deadline to contribute donations is March 9.