HEROES OF THE SUN a Feature Documentary Project
HEROES OF THE SUN a Feature Documentary Project
"Heroes of the Sun" finds passion, poetry, and hope in Cité Soleil, a gigantic slum in Haiti plagued by gang violence and squalor.
"Heroes of the Sun" finds passion, poetry, and hope in Cité Soleil, a gigantic slum in Haiti plagued by gang violence and squalor. Read more
About this project
HOW "HEROES OF THE SUN" BEGAN
It all began in Washington, DC, at the US Institute for Peace, during a conference about reconstruction in Haiti. A woman sitting in the first row, was asked to talk about her work. She stood wrapped all in blue and started to sing: “Resistance…” Silence. The audience in that cold and academic auditorium was mesmerized. I wanted to meet with her. I did. Her name: Barbara Guillaume, she was an activist and an artist. She wanted to run for mayor in Cité Soleil. “Cité Soleil? Really?” I could not believe it. A few years ago, the slum was labeled as a no-law zone, one of the most dangerous places on the planet claimed the UN. She said to me: “Come to Haiti… come!” A year later, with the support of a French Broadcaster (Group Canal +), I was interviewing her on camera.
First day of shooting at Warf Jeremy, Cité Soleil
THE HEART OF “HEROES OF THE SUN” IS THE ART OF SURVIVING
We know about the devastation of Haiti: earthquake, floods, hurricanes, Brazilian insect infestations … you wonder, What’s next? Furthermore, I was intrigued. Who are these people who brave death and destruction to survive and transcend tragedies with such inspiring songs? In Cité Soleil in the heart of Haiti, with a history of violence like very few places on Earth, I found people with dreams and passion. The context is dark, but light can be discovered shining from under the tarps and the tin roofs.
Cité Soleil is vast. Nearly half million people live in this slum by the Caribbean sea. The surrounding shores serve as garbage dumps and communal toilets. By day, the UN forces patrol. Long before sunset, fear of gangs forces outsiders to leave, while the inhabitants lock themselves inside their shacks and street kids to hide in their secret shelters.
Waiting for the return of the fishermen in Cité Soleil
Yet I uncovered a constellation of dreams, wisdom, poetry, hope, pride and dignity. I witnessed unshakable faith and passion for life. The scenes I was lucky enough to capture on film are unforgettable, some are dark and poignant, others beam with grace and humanity.
FILMING “HEROES OF THE SUN”
Dark and light shape the soul of the film: dark like the black dirt which litters the alleys and sunny like the morning light on the faces of the children. It is dispiriting like a river of garbage, yet bright like the joyful solidarity of the street kids.
The cinematographer Kohl Trelkeld and his fans
The further I ventured into such darkness, the more I would heard music and saw poetry every where. One of my favorite moment is a young boy's kite tinkered out of a Styrofoam plate and raising above an open garbage dump.
This film is like a roller coaster ride. Emotions swing from sadness to anger, from anger to joy, a joy provoked by art created through resilience, pride and solidarity in such a heart wrenching environment.
Every kid dreams to attend school in Cité Soleil, where illiteracy is rampant
There are people worth meeting, with lessons to teach. This film reflects a struggling humanity, yet a humanity that survives against all odds. It inspires an uplifting desire to dance and connect with the human beings capable of such creative survival. You will be proud to accompany their voices. The pride they share, will become yours. The hope they share, will become yours.
THE PRODUCER OF “HEROES OF THE SUN”
My name is Fabienne Lips-Dumas, my work has won international film awards, been selected for festivals, and shown by broadcasters around the world. My film “Children of Armageddon” on the legacy of the nuclear arsenals, won the International Human Rights Federation Award in 2009. Please check out the trailer. You will see my method of treating complex issues through human stories and compelling characters. The documentary “I Clown for Yoohoo!” on clowns working with gravely sick children, seniors, delinquents and refugee camps was broadcast many times by Canadian TV.
By the shore of Cité Soleil, our fixer Jean, Jr. Joseph, updates me
THE CREW BEHIND “HEROES OF THE SUN”
After more than a year of work, I have organized the footage and put together a talented team to help me edit and distribute the film. I scheduled the post production to start by September. I am raising funds to cover editing, writing, transcriptions, translations, narration, sound editing, mix, color matching, website, promotion, extensive distribution and financial and legal services. With adequate funding I expect to be finished by the end of the year in time to exhibit the film at the major film festivals in 2014.
Interviewing the band Veye Yo Rara
My goal is to raise at least $78,000 on Kickstarter to transform raw footage into a compelling film and to showcase it all over America and the world. I will be paying myself a minimal amount and the post production facility has reduced its rates in order to ensure this wonderful film gets made.
The work of metal by artists in Cité Soleil
THE REWARDS FROM CITE SOLEIL
As excited as I am to make this film, I am especially proud to offer the art and crafts from artists living in Cité Soleil as gifts in acknowledgement of your pledges.
Through your pledge you will bond with the community of Cité Soleil and thereby the film making process becomes truly inclusive. All the paintings and the figures are made out recycled tin. The Angels, a Red Taptap Truck -- like the transport we used -- to the Warrior Mask, Rasta Mask or Sun Mask are each a limited edition made especially for the Heroes of the Sun project .
Kids have many ways to interact when Haitian Creole is not available
Each time you will pledge to download a song of the documentary, the group or their community will be rewarded too!
The people of Cité Soleil need to have their story told. They were eager to humanized the image of their community and they participated with enthusiasm . But for the team involved in this documentary, keeping them collaborating in the process of the production is important. We thank every one for helping us tell this story and at the same time helping the community in Haiti that was so open and generous with their time and talents during the filming process.
Fabien, Voodoo drummer
September: Translations, transcription, writing
January-February: Sound, mix, color matching, copies…
January: Promotion starts and preparation for the launch in February. With adequate resources, we will be able to offer our friends a PREVIEW timed to the remembrance of the 2010 EARTHQUAKE.
We will mail your Heroes of the Sun rewards gradually over those months, and by February 2014, everyone should have received their Angel, Sun, Taptap, Mask or Tree of Life.
A painted drum oil by artists of Cité Soleil
Risks and challenges
There is minimal risk involved in this project. The shooting in Cité Soleil is done! I am very familiar with the footage and I know there is a strong film within it. Editing is a challenging time in any feature length documentary, but I look forward to the challenge of documentary film making, establishing a structure, selecting the best material, and fine tuning the final product. The budget has been carefully established. The financial goal I have set will ensure the completion of a strong feature documentary with extensive distribution.
I like the all-or-nothing nature of Kickstarter. Inadequate support would disappoint those who had backed the project, causing distraction and delay. By reaching our Kickstarter goal, I will move forward with confidence and keep to the time-frame outlined above.
Film distribution can be a daunting task, but I believe in the documentary and I am confident that it will be able to recruit distribution partners along the way. I have negotiated a good deal with the post-production company to ensure there will be significant resources to devote to wide distribution. I am an experienced producer and will leave no stone unturned to ensue that this film is seen by a large audience, including submissions to key film festivals, through social media, and through traditional broadcasts and screenings.
The rewards are manufactured in a difficult environment. They are hand made and having seen the living condition of the people, it is possible there may be delays in the delivery. I am working with artists and others who fully embrace the project. My experience in Haiti certainly showed me that Haitian people are talented and hard working.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (45 days)