By Amy Watts and Manuel Padilla
In mid-April, Pax Christi USA finished the production phase of a short promotional documentary on the SAKALA youth peace education program and has currently moved into post-production phase.
From April 2 to April 15, Pax Christi USA Program Associates Amy Watts and Manuel Padilla were in Port-au-Prince to carry out this initial phase of film production. Working with Elaine Briere, writer and director of “Bitter Paradise: The Sell-Out of East Timor,” they produced the footage. Elaine served as videographer and, as the experienced documentarian, provided insightful advice on all aspects of the production process. Manuel and Amy served as interviewers, sound technicians, and managed logistics and timelines in order to enact the PCUSA and PC Port-au-Prince vision for the project. The time of the Pax Christi Port-au-Prince staff and their interfacing between us and key contacts was irreplaceable.
In collaboration with the staff of Pax Christi Port-au-Prince, the whole team brainstormed and decided upon the key footage of the program to capture and the key interviews to conduct. Coordinating and managing schedules and transportation were major logistical tasks in order to maximize the two weeks of filming. All in all, about 14 hours of footage was captured. Filmed interviews were conducted with 15 people who were either directly involved with the program or were able to contextualize the work happening in Cite Soleil by their experience or analysis. Many activities of the youth involved with the project were also captured: practicing soccer, gardening, interacting with the tent camp across the street, playing during “Anti-Stress Sunday”, and the U17 boys’ soccer team receiving their new peace-messaged uniforms and playing the Haitian National Team. Other general footage of the neighborhood of Cite Soleil and Port-au-Prince was also captured to give a sense of the setting within which this important work is taking place.
The production process was very inspiring and makes us enthusiastic to move to the editing phase toward the goal of completing the 20 minute promotional video. The goal is for this footage to highlight and promote Pax Christi Port-au-Prince’s peacemaking efforts in the highly unstable environments of Port-au-Prince, and Cite Soleil in specific. We believe that quality visual promotion of the program will increase its profile and help attract interest and investment as well as challenge long-held stereotypes and misunderstandings of the district. After completing the filming phase, we are quite confident the activities and messages of the SAKALA program will inspire all who encounter them through this media outreach.