by Gargs Allard
The documentary film, Kenbe Fem, a film about the Haitian earthquake of 2010 that killed by some approximations 160,000 and left some people homeless to this day, will be screened tonight at UF’s Library West at 6 pm.
I spoke with filmmaker and Kay Tita Founder David Pierre-Louis about his initial search for his mother after the quake and the reasons he made the documentary.
How would you describe this film to someone?
Kenbe Fem, is a film that depicts how feasible it is to make a difference in peoples lives when you allow authenticity to drive your intentions. It’s a change from the aide-first narrative that we are used to hearing about the people that live in Haiti.
When the earthquake hit in Haiti in 2010, how much of a surprise was it and why?
It was a huge surprise to us because there’s never been any natural disasters happening in the Caribbean for the 35 years that I’ve been alive other than Hurricanes. We weren’t designing or constructing our buildings for earthquake resistance.
Oh shit! My mother, my family how are they? I have to go and check and help out.
Could you tell us about your search for your mother and what was going on in your mind during the process?
I just didn’t know what to expect. It had been almost three days and we still hadn’t heard from her. But there was so much other distractions – the bodies in the street, the smell of death in the air. I think for a long time I just tried to block it out because it was so much and still a lot to deal with.
After you were reunited with your mother, how did you get involved with the recovery effort?
My mother isn’t a selfish person and she immediately took me to the people in the community that were injured and in need. Before I left Seattle, I packed a bag of medical supplies. The resources that I brought with me assisted in creating make-shift clinics.
What is there left to do?
There’s a lot to do. We’re currently in the process of building a resource center that the young entrepreneurs and change makers in Port-au-Prince will have access to. We’re raising funds to achieve this vision. If people are looking to get involved they can do so here.