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MIAMI — The curtain rises for Haitian American filmmaker Rachelle Salnave, as her second feature documentary La Belle Vie: The Good Life premiers this month at the 23rd annual Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Salnave, who lives in Miami, recently graduated from the University of Miami. The documentary, a four-year in the making process, is a story about her journey to discover her Haitian roots by examining the complexities of the Haitian society as it pertains to the overall political and economic dichotomy in Haiti. Using her own personal family stories interconnected with capturing the voices of Haitians and experts overall, this film chronologically uncovers the rationale behind its social class system but also how it has affected the
Haitian American migration experience as well.

With the proliferation of political turmoil, poverty, and now an Earthquake shattered nation, La Belle Vie: The Good Life in the end beckons all to lay down their arms, be it the tangible weapons of death and pain or the psychological and spiritual tools of division and prejudice. The idea is that Haitians work as one to rebuild and prosper in the name of a new and stronger Haiti.

The Pan African Film festival goes through Feb. 16. Salnave’s film will be shown at Rave Cinemas, 15 Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles. Show times are 3:40 p.m. Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. Monday.

No stranger to the filmmaking process, Salnave began by creating her first feature documentary of the gentrification of Harlem back in 2009 with a piece titled Harlem’s Mart 125: The American Dream, which won Best Documentary film at the Africa World Documentary film festival in St. Louis and soon after traveled from city to city.

She then moved on to create two short films: The Heavenly Nut, about a couple in Guatemala who believe that the macadamia nut tree will reverse global warming; and The Haitian Guantanamo Bay Experience: The Legal Journey, which made its official selection at the American Black Film Festival in 2013.

PAFF is the largest African American film festival in the United States dedicated to the exhibition of Black films. Each year PAFF exhibits more than 150 films made in the United States, Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Latin America and Canada. In 2013, around 35,000 people from both the industry and the public attended PAFF.

For more information about La Belle Vie: The Good Life log onto