The images rolling across the screen were too much for Gerda Emmanuel. The 50-year-old Little Haiti resident lost two aunts and a cousin to the earthquake in Haiti a year ago and as she watched a screening of the documentary on Jan. 12, she could not help leaving the auditorium of the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, 260 NE 59th Ter., Miami, as the camera captured scenes of the removal of the bodies of the earthquake victims.
“This was very, very hard for me today because the hurt is still so fresh and it is still there. There are still people who are dying because of this earthquake, either because they are sick or have given up the will to live,” Emmanuel said in an interview. “The movie is important but it was just hard to see my country, my people, dead in the streets.”
New York native Jockime Days, who moved to Miami a few months after the earthquake, said the documentary was informative but was probably “a little too much, too soon.”
“To see people screaming and crying just was just too much for me. I do appreciate the importance of the documentary and my heart truly goes out to these families,” Days said.
The documentary, Bound by Haiti, was shown during an “Evening of Remembrance” hosted by Miami City Commission Richard P. Dunn II at the complex to commemorate the earthquake that killed nearly a quarter-million people, left a million homeless and destroyed a city.
Jon Bougher and Roman Safiullin made the documentary that depicts the lives of Aaron Jackson, a young American dedicated to education and providing de-worming medicine to the Haitian population, and John Dieubon, a Port-au-Prince native whose mission is empowering the children in his country.
Production began in early 2009. The crew was in Port-au-Prince on the day of the earthquake, Jan. 12, 2010, and captured footage of the devastation.
It also shows homes and schools being constructed due to the efforts of Dieubon and Jackson prior to the earthquake.
Bougher, who attended the commemoration with Dieubon, told the audience that the one thing that made the film different, even with the earthquake, was that it captured the hope, strength and resilience of the Haitian people.
Dunn agreed. “I had an opportunity in the spring to go to Haiti and I was moved by the resilience and the resolve of such a strong people,” he said. “There are so many stories and so many experiences we can learn from and grow from because the truth of the matter is we all are a part of the African Diaspora.”
Dieubon said his mission is to see his country come together to improve health, economic and housing conditions—an effort he feels was stalled by the effects of the earthquake.
“I really have a passion to see change. The people of Haiti have received a lot of help and a lot of money but no development has been made,” Diebon said. “I want the people in Haiti to be inspired to work there. The work I do is with the youth and they are our future. We all know that we just came through an earthquake and I am working to ease the pain in our country.”