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By Paul Roy Barigayomwe, edited by Jim Luce.

Haiti, categorized among the world’s poorest and least developed countries, has in recent years grappled with political instability, health crises, an annual barrage of hurricanes and a devastating earthquake, the worst in the region in over 200 years. In the midst of this trail of unending stories of trauma, pain and hopelessness emerges an untold story, a rainbow after a stormy day, In the Eye of the Spiral.

The renowned Haitian author and artist Frankétienne with Raynald Leconte Executive Producer and co-Director of “In the Eye of the Spiral.” Photography by HCF.

Eve Blouin writer and co-Director In the Eye of the Spiral. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

In mid-June, the Haiti Cultural Foundation organized the first preview event of the film, In the Eye of the Spiral at the Olivia Stonehenge NYC, an event targeted at fundraising for the completion of the film that features Haiti’s artists.  The film covers a wealth of insights from some of Haiti’s most celebrated artists including Mario Benjamin, Frankétienne, Frantz Zephirin, Denis Smith, Préfète Duffaut, Patrick Vilaire, Sebastien Jean among many others.

Sandra Mangroo, Yves Aubry and Mariama Mounir-Petrolawicz. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

Hervé Aimable talking with guests at the Eye of the Spiral reception. Photo: Leigh Anna Thompson.

According to Raynald Leconte, president of the Haiti Cultural Foundation (HCF), the film will reveal facets of Haiti that have never been seen before - the beauty of its countryside and the historic significance of its traditional and cultural sites, not to mention cast to light the world class intellectuals who live and work in Haiti.

Peniel Guerrier performed modern Haitian dance for the guests. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

A panel discussion with Leland Lehrman, Michael Stern, Raynald Leconte, Eve Blouin, Linda Saetre, Rob Beevers. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

Raynald, who doubles as executive producer and co-director of the film, revealed that the aim of the project is “to enrich the typically reductive public perception of Haiti as no more than a helpless and hapless tragedy.  To do so, it is essential that these long-hidden images and ideas of Haiti be fully represented.”

Artist Sebastien Jean with filmmaker Yvetot Gouin on location in Haiti. Photo: HCF.

Yvetot Gouin of Gouin Films Haiti filming on location. Photo: HCF.

Punctuated by a mouth-watering cocktail and jaw dropping Haitian creative dance, the screening saw the interaction of various artists, executives, ambassadors and people from many trades, all for one cause, to witness and be heralds of this Haiti story.  

Raynald Leconte, president of the Haitian Cultural Foundation  and executive producer and co-director of In the Eye of the Spiral, here in the mountains above Port-au-Prince. Photo: HCF.

As Raynald put it, there is more to Haiti than the crying child, the devastated country and all these images so often portrayed by the media.  There is a hope for the future, a great nation rising out of the rubble with a lot to offer to the world.  Talk of the numerous works of art that cut across centuries and have inspired the works of legendary artist’s like Picasso, talk of the hundreds of intellectuals and technocrats behind some of the world’s greatest innovations.

Raynald Leconte, Patricia Blanchet and Montgomery Frazier. Photo: Leigh Anna Thompson.

On the production team of this very eye-opening film we have Eve Blouin, Co-Director and Writer, Linda Saetre as Executive Producer, Yvetot Gouin as Director of Cinematography, Gouin Films Haiti, Brad Comfort  and Alexandria Hammond as Editors.  As the latest addition to this superb team, Annie Lennox has come on board as the Principal Narrator.

Executive Producer Linda Saetre, Executive Producer and co-Director Raynald Leconte, writer and co-Director Eve Blouin. Photo: Leigh Anna Thompson.

Tax deductible individual and corporate donations to this incredible project range from $100.00-$50,000.00 with each carrying extra benefits.  The next preview and fundraising event will take place on July 26 2012 at the Ritz Plaza Firefighter Memorial Park on 235 West 48 in New York City, sponsored by Stonehenge.

Michael Stern, the Creative Director of the real estate firm Stonehenge, told me:

Our goal is to inspire and bring together the 6,000 members of the Stonehenge community around spiritually uplifting, artistic and sustainable events and lifeways.  Eye of the Spiral is a remarkable event to share with our Stonehenge community.  I believe these types of initiatives translate into improved value for us as property owners and makes a business case for cultural value and sustainability and energy efficiency to our investors.
Panos Tsagaris and Tina Star at the Stonehenge-sponsored event. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

Stonehenge Creative Director, Michael Stern discusses the finer points of “Eye of the Spiral” at the event with Jim Luce. Photo by Leigh Anna Thompson.

Haitian Cultural Foundation (HCF)
55 Exchange Place # 405, New York, NY 10005
HCF is an IRS-registered 501(c)3 charitable organization.

In the Eye of the Spiral Team | Preview Teaser

Raynald Leconte – President HCF and Executive Producer and co-Director
Eve Blouin – HCF Board Member, co-Director and Writer
Linda Saetre – Executive Producer
Yvetot Gouin – Director of Cinematography, Gouin Films Haiti
Brad Comfort, Alexandria Hammond – Editors
Annie Lennox has confirmed to be the Principal Narrator for In the Eye of the Spiral film.

Artists Participating

Mario Benjamin, Frankétienne, Frantz Zephirin, Denis Smith, Préfète Duffaut, Patrick Vilaire, Sebastien Jean

Paul Roy Barigayomwe is an independent filmmaker and a relentless advocate for social justice and good governance in a corruption infested Uganda.  As a filmmaker he has been a part of many philanthropic activities ranging from orphan care, the rescue, rehabilitation and resettling of former child soldiers and sex slaves resulting from the LRA conflict in Northern Uganda, to caring for families infected and affected by the HIV/AIDS scourge through Watoto Childcare Ministries.  He has come alongside organizations like Dwelling Places in the fight against child trafficking and child exploitation through the rescue and resettling of street children and financially empowering their families.  Roy is a co-founder of the Feed Africa Project aimed at alleviating famine and poverty in Africa, by facilitating better farming methods for increased food production and emergency food supplies among rural communities in Africa.

See Stories by Jim Luce on:

Film on Haitian Art: In the Eye of the Spiral (Huffington Post)

Art   |   Brooklyn   |   Film   |   Haiti   |   International Development |  New York

The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( is the umbrella organization under which The International University Center Haiti (Uni Haiti) and Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) are organized. If supporting young global leadership is important to you, subscribe to J. Luce Foundation updates here.

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