Film director Mario Delatour has had a career as diverse as his upbringing. He was born in Venezuela to Haitian parents. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and currently lives in Haiti. His films are focused on different aspects of Haiti’s history: immigration from the Middle East to Haiti in the 19th Century, the history of Haiti’s banking system, and even the invasion of Haiti by three in the late 1950s. Last year, he chose to cover more than two centuries of history of Haiti’s forests in Where Did The Trees Go? The project will screen at the Haiti Cultural Exchange Haiti Film Fest on May 13 at the Maroney Theater at Saint Francis College in New York.
Kreyolicious: What would you say is the favorite film that you have produced?
Well, every film is different. It is sort of like parents who deal with their children. Every child requires different sets of challenges. The subject matters are different. The economic means are sometimes more precarious. The time constraints are not always the same, and the people you collaborate with can make or break a film. [It] makes a huge difference if the right chemistry is not there!
All of my films are a work of labor, and I cherish the experiences that each one allowed me. When you make films ,you go through a lot. You meet a lot of challenges. You face tough decisions. I am glad that I was able rise up to the occasion and I am also thankful that the films exist today. I will leave a body of work for Haiti.
Kreyolicious: As you were going down in your journey as a filmmaker, what was the best advice you were given?
To be persistent. Stick to your guns, and follow your dreams. And I must say, I did.
Kreyolicious: And now as a seasoned filmmaker, what advice would you like to give out to those aspire to get to your level?
Above: Director Mario Delatour at a screening of one of his previous films Storming Papa Doc. Photo Via: AyitiImages
Kreyolicious: What’s your view on the future of Haitian filmmaking?
If the old pass the baton to the younger generation, and [if] the young “upcoming Turks” are willing to listen, then the future of filmmaking in Haiti looks bright.
Having said [this], filmmakers—whether young or old—cannot possibly make films if they can’t raise money. This has always been The $64,000 question! Where to do you get the money to make films? Film has always been—and remains—a very expensive medium.
Haiti should look to its neighbor the Dominican Republic, and see what they have done in terms of creating a state fund for filmmakers. Also, how the Dominican filmmakers have grouped themselves to create a solid Filmmaker’s Association that in turn has acted as a powerful lobby to enact laws in their legislature to promote filmmaking in their country. The result has been tremendous for them. They do over 20 feature films of their own every year and they host a cavalcade of foreign film companies who come to film in the Dominican Republic, and they get tax breaks.
On our side of the island, let us not reinvent the wheel. Let us get to work and do the same.
[Main Photo: via AyitiImages]
Director Mario Delatour’s film will screen on May 13 at 2 p.m. at St. Francis College | Maroney Theater |180 Remsen Street | Brooklyn, NY 11201 |
CLICK HERE to visit the Haiti Cultural Exchange website and learn more about director Mario Delatour and the other filmmakers taking part in Haiti Cultural Exchange Haiti Film Fest!