MAMARONECK, N.Y. – With hopes to build a vocational school in the countryside of Haiti, LMC-TV’s Jean-Thony Dussuaud can’t wait to begin filming his feature film in August in his home country.
“Shooting this film will help me raise money to build the school,” Dussuaud said. “It will show people what is going on.”
The film, titled "A Girl in Search of a Better Life," involves a teenage girl, Douna, who is sent from the poor countryside of Haiti to the city to live a rich family. Her father, Sajous, wants her to get an education, but he is unknowingly sending her into conditions worse than he could have imagined. She arrives too late to enroll in school, and the family keeps her as an indentured servant, eventually leading her to a desperate fate.
“It brings more attention to the education system and the countryside,” said Dussuaud, who explained that rural Haitian students do not continue past the American equivalent of sixth grade.
The film not only symbolizes redemption for Douna, but for also for Haiti itself. Like the earthquake that left the country devastated, Dussuaud hopes this film will bring worldwide attention to the small, impoverished nation.
“I hope that Jean-Thony achieves a compelling first film and that he also begins work on creating a social agency in Haiti to aid young adolescent women and men who are affected by the pressures put on their families by the current natural and political upheavals that have swept through Haiti,” said Eric Lewis, director of LMC-TV.
Dussuaud came to the United States from Haiti eight years ago at the age of 12. He attended high school at the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Services, where he became interested in film and production. He has been working with LMC-TV for several years, first as a production assistant, then as an assistant instructor. He has been attending Marymount Manhattan College since graduating from high school, but decided to take a few semesters off to work on this film.
“Being able to direct a film is a blessing,” he said. “Being able to show the actors and cinematographers what I’m looking for, directing, is my favorite part.”
Dussuaud, who lives in New Rochelle, and his film crew will leave for Haiti on Aug. 20 and return Sept 29. The estimated cost of the film is $60,000. Dussuaud is still collecting donations for the film, which he hopes will in turn help him raise more money for the school, with dorms included, that he wishes to build.
“With funding we will be able to build a school in the countryside,” he said.
A trailer for the film can be seen here. Dussuaud is accepting donations through that site.
LMC-TV is Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Television, a nonprofit public-access station funded by cable franchise fees in Larchmont and the Town and Village of Mamaroneck.