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Serenade For Haiti To Have World Premiere At DOC NYC

Serenade For Haiti To Have World Premiere At DOC NYCPosted by Wilson Morales

November 14, 2016


Owsley Brown’s third feature documentary, SERENADE FOR HAITI, will have its World Premiere at the 2016 DOC NYC Festival on Monday, November 14, @5:45pm at CINÉPOLIS CHELSEA, 260 West 23rd St. (east of 8th Ave.), screening again on Wednesday, November 16, @12:30pm at IFC CENTER, 323 6th Ave. (@West 3rd St.).

SERENADE FOR HAITI continues the acclaimed filmmaker’s varied explorations of music and art in documentary features.  Filmed over a seven-year period, this compelling portrait of the Sainte Trinité Music School in Port-au-Prince captures a rare view of Haiti, a complex and widely misunderstood country. A story of resilience and great humanity unfolds as the teachers and students of Sainte Trinité sustain a deep commitment to music and education against extraordinary odds, including the destruction of their school in the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent efforts to rebuild it.


Haiti’s rich yet unrecognized legacy of classical music is revealed through interviews with Saint Trinité school leaders, instructors, and students.  Against the musical backdrop we learn of the school community’s indefatigable commitment to protect and nurture future generations of Haitian musical artists and teachers.  From Sainte Trinité’s Director, Father David César, we learn that the unique school was founded in 1956 by an Episcopalian nun named Sister Anne-Marie Bickerstaff. César recounts the diverse and impressive roster of Haitian composers who have contributed to this island nation’s culture.  Voice teacher Nicole Saint-Victor demonstrates proper singing technique as she coaxes out the burgeoning talents and confidence of her pupils. Bernadette Williams, a Sainte Trinité student-turned-teacher, remembers her days at the illustrious school where she honed her musical skills and found her passion for performing. Parents of current students beam with pride as they speak of the love of music and learning they see in the children. Marc Valens, a sage 16-year-old, expresses his profound sense of responsibility to share his gift for music with the next generation of Haitian children.


SERENADE FOR HAITI demonstrates both musical mastery and the role of music and learning in community, themes Brown has explored in earlier films.  These themes take on awe-inspiring dimensions given the tragedy, upheaval, and uncertainty that Haiti, and the Sainte Trinité School, have had to face. The new film’s premiere comes only weeks after the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew. Featuring the vivid cinematography of Marcel Cabrera and superb sound design by Academy Award winner Richard Beggs (Apocalypse Now), the film ventures deep into the streets of urban Port-au-Prince and out into some of Haiti’s beautiful rural regions. The soundtrack showcases the compositions of Haiti’s important classical composers, whose work has until now been largely unrecognized by international audiences.

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