2011 MPAH Movie Awards - Photos
(From L to R: Hollywood actor Benz Antoine, Filmmaker Jacques Roc, MPAH Founder and CEO Hans Patrick Dormecant and Writer/Filmmaker Arnold Antonin)
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The Haitian Diaspora community has once again made history in Boston. The first Haitian Movie Award, which was organized by the Motion Picture Association of Haiti, was held on Sunday November 20th, 2011 at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Thanks to so many pioneers, for the past 30 years, the Haitian movie industry has made great progress, despite piracy problems and lack of professionalism on the part of some film makers.
The event opened a new chapter in the Haitian Diaspora in the U.S. by leaving a memorable signature trademark that positively elevated an outstanding image of our community into the main stream media and the international stage.
Although traditionally we as a community do not always value the hard work and artistic effort of these great men and women, they have brought us the very best of their work and positively represent our country and culture. They have worked as hard as some of their American Hollywood counterparts: actors, producers, and directors. However, there are some film makers who have no understanding of cinematography continue to produce mediocre films that are crippling the Haitian movie industry and it’s reputation. As a result, more people are getting turned off by the lack of professionalism and quality of those Haitian movies.
Thanks to the visionary of Hans Patrick Dormecant, the founder of Motion Picture Association of Haiti (MPAH) who has a mission to revolutionize the industry. For the past 12 months Dormecant and his staff and team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to help make this historic red carpet event possible with a guest list of prominent individuals in the Haitian movie industry who traveled from all 50 states, as well as Canada and Haiti to attend the event.
Following the red carpet interviews, few choreographed traditional folkloric Haitian dances and a Latin dance, the show got on the way. The two masters of ceremonies, legendary Haitian actor Smoye Noisy and local TV personality Betty Lemite presented eloquently in three languages (English, French and Haitian Creole).
The second part of the event began with a well needed educational historical background. A presentation about the hidden history of the richness of the Haitian film industry by writer/historian Charlot Lucien followed by legendary film director Arnold Antonin advocated for more Haitian documentaries and movies that focus more on social problems rather than trying to imitate Hollywood productions. Following by the presentations, the crowd cheered as the legend and pioneer Jean-Claude Joseph (AKA “Papa Pye”) was introduced to addressed the audience with his hilarious Haitian stories.
The Special guest of the evening was a Hollywood Haitian actor, Benz Antoine; who played in Death Race, The Transporter, The Fast and the Furious, Get Rich or Die Trying, Animal 2 and Four Brothers to named a few. Mr. Antoine spoke briefly to the audience regarding his journey to Hollywood as a Haitian actor explaining the obstacles that he faced, as well as how he was able to apply his Haitian culture to help him navigate that journey.
Special Honors were given to the following individuals:
• Legendary director Arnold Antonin received the lifetime achievement Award.
• Award of Excellence was awarded to
• Reginald Lubin
• Raynald Delerme (AKA “Baba)
• Smoye Noisy
• Arnold Antonin
• Jacques Roc
• Mora Jr. Etienne
• Jean Gardy
• Jean-Claude Joseph (AKA “Papa Pye”)
• In the category of “Humanitarian Award,” Mr. Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts and Democrat Linda Dorcena Forry, Haitian-American member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, were honored for their work, especially after the earthquake of January 12, 2010.
The winners of the first edition of Haiti Movie Award were as follow:
• Best Actor: Jean Alix Holmand for the film San Pran Suffering
• Best Actress: Myriam Jean for the film San Pran Suffering
• Best scenario: Eye for Eye, Tooth for Tooth
• Best Director of Photography: Charlemagne Medeus for the movie Remo 2
• Best Director: Demosthenes Tutu for the film The Birth of An Assassin
• Best Supporting Actor: Huberman Saintil for the film The Sin and Forgiveness
• Best Supporting Actress: Martine Joseph for the film ‘The Sin and Forgiveness’
• Best website of Haitian cinema: www.movielakay.com
• Best Picture: Oasis II Directed by Reginald Lubin
• Best comedian Actor: James Fleurinord AKA Tonton Nord (who recently passed away)
The evening ended with acknowledgement of all the staff and volunteers on stage for their hard work and a special musical performance by Reginald Lubin accompanied on stage by actress Miriam Jean winner of best actress.
I am very pleased and honored to have had the opportunity to attend and witness such an amazing event. I was able to meet and mingle with people whom I admire, respect and love as actors, but more importantly for their talents and ability to entertain a country. They utilized their talents to educate and communicate with generations of Haitians.
It is our responsibility as individual and as a community to encourage, support, respect and to value our Haitian celebrities. Let us stop taking them for granted; they are part of our national treasure. Just because they are not from Hollywood does not mean that they are not “Stars.” It is time to change our negative mentality toward our own people and culture. Some of us are only proud of our culture and being Haitian when it is convenient. For those who only buy bootleg CDs and movies because it is cheaper, please keep in mind that you are contributing to the criminal act of destroying artistic creativity and theft.
As we are approaching the holiday season, I encourage every single Haitian to give someone a Haitian movie as a gift to support and appreciate the work of our actors, producers and directors. Most importantly, you are supporting your community and culture with your generosity.
Nosvoix Magazine Contributor