Raoul Peck follows the rebuilding of Haiti after the January, 2010 earthquake.
Award-winning Haitian born filmmaker Raoul Peck takes us on a 2-year journey inside the challenging, contradictory and colossal rebuilding efforts in post-earthquake Haiti.
Through its provocative and radical point of view, the film offers a devastating indictment of the international community's post-disaster idealism. While noting that a major portion of the money pledged was never disbursed, nor made it into the actual reconstruction.
This gigantic bacchanal featured, in no specific order, all international agencies, most the world NGOs, former President Bill Clinton, plane loads of the generous to adventurous and the occasional Hollywood star. The unstoppable Aid machine has taken the lead over the Haitian institutions, the President, his government, and the Haitian civil society, cutting short all of their initial activities resulting, three years later, in a long trail of institutional and human stubbornness.
The film dives headlong into the complexity of the reconstruction process and the practice and impact of worldwide humanitarian and development aid, revealing in the most disturbing way the extent of a general failure.
This crushing fact based documentary film, is the definitive blow to any self-congratulatory institutional reports. FATAL ASSISTANCE leads to the only plausible outcome: immediate stop of current aid policies and practice.
A documentary film by Raoul Peck
Director: Raoul Peck
France / Haiti / USA / Belgium - 2013 - Documentary - 1h40mn
On January 12th, 2010, an unprecedented earthquake off Haiti's shores shook its overcrowded capital, Port-au-Prince. In an instant 250,000 people were killed and 1.2 million were left homeless.
Thousands of NGOs from all over the world, joined by various international experts arrived for critical relief efforts and to help the country with its numerous needs (housing, rubble removal, sanitation, health care, etc.) The international community promised Haiti its unreserved help to rebuild the country: 5 billions over the first 18 months and a total 11 billions over 5 years.
Two years and a half later, one only has to set foot in Port-au-Prince to discover the calamitous results of the reconstruction efforts. On the ground not much has changed. The International community has failed.
Yet, in March 2010, just two months after the catastrophe, hopes to build back a better Haiti are high: at an international donors' conference, 11 billion dollars are pledged to Haiti. To manage this "aid", the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) is created. This independent reconstruction agency designed to approve and fund projects, co-chaired by Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, oversees the worldwide solidarity and international rebuilding effort.
Six months later, as Haiti enters a long and sensitive Presidential election process, nothing seems to have started: no overall reconstruction plan is implemented by the IHRC; Port-au-Prince is still buried under millions of cubic meters of debris; people living in camps fear their temporary shelters are becoming permanent.
March 2012. Two years after the earthquake, as hundred thousands people are still living in tents, the IHRC is as good as dead; only 2.4 billion (of the 11 billion pledged) has been disbursed and about 16% of it has been received; and less than 2% of that total was provided to the struggling Haitian government. The international reconstruction process comes to its final dead-end.
How did it all happen? How did the whole world assisting Haiti - NGO's, UN, World Bank, USA, European Union, etc., so eager to help this small country of 10 million, an hour and a half from Miami, go so wrong?
Using direct observations over 24 months, award-winning Haitian born filmmaker Raoul Peck offers a devastating indictment of the international community's post-disaster idealism, by focusing primarily on the Haitian President and his Prime Minister, the Haitian civil society, international experts and NGO's representatives, former President Bill Clinton, etc.
Through a provocative and radical point of view the film dives headlong into the complexity of the reconstruction process and the practice and impact of worldwide humanitarian and development aid, revealing in the most disturbing way the extent of a general failure.
A definitive blow to any self-congratulatory institutional reports, FATAL ASSISTANCE leads to the only plausible outcome: immediate stop of current aid policies and practice.
Screenplay: Raoul PECK
Director: Raoul PECK
Production companies: Velvet Film (France)
Figuier Production (Haiti)
Velvet Film INC. (USA)
Entre Chien et Loup (Belgium)
Natalie PAUL / Hébert PECK (English version)
Céline SALLETTE / Raoul PECK (French version)
Directors of Photography:
Editor: Alexandra STRAUSS
Composer: Alexei AIGUI
Year of production: 2012
Length: 100 minutes
Original languages: French, English, and Haitian Creole
Shooting support: XDCam
French title: Assistance Mortelle
Coproduction countries: France, Haiti, United States, and Belgium
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