Currently in production is a documentary from director/producer Jack C. Newell, titled How to Build a School in Haiti, which chronicles the struggles of an American trying to build a school in a country nicknamed “The Republic of NGOs.”
This documentary centers on Tim Myers, a well-intentioned construction manager and his attempt to completely fund and construct a school in rural Haiti – Villard. The film was shot over more than three years, following Myers’ efforts as a case study in international economic development and a portrait of the impact this kind of work has on the recipients and agents of international aid programs.
I’m certainly curious given the angle the filmmaker is taking here. He isn’t just simply passively documenting Myers’ efforts; he’s approaching as a case study, hopefully posing questions along the way. If you’re familiar with NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations – a broad term that is often used to describe usually non-profit organizations that are in business – whether operational or advocacy – usually to further the political or social goals of their members), you’ll be familiar with the many criticisms leveled against them, despite their best intentions.
As the filmmaker here states:
HOW TO BUILD A SCHOOL IN HAITI has the ability to appeal to a wide audience, anyone who has given to an NGO or understands that their taxes support the efforts of USAID. Following one aid worker and his project, the film pushes viewers to contemplate the results of their own actions, and their own place in the modern world. Countries like Haiti tend to appear in mainstream media only after tragic events, dominating the news cycle until the public’s attention moves on. This film has the promise to make the nuanced reality of developing world poverty clear. The documentary presents Tim’s story in all its complexity, inviting viewers to contemplate the exploration of the initial aspiration to help. In creating this portrait, audiences will be better informed on the issues that shape people living in poverty.
The project is approximately 70% complete, and the film is scheduled for a 2016/17 film festival debut. A Kickstarter campaign has been set up to raise $15,000 to complete production. And with 7 days to go, a total of $13,580 has been raised (as of the time of this post), so the campaign’s goal is certainly within reach, with just under $1500 left to raise in the next week.
The funds will go towards additional travel costs to Haiti, and post-production.
So if you’d like to contribute, watch the video pitch below, followed by a promo for the film, and click HERE (or within the widget below) to make your donation: