The creative process of Resilient Hearts was a very personal journey for me. When I returned to Haiti after the earthquake hit, I was overwhelmed with emotions as I surveyed the destruction and recalled the beautiful buildings that previously stood in place of the rubble I was standing upon. I didn’t know how people would respond to my questions, my camera or my purpose, but I knew I wanted to tell a story to the world that conveyed the strength and resiliency of the Haitian people. For me, it was imperative that my film was genuine, authentic and above all else, told from a Haitian point of view.
As I started approaching people to interview, it became clear that some of these individuals needed an outlet to talk about what they had been through with their families, and many wanted to explain the events that occurred following the 35 seconds of chaos that changed their lives forever. I listened and learned, took notes and was moved by each person’s story. I spoke with government officials, historians, doctors, volunteers and people who lost spouses, children, and homes.
In time, it became clear to me that I wasn’t telling a story of natural disaster and destruction; instead, I realized that I was creating a film about the human spirit. The people I encountered were all making the best of bad situation and coming together to overcome tragedy and personal loss. Much like 9/11 was a catalyst for unity and patriotism, the earthquake in Haiti enabled people to set aside political and social differences and focus on working together. Through this disaster, it was remarkable to see what Haitians were able to accomplish when they joined forces, and I hope this continues to take place and Haitians will come together in unity and a reawakened patriotism.
I hope this film urges those in a position to help, to fix by empowerment rather than providing a temporary solution. As Haiti continues to rebuild and grow, it is important that the country and its people are becoming a self-sufficient, cohesive unit working together to restore opportunity to its lands.
To me, Resilient Hearts is more than a documentary about the earthquake in Haiti. This film resonates on a global level with anyone who has experienced loss and triumphed in the face of defeat. Time and again we see people around the world rise and rebuild through unity and togetherness.