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Haitians telling the story of Haiti

Multimedia journalist Ralph Thomassaint Joseph (second from left) will oversee local training of young Haitian filmmakers as Community Supported Film’s Haiti project coordinator.Michael Sheridan

As the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Square” proved, it’s the people with a stake in political and social upheaval who can most effectively tell their own stories. Boston documentary filmmaker Michael Sheridan believes that, too, which is why in 2010 he founded Community Supported Film to train grass-roots documentary filmmakers across the globe.

CSF’s first effort was the “Afghan Project,” resulting in 10 short films that were compiled into “The Fruit of Our Labor: Afghan Perspectives in Film.” It was shown to political leaders, students, and communities across the United States and in Afghanistan.

Now, Sheridan and CSF have launched “Haitian Perspectives in Film,” which will train and mentor 10 Haitian directors who hope to influence the way their country is portrayed in documentaries.


Sheridan, a Boston native who cofounded Oxfam America’s documentary production unit in the 1990s and who has taught documentary filmmaking at Northeastern University, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the former Boston Film and Video Foundation, says he’s been “frustrated by the tenor of the conversation” in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Aware that January 2015 will be the fifth anniversary and anticipating intense media coverage, he wants Haitians to be able to present films that offer their own perspective “from the inside,” he says.

CSF has partnered with award-winning Haitian journalist Ralph Thomassaint Joseph, who will oversee local training of young filmmakers who will produce 10 short films. These films will focus on the economic and social development challenges Haitians have faced since the 2010 earthquake, says Sheridan, who recently returned from a trip to Haiti and plans to go back in the fall.

For more information about CSF projects, go to csfilm.org.

Cuba x 2

The Museum of Fine Arts will present two documentaries that shine a spotlight on artists working in Cuba. Bruce Donnelly’s documentary “Alumbrones” (screening June 14 at 3 p.m.) takes the viewer on a journey to Cuba through the life and work of 12 contemporary artists. This screening will be followed by a discussion with the director and two of the film’s featured artists, Edel Bordon and Yamille Pardo, as well as a reception at the Galeria Cubana in Boston’s South End art district at 460 Harrison Ave.


In her documentary “Secundaria” (June 18 at 7:30 p.m), director Mary Jane Doherty follows one high school class on its journey through Cuba’s world famous National Ballet School. A discussion with Doherty follows the screening.

For more information, go to www.mfa.org/film

Romance on wheels

“Musical Chairs,” a romantic film from director Susan Seidelman (“Desperately Seeking Susan”) about the phenomenon of wheelchair ballroom dancing in contemporary New York, will be screened at the Dance on Film Festival on June 15 at the Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge. The festival runs from 1 to 6 p.m. and admission is free.

For more information, go to www.danceforworldcommunity.org.

Calling all Parrotheads

The Mendon Twin Drive-In has been around since 1954, but June 19 will mark the first time it’s looked anything like Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band are scheduled to perform a live concert at the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth that will be streamed in real time on the screens of more than 100 drive-ins across the country, including the Mendon Twin. Massachusetts’ own BaHa Brothers will perform onsite. Participating drive-ins will donate a portion of the proceeds to a foundation working to preserve the great American tradition of drive-in theaters. The gates open at 4 p.m. in Mendon; show starts at 8 p.m.


For more information, go to www.mendondrivein.com.

Loren King can be reached at loren.king@comcast.net.