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carleton 16/02/2010 - 05:07PM

Aristide Film Draws Great Crowd, Raises $500

While putting together our Winter 2010 Film Schedule we decided to screen a film as a Haiti benefit at the last minute; and we're happy we did! 

One of our co-organizers knew of a passionate student, Matt Banninga, who volunteers with an education/development/aid NGO that operates in Haiti. Rayjon Share Care is a relatively small non-profit but has found its niche in Haiti after the earthquake, caring for temporarily and permanently orphaned children in a small UN recognized refugee camp. We decided to team up with Matt and Rayjon to screen this great film and facilitate a discussion afterwards. 

It's interesting to see the amount of people that are automatically skeptical when they hear about 'another aid organization.' I think this is especially true in Haiti's case, since anyone with a vague awareness of the country's political history knows the long list of (often brutal) foreign intervention. Crucially, Rayjon works with Haitians rather than treating them as passive recipients of aid and has all of its programs are created, prioritized and implemented by Haitians. Matt told us of how friends of his asked him what he did in Haiti after his first visit. "Did you dig wells? Help build stuff?" "No," Matt responded, "they're not stupid, they can do that themselves." Well said.

Although we had considerably less numbers compared to The Coca Cola Case screening (nobody threatened CP this time), the more than generous crowd raised about $500 for Rayjon Share Care's efforts in Haiti; and this will be matched by the Canadian government. The last I saw, Carleton has raised over $30,000 for Haiti relief and the number seems to keep rising. 

We also teamed up with Amnesty International Carleton last week to give a short presentation about corporate accountability and screen The Yes Men. Despite it being the Friday night before reading week we had more than 50 people show up! Amnesty Carleton brought the drinks and popcorn and Cinema Politica brought the prizes. Everyone loved the film and I'm pretty sure the message was clear: have fun with activism! Special thanks to everyone at Amnesty Carleton for putting together such a great event!

Stay tuned for our next film, 'Examined Life,' and our other special collaborations in the near future!