Jacquil Constant is on a mission to show positive images of Haiti as he heads up the Haiti International Film Festival and seeks to showcase films from the Haitian Diaspora. The virtual festival is set for August 14-15, 2021. HaitiInternationalFilmFestival.org L-R: Director Raoul
Peck & Jaquil Constant*As Haiti continues to rise out of insurmountable tragedies, Hollywood filmmaker Jacquil Constant is in a fight to change the narrative of Haitian society. He is motivated to create projects that deal with the rich legacy of Haitian culture and intends to build a sustainable community through the arts to showcase a different image of Haiti and the Haitian Diaspora. News of Haiti in the past few weeks have included violence, corruption, political fallout, the recent attack on First Lady Martine Moise, and the assignation of President Jovenel Moise. Constant, who condemned the targeted attacks, says he was shocked and also reminded of the many Black men who have been killed by police brutality in the United States. He says it is like Black men have no protection in this society.
Jacquil Constant: “As a Haitian-American, to think how the President of my native country having been killed like a common person in the streets is an injustice for all Haitians at home and the Haitian Diaspora.”
Constant says it’s tough seeing someone that looks like you get eradicated because of his political viewpoints. Yet, he says we carry on like it is just another day. He believes the attacks were at the center of a weak infrastructure, and contends that Haitians need to learn to work together to allow the nation to be prosperous and strong. Jacquil Constant: “I think it is time for Haitians to rebuild a stronger society through education and economics. It is our time to have Haiti become the dream of our forefathers and become a strong independent nation.”
Constant is Haiti’s good son, and an advocate who intends to combat the stereotypes of Haitians. The negative images on mainstream media is what prompted Constant to create the Haiti International Film Festival. As the Founder and Executive Director, Constant leads the development, promotion and implementation of all festival activities.
The festival promotes cultural diversity through short films, documentary and narrative films. Submissions come from all over the world. Selected participants include award winning and emerging filmmakers. The festival is a prime opportunity and platform for Haitian artists to showcase their work in Hollywood.
As he prepares for the 6th Annual Haiti International Film Festival on August 14th, Constant hopes to bring communities together to share and experience a new generation of storytelling. He made it clear when speaking to EURweb’s Guest Columnist Germany Kent. Jacquil Constant founded the festival five years ago and his career spans over twenty years in the entertainment industry. Constant has worked at MTV, BET, VH1 and PBS. Constant curates and collects Haitian art and enjoys films that showcase the potential and brilliance of African Diaspora culture. Constant says it feels good to be creating a Haitian Cinema Ecosystem to create a more sustainable industry.
Jacquil Constant: “Being able to impact someone’s life means a lot to me as a filmmaker, Executive Director, and cinema professor. This is why I produce social realism to portray the humanity of society.”
Added to these initiatives is Constant’s commitment and multi-tasking as an educator and producer. As a third-generation entrepreneur, the businessman says he chooses not to talk about the hardship of being a Black executive, but instead he is more focused on strategic planning, fundraising, dedication and advocacy. Constant credits his mom and grandma who trained him about customer service and building legacy businesses.
Jacquil Constant is currently in post-production for a feature documentary entitled Haiti is A Nation of Artists. He is not intimidated by the larger festivals and he knows the expectations are high. Jacquil Constant’s passion for Haitian film and art is what fueled him to create a platform that was absent in Hollywood’s film industry. Constant says that the Haiti International Film Festival went global this year with the Cannes Film Festival via the unique venue Pavillon Afriques.
Constant insists that the festival is for those looking to make a lot of connections to produce more films for the Haitian and African Diaspora. The executive says images of Haitians in Hollywood have changed because of great artists such as Jimmy Jean-Louis, Raoul Peck, Guetty Felin, Garcelle Beauvais, and Bechir Sylvain.
Jacquil Constant: “Countless Haitian artists have contributed to Hollywood and the International Community, which is the reason Haitian artists are being celebrated because of their artistic contribution to the film industry.” Constant is hopeful for the upcoming festival and wants to be remembered as one of the best Haitian filmmakers to have produced films that have impacted the world. He expects the Haitian Film Festival to change the narrative of Haitian society. Additionally, Constant values the power of collaboration and is serious about helping others to succeed. The world has taken notice. Constant has been awarded the Caribbean Innovator Award and he received a Los Angeles Impact Award for his leadership of the Haiti International Film Festival.
Jacquil Constant: “I’m happy to be the film curator that showcases a different image of Haiti. I love to give opportunities to emerging filmmakers to showcase their work in Hollywood.” Jacquil Constant is a graduate of California State University Northridge, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production. Jacquil has also received his Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Pan African Studies and Cinema Television & Arts. As of press time, the August 14th festival is being held entirely virtually. The theme of the film festival is the Power of Haitian Collaboration. For more info on Jacquil Constant and the Haiti International Film Festival visit HaitiInternationalFilmFestival.org.