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Chavez Government to Finance Glover Film

Posted: Sat May 19, 2007 5:47 am
by Frantz
Chavez Government to Finance Glover Film
By Associated Press
Fri May 18, 9:19 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's Congress says it has approved financing for two films by actor Danny Glover, a close supporter of President Hugo Chavez.

The lawmaking body, which is closely allied with Chavez, said in a statement on its Web site Thursday that it approved $20 million for two Glover productions.

They include "The General in His Labyrinth," which deals with the life of South American liberator Simon Bolivar. It is based on a novel by Colombian Nobel Prize-winning writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez and will be directed by Venezuela-born director Alberto Arvelo.

The other is "Toussaint," which the statement said Glover plans to direct documenting the life of Haitian revolution leader Toussaint Louverture.

Government officials and Glover's representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The statement said that the funds will come from proceeds Venezuela obtained from a recent bond sale with Argentina.

Glover is among a number of high-profile U.S. supporters of Chavez. The group also includes singer Harry Belafonte and Princeton University scholar Cornel West, who have defended the Venezuelan president against accusations of democratic abuses.

Glover has met Chavez during visits to Venezuela and even appeared on his television and radio talk show, "Hello, President."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted: Sat May 19, 2007 9:17 am
by Guysanto
Props to Glover and Chavez!

I had wished for a major film about Toussaint to come out in time for his bicentennial celebration (2003), but now (obviously) I'll settle for any year, really. I just hope the filmmakers do it justice and that the film will be ranked alongside "Ghandi", "Malcom X", etc.

Though historical films have their pitfalls and cannot be expected to be accurate to any high level of historical accuracy [after all, film is primarily a medium for entertainment], I am hopeful that the movie will be made with tact, cultural sensitivity, willingness to challenge the myths of white superiority. Above all, I hope that the film will have great educational value for generations of young Haitians inside and outside of Haiti's geo-political borders. I hope that the movie will pave the way for other movies about "Toussaint" (but this time directed by Haitian filmmakers), "Dessalines", "Christophe", "Pétion and Bolivar", and who knows, perhaps down the road, "Préval and Chavez".

Bowing to the realities of this world, I hope that the movie will make a lot of money, as that would be the most powerful incentive for other movies of the genre to be made. Money makes the world turn, with Chavez's endorsement or not. In other words, the producers should see a return on their investment, even if that return does not go back directly to them but is applied elsewhere, for other benefits.

Fianlly, I hope that the movie will have soundtracks readily available in Haitian and in French, in addition to English. I greatly favor dubbing over subtitles. Of course, a Spanish soundtrack will also be very highly desirable. Portuguese too (but let me restrain my horses).

Let's just hope that this movie become a reality, as there have been too many dashed hopes in the past. A reality and a gem of unqualified value.

Dessalines or Toussaint?

Posted: Wed May 30, 2007 11:33 am
by jafrikayiti
Laurent on Glover's proposed Haiti film, SFbayview, May 23, 2007 ... &Itemid=15


Laurent on Glover's proposed Haiti film:

Venezuela giving Danny Glover $18m to direct film on Haitian revolution

Wednesday, 23 May 2007 ... &Itemid=15

A film about the amazing Haitian revolution is planned by Danny Glover and
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Actor, humanitarian and San Francisco native Danny Glover and Venezuelan
President Hugo Chávez, who have worked closely together politically, plan to
expand their partnership to moviemaking with a film about the slave rebellion
that made Haiti the first Black independent country in the world. While
celebrating this remarkable initiative, however, prominent attorney and
performance artist Marguerite Laurent, founder of the Haitian Lawyers
Leadership Network, hopes the film will focus on Jean-Jacque Dessalines, the
revolutionary leader most Haitians credit with Haiti's independence, rather
than solely on Toussaint Louverture, the leader better known to Americans.

Glover, chair of TransAfrica Forum and a vocal critic of the Bush
administration, is, along with Harry Belafonte, the best known celebrity
supporter of Chávez and a regular visitor to Venezuela. It was from the press
that he learned that the film deal had progressed from the talking to the
funding stage, that Venezuela's Congress had allocated $17.8 million for
“scripts, production costs, wardrobe, lighting, transport, makeup and the
creation of the whole creative and administrative platform.”

The project could mark a breakthrough for Villa del Cine, a new
government-funded studio outside the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. “I can do
everything I need to do with this film from here,” Glover said. He will
direct the film, which he said will be titled “Toussaint.”

A freed African slave in Haiti, Toussaint Louverture led thousands of slaves
in successful campaigns against British, Spanish and French troops before
being betrayed, captured and exiled. He died in 1803, just before his
followers succeeded in establishing the island's independence. Glover told
the British newspaper The Guardian that he wants to educate the U.S. about
the Haitian revolution. “It's been essentially wiped out of our historic
memory; it's been wiped clean,” he said.

“I truly hope someone gets to Danny Glover on this Louverture issue,”
Marguerite Laurent wrote to the Bay View when she heard the news. “Toussaint
Louverture was certainly ahead of his time and a great visionary and warrior,
and, in fact, he was kidnapped, tortured and murdered for his ideals.

“But, it turns out today all over the developing world the independence that
the former colonies enjoy is that which was espoused by Toussaint – who saw
that the most he could do for Haiti was free the captives and get Haiti to be
a Black-ruled French colony, with himself as governor for France.

“Dessalines is the one who did what was necessary and then renamed the
island, set forth its laws of existence and abolished colonialism. All over
the developing world today, it is Toussaint's then avant-guard idea that is
in place and why Europeans prefer to exult Toussaint and teach that to Black
and Brown people rather than to present Dessalines, whose idea of a
Black-ruled independent nation is what all of Africa and the Caribbean and
Latin American countries wish to bring to pass,” said Laurent.

Pointing out that, like Haiti, Cuba and Venezuela would never glorify their
former colonists over their own independence, she cautioned against
preferring Louverture over Dessalines. “Dessalines is despised by the powers
who continue to subjugate and colonize. Toussaint's structure is now their
accepted norm for imperial governance, the exploitation of Black and Brown
labor, lands and resources.”

“I hope,” Laurent said, that “we don't find ourselves with a Danny Glover
film that claims Toussaint is the founding father of Haiti and its ideal of a
Black ruled independent nation.”

Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2007 2:58 pm
by Zanfanginen
I agree with Marguerite Laurent. Danny Glover must present Dessalines has the one who had put Haiti on the world map and not Toussaint. I hope that this movie will shatter all historical fallacies and falsehood on Haiti and Dessalines.

We can still do our part to help it succeed !

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 3:36 pm
by jafrikayiti
There is a lot that needs to be said on this topic but, more importantly, there is still a lot of time and opportunity left to make this film the success and powerful educational tool it can and ought to be.

I have been following this film project for many years now and I am convinced that Haiti can benefit a great deal from such a production. I am also convinced of Danny Glover's sincere desire to make an excellent product - otherwise this could have been on the screen long ago.

The points raised by sister Marguerite Laurent are excellent and crucial ones. I have raised the same issue with Danny Glover when we met briefly at the bicentennial celabrations in January 2004. Over the few minutes of conversation we had, I tried to impressed upon him a number of points, including 1) the great educational potential of his film, especially if a Haitian Kreyol version is produced and 2) the film manages to do justice to Jean-Jacques Dessalines, founder of the Republic of Haiti, who led the revolution to victory following the kidnapping and murder of Toussaint Louverture by the French.

I do not have any special access to the production team to know whether these two preoccupations have been taken seriously. But, at this juncture, I would encourage those who share these concerns to express them as was done by sister Marguerite Laurent. And, as we do so, let us make sure we do not fall in the trap of haters who are speaking evil of the project for motives that are simply hiddeous. For instance, I have read a piece from Stanley Lucas, of International Republican Institute fame, who attacks the Toussaint film project on account of Danny Glover's friendship with President Chavez.

Obviously, the imperialists and their stooges realize how powerful a tool this film can be, if it is funded and produced by revolutionaries who will not have any "strings" attached that forces them to revise the script to please the white supremacist forces who fought the Haitian revolution and are still punishing the resisters.

This year we saw how the tragic story of the people of Uganda was exploited in "The Last King of Scotland". Lots of accolade to brother Wittaker...but, apparently, the film did not really tell the whole story but rather served to reiforce eurocentric myhts and prejudices. For, while the buffonery of Idi Amin Dada was thouroughly exposed, once again his European allies where presented as mere victims of the "African" demon. We are all too familiar with this paradigm. Who put Idi Amin Dada in power, who financed him, who did he finance...all of that is apparently unimportant....So many folks are happy Wittaker got the Grammy..... and most folks remain puzzled by the title "Last King of Scottland" - Is it really Idi Amin who is being laughed at?

Here is an interesting article on this related subject...

Le dernier roi d'Ecosse, Critique sans concession d'un film ... artsuite=0

So, I am glad it is Louverture Films that is working on the film, rather than L'Alliance Française or some other self-imposed special "friends" of the Haitian people.

I am excited to learn that talented actors like Angela Bassett, Cheadle, Murphy etc... shall play the key roles.

I am still concerned that the importance of a Kreyol version has not been appreciated to the required level. But, something can and ought to be done to fix this.

I am still concerned about the adequate portrayal of Jean Jacques Dessalines in the final product. But, something can and ought to be done to fix this.

Based on information published on their website, here is how Louverture Films can be reached:

Louverture Films, LLC
101 West 23rd Street, #283
New York, NY 10011 USA
Tel: 1-212 229 3960
Fax: 1-212 229 3963