Updated: Thursday, 13 May 2010, 9:57 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 13 May 2010, 9:56 PM CDT
Lawrence University students are preparing to debut a documentary about the role of music in Haiti. They had already begun their work when an earthquake hit, dramatically altering their approach.
The film focuses on a music school Lawrence has worked closely with for years. It shows how people there are working to recover and using music to heal.
"Everyone has a story when you go there," Lawrence senior Carolyn Armstrong said. "Everyone has an amazing story, a family member who they were able to help survive or a friend."
Armstrong and Stephen Anunson are directing the film and have been working on the project for more than a year. They want to change the way people think about Haiti and say while the powerful images of devastation in the country, can bring despair, the selfless courage and strength they've seen should inspire.
"There's something very special and intrinsic about it that people react to it," Armstrong said of the role of music in the lives of Haitian people.
They began shooting on a December visit to Haiti.
"A couple weeks after we got back is when the earthquake happened and everything kind of changed from there," Anunson said.
They had planned to focus on how programs like the Holy Trinity Music School helps students rise above poverty. But when the January 12th quake destroyed the Port-au-Prince campus, they returned to tell the story of loss, recovery and a sense of hope they say will never be crushed.
"Days after I still couldn't believe that it wasn't there, because it's almost like your memory is fooling you," Armstrong said.
She says their March visit showed things are improving, but the sight was shocking. Many students have left for the U.S. or moved to the provinces, though Holy Trinity lessons go on.
"Music continues to be part of the healing process," Anunson said.
A 40 minute cut of the soon to be full-length film will debut at the Warch Campus Center on Friday.
"So many lives were touched by this," Armstrong said.
Now, the students hope their film will touch hearts.
The screening will begin at 7 pm and is free, though donations will be collected.