Lawrence University students are preparing to debut adocumentary about the role of music in Haiti. They had alreadybegun their work when an earthquake hit, dramatically alteringtheir approach.
The film focuses on a music school Lawrence has worked closelywith for years. It shows how people there are working to recoverand using music to heal.
"Everyone has a story when you go there," Lawrence seniorCarolyn Armstrong said. "Everyone has an amazing story, a familymember who they were able to help survive or a friend."
Armstrong and Stephen Anunson are directing the film and havebeen working on the project for more than a year. They want tochange the way people think about Haiti and say while the powerfulimages of devastation in the country, can bring despair, theselfless courage and strength they've seen should inspire.
"There's something very special and intrinsic about it thatpeople react to it," Armstrong said of the role of music in thelives of Haitian people.
They began shooting on a December visit to Haiti.
"A couple weeks after we got back is when the earthquakehappened and everything kind of changed from there," Anunsonsaid.
They had planned to focus on how programs like the Holy TrinityMusic School helps students rise above poverty. But when theJanuary 12th quake destroyed the Port-au-Prince campus, theyreturned to tell the story of loss, recovery and a sense of hopethey 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," Armstrongsaid.
She says their March visit showed things are improving, but thesight was shocking. Many students have left for the U.S. or movedto the provinces, though Holy Trinity lessons go on.
"Music continues to be part of the healing process," Anunsonsaid.
A 40 minute cut of the soon to be full-length film will debut atthe 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 donationswill be collected.
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