Last year Maurice Mitchell had an amazing idea, to do 100 shows that benefit Haiti all in a completely DIY fashion. The Sparrow Project was excited to join him in that ultimately successful adventure. Along the way we met film makers Phillip Knowlton and Huguens Jean who had just finished their feature length documentary chronicling two brothers who travel back to Haiti after the earthquake to pay respects to their grandfather. Their film, LIFT UP will soon be available digitally through their website — http://liftupmovie.com
“Though this project started with a personal journey, it quickly took on greater significance as it grew to include the narratives of so many survivors,” said Co-Director Huguens Jean. “We’re thrilled their stories will finally be accessible worldwide.”
Poignant, beautiful and unflinchingly human, LIFT UP follows two brothers, Clifford Muse and Huguens Jean, as they return to their native Haiti after the 2010 earthquake to commemorate their grandfather’s passing. The disaster having prevented them from attending the funeral, Clifford and Huguens plan to create a traditional Haitian kite to celebrate the life of the man who molded their childhoods.
Upon arriving in Haiti, they are surprised to find a vibrant nation filled with people committed to sharing their stories. As Clifford and Huguens collect the materials for their kite, they begin to record the experiences of their countrymen, and the scope of their journey expands. Soon musicians, painters, politicians, educators, family and friends are adding their voices and even contributing to Clifford and Huguens’s kite.
Their kite becomes a tapestry, depicting the life of Haiti after the quake. The familiar image of a Haitian child, standing on a roof, his kite soaring above, becomes a metaphor for the people of Haiti: surrounded by danger and standing on shaky ground while their spirits fight the wind, seeking their place in the sky.
Their journey at an end, Clifford and Hugues return to the US and fly their memorial kite at the 44th Annual Smithsonian Kite Festival. Despite mild wind, the kite dances hundreds of feet above the ground as a nation’s soul soars.