What’s your love letter to Little Haiti?
About the Program
In an ongoing commitment to support Miami’s filmmaking ecosystem Oolite Arts is back for year two of Local Love Letters! This initiative will provide $5,000 to 10 filmmakers to create 3- to 5-minute short films featuring Little Haiti as the backdrop. While open format in terms of content, we’re challenging filmmakers to use their favorite spots in Little Haiti as the locations for their short films. The filmmakers will have up to two months to complete their films, which will screen at a community event later in 2023.
Applications are now closed
If you have questions, please contact Cinematic Arts Manager Hansel Porras Garcia at [email protected]
Thank you to the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Family Foundation for having generously provided funding for this program.
Filmmakers award: $5,000
JR Aristide: Untitled
A young gifted sketch artist must look to her community in order to try-out for the talent show within the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti.
JR Aristide is an award winning Haitian-American writer/director from Miami, Fl. His curiosity for storytelling flourished while studying philosophy (BA) at the prestigious HBCU Florida A&M University. His passion for film pushed him to probe various themes ranging from personal identity, social morality, justice, and world religions. JR strives to tell genuine stories of authentic human interrelations that are inclusive of the global African diaspora. Recently, he directed the short film Port Of A Prince, which is circulating through the 2023 festival circuit with selections at the Pan-African Film Festival, Milwaukee Film Festival, and Boston International FIlm Festival. Currently, he is employed at Skydance Media, supporting CEO David Ellison.
Joshua Jean-Baptiste: Untitled
Balding and vulnerable, Peterson is forced to confront the fragility of his masculinity in front of his longtime barber.
Joshua Jean-Baptiste is a Miami-based Haitian American writer-director who explores black culture through dramedy, Afrofuturism, and experimental film. He began his career directing theater productions at Miami Theater Center and Micro Theater Miami.
Jean-Baptiste won the inaugural Project Greenlight Digital Studios film prize with his partners, leading to the series “Grown” (2018) on Complex Networks. He also co-wrote “Ludi” (2021), which received Oolite Arts’ Cinematic Arts Grant and premiered at the Miami Film Festival and SXSW.
Currently, Jean-Baptiste’s work is centered on the black masculine journey, highlighting unconventional spaces and roles for black individuals. His stories aim to empower others to share their experiences freely and creatively. He holds a BFA in Theater Performance from New World School of the Arts/University of Florida.
Angelica Bourland: Untitled
Kaila is abruptly moved out of her home in Haiti to go live with her aunt in Miami, who she has never met before.
Angelica is a Brazilian-American filmmaker and photographer. She received her BFA in Film Production from Emerson College in Boston, MA. After graduating, she moved to LA to work for Doomsday Entertainment where she pursued directing and cinematography. As a freelancer, she specialized in filming music videos and artists on tour, including Hippie Sabotage, Zolita, and the music festival Rolling Loud. Currently, she lives in Miami freelancing as a director, cinematographer, and editor who founded Miami Film Network. She’s received several awards while being back in Miami, which include two “Best Film” awards and “Best Cinematographer of the Year” award at Filmgate. Angelica premiered her most recent short this year “Warrior” at Silverspot Cinema. It won “Runner-Up Best Film” at Outshine Film Festival. Last month, Angelica was Director’s Assistant to Colin Bucksey (Breaking Bad), on Bill Lawrence’s (Scrubs, Ted Lasso) Warner Brothers TV Series, “Bad Monkey.”
Karla Caprali: Untitled
A poet walks his dog through the Miami neighborhood of Little Haiti on an eventful evening and makes discoveries about its habitants and himself.
Karla Caprali is a Brazilian-born artist, animator, and filmmaker currently residing in Miami. After beginning her career as a painter, she became fascinated by the art of moving images and transitioned to animation. Her animations are created by handcrafting drawings before coloring and animating them digitally.
Karla has shown her work and attended artists-in-residence programs in Brazil, the United States, Norway, Sweden, and Finland.
When not working from her home studio, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing vinyl records, and baking Italian pastries.
Matt Deblinger: Untitled
A documentary short about the historic Churchill’s Pub, which was a sanctuary for local musicians and a symbol of cultural resilience, weaving together stories that are united by the power of music and a love for an iconic landmark.
Matt Deblinger is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and attorney from Miami. Most recently, he co-directed the documentary short, Python Huntress, which premiered at the 40th annual Miami Film Festival and will be featured in an Everglades-themed art exhibition at Art and Culture Center/Hollywood in collaboration with Love the Everglades Movement and Oolite Arts. In addition to filmmaking, Matt is a licensed practicing attorney in Miami and a member of Literally Miami, a Miami-based collective that utilizes creative original content to engage with local audiences.
Alicia G. Edwards: Untitled
As tap taps sing and palms sway, viewers will walk the brightly painted passages of Miami’s Little Haiti alongside one of America’s most cherished literary figures – the eminent Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat. Watch poetry, plants, and patois collide in a love story to life itself.
Alicia G. Edwards is a documentary film producer and director based in Miami, Florida. Her love of visual storytelling developed in her early career as a news producer for CNN and NBC. In recognition of her contributions, she has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Florida Humanities Council. Her MA in Transnational Communication and the Global Media was earned at the Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK. Most recently, she was invited to direct a short documentary called “Walshy Fire: Pull Up” for the Firelight Media and PBS American Masters series called In the Making. The film premiered at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2023.
Diana Larrea: Querido Pequeño Haiti
“Querido Pequeño Haiti” is a goodbye letter to a disappearing neighborhood. From the gaze of a Peruvian resident to a Haitian neighbor in Little Haiti.
Diana Larrea is a Peruvian filmmaker and documentary photographer currently based in Miami and Cusco. She was recently selected for the Knight Heroes Short Documentary Development Program, supported by IF/Then and the Miami Film Festival, where she also premiered her directorial debut, “Monarcas.”
For the past decade, Diana has collaborated with and captured intimate portraits of Miami artists while documenting communities impacted by development and gentrification. She has an Associate’s degree in Film Production from Miami-Dade College and began her career as an editor for TV stations and institutions.
Princess Usanga: Hooky
Skipping school in 1995 should have been easy for two high school girls before the age of smart phones, but the intuition of one of the girl’s Haitian grandmother thwarts their plans.
Princess Usanga is a Miami-based director and screenwriter born in New York to Haitian and Nigerian parents. Her intersectional identity as an African and
Caribbean Black woman with an invisible disability has made Usanga passionate about sharing unique perspectives and highlighting the nuances of the human experience. She studied Television and Film Production at St. John’s University, and went on to direct her first short, “God’s Atheist.” In March 2022, Usanga was a commissioned speaker for Norton Museum of Art’s Women’s Walk Weekend to speak about her experiences as a female filmmaker. Usanga is currently in pre-production for her dramedy/coming-of-age 90’s short film “Hooky,” which was selected for Oolite Arts’ Local Lover Letters in addition to Miami Film Lab’s Development Series, and is also writing a pilot for her series, “Missed Connections.”
Xavi Serrano: Untitled
A Peruvian woman ventures out into Little Haiti in order to find the man in one of her son’s paintings.
XF Serrano is a Miami-based screenwriter-director. Having migrated multiples times as a child and as an adult, his work centers around language, identity, and culture. He’s currently working on producing his first feature.
Nadia Wolff: Untitled
A Haitian-american transgender girl explores a latent crush on her childhood best friend and the pressures against her gender and sexual nonconformity from family/community. Featuring scenes within the Haitian-American salon, barber shop, and home, the performance of konpa dance is a lens for exploring sexuality/gender, and belonging for queer Haitians.
Nadia Wolff is a Haitian-american artist, designer, and writer from Miami, Florida. Wolff’s work–which ranges from installation, textiles, performance, printmaking, and poetic interventions– contemplates queer/Black/Caribbean aesthetics, history, and embodiment through a lens of intimacy. In focusing on small scenes of abundance, we might find palpable ways to work towards a future that celebrates Black, queer existence. Wolff aims to not italicize the Kreyol within their work by creating with the intention of speaking and producing while assuming that their people are already in the room. They attended the Brown | RISD Dual Degree program, studying Textiles, Literary Arts and Africana Studies.
Local Love Letters: Miami Beach
Oolite Arts and the City of Miami Beach teamed up to launch Local Love Letters, an open call short film contest that will provide filmmakers with $5,000 to create short films set in their favorite Miami Beach locations.